Category: book review

The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Laven…

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Author: Leslye Walton

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon UK

         Amazon US

Wow. Another all-time favourite for sure! The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender is such a whimsical and tragic, yet still gorgeous, tale about a girl born with wings, how that came to be, and all the beauty and sorrow it comes with.

The factor that puts this book over the majority of other magical realism novels is the writing style. It was sumptuous and metaphorical, yet still gives the reader a clear image of Ava and the world around her. More than clear, in fact. It’s colourful and vibrant and lavish and everything I love in literature.

And yet, somehow, the author creates such believable characters and story lines that feel so real! Utterly human characters are placed next to fantastical ones until you don’t see why they should ever be separated. 

There are very real issues tackled in this novel too – mental health, grief, love and loss, sexual abuse – and, although they aren’t always directly addressed, they described in a way so raw it was almost brutal. I will stick a trigger warning for sexual assault here because, although it isn’t an overly-detailed description, it’s ruthless and a little disturbing even to someone like me, who isn’t usually psychologically affected by what happens in a book.

Still, I recommend this book so so highly – it may be in my top 10 favourites of all time!

City Of Glass Book Review

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: Amazon UK

         Amazon US

I know, I know… I haven’t rated it 5 stars BUT give me a chance to explain. I did love City Of Glass as much as the other instalments – I just felt that this whole book was a lot to take in at once. The entirety of it felt like the climax of not only the book itself but the whole series. The factor that draws me to Cassie’s writing (even more than her world) is her characters. Personally, I felt that the severity of the plot, as well written as it was, took over from the characters slightly.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion and only issue with this book – I still love it! The Shadowhunter world is so established at this point, and I love analysing the politics between the Shadow World and the Downworld. My favourite scene is the interaction between Clary and the Seelie Queen when Clary tells the Queen that she has everything she wants… It makes my heart swell with joy! 

I’m getting flashbacks to my first read of this series, it brings back so many memories. I know it isn’t top quality literature, but I can’t bring myself to care!

Day 7 Book Review

Author: Kerry Drewery

Rating: 3/5

*For synopsis and thoughts on the first book of the series check out my Cell 7 review here!*

Well, it was better than the first one. I always finish series and I wasn’t going to let the Cell 7 trilogy beat me – and to be honest I’m quite glad it didn’t. I liked the path that this book took the series in and I’m actually looking forward to reading the next one.

It certainly wasn’t perfect. The world is still a little shallow and 1-dimensional, the narration is still a little frustrating and the writing style is still a little… odd. Yeah, the writing still confuses me. It could be quite good if the script-like chapters were simply described instead of given in too-long stage directions and interrupted speech. But, it is. So it’ll have to do.

However, we have character development! Thank God. I loved watching the characters grow together – and apart – throughout the story as they all faced their own problems and fears. I both liked and disliked how broken the main character seemed. It definitely made her more real, but we spend a lot of time with her just breaking down so I’m not sure.

In conclusion, I think I’ll stick with it. But if you haven’t started it, this instalment isn’t quite enough reward for dragging yourself through the first one.

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (T…

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2):

Check out my Son Of Neptune review! All my other Rick Riordan reviews are on my master list here if you wanna read more of my thoughts on Percy Jackson and his universe – and let me know what you think of PJO too!

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Book Review

Author: Becky Albertalli

Rating: 5/5

Wow I’m having such a good reading month. Aaaanyway, holy crap I love this book! Another one I read in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down. Simon is so loveable as a main character, and more importantly as a narrator. It’s so rare that actually like the main character/narrator of 1st person books, but Simon shows so much personality in the narration and I couldn’t get enough of it!

Okay, but I adore the other characters too! Leah is an absolute boss and I can’t wait for Leah On The Offbeat this year!! But, for some reason, I enjoyed any of Taylor’s appearances the most. Her character makes anyone think about the one person in school just like her – but you could tell that there was something more to her.

I liked how the story ended, but half of me was a bit mad about how little tact Simon has! I mean, it worked out for him in the end but it was a little infuriating.

Besides that tiny little peeve, I don’t have anything bad to say about this book – highly recommend and can’t wait to see the movie!

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The Death Cure Book Review

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Author: James Dashner

Rating: I don’t even know

I didn’t rate this book out of 5 stars because I don’t think I can form one overall opinion! I enjoyed it, I didn’t want it to end, and I think the plot was wholesome and well-thought out but at the same time I hated it, wanted to stop reading it, and despised everything that happened. I think I’m just really bitter and upset about SOMETHING (people who have read it, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN) that happened in this book, but I get how necessary it was for character and plot development as well as solidifying the reality and horrifying truth of the Flare.

This was kind of a reread for me – I read the trilogy before the first film came out but never actually *finished* The Death Cure after some-of-you-know-what happened. Now that the 3rd movie is upon us, I picked it up again with the sole purpose of completing it. I do recommend it! I would never tell someone not to read it, but make sure you don’t let your emotions control you too much.

I love the moral haziness of this trilogy. To be honest, as someone with ASD and therefore unempathic tendencies, I would probably have gone down a similar route to WICKED, but their ‘means’ were too awful to be justified by the end. I liked the way this book ends, and it left me with a sort of peaceful sadness that was needed to conclude all the horrid things these characters have been put through.

I now know the movie is going to end me.
       
     
         
     
       
       

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To Kill A Mockingbird Book Review

Author: Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5

Although it took me a while, this book is frickin worth it. I don’t think I will ever forget it.

All I knew about this book going into it was that it concerned racism, but it is so much more than that! The beginning of this novel centres around two kids and their father in the county of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, a young girl who by the end is still no older than 10, is so loveable and innocent, and because of this we get to see the serious themes through the eyes of a person who is a stranger to them. 

Even before we discover the seriousness of this novel, I adored the family dynamic of the Finch’s. Their father is so loving and the relationship between Scout and her brother, Jem, is relatable and raw. 

Throughout this story, I was constantly scared. Not because it was scary, at least not in the traditional sense, but because the plot was so unpredictable. These characters deserve the world and I was never sure what would happen to them!

On a serious note, as not only a white person but a person from the UK and not the middle of Alabama I’m not sure how qualified I am to be giving my opinion on this. However, I feel this novel highlights the massive importance of equality in the eyes of the law as well as everyday society. It’s terrifying how the characters of different races view each other as so separate, as if they don’t belong in the same society. It infuriates me that, even today, people aren’t equal. It’s bullshit, and there is no explanation!?

Anyway, everyone should read this book. My advice is to not judge it until you reach the 2/3s mark, when I got to that point I couldn’t put it down!

City Of Bones Book Review

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5/5

I’m taking part of emmmabooks’ year-long Shadowhunters Read-A-Long (all the info on her video here) and of course it all begins with City Of Bones. Not gonna lie, I was a little scared to re-read this book. I was never convinced that it was amazing literature but I didn’t let it bother me since the characters and plot were so fabulous. But no, it’s as good as ever! 

There are so many amazing moments that I’d forgot about in this book! The best example is the banter between the characters at the start – it reminded me of The Inner Circle from ACOMAF. It’s like looking through a photo album and being like “Aw look this is when she killed her first demon!” and “This is when they’re about to meet!”. Don’t judge me.

Apart from the nostalgia of re-reading, City Of Bones is still one of the best characterization in any book – ever. I don’t want to think what would happen if Cassie, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas teamed up… Anyway! Each character is so well rounded and individual and yet so flawed. Going back, you can see how dramatically each character develops.

If I’m being honest, The Dark Artifices definitely show more literary skill, but that won’t stop me loving The Mortal Instruments!

The Rosie Project Book Review

Author: Graeme Simsion

Rating: 5/5

As part of my goal to get Autism Spectrum Disorder seen in a more positive light, I’m trying to read as many books with ASD rep as possible (check out my On The Edge Of Gone review here). I’m so glad I came across The Rosie Project – it was so sweet and so quirky and exactly what I wanted. Don, the main character, is not shown as a anything like ‘disturbed’ or ‘pitiful’ which is one thing I despise about books with ASD rep. He was shown as a quirky guy with his own way of living that different, but worked for him. 

My favourite part is in the first quarter, where Don has to teach a lecture about Aspergers to kids who have it. Instead of insisting they had a ‘difficulty’ or an ‘illness’ he told them all the positives that came with it, and everything they should be proud of. As someone with ASD, I think it’s so important we let people (not only atypicals) know this! People with ASD can get seriously depressed if they are led to believe they are inferior to anyone, WE’RE NOT! And this book proves that so effectively.

Not only is this novel a fabulous representation, it’s such a funny, feel-good novel (I can imagine myself reading this in Summer). The characters are brilliant, the writing style is unique and colloquial, and the ending is beautiful and satisfying. It’s quite thought-provoking, but not to the point of being stressful. A real rom-com of a book! Loved it.

Because You Love To Hate Me Book Review

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Author: Various Authors (edited by Ameriie)

Rating: 4.25/5

I LOVED this story collection. Villainy is something that fascinates me greatly – anything from the psychology behind it to circumstances that bring it on. Really, there couldn’t be a better book for me. And, for the most part, that was true.

As much as a loved the short-stories themselves, I also loved the additions to each from the book-tubers who set the challenges. Studying literature has always interested me, and the fact that we get to pull apart the each character and storyline made me so happy. Not only this, but we also get fun and quirky articles and tit-bits on villainy including The Bad Girl’s Guide To Villainy and Keep The Darkness At Bay self help guide. However, my favourite was Jessethereader’s letter to death titled ‘Dear Death’. it honestly made me cry as I resonated with it so much.

Now, the stories themselves. My favourite was Victoria Schwab’s ‘Death Knell’. I have never read anything by Schwab before (but Monsters Of Verity is on my tbr), and I adored her writing style beyond measure! It was so poetic and whimsical and the story itself was darkly beautiful. Another one that stuck in my head was ‘Julian Breaks Every Rule’ by Andrew Smith, a story that centres around a modern, adolescent psychopath. The narration was so incredibly funny – like, laugh out loud funny! The difference in tone, story and moral in each tale is huge and it made for a very compelling read with lots of variety. Each story is also so relevant and relatable to real life, discussing important themes and bringing critical topics to the foreground.

There was only one story I wasn’t a fan of…the first one. Now, I love Renee Adhieh and The Wrath And The Dawn, but I didn’t like the concept! The story was dull and did nothing for me. 

On average, 4.25. Would highly highly recommend!