Book Review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Title: Final Draft
Author: Riley Redgate
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS
Date: June 12th, 2018
Pages: 272
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

Review:

Of all the books Amulet scheduled to release this Spring/Summer season, Final Draft was the one I was looking forward the most.
The premise sounds just right up my alley, as I also like to write and rewrite, so having a main character who’s so into writing was (in my case) a recipe for commonality.
Diverse representation is always a plus, and this novel represents pensexuality, homosexuality, Ecuadorian, Korean and anxiety (if I missed something, I do apologize!).

Reading Final Draft, when it comes to enjoyment, was like being on a roller coster. One chapter it was everything I wanted from a ya novel, when the other was dull, and I had to push myself to concentrate on the story.

The thing is, it was a similar experience to the one I had when I was reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Parts with the main character’s writing I didn’t find interesting, when other parts of the story were really good with some boring/not interesting enough moments.

Laila was an interesting, likeable character and it was easy to emphasize with her.
Her best friend, Hannah was awesome and it was a pleasure to read every page that included her.

However Laila’s teacher Nazarenko, who’s appearance is one of the most important (or remarkable) part of the book, was so unlikeable, that even today I find it hard to explain just how badly she got on my nerves.

Final Draft is not only a great choice for a reading pleasure, but it is also somewhat useful, as it contains some writing advices.

Even though I had a good time reading this novel, I have to admit that unfortunately it is (at least in my case) not a memorable piece. I don’t think that I’ll remember much about it even 6 months from now.

Nevertheless, I would still recommend it to young readers (and aspiring authors), especially to those who enjoyed Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

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Book Review: The Girl with More Than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass

Title: The Girl with More Than One Heart
Author: Laura Geringer Bass
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS
Date: April 17th, 2018
Pages: 288
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): There are times we all feel we need more than one heart to get through. When Briana’s father dies, she imagines she has a new heart growing inside her. It speaks to her in her Dad’s voice. Some of its commands are mysterious.

Find Her!  it says. Be Your Own!  

How can Briana “be her own” when her grieving mother needs her to take care of her demanding little brother all the time? When all her grandpa can do is tell stories instead of being the “rock” she needs? When her not-so-normal home life leaves no time to pursue her dream of writing for the school literary magazine? When the first blush of a new romance threatens to be nipped in the bud? Forced by the loss of her favorite parent to see all that was once familiar with new eyes, Briana draws on her own imagination, originality, and tender loving heart to discover a surprising path through the storm.

Review:

Once I read the premise for The Girl with More Than One Heart I had a feeling it would be emotionally difficult, but I knew I want to read it.

My feeling was right. There was so many things that our main character Brianna had to go through: losing her beloved father, having a mom that suffers from depression, taking care of her brother who has autism and also losing her best friends in the process. My heart was wrenching for her because no 13 year old should go through what she went trough, but that was the reality of the story: life is sometimes unfair.

After Brianna’s father died, she felt another heart growing in her belly. It whispered her with her dad’s voice and sang to her songs her dad used to sing.
I love how the reader can experience that aspect of the story in two different ways: One, like magical realism, and other, like a metaphor Brianna created in her head to help her dealing with everything she went through.

This book made me sad most of the time, but it also made me angry at Brianna’s mom, because I couldn’t help, I was blaming her for Brianna’s misfortune.
If only she made more effort and thought about her children more, Brianna’s life would be so much easier.

As I understood, this book came to existence after the writer wrote her memoir after her own’s father death, who helped her a lot with her own son who is on the spectrum.
So in a way, writing this book was also some sort of therapy for Laura Geringer Bass.

The Girl with More then One Heart is a middle grade novel, but I think it could be read and loved by older readers too.
In all honesty, I even thought it was a bit too hard for younger readers, but I guess it was just my unintentional ignorance. It sometimes happens to me, I think something would be too much for children, when in reality, they are much stronger and can understand so many things so well.

The book is written in first person with simple writing style that reads pretty fast.

Even though I enjoyed reading this novel very much, I have to admit that I wasn’t invested the whole time and some parts I found a bit boring. That’s why I couldn’t give it higher rating.

But still, I would recommend this book to all generations, because it is a wonderful story that is hard to forget.

Book Review: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Title: The Perfect Girlfriend
Author: Karen Hamilton
Publisher: Wildfire
Date: March 8th, 2018
Pages: 359
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Review:

First of all, let me say that this book won my mind and soul with it’s uniqueness. I have never read anything similar to it in my entire life, and now when I finished it (I read it twice, in case you wonder, that’s how good it is!), I wonder why there isn’t more books like this out there? Or maybe there is, and I am just not aware of them (In case you know anything similar to this (novel, short story, a movie or a TV show), please recommend!)?

The story follows Juliette who figured out how to be a perfect girlfriend, and nothing will stop her this time around to have her happily ever after with Nate.
You see, six months ago Nate left her and broke her heart, but now she knows how to win him over, make him fall in love again and be everything he ever wanted and needed.

The best thing about The Perfect Girlfriend is it’s perspective. We get to see everything from the psycho’s POV, every move, every thought that Juliette has, we get to experience there with her.
And the best part, even though we know what she’s doing is wrong, we still feel the empathy.
At least, that’s what my reading experience was like.

I caught myself rooting for Juliette even though I knew what she was doing was so wrong. I even detected myself breathing hard thinking: “No, don’t do that, you’ll turn him off from you! No, This is wrong, you should do it differently!” like I wanted for Juliette to complete her mission and really manipulate Nate into falling in love with her.
Even though I knew that my compassion is coming from the wrong place, but I still couldn’t help myself.
I guess Juliette manipulated me as well! 
Or maybe there’s a little psycho squatted in me, and this book helped her to see a glimpse of light.

Enough with my philosophy, I will tell you just few more things about the book.

The writing style is amazing (as you probably already concluded basing on my previous ramblings) and the fact that this is Hamilton’s debut novel blows my mind! I can’t wait to read her next novel, and the one that’ll come out after that one, and every one after that, because I just want to be in the first class on that Karen Hamilton wagon that will takes us whatever it will take us. I don’t care where, I just know I want to be there (again me and my philosophy, it is obvious I haven’t write reviews for a while).

The Perfect Girlfriend is a brilliant piece of work. Thrilling and unique read that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

I highly, highly recommend it!

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Reading Diary + Book Review: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik (Blog Tour) @prhinternational #partner

I am so happy to be today’s host in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Amanda Holman for giving me this opportunity, and to Penguin Random House, Viking Books for Young Readers for sending me a free copy of the book (ISBN (9780451480477) ).

Blurb:

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future—everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations . . .

 

Reading Diary:

So… This time around I decided to do something different. Watching reading vlogs is something I enjoy doing in my free time, especially when I need that little push when it comes to my reading. As you probably already know, camera is not friend of mine, so I decided to track my reading in a different, but still similar way.
I decided to write a short reading diary, and take you with me (via pictures) to all the places in Zagreb that I thought would be great reading spots (yeah, I made it sound like I’ve been to soooooo many places, when in reality, I visited only few of them).

I enjoyed taking pictures and reading in public so much, that I decided to do this again some time in the future.

Without further ado, this is my reading diary…

 

May 23rd 

Wednesday morning and I am on a mission to take the most comfortable chair in McCaffe, so I could eat and read a bit before I have to go to work.
Of course, that specific chair was taken (because it always is) and I took the second best: just a regular spot.

This is my breakfast:

Some would say it’s unhealthy, but I call it breakfast of a champion. Reading champion that is!

In other news, I read 42 pages and the story is so far so good. The writting style is a bit messed up, but I like it. I like Noah’s friends, but since I read synopsis, I am affraid to get attached to them, because I am afraid I will miss them. There are so many pop culture references and I’ve learned so many facts about pop culture, like the one that Elvis Presley had a twin brother who died on birth.

 

May 24th

I started my day with a cup of coffee and a book. My kitten GiGi is my new reading buddy.

After our lazy morning, I decided to visit Botanical Garden in Zagreb, to do some reading before work.

I read cca 50 pages in Botanical Garden. It was so nice reading there, so peaceful quiet. There are so many places where you can just sit and enjoy your surrounding. Suddenly, I have an urge to watch Gilmore Girls, and I blame Noah Hypnotic.

 

May 25th

I decided to have some me time before work, so a book and a sheet face mask did their work. This is me, looking like panda:

I read around 80 pages (I’m on page 177 right now) and it’s getting really interesting. I wonder if a Fading Girl is a real thing? I should check it out on Youtube and let you know (fun fact: I checked it and no, it’s not a real thing. Too bad!).
I like Noah’s sister and yes, the story is actually going in the direction I thought it would, only it’s not as drastic as I thought it would be. At least it’s not for now, but who knows where the pages will take us!

 

May 26th

I woke up with an urge to read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Since I don’t have a copy here in Zagreb, I thought it would be nice to visit my favorite book store and while I’m there, see it the new book by my favorite author Paige Toon, Five Years from Now, is also available to purchase there.
Since it’s Sunday, I just kissed the door (in my defense, they used to work on Sundays) so I went to Zrinjevac park to read there.

 

 

 

 

 

After some time, I decided to it was a coffee time, so I was on a mission to get that chair in McCafe, but I was out of luck again, so I had to sit in  a regular spot.

This is my coffee and a cookie (because you have to eat something sweet while reading, right?):

After my big Sunday evening, I had only few pages left to finish a book, so I read it in my bed, with GiGi sleeping next to me.

 

Brief review:

 

Reading The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik was so enjoyable. I understand why someone would be turned off after reading the blurb, but you don’t have to worry.
It all makes sense in the end and is actually pretty realistic. I mean, it all has it’s why and how.

This is a wonderful coming of age story with the most interesting characters. My favorite was Noah’ sister Penny.

The story is full of pop culture references and you could actually learn a lot from those, at least I have.

I liked how Noah and his friends liked all the things my generation used to like (like Gilmore Girls and David Bowie) even though the story is set in this time.
I can’t help but think that it was the author’s nostalgia that lead the characters to listen certain music and watch certain shows, and also awoke my own nostalgia for those same things.
But in all honesty, I wish today’s popular people or shows were also mentioned (okay, Kardasians were mentioned, but I wished for more).

The writing style is somewhat unusual but I liked it. It reads pretty fast.

This story made me laugh so many times, but was also really touching and I would highly recommend it to everyone who like coming of age stories.

 

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Book Review: This Love by Dani Atkins

Title: This Love
Author: Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: March 23rd, 2017
Pages: 466
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for a review

Review:

If you’re looking for a damsel in distress story done right, look no further!

This Love is the story about Sophie Winter who finds herself in a hard situation in which she can’t cope without someone’s help.

The story starts with drama. Sophie’s flat is on fire and she’s trying to get out before the fire swallows her too.
She managed to save her little cat Fred by letting him go out of the window (I really loved that cat, it was my mission the whole time to know that Fred is save), but for her it is a bit harder to get out.
That’s where Ben, our knight in shining armor plays his part.
He gives her directions what to do to get out of that flat alive.

Ben’s kindness doesn’t stop right there. Oh, no! He helps her find her cat Fred, and even (because of some circumstances) offers her the place to stay.

I know stories about ladies who need to be saved are not in fashion anymore, but as I already stated, This Love is done right. Sophie didn’t want to find herself in the role she played, but her entire home burned and she was in a really bad situation. She had no choice but to accept other people’s help.

At first I really liked Ben. He is that type of character women all over the world dream about. He has a good heart, always knows what to say and is kind, plus he looks really, really hot.
He is way too perfect to be real, and that is where my adoration for him fall back. 
I wished he had at least one flaw (actually, in my had I started plotting a story in which he was really a psychopath with great acting skills).

The writing style is really good. Dani Atkins pulls you in with her voice and makes you forget about the rest of the world. I was thinking about the book even when I was not reading.
It is written in third person.

This Love is a perfect title for this novel because you can feel and see the love in so many shapes through the story.
It is no wonder that it received RNA award in category “Romantic Novel of the year”.

I enjoyed reading This Love, and I feel like I gained a lot as a reader from this book, but it is my duty to mention that this story also reminded me of two very popular novels: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker.
I’m not saying it is a reap off of those two novels by any mean, I’m just saying it has some of the same elements as those two.

Overall, This Love is a perfect book for romance lovers and for those who want to read a good book about damsel in distress.

Book Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Title: Bookishly Ever After
Series: Ever After (#1)
Author: Isabel Bandeira
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Date: January 19th, 2016
Pages: 378
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary.

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Review:

First of all, let me praise this cover! It’s one of the most beautiful book covers I have seen lately, and what’s even better, it’s sequel’s cover is even more beautiful.

And now when we got all that beauty out of the way (sorry, I just woke up and I can’t think of any better phrase to express myself), let’s focus on what’s really important: the story itself.

If you already read the book, you might ask me: “What story?”. Yes, I know what you mean, because that’s what I asked myself more then few times while reading.
And the answer is: this one, at first fun, one dimensional story that dragged and dragged even though nothing important really happened, and made me lose my interest after the fist half of the book.
Honestly, it felt like I was reading a 700 pages long book, not a 378 pages one.

As I already said, the story is one dimensional. We follow Phoebe and her friends, read about their conversations which lack of significance, and there is no subplots.
It was like waiting for Godot in a shape of plot.
Guess what? Godot never came, or maybe he came after I fell asleep.

To be fair, I liked Phoebe. I enjoyed reading her comparing her life with life of her favorite characters, and how she asked herself what would her favorite characters do in certain situations.
I only wish that her favorite characters and books weren’t non-existent. I have never heard of those books or characters, and I feel like if familiar books and characters were part of the story, readers would enjoy this book more.

This book started really good, it got me in and I was having fun reading about Phoebe and her high-school drama, but somewhere on the way, I lost my interest and to be honest, I just skimmed the second half of the novel.
I found myself realizing that I didn’t care anymore, and if I wasn’t given this book for a review, I would probably DNF it.

However, I want to stress out that some of my goodreads friends really enjoyed this story, so if you were thinking about giving this book a chance, please do.
Maybe you will end up really enjoying it.

I usually love ya contemporary, but I guess this book just wasn’t for me.

Book Review: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart by Ilana Fox

Title: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart
Author: Ilana Fox
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Date: February 4th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.

Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.

Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know . . .

Review:

Do you know what I usually do when I’m about to review a perfect book? I postpone it, and pospone it, and pospone it…
Because, sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe how much, and why, I liked the book so much.
There’s sometimes that self-doubt that I just wouldn’t do it justice.

This is what happened in this case. I started writing my review 6 days ago, and here I am now, still not sure if I’m going to finish it this time around.

I guess you can already guess that I loved this book. I did, I loved it so much! It is the best book I have read this year so far, and it was my first 5 stars read of 2018.

I heard about this book two years ago when it appeared in many women’s fiction bloggers lists of favorite books.
The story sounded promising and let’s face it: The cover is really appealing (and I always judge books by their covers, I can’t help it!).

The story follows two women in two different times: Cassie in nowadays and Eliza in 1980s.

Cassie was always fascinated with Beaufont Hall, a house that belonged to her family for years and years.
Unfortunately, because of  poor financial situation, Cassie’s family can’t afford to have Beaufond Hall anymore, and they are about to sell it.
For the last time, Cassie goes to Beaufond House to sort things out, say her last goodbye to the home she always wanted to live in and spends some time going through all the belongings in a hope she’ll find something valuable and figure out how to save the house.

There, in Beaufond Hall, she finds diaries of a forgotten family member called Eliza. Forgotten is maybe a wrong word in this case, because Eliza and her mother were subjects no one ever talked about, a tabu-theme of the family.

Eliza is a young girl who’s story is placed in 1980s in Soho. She was bored with her every day life so she moved there to work and have fun. We follow her around and see her dreams being shattered, her friends falling apart and herself trying her best but still chasing the tail of the creature called better life.

Both stories are told in third person, and intertwined into a whole.
I assumed how the story might have ended, and to be honest, I can’t tell you if the reason for that was it’s predictability, of the writer in me recognized the way she would have wrapped this novel.
It doesn’t really matter, because one thing I can tell you: I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In my opinion, the completion of the story was perfect.

If I had to choose, I’d say I liked Eliza’s story better. It was more interesting, more emotional and more lush.
At some points, I could have imagine scenes from her parts so well, it was like watching a movie in my mind.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel.
Even if it belongs to women’s fiction genre, I think men would also enjoy reading it.
After all, it doesn’t talk about women’s problems, but about life in general, and all it’s obstacles, highs and lows.

 

IMPORTANT: 

If you haven’t, you can still ented a giveaway I’m hosting on Twitter, in which you can win this book and some croatian chocolate: ENTER HERE