Book review: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

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Title: The Fifth Letter
Author: Nicola Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: March 2nd, 2017
Pages: 362
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

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Review:

When it comes to my reading experience with this book, there’s no other word to describe it but “lazy”.
I confess: I started this (mystery) book knowing that all the questions will be answered eventually and that, with time, I’ll find out who wrote the fifth letter and which from four letters belong to whom, so I didn’t bother.
I just read, the most relaxed as one reader can be, lazy to try to figure out myself.

Is it my fault for not getting invested into the book as much as the author probably wanted me to be?
Definitely.
But is it also the author’s fault for that, because her story didn’t make me want to know the answers right away?
I can’t say for sure.

But let me tell you: I liked this book. I don’t regret my laziness because I enjoyed reading this novel the way I did.

The story follows four friends who every year spend few days together on vacation. It is their tradition.
This year, they decide that each of them will write a letter in which they will tell a secret they haven’t told anyone before.
The idea sounds interesting and fun, especially because the letters won’t be signed.
What starts as a game turns into more serious situation after Joni finds the fifth letter, written by one of them, in which the one spells her bitterness and hatred for one of them.

I liked the premise of the story, and the idea of the plot, but if I’m being completely honest, I think that the content of the fifth letter wasn’t as disturbing (but then again, if I was one of four friends, maybe I’d think differently).
Also, in my humble opinion, some secrets should have stayed what they were in the first place – secrets.

Even though there was too much drama at time, I really, really liked what The Fifth Letter offered.

The main character, Joni, was the one I could relate to the most.
Trina was my second favorite, while I sometimes had problem separating Deb and Eden.

The Fifth Letter is written in third person. It is pretty easy to read, but at the same time it does not read quickly (at least it didn’t in my case).

Overall, The Fifth Letter is a solid, enjoyable read that I would recommend.

3,75

Sunday Post (Weekly Wrap Up Feb. 20th – 26th)

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Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This meme was created for bloggers to spotlight posts they published in the week, as well as to talk about what they plan to write in the week that’s coming.

Sunday post is also great opportunity to showcase books we got in the week behind us.

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Hi Guys!

It’s been a while (again) since the last time I wrote my Sunday Post. I think it has been three weeks.
I am not going to talk about previous weeks, but only about this, pretty slow week blogging whise.

I wrote only 2 blog posts. I have a feeling that some publishers are maybe angry at me for being overdue with some reviews, but I promise I will get to them next week, and the week after next one.

Maybe I haven’t been writing much, nor visiting blogs (that is also something I have and want to change), but I have been reading a lot.
Amanda from Chocolate Pages and I buddy read The Owl Always Hunts at Night and it was a good experience. We both liked the book, and had lots to discuss on a way.

I am now packing my bag and tomorrow I go on a short trip (4 days, family visits). After that I’ll go back to my obligations and old life.
I plan to schedule some posts today, because I don’t plan to bring laptop with me.
So until Friday, I will probably be MIA in blogosphere and on Twitter.
However, I will be (like always) active on Goodreads and will be checking my emails every day (on my phone).

 

Last week on Book Dust Magic:

Monday: I reviewed Lion in my Movie Monday post

Friday: I reviewed The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

 

Next week on Book Dust Magic:

Upcoming reviews:

annabel-lee the-fifth-letter

I also plan to post my February Wrap Up.

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Book Haul:

In this haul I will show you books I collected during last three weeks.

For review:

paige-toon-arc I was the happiest girl alive when I received The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon from Simon & Schuster UK. If you remember, this book was my WoW choice recently, and the day it came unsolicited I just couldn’t believe it.

the-runaway Lovely Rhoda Hardie from Lion Hudson sent me the debut novel called Runaway and the sequel to Annabel Lee, called The Raven. I plan to read The Raven soon while characters from the previous book are still fresh in my mind.

bella-the-rest Author Sheryl Browne sent me a physical copy of her novel The Rest of my Life. I am really looking forward to read it soon.

the-fifth-letter-arc I was very happy to receive this UK paperback edition of The Fifth Letter from Michael Joseph, Penguin. I already read it and it was good.

 

Purchased:

28062012140 About the Girl was the only book from Kelk’s Girl series that I didn’t have in my collection, so I bought it. I also wanted to suport croatian publishers so I purchased Big Magic in my own language.

allegedly by-your-side collide the-transcend-saga I got myself some ebooks of books I didn’t want to miss. There was also a great deal from Michelle Madow, so as a thank you for pre-ordering her newest book Collode, I got the whole The Transcend Time Saga for free.

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Currently Reading:

by-your-side This weekend I’m reading By Your Side by Kasie West. I am only 9 chapters in and, even though the writing style is great, I hope the story will become more interesting then it is now.

 

That is it!
Let me know what’s been going on with you, what you’ve been reading or watching this week and feel free to leave your links so I can visit you.
Have a lovely Sunday!

The Witchfinder’s Sister Book Review (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in The Witchfinder’s Sister Blog Tour.
I liked this book and I am excited to share my review.
I’d like to thank Josie Murdoch from Penguin Random House UK, for giving me this opportunity.

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About the book:

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six…

1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women’s names.

To what lengths will Matthew’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

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My Review:

It has been 15 days since I read The Witchfinder’s Sister, and I still don’t know what to think about it.
That happens rarely to me, almost never.
I have to warn you that my review will probably be all over the place because I am still finding the words to express my thoughts, but there is one thing I can say for sure: The Witchfinder’s Sister left me confused.

The story follows Alice Hopkins who returns to her childhood town to live with her brother Matthew, after a tragic death of her husband.
Since she saw him last time, Matthew changed.
He gained a lot of respect and hangs out with powerful men.
His job is to “expose” witches, put them on trial and punish them if they’re found guilty.

First thing that has to be stress out is that Matthew’s character is based on real person who lived in 17th century in England, and who is responsible for many of  lives lost because women were accused of practicing  witchcraft.
Despite that, this novel is piece of fiction.

It is told in first person, from Alice’s point of view.
I can’t say if the language in this book is authentic to the one that was in use in 1645, but it sounds a bit different from today’s modern English, but at the same time it reads pretty quickly.

The first third of the book was excellent.
The author really managed to describe the cold atmosphere that I imagine was present in that time.
I also liked how it wasn’t clear if the paranormal aspect was really present in the plot, or was it just in the minds of people that live in this book.
There was a point where I had to stop reading because I was too scared (and it was bedtime, so I didn’t want to have a sleepless night(I feel obligated to also tell you that the “problem” was in my head and the book isn’t as scarry as I was afraid it would be)).

The second half of the book was boring, which is a shame.
There were so many descriptions and so little conversations.
I wish we got to see more scenes from trials, but instead we got scenes with Alice hanging out with accused woman.
However, parts where she’s discovering mysery around her brother were really interesting.

I still don’t know what to think about the ending part related to Matthew.
It was somewhat unusual, that is for sure!

The end was good. I really, really liked the last sentence.

Overall, I liked the story in general, but I think it could have been told in more interesting way then it was.
It had potential to be even better.

Still, I think fans of historical fiction would appreciate this story so I recommend it to them, as well as to everyone else who’d like to read more about real witch hunt that happened in England during 17th century.

3,5

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About Beth Underdown:

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Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.

The Witchfinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.

 

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Follow the tour:

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Movie Monday: Lion

Movie Monday is a weekly feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

This week I watched an emotional movie based on true story, that will probably stay with me forever.

 

Lion

lion-movie In my opinion, there’s only few movies that come out in a course of a year, that have such an emotional impact as Lion had on me.
Maybe in that sentence I said too many, now when I think about it. Because I am trying so hard to remember when was the last time I was so touched by the movie I watched, and in this moment, I can’t remember it…

Lion is drama, based on true events described in memoir called Long Way Home (now renamed into Lion) by Saroo Brierley.

In whole honesty, it is hard for me to tell you what it is about without spoilers, but I will try to keep those at minimum.

Lion is the story about lost boy. About Saroo who, as little kid, fell asleep in train and traveled 1600 km without anyone noticing him. He found himself in India, where people spoke different language then him.
After spending months living on streets and, after some time, in orphanage, he was  adopted by Australian family.

As a grown up man, he decided to find his real family to let them know he was alive.
But finding his family wasn’t easy.

Every year before Oscars, I like to watch as many Best Picture nominated movies as I can, before the ceremony.
Why?
I like to guess who will win (and sometimes I even bet).

This year LaLa Land is main favorite (as I understood). I still haven’t watched that movie (I plan to this week), but I can’t even imagine that any movie would be better then Lion.
I just can’t.

This movie is not just entertaiment (in fact, it will probably make you cry), but it is an eye opener.
It made me see some things I didn’t before, and it also reminded me how privileged my life is. 
I am not a fan of that word: privilege, but when I think about lives of children with fate similar to fates of children in this movie, I can’t think of any other word, because the word privilege describes the truth.

As I already said, this movie is highly impacted with emotions.
Me and my boyfriend both cried multiple times while watching (don’t tell him I told you that).

I truly think that there is no human being who wouldn’t get emotional while watching this masterpiece.
Trust me, the tears will fall down your cheeks, so prepare tissues.

 

Note: Picture in this post is not my property but taken from IMDb site and is property of The Weinstein Company.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: book to movie comparison

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(Kudos to my cat Trunchica for volunteering to be my model. She did her job like a pro!)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all time favorite movie (in case you didn’t know).
The one and only reason I bought myself an overpriced copy (It was overpriced in my case, because few weeks later I realized that I could have ordered the same edition online for 10 $ cheaper) of this novel as soon as I saw it is because I was so in love with the movie.
My biggest fault is that I waited for years until I finally read it.
Why?
Because I heard that the movie is so much better.

And I agree.
This is one of rare cases when most people would agree, I think.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing book, full of beautiful quotes and, in my humble opinion, everyone should read it at least once.

I am truly sorry that this book wasn’t translated into Croatian when I was 15 years old shoolgirl.
I know this book would be my saving grace, I would get so many life lessons from it, and, maybe, it would help me in a way.
Help me understand someone else’s decisions, as well as it would guide me when making my own.

And that is another reason why I just love this movie.
It showed the world the story that needed to be told.. Even in countries where this modern classic was unfamiliar, people now have a chance to observe it.
As for my country, because of the movie’s success, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is now translated.

I am in love with this story and characters, and I couldn’t help but imagine Logan, Emma and Ezra (and everyone else) the whole time I was reading.

The book is very short, but still some parts of the book weren’t in the movie (from what I understand, they decided to cut some parts so the movie would be appropriate for every age rang), like teenage pregnancy and abortion, as well as scenes with Charlie’s hallucinations.

One of my favorite (and saddest) parts was the poem Charlie was reading (too bad that scene got deleted from the movie).
I don’t know if Chbosky wrote it or is it by someone else, but it’s incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking.

If you want, you can listen to the poem here , read by Logan Lerman (it’s a deleted scene from the movie).

5

Book Review: Paris for One by Jojo Moyes

paris-for-one

Title: Paris for One & Other Stories
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: February 9th, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author of “Me Before You” and “After You,” a sensational collection featuring the title novella and eight other stories. Quintessential Jojo Moyes, “Paris for One and Other Stories” is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.
Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life? Funny, charming, and irresistible, “Paris for One”is vintage Moyes as are the other stories that round out the collection.”

Paris for One
Between the Tweets
Love in the Afternoon
A Bird in the Hand
Crocodile Shoes
Holdups
Honeymoon in Paris
Last Year’s Coat
Thirteen Days with John C.
Margot
The Christmas List

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Review:

Paris for One is collection of two novellas and 9 short stories.

My favorite story (or I should say novella) was Honeymoon in Paris. It is a standalone novella, but is also connected to Moyes’ full lenght novel The Girl You Left Behind. 80 pages long, the story follows two couples placed in different time, separated by 80 years, who’s stories together make a whole. Even though I really liked it, I think I would appreciate it even more if I have read the novel.

Paris for One is second best in this collection.
It is fun and easy to read, but I think it would be better if the story was set in 90’s, because characters were really bad when it comes to communication. If there were no mobile phones, the story would make more sense.

Other two stories that I really enjoyed were Between the Tweets and Crocodile Shoes.

As for other pieces, I think they were put into this collection just for sake of having enough stories for the whole bind up.
Some were forgetable (Love in the Afternoon), some were there so Jojo Moyes’ fans would have something new to read, and one was so…. silly and ridiculous (I don’t mean it in a good way). The story I’m talking about is Holdups. I really didn’t like that one.

I don’t want to sound rude here, but I’ll say this anyway: some stories sounded like someone’s practice writing, so I couldn’t help but wonder if they were written before Moyes found her voice, before she became a successful writer.

To be fair, when it all comes down together, I think three stars rating is realistic.

I would recommend this collection to fans of Jojo Moyes.
If you haven’t read anything by her before, and you come upon this book, I would still recommend four stories I mentioned as my favorites. It would be a shame not to read them, if you already have a chance to do so.

3

Book Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

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Title: Freeks
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: Tor Books HQ, Pan
Date: February 9th, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

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Review:

Amanda Hocking won my heart with her Trylle Trilogy.
I never binge read series (in fact, I only binge read two series in my whole life: Trylle by A. Hocking and MacKinnon Curse by J.A. Templeton), but that was my first time when I read like a maniac, devouring the world and it’s characters within.

Since then, I knew Hocking will be the one author I will have my eye on, eagerly waiting for new books to feed my appetite.

Amanda Hocking did it again. She wrote yet another unputdownable book.
It caught my attention, kept me on the edge of my sit, my eyes were flying through the pages and, before I even realized, I finished a book.
My usual reading speed is 30 pages per hour, but with this book, it doubled (and it is not large print!).
You can say it’s because of simplicity of language, but I say it’s because of interesting plot.

This book was AMAZING!

With unique characters, unforgetable plot placed in 1987, Freeks is the book that stands out from other pieces in paranormal genre.

The story follows Mara, who works and travels with carnival. Her coworkers and family are paranormal, unusual or in contact with higher powers.
When they come to state Louisiana, small town Caudry, one of their members dissapears.
Not long after that, they discover that something/someone is after them, as well as their abilities start to weak.

I love how smart Hocking was when outlining this story.
She did her math well!
By introducing us to new characters, making them unusual but still very relatable, she made us care for every single “Freek”, and then she sent that mysterious thing after them, making us, readers, afraid for them.

She also wrote a good story line.

There was an insta love, be aware, but I liked it.
I also liked how main character, Mara, was 18 and her guy, Gabe, 19 (that’s why I didn’t mind things between them developing fast).

I loved the setting.
The vibe that small town gives was so well described.
Also, I welcome the fact that the story was set in 1987. It made a lot sense to put it in that time, because technology was not developed back then (so there weren’t mobile phones, and land lines weren’t on every step).
I can imagine that carnivals had more meaning back then, and pop culture references from that period also gave their charm to the story.

One thing that also needs to be stressed out: there’s a great representation of diversity.

The only thing that confused me a bit (and I bet most people don’t even pay attention to this kind of things) is the lack of Acknowledgments.

Let me tell you, this book is hard to put down!
Once you start reading it, it is very likely you will want to finish it in one sitting (but with almost 350 pages long book, that is hardly possible).

I highly, highly recommend this one to paranormal lovers out there!

5