Rivalry, Revenge and Bitches: Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon (Book Review) #BookReview #WomensFiction #Revenge #TellMeASecret

Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Jane Fallon
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: January 10th, 2019
Pages: 404
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

Review:

Two years ago I read Jane Fallon’s My Sweet Revenge and I really liked it. You can read my review here. I loved how it was a perfect read for book clubs, because there was so many things people could discuss about, and I am happy to say that with Tell Me a Secret the case is the same.

This book would make a perfect book club pick. There are so many small details and clues readers could pick up, and also characters’ actions they could debate on.

What I liked the most about this novel were it’s characters. Almost all of them had strong personalities and they felt real.
I was always character driven reader, so it is really important for me to have opinions about characters, whether that be positive or negative opinions. There is nothing worse then flat heroes, and this book is full of impressive people.

The story follows Holly who just got a promotion in the company she works at. She is a screen writer, and now is in charge of others writers for the teen soap opera they work on.
After her promotion, strange things start to happen to her. Her scripts are all messed up, her colleagues get personal emails from her, that she hadn’t sent, and even her boss gets one.
Someone is trying to sabotage her, so she wouldn’t keep her work position.

Tell Me a Secret is mainly focused on friendships and rivalry. It talks about real friends and fake ones, and how far people would go when it comes to relationships with others.
It’s second focus is family and importance of people that are close to us.

There is no love story, which was kind of surprising to me, but I also have to stress out that it wasn’t missing at all. I think that this novel was complete and amazing without romance.
So if you’re not a fan of romance, here’s the book for you!

This book made me think and question why people lie to make themselves look better in others’ eyes.
I hate lies and don’t like people who tell them. I almost never lie, so reading about pathological liar in this book was kind of interesting. Still, I rolled my eyes at that character so much and thought she was just pathetic.

The end was so much different then the one I would chose to have in my real life, if I was in Holly’s shoes. I guess that just proves that Holly is bigger person then me.

In the end, I just want to mention that Fallon’s voice is so good that it was a pleasure to read this story.
Some parts were dragged, and maybe the novel could have been a bit shorter, but still, I appreciate every single chapter of this book.

And the cover… OmG, Jane Fallon always has these awesome book covers with food or drink on them, that are simple but attractive. You can not notice her book with those covers!

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who like to read about friends and enemies, family and lots of drama.
If you like to discuss about books you read, this one is a perfect choice!

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Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri (Blog Tour) #BookReview #BlogTour #WhiteStag #Fantasy

I am so honoured to take part in this blog tour.

I really liked this book and I’d like to thank Maghan Harrington from St, Martin Press, for giving me this opportunity.

About the book:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Get your copy HERE. 

My Review:

White Stag is young adult fantasy that made notice even before it was released, and now when I read it, I can see why.

This is the first fantasy about goblins that I have ever read, and I can tell you that I have enjoyed learning about these creatures that I knew so little about before (basically, my whole knowledge before this book came from Lord of the Rings movies).

The world was fascinating, and I wish we got to see more of it. Since this is only first book in the series, I hope we will learn more about it in next installments.
I would really want to explore it more, because some scenes (like the one when Janneke looked around her and thought how beautiful this world actually would be if she wasn’t in a position she was) captivated me, so I crave for more of it’s beauty.

I was always fascinated with faeries. They are my favorite creatures, and I loved reading about them even before they were popular in literature.
Goblins have some similarities with them (like, how they can’t lie or how manipulative they are), so it was natural that I was fond of them too.

White Stag is an action packed story. I loved it’s pace and it reads so fast.
There’s an action at the very beginning and it lasts until the end (with some slow parts in the middle).
I liked it, but I wish we got at least two chapters at the very beginning to learn about politics in this world.

What I liked the most in this novel is one phrase that stayed with me, and that is how everyone is a monster in some way (I’m paraphrasing it here so don’t quote me on literal words).
One particular scene when our main character realized that stuck with me the most. Ever since I finished this book, I feel like every day I think about that scene, and her words.

The writing style is solid. I really enjoyed reading Barbieri’s words and I can only imagine she will even get better at times.

Some scenes reminded me of Twilight Saga, but in a good way. I strictly talk here about dialogue.
Also, some sentences in the novel (and don’t take it like a bad thing because it is a 400+ pages long book) reminded me of ones I already read somewhere (like breath she was holding, you know that one!).
What I have concluded is that the author probably read many ya novels so they influenced her.

I like how atypical the ending was. It really stood out in my eyes, and welcomed it wholeheartedly.

I loved White Stag and I will gladly be continuing with the series.

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

Book Review: The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Title: The Love Shack
Author: Jane Costello
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: April 23rd, 2015
Pages: 484
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Life’s great when you’re 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they’ll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan’s mum.

It’s a desperate solution, but it’s only for six months. And Gemma’s determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan’s mum’s kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and – worst of all – her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they’re trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma’s past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

 

Review:

Ohh, Jane Costello! Seems like I can’t get enough of her books. They always make my day a bit better no matter in what stage my life is.
If you follow me for a while, you probably know she is my favorite author, and there’s a reason for that. Read this, or any other of her books, and you’ll understand.

The Love Shack follows a couple, Dan and Gemma who have been together for four years and they are in a process of buying a house.
They find a perfect one, but in order to be able to afford it, they have to live under the same roof with Dan’s mother for 6 months.
It’s not an easy choice but Gemma and Dan will do their best to secure the best possible future for themselves.

Reading this novel was such a delight. I got lost in Gemma and Dan’s story, had my LOL moments and was just having fun. It was everything that I wanted from a book at that time (that’s why I picked it in the first place, because I can always count on Costello to bright the mood).

Even tough it is a typical chick-lit (it has all the elements but the only difference is that in this story we follow the couple that are together from the very beginning of the story), I would say that this book is also very realistic.

Buying a house comes with lots and lots of paper works and compromise, and this book shows that (Just to stress out, it won’t bore you with those legal things that are not funny to read anyway).
Also, problems that our main characters had in this novel are ones everyone could come across now and then (especially Gemma’s).

The novel is written in fist person, following two POVs: Dan’s and Gemma’s.
I think that the author did a very good job because character’s voices sounded similar, but yet different.

I liked the imperfection of the characters.
I didn’t approve Gemma’s acts and couldn’t understand Dan’s principles, but still I liked them both very much.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed reading The Love Shack. I know this is one of those books I can always come back to.
Would I recommend? Defintely!
If you still haven’t read anything of Costello’s work, do yourself a favour and give her books a chance. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

P.S. In April Jane Costello will release her new book You Me Everything under a pseudonym Catherine Isaac. Movie rights have already been sold, as well as rights for translation to (I think) 15 different countires. I can’t wait to read that one!

Book Review: Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Blog Tour) @prhinternational #partner

I am so happy to be today’s host in Batman Nightwalker blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Amanda Holman for giving me this opportunity, and to Penguin Random House for sending me a free copy of the book.

Blurb:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Review:

Like most of my generation, I grew up with Batman movies and cartoons. I loved watching them even when I was too little to understand them, and his partner Robin was my first love.

I always knew Bruce Wayne had a great tragedy in his life, saw his parents murder when he was a child, but I have to admit, never in my life have I wondered how he was like when he wasa  teenager.
Thanks to Marie Lu, I got a glimpse of his adolescent life.

Now I know he was smart, well educated, builted his first laptop and had an interesting group of friends. He was also brave and always fought for justice (who’d say, right?).

Batman Nightwalker was a perfect entertaiment. I read my copy during Christmas and it was the last book I read in 2017. I am so happy to say I finished a year with a great book in my hands.

I liked almost everything about it. I had fun reading scenes with Bruce and his friends, I enjoyed exploring Gotham city, but most of all, I liked scenes with a mysterious girl, Madaleine Wallace, who was our main villain.

I have to say that Madaleine was one of the best villains I came across lately (read “for the longest time”), and that includes not only books, but movies and tv shows too.

I was satisfied with the whole story, including the very end of the book too, even though I guessed one part of the book, the one that should have been a shocking moment (at least I think so).

Overall, I had a blast reading Batman Nightwalker, and a big reason  for that is Marie Lu’s compelling writing.

I would recommend this book to everyone who likes superhero stories and to all Batman fans.

 

 

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Allegedly
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: January 24th, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Review:

Only few books can shake me. Allegedly is one of them.

After I finished this compelling novel, I needed some time to process everything that was going on in the book, as well as calm myself so I could understand my feelings.

Reading this, you probably think I’m exaggerating.
If I was you, I’d probably think the same.
But I am telling the truth. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to react to a certain book, and sometimes our reactions can surprise us.

Going into this story, I knew it would be difficult for me. I was even aware how disturbing it was.
You probably hear about Allegedly, as one of novels written in own voices, one that was praised in “reading diversity” movement (if that’s a movement, I’m not 100% sure), the book that is important to read.

First of all, I agree with the statement how it is important for this book to be read, and for author’s voice to be heard.
This is one hugely important, disturbing book that represents not only people of color, but minority that we don’t get to read often about – teenagers in group home.

Honestly, I am afraid how I’m going to sound when I say this, but I will say it anyway: this novel reminded me how happy my life is. When I reflect and compare it to lives like ones I read about in this novel, to teenagers who yes, committed crimes during their lives, but are still alive and have to live with invisible “Scarlet letter” that follows them every where they go, without support of their families, in poverty and with someone else deciding about everything in their life, I understand how privileged I actually am.
And once again, I used the word I am really not a fan of, but there is no other word to say it better.

The story is told in first person, following Mary’s POV.
Beside Mary’s narration (and I have to state that Mary is one of the best narrators I had a pleasure to read about), there are bunch of newspaper articles, police interviews, excerpts from doctor’s papers and other similar stuff.

Reading Allegedly was thought provoking and emotional experience.
It definitely wasn’t easy.
Some scenes were violent and disturbing, some were harder to understand, some were extremely sad, but what hit me the most was how everyone underestimated Mary all the time.

I rooted for her, even though she never stated if she did it, if she killed the baby. She said she did, allegedly.
But yet, you as a reader don’t believe she would do such a thing. She does not seem like that kind of person.

The writing style is amazing, and I simply can not believe this is a debut novel.

One more thing I’d like to emphasize is the role of the State (here I mean criminal justice system and state foster care).
Mary’s (and other girls’) destiny depended so much on those two, that it feels like the State has it’s own personality.

There is one more thing we need to discuss: the last chapter.
I tried and tried to decide whether I like how this story ended.
At fist I was shocked, but resolved that I liked it.
Now, after some thinking, I wish the story ended differently.
Why?
Because, even though I understand why the writer chose to end the story the way she did, I can’t help but feel that some messages delivered through the story were (partly) erased with that conclusion.

Fun fact: When doing my research, I found out that this book was inspired by true event that happened in 2012, when 10 years old girl was charged with manslaughter of a three month old baby.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: book to movie comparison

perks-trunchy

(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).

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