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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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: 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: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Title: Reign of the Fallen
Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Razorbill
Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

Review:

If I’d have to choose only one word to describe Reign of the Fallen, I’d choose the word unique.
In my life, I’ve read many books (almost 500), but I’ve never read anything similar to this story.

Reign of the Fallen is a novel set in a world where people after their death can come alive, with the help of people who’s job is to take them out of the Deadland into their real world.
As you can imagine, most people that rule this world have already died many times.
However cool that might sound, there is one catch: if a dead person stays “alive” for too long, there’s a chance for her to become a Shadow, which is basically some sort of evil zombie that eats and kills everything and everyone.
So therefore, after some time, a person who is Undead (that’s the word for a person who was brought back to life) should be killed and then brought back to life again.
As you can imagine, the circle goes on and on and on…

As I already stated, reading Reign of the Fallen was a pleasant surprise since I have never read anything like that.
It took me some time to figure out how this world really works, but I thing that the world building was done great and I really enjoyed all the elements of it (also, I couldn’t help but think how this world must smell really bad!).

The story follows Sparrow who is the best in bringing Dead people back to life. She works for the king and she lives and breathes her job. She wouldn’t know who she’d be without it.

Sparrow was an interesting character, to say the least. She made some decisions that really left me confused, but I have to stress out that after everything that has happened to her, she was very lost and confused herself.
She was pretty selfish and self centered, and even though that is a turn off in a way, it is also a very realistic thing, because it is in human nature to centre the world around your own self.

There was one situation in the book that I just have to mention.
We got to see how a character got herself addicted to drugs, and how painful it was to take herself off it, and I have never saw anything similar in ya fantasy.
It was kind of silly, to be honest, but in the same time, I welcome it.

I also have to emphasize that this novel has a great diversity representation.

When I look at Reign of the Fallen as a whole, I honestly think it would have been a better book if it was an adult fantasy novel.

Overall, I am glad I gave this book a chance because it was like a breathe of fresh air, but when I look at the whole picture, it was a solid read.
I would still recommend it, though!