Book Review: Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

Title: Somewhere Inside of Happy
Author: Anna McPartlin
Publisher: Black Swan, Penguin Random House
Date: April 7th, 2016
Pages: 427
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in a giveaway

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Maisie Bean is a fighter. A survivor. Seventeen years ago, she went on a first date that went so badly it was enough to put the girl off chips. The marriage that followed was hell but it gave her two children: funny, caring Jeremy and bullish but brilliant Valerie.

Just as it seems everything might finally start going right, sixteen-year-old Jeremy goes missing. The police descend and a media storm swirls, over five days of searching that hurtle towards an inevitable, terrible conclusion.

Maisie is facing another fight, and this time it’s the fight of her life. But she’s a survivor. Whatever the odds, she’ll never give in.

Review:

I should have read synopsis before starting this book.
I always like to go blind into stories, read recommendations and judge books by their covers.
If you ask me how I decide what I’ll read next, I usually go with my instinct.
I always buy books based on the fact who wrote them and if someone from my goodreads friends or bloggers already reviewed it.
Rarely, if a book catches my eyes without me hearing about it before, I’ll read what it is about.

As you can guess by now, I didn’t know what Somewhere Inside of Happy is about.
I just hauled it and saw people really enjoyed it. One blogger who had the same taste as me said it was one of the best books she read in 2016, and that was enough for me.

I’m saying that I should have read the synopsis first not because I didn’t like it. No, that was not the case, because this book is beautiful in an exceptional way, but because I was in the mood for something light and fun, and this is anything but.

Somewhere inside of happy is one of the most important books I’ve read this year. It should have a huge impact on it’s readers and I hope it will reach everyone who’ll read it. 

It is not an easy book to read. However, I feel like everyone who’ll get a chance to read it, will be glad they did.

One thing I am not a fan of is how the message and everything that was important in this story is perceived as huge spoiler in company of smaller spoilers.

Therefore, I will warn you: After this sentence this review will be full of spoilers, so don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled!!

At the very beginning of the book, we already know that our main character Maisie had a son who died. We don’t know how or why, we just know it was violent (and if you ask me, his death was unfortunate, but I wouldn’t call it violent).

We follow the story of her family while her son was alive.

She lives with her mother who suffers from demantia (sometimes it was really hard to read about her situation), takes care of her, and she also had a son and a daughter.
Her husband who’s she separated with is nowhere near for some time now, and she can finally breath.

One day, her son doesn’t come back from the party, and we follow her and her family trying to find him.

The story takes place in Dublin.
I really enjoyed reading about that place, but all the time I had one big question mark over my head: Jeremy (her son) didn’t come to school on January 2nd. I was so confused, because I wondered do in Ireland schools really work in period between Christmas and January 6th.
I wouldn’t know because I don’t live there, but it is so close to New Year’s Eve…

This book contains some themes that readers should be warned about: violence and rape.

The story with it’s message reminded me of the movie Prays for Bobbie, only the movie is better.

Overall, I am glad I read this book and would really recommend it to everyone because I think it is really important to accept all the people, and I hope one day hate against everyone who’s different in anyway  will no longer exist.
That is the world I want to live in one day.

I would like to stress out that even though I am glad that I read this book and I think it is of huge importance, I didn’t click with the way it was presented.
I can’t figure out was it the writing style or just the story itself, or maybe even characters, but something was off, so therefore I can’t give it higher rating.

 

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Book Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena @PHRGlobal #partner

Title: An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin
Date: August 7th, 2018
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

Review:

If you’re a fan of “Who done it” books, games or movies, you will probably love An Unwanted Guest.
I’d say it’s a typical “Who done it” story, but in reality, I wouldn’t know, because I rarely read that type of books.
Why? Honesty, the only reason that comes to my mind is that those books are just not popular enough, and therefore, it doesn’t even cross my mind to pick up one.

Thanks to Shari Lapena, I can proudly say I read one “Who done it” novel this year.
If you follow my reviews for a while now, maybe you know how much I enjoyed Lapena’s first novel The Couple Next Door. 
So… when I had a chance to read An Unwanted Guest, I grabbed it.

The story follows several characters (honestly, I can’t even tell you how many of them there were) who end up snowed in in a hotel for the weekend.
Early in the morning, they find a dead body of a woman who stayed in the hotel with them, and since no one can get out from the hotel, and no one can come in, it is obvious that one of them killed the victim.
Or was it someone else all along with them in a hotel, an unwanted guest?

First of all, this story reads fast as lightning. Trust me, I’m a slow reader, but I sped through the book. If an inspiration to write some reviews for my blog didn’t hit me, I’d probably finish it in one sitting.
However it took me 2 days to finish it (actually, 6 hours to be precise).

At first I was afraid I wouldn’t keep up with all the characters, since there was so many of them, but it was easy to tell them apart.
Not once did I mix them up.

The story itself is not as intense as I thought it would be, but it was interesting all the time.
I was really invested and wanted to know what will happen’ next chapter after chapter.
Short chapters also helped to hold my attention.

The end was not shocking, but it was unpredictable.
I didn’t guess the killer.
As for the very end, I can say I predicted it. However, I think most readers will be satisfied with it.

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas @PRHGlobal #partner

Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Penguin Random House Childern’s, Delacorte Press
Date: July 31st, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

 

Review:

So… I went into The Cheerleaders with an expectation to get a story similar to I Know What You Did Last Summer or The Scream, but instead I got… something different.

I don’t know why I thought there will be a a killer chasing characters who’d fear for their lives, because that was not even promissed in the blurb. Anyway, because of my wrong expectations, the story for me was just… slow.

There was not much going on, but only discovering what had happened in the past.

However, don’t think this book is not good or interesting, because it is. It really is.

The story follows Monica who lives in a little town Sunnybrook. Five years ago, a huge tragedy hit the place. Five lives were lost. All five belonged to cheerleaders, one belonged to Monica’s sister Jen.
Monica is still hunted by questions and mystery around Jen’s death and she wants to find out what really happened.

This is my first time reading Kara Thomas‘ work and I really enjoyed her writing style. She was on my tbr for a while now, because I want to read her book The Darkest Corners since the day it came out, only I still didn’t have a chance.
Now when I read The Cheerleaders, I want to read it even more.

The story is written in two perspectives, one from Monica, written in first person, and second from Jen, written in third person.
I liked Monica’s chapters much more, but Jen’s were really important for the story.

This story touches some really important topics like statutory rape, suicide and abortion, but I wish more attention was paid to them. I feel like they were mentioned and that was that, the story moved on. I mean, their part of the story was huge, but they were almost… glossed over.

Since this is mystery, it’s purpose is to get readers involved, to get them try to figure out what happened before the end, and I feel like most readers will complete that mission successfully.
I had no problem figuring out the truth whatsoever.

Overall, The Cheerleaders is an entertaining ya novel that will capture readers until the very end.
I would recommend it to lovers of contemporary high school fiction.

Cover reveal: No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister

Today is the day when Gillian McAllister’s new book cover will be revealed (or was revealed, bc of time you’re reading this).

In my personal opinion, the cover looks fabulous! It’s so beautiful, detailed but still simple, and it has that recogizable Gillian McAllister style.

What do you think?

Here is the cover:

 

Synopsis:

The police say she’s guilty.
She insists she’s innocent.

She’s your sister.
You loved her.
You trusted her.
But they say she killed your child.

Who do you believe?

Original, devilishly clever and impossible to forget, this is a thriller with a difference. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the trial that will determine both sisters’ fates.

 

Preorder your copy here:

I don’t know about you guys, but I simply can’t wait for this book to come out. I adored McAllister’s Anything You Do Say. It was so brillian and perfect for book discussions. My copy still circles around my office, because someone is always reading it.
So I don’t think I have to stress out how badly I want to read No Further Questions.

 

 

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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: 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!

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.