Movie Monday: A Monster Calls #MovieReview #MovieMonday #Movie #AMonsterCalls

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

This week I watched the saddest movie ever, and that is all I’ll say.

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is a well-known novel by Patrick Ness. It is a middle grade novel that talks about the boy who’s mother is sick, and the way he deals with her sickness, with the possibility of losing her.
I haven’t read the book, even though I always wanted to.

This week I had a chance to watch the movie, and even though I planned to read the book before, I decided I would give a movie a try anyway.

I watched it alone, and I am so glad I did, because the whole time while watching it, I was a mess. This movie destroyed me with it’s sadness and I was crying the whole time.
I watched many sad movies in my lifetime, but I have never ever cried so much, as I did when watching A Monster Calls.
I also have a need to stress out that I am not a big crier.

The story is not only sad, but also very beautiful. I can’t compare the book and the movie since I haven’t read the book, but I can tell you that the movie is very well done. I liked not only story, but the picture and the effects too.

It has 7,5 points on IMDb site, and it’s for a reason.

I’m not going to tell you too much about it, because I think it’s the best to go into it without much expectations, but I will tell you that this movie is not pure drama, but has fantasy elements too (the monster our main character created to deal with his mother’s sickness) and some parts are also animated (stories that the monster tells).

The cast is well known which surprised me. Felicity Jones plays the mother, Sigourney Weaver grandmother, and Liam Neeson gives his voice to a monster.

I think A Monster Calls is one of those movies/stories which after you finish you feel like you gained something out of it, like you are wiser then you were before.

I would highly, highly recommend it.

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Book Review: Tainted Luck by Cynthia Austin #BookReview #TaintedLuck #Halloween #Horror

Title: Tainted Luck
Author: Cynthia Austin
Publisher: Britain’s next bestseller
Date: July 30th, 2018
Pages: 129
Format: eARC
Source: from Author for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Levi Kast was content living his life in the shadows. He didn’t want much, just his dad’s attention and the girl of his dreams to notice his existence.

Instead, he got more than he had bargained for.

Taylor James was the new student at Kennedy High. She was eccentric, impulsive, Gothic and…dark.

She always got what she wanted, and she decided instantly that she wanted Levi Kast. He became her obsession.

Despite Levi’s initial response to retreat from her other world presence, he was eventually drawn to this girl and her obsession of death and ghosts.

But Taylor had skeletons in her closest, including a dead boyfriend, and before Levi could understand them, he found himself her next victim.

Review:

Trigger warning: This book talks about suicide and mental illness.

This book is short, so I’ll try to make my review short as well.

I have to admit that if I haven’t been contacted by the author I would probably never read this book. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to, but because I simply haven’t heard about it before.
This is why reviews are so important.

Tainted luck is a story written from Levi’s POV, about a new girl in the school who is mysterious but also a bit addictive.
It has paranormal elements and talks about witchcraft in bits.
If you ask me, the biggest part of this book centers around mental illness.

The story itself is good. I loved how it was developed, from one atmosphere when everything was mysterious and cutesy to the other when it became dark and dangerous.
I loved that, and the whole story was really good. Yes, it had some problems and holes that could be easily fixed, but my main problem (and I hate to say this) lies in the writing style.

I really feel sorry to say that, especially because I was contacted by the author, but I feel that if the story was told in a different, better way it would be so much better.
It had potential to really become Britian’s next bestseller, but sadly, I don’t think it will.

It wasn’t just the writing, I had some issues with characters too.
Levi was not totally unlikeable, but he was annoying at times. However, I would ascribe it to the writing style. With his unpleasant comments he would throw on almost every time when talking about Taylor or describing certain situations.
One sentence even made me feel uncomfortable, and I am quoting it here for you, so you can get the picture what I’m talking about.

“…I turned to her, my patience as shaky as an anorexic supermodel…”

Taylor was unlikeable and rude. This is the was she talked to her own mother:

“Yeah, whatever Mom. How about doing your fucking job and put some dinner on the table?”

What is even more troublesome, that sentence right there made Levi see Taylor in a different way, he started to respect her because from then on.

As for others, they were just stupid most of the time. Didn’t have the courage to stand for themselves, but let that Taylor girl do whatever she wanted, even though their destiny was in question.
I don’t think that anyone could start a seanse in my presence against my will.

I won’t say anything else, I think you got the idea.

Even though you maybe wouldn’t say from my review, I am glad that I read Tainted luck.

I would recommend it to fans of paranormal and to those who want to read something quick and easy, since it has only 129 pages and it reads pretty fast.

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis @PHRGlobal #partner #GiveTheDarkMyLove #BookReview

Title: Give the Dark My Love
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Give the Dark My Love (#1)
Publisher: Razorbill, Penguin
Date: September 25th, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.

Review:

Trigger warning: this book contains graphic surgical operation scenes, talks about deathly disease and also has some scenes with animal cruelty.

 

Give the Dark My Love was one of my most anticipated books this year. 
In all honesty, the first thing that appealed to me was this gorgeous cover, then the synopsis.

This was my first time consciously reading an anti-hero story, and God I loved it so much!
I’ve heard before from many readers how anti-heroes stories are the best ones, but I guess it takes one to read until he’s proven right!

I’ll tell you this, and I mean it wholeheartedly: Give the Dark My Love is one of the best (if not even the best) books I read this year and it will surely be in my top 10 books I read in 2018.
I loved so many things about it, and I am on a mission to tell you everything, so you’d pick it up and hopefully love it as much as I did.

First of all, character development: I loved, loved, loved how the characters we met at the beginning of the story were totally different persons at the end.
There is nothing that I love more in my books then a good character development, and this novel has it at it’s best.

Second: It explores grief and human relationships on such a strong level that even though this world our characters live in is so different from ours, we still empathize with them, understand their feelings and grief with them.
This is fantasy, but still it feels real in a way.

Third: The world is unique, different, dark and gives you creeps. It is perfect for those who like dark fantasies, but it is also perfect as a pick for a spooky read, especially in this time of the year when everyone wants to have that Halloween feeling.

Fourth: Exploring alchemy and necromancy is very interesting in this book, that I even had a feeling I was learning something new.

Fifth: Political games also play part in the story, as one fantasy wouldn’t be complete without it.

Sixth: What kind of story set in high school would it be without little high school drama? Give the Dark My Love has little drama in it, but it is nothing too big and it has it’s reason, but it’s also entertaining at time.

And seventh and final: The writing style is sooooooo good, you will fly through this book and it will keep you interested from the start to the end.

Overall, I am so pleased I have read this book. I had so much fun reading it, but it also made me emotional and I can’t even tell you how many times I have said “OmG, this book is so good!” while reading it.
The start and the first half are pretty good, but the second half is what made this book exceptional!

I would recommend this book to lovers of dark fantasy, adult and young adult.
I would also recommend it to readers who would like to try to read fantasy and to those who like stories about anti-heroes.

I can’t wait for the second book to come out!

Movie Monday: Hereditary #MovieReview #MovieMonday #Hereditary #Halloween

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

This weekend I watched Hereditary, the horror drama so many people recommended to me, that I don’t even know how come it took me so long to finally see it.

 

Hereditary

As I already stated in my introduction, I don’t even know how many people recommended Hereditary to me.

In case you didn’t know, horrors are my absolutely favs when it comes to movies, and it takes a lot for a film from that genre to scare me or impress me.

What I like to do the most is watch horrors alone or with other horror lovers.
Since I live with my fiance who does not watch horrors, I watched this movie alone.

And guess what? I wasn’t scared, not at all! But I was impressed.
People around me do know me, and I was fascinated with the movie itself, especially with the way how it was encircled in the end.

I loved the actors. Honestly, before watching the movie, I had no idea how many popular actors actually were in the film. I love Alex Wolff and I was so happy to see him starting here (I kinda lost track when it comes to my favorite actors and their latest releases, so I’ll have to catch up with them ASAP).
Also, MIlly Shapiro who played that little girl Charlie really gave me creeps, so from that I conclude she’s a good actress.

As I already stated, I was not scared, but there was one particular scene in the movie that made me stop eating my porridge for a while, because of it’s brutality.

However, I have to stress out that even though this movie is amazing as a whole, it does have some boring parts, and I don’t know if that was the reason, or maybe I was too tired, but I caught myself falling asleep during watching.
Like, you know that feeling when you start to fall asleep but then your leg or arm moves on it’s own? Yes, that was happened to me.

I’d say that Hereditary is smart and interesting piece of work, and one of better ones I watched lately.

What gives me creeps is that after I finished it I went online to see what others think about it, and then I read that there are really people who worship the same figure as the ones in the movie.
I think that is the scariest part of it all!

Book Review: While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins #BookReview #BookLovers #WhileIWasSleeping

Title: While I Was Sleeping
Author: Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: July 26th, 2018
Pages: 543
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What if someone else was living your happy ever after?
When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can’t remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed.
She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep …

Review:

Going into While I Was Sleeping I thought I knew what I’m putting myself up to.
I have heard good and not so good things about it, and one main thing everyone stated about this story was how emotional it is.

My expectations were not so high, but they were still there.

I know this will probably sound stupid after everything I wrote before this, but what took me by surprise the most was how emotional it was.
I know, I know, I just told you how everyone stated how heartbreaking the novel was, but I did not expect for this story to hit me as hard as it did.
I am not a crier when it comes to books, but my eyes were blurred with tears while I was reading this novel, and the tears appeared on multiple parts of the story.

The second thing about this book that took me by surprise was that it was written from two POVs: one is Maddie’s, and the other is Chloe’s.

The story is written in such a beautiful way. I think the writer knows how to use the words that hit heart, and I praise her for that.

Maddie was my favorite character, she was the only character I truly cared about and even though I can’t even imagine what she went through, I could connect with her.
Her happiness was all I cared about.

Chloe is the one who lived the life Maddie planned to live, before the accident took everything from her.
I didn’t like how it was so easy for her to put Maddie’s shoes, and I didn’t like how goody-good she was.
It was like she was some saint or angel sent from above to fill Maddie’s place, and then she took it completely.
I still can’t accept the fact that Chloe’s happiness was built on Maddie’s  misfortune.

Ryan was my least favorite character. I would use a word hate to describe my feelings for him, but then again I think that word is too strong and wrong.
I know it’s not his fault that he fell in love with someone else while his fiancee was in coma, but how he treated Maddie after she woke up was what made me angry and hurt.

This book is one of the rare books that stayed with me even when I wasn’t reading.
I kept thinking about it over and over again, couldn’t wait to have some free time to read at least one more page.
Even after I finished the book, I caught myself longing to read at least one more page, and then I had to remind myself that the story is over and that all the pages were already read.

This could have easily be a five stars book for me, and I wish it was, but I can’t make myself like it that much because the end ruined everything to me.
It took me few days (even weeks to be precise) to finally write my review because my emotions were all over the place and I was so angry, but still I didn’t want to write something I would be sorry about later, and I was afraid that because I hated the end I wouldn’t be able to tell you how beautiful and interesting everything else was.

In the end, this is a four stars book for me, and all of my feelings about the end you can read in the spoiler section down bellow:

Spoilers!!!

So this is how I feel about the end: I hate how the author didn’t give Maddie a happy end, but instead decided to put her into a long sleep again.
I wonder if she killed her would it be less painful? It probably would.

The only good that could come out of it (and I would never welcome that kind of story) was if the author decided to write a sequel in which Maddie’s daughter was sick and then Maddie would up and save her life because her daughter would need an organ or something).

This story could have a happier ending. Why Maddie didn’t start a relationship with Mitch??? They could have been a perfect couple.

This way Chloe got everything, all the happiness in the world, and Maddie didn’t even get crumbs. She got crumbs of crumbs, and I can’t put my head around why the writer decided to put her through so much pain and didn’t even give her at least that little happiness that she deserved.

Book Review: How We Remember by J.M. Monaco (Blog Tour) #BookReview #BlogTour #HowWeRemember @RedDoorBooks

I am so honoured to be today’s host in the How We Remember blog tour.
I want to thank Anna at RedDoor publishing for giving me this chance.
I really liked this book and it had a huge impact on me.

About the book:

When Jo returns home following her mother’s death, she is shocked to learn of an unexpected inheritance and her mother’s diary. Jo thought she could put to rest her darker past until an entry implies the messy aftermath of an uncle’s sexual advances towards her when she was fifteen. Like the diary, Jo’s memory of events is full of gaps, but one thing is certain – she will never regain what was lost. What is the full story of what happened between Jo and her uncle?

How We Remember traces the effects of alcoholism, mental illness and abuse on one Irish-Italian-American, working-class family. As Jo’s first-person narrative weaves together past and present stories, she creates a portrait of her family’s life and her own as she faces new decisions amidst the tragic consequences of mismanaged grief.

Full of moments of light and dark, Monaco’s debut novel –set during a week that anyone would dread –provides a mesmeric narrative portraying the pain of grief, the tenuous nature of memory and the earth-shattering effect that the death of the ‘glue’ of a family can cause. How We Remember is an unforgettable novel that tackles issues every reader will be able to relate to on some level.It’ll capture hearts and capture imaginations.

My Review:

Trigger warning: This book talks about sexual abuse and some scenes can be disturbing to some readers.

How We Remember is one of those books that you choose to read not to forget about the world around you, but to remind yourself how harsh it can be.

It is a story you don’t read for a pleasure, but for the appreciation. It makes you appreciate the life you have, the written word and the courage it takes for an author to tell this kind of story.

I know How We Remember is a fiction, and may I say, the author did a beautiful work by telling this story to the world, but stories similar to Jo’s do exist in the real world.

The story follows Jo who returns to home after her mother’s death. She finds her mother’s old diary and starts to remember her life before she moved to London.
All kind of disturbing scenes and painful memories come back to her, and she tries to cope with them along with the loss of her mother, and her brother’s demands.

We follow two different time frames. One in the present and one in the past. The one from the past lead to the one in the present, and they do give reasons why some characters act in a way they do.

I loved reading this book even though it was hard to read at times. Some scenes were so difficult to read, that I had to take small breaks between reading.
Nevertheless, I am so glad I had a chance to read this book, as I find it significant and beautiful at the same time.

It has been some time since I read a serious general fiction, and this book reminded me how good they can be.

However, I do have to stress out that it took me a while to get into the book, since I found myself lost sometimes between the time frames in the book.

What I think I will remember the most from this book is how people can be manipulative and make you feel small with their ignorance and just how awful mind games can be.

Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it to general fiction fans. I think it is a perfect choice for the cold and rainy days that are about to come in this time of the year.

Follow the tour:

Book Review: Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry

Title: Friend of the Family
Author: Tasmina Perry
Publisher: Headline Review
Date: September 20th, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

You trust your friend, so you’d trust her daughter. Wouldn’t you…?

When an old university friend gets in touch with a request for work experience for her daughter, magazine editor Amy agrees. Twenty-year-old Josie walks into Amy’s office, moves into the basement of her Notting Hill house and is soon helping out with her children after Amy’s nanny is hit by a car. It seems the natural thing therefore for Amy to invite Josie on the family’s annual to Provence. When a series of things start to go wrong in their luxurious villa, Amy begins to suspect that Josie isn’t quite the friendly presence she appears. But when no one, not even her husband believes her, she realises she will have to play Josie at her own game in order to expose her true intentions…

Review:

This year has been great when it comes to discovering to me new authors. Tasmina Perry is one of them.

I appreciate so much the chance I got to read and review Friend of the Family, because I really enjoyed this story, and I loved the writing style, and now I want to read more work by Tasmina Perry.

The story follows Amy who works in journalism, in a magazine called Verve.
One day she is contacted by her high school best friend, who asks her to take her daughter in for a week while she’s doing her internship.
One week turns into two, then two turns into even more, and Ivy feels like Josie (that’s the daughter) is trying to steal Amy’s life for herself.
There is no doubt someone is sabotaging Amy’s career and personal life, and Amy is determined to get some answers before it’s too late.

I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t make much effort when it comes to reading synopsis. No matter how cliche it sounds, I do like to go blind in books most of the time.
I’ll even choose to read someone else’s review before I’ll read synopsis, that’s how weird (especially for a book bloggers) I am.
Yet, somehow I end up reading good books most of the time (I pick up my reads by listening to my instinct, paying attention to authors and publishers, looking at the book covers (I think that is the most important aspect tbh) and observing my twitter and goodreads feeds).

When I started Friend of the Family, I though I was reading a thriller. However, after some time, it was clear to me this was not a thriller, but very interesting and fascinating work of general fiction.
It could also be tagged as women’s fiction, in my opinion.

As soon as I began reading I fell in love. The story talked about everything I wanted to read about in that moment: magazines, modern women, rivalry, fashion and different relationships between people.

I think I can safely say that I enjoyed reading every single page of it, and if it was 200 pages longer, I probably still couldn’t get enough.

People’s relationships and their reactions are what I love reading about the most, and this book is full of those complex themes.
I really, really loved observing everything, every character’s part in the story and their attitude to each other.

We have that aspect on one hand, and on the other hand there’s a plot driven story that will make you want to read, read, and read some more. 
I am a slow reader who reads mostly in the morning, and this book made me want to get up early so I could read more, squeeze at least few pages more from what I’d usually read.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so glad and thankful that I have read it.
I would recommend it to readers who like stories about successful people, relationships and rivalry, with little splash of mystery and thrills.