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Book Review: My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace

36330412Book Title: My Whole Truth
Author: Mischa Thrace
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: LGBT, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Seventeen-year-old Seelie Stanton never wanted to kill someone. She never wanted to be invisible in her own family, never wanted to crush on her best friend Alyssa, and she definitely never wanted to know how effectively a mallet could destroy someone’s head.

But the universe doesn’t care what she wants. Shane Mayfield doesn’t care what Seelie wants either. When the former high school basketball star attacks her, she has no choice but to defend herself. She saved her own life, but she can’t bring herself to talk about what happened that night. Not all of it. Not even when she’s arrested for murder.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I started this book with the expectation of having a bit of an ominous vibe from the narrator, but I was so wrong. Sure, I did feel that vibe to some extent but I was so much more please with the loving, warm feeling that this book radiated. How can a mystery book be warm? Well, let me tell you.

This book does not focus on investigations about the crime, but shows all its effects on the life of 17-year-old Seelie. I love her, how she stays strong despite of what she had to go through. She is far from perfect but her character development was amazing.

Another thing that I loved was Seelie’s group of friends. They were always there for her, the rock that she holds on to. But they weren’t perfect as well and that’s precisely what made me love them more. Along the way, their friendships were tested by problems and secrets. Nevertheless, their friendships prevailed and made them even stronger.

What I disliked in this book though was Seelie’s mother. Could you even call her a mother? She shows no sympathy for her own daughter. She even referred to Seelie’s situation as “legal drama” and cared more for her restaurant than for her daughter. What irked me the most is that they never patched things up. Seelie’s mother never tried to fix things with her daughter, and she’s the adult between them. Ugh! But whatever lacked in familial support, Seelie’s friends made up for.

Overall, this book is a great read. I became emotional at some parts because Seelie’s story just feels really raw and strong. And also, I love how the author mentioned different TV series, all of which were either my favorites or those I’ve really enjoyed. 😀

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Blog Tour: A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (Review & Giveaway)

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37792722Book Title: A Room Away From the Wolves
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound | iBooks

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.

MY THOUGHTS

The moment I read the synopsis for this, I just knew I had to sign up. Being such a huge fan of mystery and seeing as I enjoy reading about mother-daughter relationships, the premise of this book appealed to me. Now, after having read it, I’m glad to say that I quite liked the book.

This was a fairly quick read and offers an eerie and mysterious reading experience. Along most parts of the story, I was literally clueless as to what was going on. I like that in a book because it keeps me thrilled and doesn’t let my interest dwindle. The characters were mysterious to me and I wish I could have known the more. The author’s writing style was a bit different from those I normally read but regardless of that, I still really enjoyed A Room Away From the Wolves.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend this to fans of mystery and magic in books.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

Find Nova online at novaren.com and on her blog distraction99.com.


GIVEAWAY

One winner will get a copy of A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (US only)
Giveaway ends on 9/5.

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Book Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson

40511582Book Title: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: July 26th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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‘I will never forget the night I drowned…’

A village with something to hide.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She has no memory of how she got there. But she does know that another girl was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer…

A community torn apart.

Eleanor is a normal, every day teenager. She argues with her mum, spends her days with her best friend, and is looking forward to a carefree summer of sunshine and music. Who would want to hurt her?

A shocking secret.

Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something awful links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she find out the truth before it’s too late?

A gripping and extraordinary coming of age novel that will make you question everything and keep you guessing until the very end. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars, Looking for Alaska by John Green and hit TV show Riverdale.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

From reading the book’s synopsis on Netgalley, I pretty much hit the request button instantly. This is pitched as a perfect book for fans of We Were Liars, Looking for Alaska and the TV show Riverdale. Well, I’m a fan of all three of them so that bold claim, coupled with the very intriguing premise, I really thought that I would love this one. That I did, to some extent.

Eleanor Parker, or Ellie, is our main character here. She has been through a lot, with people gossiping about her brother, not being able to eat or sleep, having no recollection of what happened to her, and not to mention that the person who tried to drown her was still out there. But she is just really dull for me. It’s kinda hard to sympathize with the character when she lacks emotions and just goes on about stuff that I couldn’t care less about. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike her. I just couldn’t bring myself to care much for her.

There were also certain times in the book that, for me, felt like dragging. You know what I mean? Like, even though I kept reading, I kept wondering where the fun bits were.

Anyway, what I loved about this book though was the unpredictability. You know me, I try hard to act like Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew whenever I read or watch mysteries. I over-analyze each situation, thinking that it may be a clue to be one step closer in uncovering who the culprit is. But this book. I did not expect the plot twist here.

Overall, The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker was a fun read. Although I wasn’t really biting my nails for the mystery in this one, I sure was blown away by the plot twist.

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Book Review: Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

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Book Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Series: Valley of the Moon #1 (?)
Publication Date: April 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.


I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have mixed feelings about this one. I’m not really sure if I like it or not. But I can definitely say that this has more negatives than positives, for me at least.

When I first read the summary, all I could think was how great it sounds. I mean, come on, read this again:

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Now tell me that that isn’t the least bit interesting. You can imagine how pumped I was to start this book. Unfortunately though, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The main thing that pulled me into requesting this book is the whole enigma of the clues about Lana’s mother’s past. Not a cheesy (and crappy) romance. The book didn’t provide much depth about her mother’s death. And it focused on the romance for far too long.

While we’re on that topic, let me say that the romance in this book is absolutely cringe worthy, 100% insta-love and not relevant at all. I’m talking about Lana and Caleb’s relationship, of course. They know next to nothing about each other but claims that it’s love plus, I feel like all they do is kiss. I just don’t get why authors feel the need to put romance in every single book even though it ruins the whole reading experience. Or maybe if the romance will make more sense in the sequel, at least make it a bit more believable. I’m not bashing the author, not at all, but the “love story” in this just ruined it for me.

Because I’m such a sucker for mystery novels, and also because the premise of this book still intrigues me despite the problems I encountered while reading, I still pushed through. It took a while for me to get through this because the writing just feels like it doesn’t flow correctly, I feel like it was all over the place, and that kind of put me off. And I got a bit confused with the family tree but I think it’s my fault, really. I read Me Before You alongside of this and when I read two books at once, especially when I prefer the other one much more, some details get jumbled up.

Towards the end, there came a sudden burst of action and it kind of threw me off—but not really in a bad way. Hey, I love action so I’m not complaining, I was just surprised is all. It just feels like Lana can’t catch a break at that time, so it made me feel anxious a lot.

Then, the ending. It’s a cliffhanger, but it’s also anticlimactic (what with all the action that happens beforehand).

Now let’s get to the (few) positives of the book.

If it isn’t obvious in the summary given above, this is kind of like a Cinderella retelling. I like how Ramona’s and Cressida’s characters were depicted in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like them because they make Lana’s life more complicated than it already is. What I mean is that I like how it looks like they’re not just there for the sake of more drama.

I can’t really say too much but the plot twists were good. Not amazing because they didn’t make me gasp or anything. Nevertheless, they’re good because I didn’t see them coming.

Also, why are most fictional characters named Alexander so goddamn swoon-worthy?! Um, I don’t need a whole page of Alexanders on my fictional-boyfriends list, thank you very much.

Overall, this is a mostly okay read. Has more negatives than positives but it doesn’t feel right if I rate it a 2 out of 5 because I still did enjoy this. It has potential but it didn’t deliver quite well. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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Book Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

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Book Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date:
April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Health, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14-17 years old
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.


MY THOUGHTS

I started reading this with really high expectations because I’ve seen so many great reviews about this. After reading though, I don’t know how I feel; I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would but it doesn’t mean that it’s not good.

The main reason why I didn’t give this a higher rating is because the romance bothered me a lot. It was 100% insta-love. Girl sees boy and boy sees girl, and then BOOM! they have feelings for each other? A big no for that! I kept trying to find (or feel) the chemistry between Vivi and Jonah, I swear I did, but no such luck. It feels completely forced and rushed.

There were times that I found it hard to sympathize with Vivi. I feel really bad for saying that but I was just so frustrated about how she bosses Jonah around.

Despite saying that, Vivi eventually grew on me and I hate the fact that I was starting to actually like and understand her better when the book is coming to an end. (I feel like that’s because I knew more about her feelings and condition near the end.)

Another thing, how Emery Lord describes everything in the book is incredible. How she portrays the things that make Verona Cove so special made me want to live there too. How she explains Jonah’s dishes made my mouth water. How she details the characters’ feelings made me empathize with them—well, not all the time for Vivi, but you know what I mean. The writing is just wonderful.

The ending was just so beautiful and precious. Around that time was the most I’ve felt for Vivi and Jonah.

I don’t know much about topics like this, to be honest, but I feel like I understood it on a whole new level. I love how mental health was so candidly talked about in the book. I think it’s difficult to write about this topic and generate awareness to its readers at the same time. This is a story that can certainly change one’s perspective on this area.

Would I recommend it?

Yes! Definitely yes. You might learn a thing or two about mental health here, who knows? Although beware of the romance, I didn’t like it so much.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.