Book Review, Books

Viper Review

Viper by Bex Hogan

He will make me a killer. Or he will have me killed. That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

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I got this book in a Fairyloot box a while back and I had been excited to read it but one or another I just didn’t get to reading it. However it is on my YALC list (yes I know, I did say that there’s an influx of this reviews) and I felt like reading it.

I had heard really good things form friends who I usually use to navigate which books I will love and which I won’t. So I was like “yeah should love it straight away”. Aha! Sneaky book made me work for it!

The first chapter or so I struggled to see where exactly this was going. A lot of it was a bit like “but why, this doesn’t make sense with the synopsis, what book am I reading?” but I kept reading because I trust my friends, and because something kept poking inside my mind saying “just you wait, just wait and see”.

For the record, the writing was nice anyway so it was more what was happening rather than writing style putting me off (which has happened in other books that kill amazing plots not the case for this).

Anyway, once I got past that bit and Marianne revealed more and more (and the world around her also started showing more of the islands in it rather than just The Maiden) I was smithen. This book had me by the heart and wouldn’t let go!

Marianne is a wonderful main character, absolutely flawed and with a fear of water (considering she’s at sea this is a wonderful plot point) that makes life a little harder for her, but as she starts finding that her small world isn’t that small acutally, and a mad chase happens, wow did I really like this book.

The reveals as we approach the end were awesome and it had a “good ending” in that lots of things happened there were some victories but it wasn’t a perfect ending and there were some losses (which I didn’t expect).

Same as some plot twists I absolutely did not think would be there and took me by surprise and wow! They did make sense and didn’t feel like the author was pulling my leg but rather cleverly done.

Highly recommend and I can’t wait for Venom. I want it now!

Book Review, Books

Beauty Sleep Review

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Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans

Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope – Laura was frozen until she could be cured.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life – while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past…

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This caught my eye. Cryogenics isn’t a new topic, or at least not to me. It has been one of those things you hear about then the nosie about it quietens, then someone else does it, then again quiet…

Anyway, the premise sounded interesting, and I read it quite quickly. We have two POV in this book, which took me by surprise when we get to the second POV. We have Laura and we have Shem.

And as much as Laura is the main character I want to talk a little about Shem first. To begin with, we just get dropped into Shem’s chapters without any introduction on him (as in, the premise and previous chapters do not tell you anything that would make him meaningful to you in that first Shem chapter). And he’s a “homeless” boy trying to keep himself alive in a world that doesn’t like homeless people. He is experiencing this as Laura is learning that she’s been revived and the rest of the stuff. His chapters weren’t that interesting to me, and pretty much I knew Shem’s “secret plot twist” before the end of his first chapter. So by the end of that chapter I was pretty much over his chapters (and for the rest of the book, Shem chapters just didn’t grab me).

Now back to Laura. Laura’s story was what kept me reading this book. She wakes up in this future world, 40 years later. And her body is readjusting. She has to remember her memories in an “empty” mind. (I liked the take that you just don’t wake up knowing everything as if you had gone to sleep, but that due to being frozen and revived, you “reset” your brain a little and have to work for the memories to crop up).

The process of “adjusting” to the year 2028 (which isn’t that far away for us) was interesting and then her process trying to figure out who she is, where she belongs and what place Miss Lilly has in her life was wonderful. Plus the “secret” was quite interesting and it had layers to it (some of them quite predictable, maybe not to the exact detail but something along those lines and a few I did get quite close to the exact details… I read a lot, do science and play videogames, so no surprise there).

I didn’t know what to think of Laura at first, I was intrigued because as a reader you know exactly as much as she does (and maybe even a little more, but not enough) so you discover the world with and through her. That was one of my favourite parts of this story. There is also the focus on beauty and staying young, which was also interesting to read and consider to what point we are to get in the search for that perfect wrinkle free anti aging magic.

All in all the book was interesting, and the story was also quite good. My biggest issue was Shem and his whole plot line. I could’ve done without a POV from him or maybe just a lot less of his POV because there are some intersting bits in his chapters, but they contribute more to worldbuilding and to setting up plot than to helping Shem specifically. Not that this means it should be that way, just that I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more that way. (But I am learning, after reading Shadowscent that I can do without the whole one chapter POV1 the next POV2 as it tends to feel forced, I prefer the POV chapters to work with the story rather than having to stick to one and one, very few stories can pull this well).

Would I recommend this? Yes! I like that is is a take on Sleeping Beauty and not a retelling. Plus it actually ponders on the concept and cost of beauty. It was a quick read and I was pleased when I finished it.

Book Review

A Thousand Perfect Notes Review

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A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews (paperfury)

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

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As you can see, I like music. And I had composed/made some songs up, some music, and sometimes lyrics a few years back. But then life happened and something traumatic disrupted my life. I haven’t played the piano for almost four years.

Why am I telling you this? Because those are a few reasons why I wanted to read this book. It is about the piano, it is about music, about abuse and trauma, and it is about life.

It is very hard to read, August is wonderful, but Beck’s life is difficult and some of what happens is extremely hard to read (I would say a trigger warning for abuse and violence should be made here, same as gaslighting). But it was well done. It wasn’t crude or badly done, instead it built a story and it made it become alive. It was a vibrating stacatto at times, and it was good.

I don’t want to spoil this book but I would just say to go read it if you think you can.

Moon recommends

Don’t let life keep you away from things you love to do. I am struggling on what to recommend here, mostly because it is a difficult book to match to others, I remember reading a book about a gilr who played the piano that somehow I could recommend but I can’t remember the title. Maybe I will at some point…

Book Review

Clean Review

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Clean by Juno Dawson

I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

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Don’t judge me, I don’t have syringes lying around the house (and the ones I have, are used for ink which wouldn’t look nice in a picture). And yes, the rose gold of the cover is stunning but also very difficult to photograph *cries*

This book has a LOT of cursing and a lot of drugs and addiction in general (to many different things). It was very very hard to connect with Lexi, because I have never had a life like hers and she just felt like a “poor rich girl”. There was some confusion as to when exactly this is set as there are references to pop culture but then it makes it look like it is happening a bit in the future, so unsure.

However, it was interesting to read on her “progress” through rehab and how she dealt with it and also it was interesting to see the rest of the characters in it. It did have more than a few cliches which were a bit meh, but it was okay.

I have to say, I hoped Lexi would do more with her life than what it seems she is doing when the book ends, so that was a bit disappointing. But it wasn’t a bad ending either.

Moon recommends

You don’t do drugs, it’s not good for you. But you can read Clean. (I don’t really read books about addicts going to rehab so it is hard to think of what else to recommend that matches this book…)

Book Review

Words in Deep Blue Review

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Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

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This is a book about grief, and about the power of words. And as such it was a beautiful read. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I did, I kept wanting to read, and I wished for a Letter Library close by.

As I read it, I was reminded of all the times I’ve found little gems in library books or second-hand ones, one of them contained a dollar bill, another had a letter, some have had receipts or train tickets, and there have been beautiful dedications or author signatures on them. The joys of used books indeed.

But it isn’t just about books, it is about processing grief (not just the kind of loosing someone but also of dreams broken and lost) and living as best as you can, a bit like connecting the dots between the you before the event and the you that exists now, and it was beautiful.

It definitely shows the power and beauty of words in it. Even if I wanted to smack Henry with a book at times, and Rachel too. But it was cute, romantic and sweet. A light read despite the heavy topics.

Moon recommends

After I finished Words in Deep Blue I couldn’t help but think of Letters to the Lost, so that is my recommendation this time around.

Book Review

Flawed Review

I have been trying to cull my “library” of books and also to read through old book box books (This one was part of Owlcrate) so I am reading my way through it.

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Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

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I admit I like Cecelia’s writing style and as such, this book already had a few stars in it’s pocket. The premise was quite interesting and reading through it, I felt a vibe of a very moral/religious society that dictates what makes you a saint(perfect) and what doesn’t but that also tends to be partial to whomever is the one who has the judgment voice.

However, the perfection of Celestine and everyone’s “perfection” was hard to believe and also, how do others find out you aren’t perfect if no one tells them? Is that possible? Do you get marked as Flawed only if you are a political/ideological enemy or a way to set an example? (Or like Celestine, in a very public setting where it is impossible to avoid having to judge it).

It also seemed like a critic to the fact that as a society we let things happen because we are trying to be “safe” and not cast out even if it goes against compassion and good values.

It was interesting read but it didn’t wow me nor did it hook me much.

Moon recommends

Flawed and Perfect by Cecelia Ahern (I do like her “adult” books more than her Young Adult ones). If you want a different outlook and more political and more “relevant” to today, try Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw.

Book Review, Books

Letters to the Lost Review

I bought this book when Amazon had the 3 for £10 offer to complete the 3 books (I had two ready in my basket). Funnily enough, the book arrived damaged and Amazon had to replace it (I am so grateful for quick replacement, I had a new book the next day and they didn’t require I return the damaged one, so I ended sharing that book with a friend).

I just have to say I didn’t know what to expect from this book at all. I hadn’t read another of her books before.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope. 

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past. 

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.

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I wanted some light reading when I chose this book. I didn’t really know what I had just decided to do and how wrong I was going to be.

It is a light read in the sense of “you end up reading it in one seating and you don’t realise time has gone by”. But on the other hand it is anything but a light read. It is a book full of emotion.

Both Juliet and Declan are dealing with grief and issues stemming from it, having lost someone in their lives. The letters (and then emails) they start exchanging help them find themselves, and it gives them a safe space to talk about things they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The intricate details of relationships (and I am not talking specifically of romantic ones but just human ones) blew me away. Specially as you get to understand more about them alongside Juliet and Declan, and start to see things with new eyes just as they do. It also meant I kept asking myself if I wasn’t doing some of the same prejudice/ didn’t think of it that way kind of things in my own life.

One more thing I’d like to add is that this is a book about grief and loss, and it does so in a gentle way, full fo compassion, showing you grief is seen in many different ways, can affect many different aspects and show itself in many ways. Each one of us goes through it in a different way and we heal in different ways, and as we heal (or not) we may be ignoring the giref of someone else. Definitely an eye opener.

Moon recommends

You go and read this book right now. Seriously, please read it. It is worth it. The only other book I know that deals with grief in such an interesting way is A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle and it’s “prequel/companion” The Arm of the Starfish. I also recommend you read them in the order mentioned despite the fact Arm of the Starfish is a prequel, mostly because part of the things Adam decides to do are influenced by what happens before but knowing why he does them changes a little the feel of the book. Either way, try both.

You can buy a copy of Letters to the Lost here. (Also, apparently there is a sequel on Rev’s story!)

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.