Tearjerker Alert: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes [REVIEW]

me before you review blogMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #1
First published by Penguin Books in January 2012
Pages: 369

Tags:
Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy: Amazon | Book DepositoryB&N
 
Rating:  photo four stars_zps2ktftgcp.png

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.


What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time

I read this as part of a read-along with Trang from @bookidote. Check out the fashion related tag for the book she created that we both answered.

This is a book I’ve taken on and off my tbh shelf several times. I don’t know why, I’ve just lost interest and then gained it back again for what feels like hundred times. I finally got around to it now though, and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. 

I don’t read a lot of romance, you see. It’s not my thing, unless it’s fanfiction. But throw in some tragedy and something other than all the lovey-dovey stuff and I’ll be way more into it. And as you all probably know, this is a tearjerker, yet at the same time it’s a book about hope, about finding yourself and living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity. At the end of the day it leaves you hopeful, if a little sad.

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Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

kidnapping booksRoom by Emma Donoghue
Published by Macmillan in September 2010
Pages: 401

Genres: Adult
, Contemporary, Mystery
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating: kidnapping books

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

I bought this book on a whim sometime in 2010 or 2011, whenever it was in stores here. I bought having heard nothing at all about it before because the synopsis was interesting. From reading the synopsis, I somehow came to the conclusion that it’s about a boy who lives with his mentally ill mom who doesn’t go outside and who doesn’t let her child go outside either. It wasn’t until way later that I found out it’s inspired by horrific real life events like the one with Josef Fritzl. I was even more interested then. 

I finally decided to read this book recently and I’m glad I finally picked it up because it was good. I’ve never read an adult book from a five-year-old’s perspective before and I found it very believable. Frustrating at times, yes, but what five-year-old isn’t frustrating? What five-year-old doesn’t throw tantrums for things that seem like nothing? 

The thing is, the person you really feel for is Ma. Because Jack, the child, doesn’t know any better than Room, he’s happy. Ma is not and the reader can see all the subtle (and sometimes not as subtle) signs even if Jack doesn’t. His situation is horrible too, you as a reader know that, but in his head it’s not. I felt so bad for Ma and I rooted for her to make it through. And when I watched the movie after I was done reading I felt for her even more, because the movie allows more focus on her. (The movie was phenomenal, by the way. Amazing actors, both of them.)

At times the book was a bit slow for me, though it’s still a quick and easy read. The first half was very interesting and gripping, but at times it could drag just a little bit. The climax of the story happens in the middle and then it really gets good, like edge-of-your-seat kind of good. The last half is intriguing, I didn’t know before I read it that that would be a part of the book (I’m trying not to spoil anything, haha). But like the first part, the last half could also drag a little bit here and there. 

This is a book that’s definitely worth reading. If you don’t feel like reading it then you should check out the movie. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing the actors are. 

I’m dying to know how Ma and Jack are doing a couple years into the future. 

kidnapping books

Have you read/watched Room? What did you think?  

I’ve seen the POV annoyed some people, did it annoy you? 

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Review: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts reviewThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit in January 2014
Pages: 460

Genres: Adult, ApocalypticScience Fiction, Thriller 
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

I really don’t think it’s a spoiler that this is a zombie book. Like really, it’s implied heavily in the synopsis, plus it’s revealed very early on in the book that we’re dealing with zombies here. 

So yes. Zombie children. But not regular zombies, because these children actually have brain function, which is a far cry from the other zombies roaming about outside. And we’re reading to figure out why that’s the case, among other things. 

I found this to be a really interesting take on the whole zombie thing, I especially liked the how and the why to the epidemic, it made a whole lot of sense. And I’ve actually thought of the same thing before so imagine my delight when I realized someone has actually used it in a book. I liked the ‘normal’ zombies too (i.e. the ones without brain function), I found their nature very intriguing and different from what I’ve seen previously. I hated the word “hungries” though, it sounds so juvenile. But then again, there aren’t many words for zombies left that haven’t been used before. I’ll give it a pass even though I cringed a little every time I read it. 

I really enjoyed Melanie’s relationship with her favorite teacher, the beautiful and kind Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau treats the children like people, which is a rarity. She tries to teach them things and she reads them stories from Greek mythology. It’s not a secret that Melanie has a crush on her, I found that so sweet and lovely. This child would do anything for this woman and my heart can’t take it. Too precious. 

I love you, Miss Justineau. I’ll be a god or a Titan for you, and save you.

The first part of this novel is absolutely amazing. Like the first 130 or so pages? Fantastic. If you’re looking for a book with a gripping start definitely try this one. I hate it when books start slow but this one took you straight into the action and I couldn’t stop reading. The middle part lost a little bit of oomph here and there, but I was still immersed in the plot and the characters.

I enjoyed all the character development, because pretty much every character starts out as a generic stereotype but then reveal deeper parts of themselves as we read on. I grew to really like one character that you wouldn’t think you would ever like in the beginning. 

I was ready to give this book a solid 4 stars until the very last page. Holy shit, that last page gave me actual chills and I had to change my rating to a very strong 4.5. I really loved the way this ended. It was melancholic, tragic, yet beautiful and somewhat hopeful. 

I’d recommend this book to everyone, it’s haunting and gripping and makes you think about what it means to be human. 

Have you read this book? Or are you going to? Tell me what you think!

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

a darker shade of magic reviewA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books in February 2015
Pages: 398
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
a darker shade of magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I couldn’t be bothered to write my own synopsis this time, so you’re going to have to deal with the mile-long Goodreads one. 

First off, let me remind you how much I love Vicious. I love it so much, I read it in one single sitting and it became one of my all-time favorite books. I basically inhaled that book. I sat down and sucked it in like a dementor sucking in a soul and it was glorious. So naturally, after reading that deliciousness I couldn’t wait to start this one because people have raved and raved and raved about it. 

Magic, parallel worlds, a royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness (Victoria Schwab’s own description of him), blood magic, magic coats, pirate girls… What could go wrong? Well. Buckle up and prepare for some unpopular opinions. 

I started reading it this summer and I didn’t finish it until right now. That’s slightly more than just one sitting. Let me tell you why. 

It is SO BORING. Like literally so boring. Things happen, it’s not that, it’s just the writing. The writing in this book is bland and lifeless and not at all engaging. That’s the main problem. It doesn’t come alive or spring from the page, it’s just… there. I zoned out constantly and kept having to go back several pages because I had no idea what was going on.

It’s just incredibly hard to get into and I never got into it, no matter how hard I wanted to (because I really wanted to). Every time I put it down I didn’t want to pick it back up, so it became a chore to finish. It had some good moments here and there, usually involving Holland and/or Rhy, but other than that it was a pretty dry read, unfortunately. I know I’m blaspheming right now, but there you go.

I was glad to see I’m not the only one who felt this way. When I skimmed through a couple Goodreads reviews I found Darth J, who felt the same way about the writing as I do (high five, Darth J). They used the perfect image in their review to describe this book:

read me like one of your textbooks

The only quote that stuck with me is this one, and it’s the one I’ve seen everywhere else. 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Things I actually liked:

  • The cover
  • Holland (He gave me angsty feels. I wish he had a larger role)
  • Rhy (yay bisexual princes)
  • Rhy and Kell’s relationship (sibling dynamics is my weakness)
  • Kell’s black eye
  • It ended kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Take me to the horizon. 

Unfortunately, the things I liked didn’t make my reading more enjoyable. And I rate books mostly on my enjoyment, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give this beloved book such a low rating. It’s not that it’s a bad book necessarily, it’s just that it didn’t hit me in any way, shape, or form. 

Don’t kill me D: 

goodreads

Am I just weird or do you agree? You probably don’t but let’s discuss it anyway. 

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Review: The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan

The Private Eye by Brian K. VaughanThe Private Eye (Deluxe Edition) by Brian K. Vaughan
Published by Image Comics in December 2015
Pages: 300
Genres: Adult, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Crime, Dystopia
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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I received a free ebook copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review was written for the Dystopia Reading Challenge

The Private Eye is a series of ten issues that, as far as I understand it, were originally posted online but has now been published in hardback. It’s horizontal, I love that. 

You might recognize the author as the author of Saga, which is a well known sci-fi graphic novel series. I’ve read the first four volumes of Saga and I love it a lot, so when I saw this on Netgalley I couldn’t resist. I ended up not loving it as much as Saga, but I really enjoyed it. 

The story is a hardboiled detective story merged with a dystopian future in which everyone has a secret identity. This came about after “the cloud” burst 60 years ago and exposed everyone’s deepest and darkest secrets. So now there is no more internet, no more smart phones, and everyone uses masks and fake names to hide who they are. 

“Look, nobody knows if it was an act of war or an act of God, but for forty days and forty nights, everything just poured right out for the whole damn country to see. Every message you thought was safe, every photo you thought you deleted, every mortifying little search you ever made… it was all there for anyone to use against you. People lost their jobs, families were torn apart, blah fucking blah.”

Just imagine everyone knowing your complete browser history, and more. Yikes. 

Our main character is P.I., an unlicensed private investigator, who suddenly gets a visit from a mysterious woman who has a case for him (in true hardboiled style). When his client winds up murdered, P.I. gets dragged into a dangerous conspiracy that threatens the newfound world-order. 

Okay, so I loved the plot of this. It took me a little while to get into it, but when the ball started rolling I got sucked into it and finished it in one sitting. The premise is great, I love how current it is (in the sense of the theme of privacy and the internet) at the same time as it’s so incredibly wacky. They’ve really gone all out with the whole secret identity thing. No one’s going to know who you are dressed as a giant fish. 

The Private Eye

One of my favorite things about it was probably the characters, especially P.I.’s grandfather, who is basically from our generation. He’s slightly senile (or just deeply in denial) and keeps trying to get onto the internet and turn on his old iPhone, to no avail. I feel his pain. He’s also not a fan of the younger people’s obsession with anonymity. I love him because I’m always wondering what kind of things our generation will sit and grumble when we complain about “today’s youth” when we’re in our 80s. 

The Private Eye 

I also liked Mel, P.I.’s assistant. She’s a young girl who can’t wait to be 18 so she can get rid of her charm bracelet (that shows she’s underage) and finally get a “nym” (fake name) and a mask. 

Like Saga, this comic is wonderfully diverse, both racially and sexually. P.I. is a black man who’s previously been in a relationship with a man. Whether or not he’s gay or bi or whatever I’m not sure, but I was delighted to see that. This is coming to be one of my favorite things about Vaughan’s stories.

Also like Saga, this is in no way a “clean” graphic novel. There’s violence, blood, nudity (though not that much) and swearing. I don’t mind it at all, it adds to the grittiness of the story and makes it realistic by not shying away from anything.

I’ve seen a lot of people are iffy about the ending. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I didn’t necessarily hate it. I think I kind of liked it. 

I really recommend The Private Eye, it’s fast-paced, highly interesting, and the really colorful art captures your attention. If you don’t read too fast you’ll notice fun little things like the characters standing in front of Madonna’s memorial, which predicts she’ll die in 2017. Hm.

The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan
Have you read The Private Eye? What do you think? 
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Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie by Stephen KingCarrie by Stephen King
First published by Doubleday in 1974
Pages: 253
Genres: Horror, Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating:
 photo four stars_zps2ktftgcp.png

 

 

 

 

Carrie knew she should not use
the terrifying power she possessed…

So this one was meant to be my Halloween read, but I ended up not finishing it until recently. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I’m lazy and I procrastinate.

Everyone most likely already know what Carrie is about, even without having ever read the book or watched any of the movies, but this review needs a short summary anyway.

Carrie White has the power of telekinesis. She’s in high school, badly bullied and completely alone. Her mother isn’t much help, a religious fantastic, probably psychotic, who shelters Carrie to the extreme. When one of the school’s most popular boys asks Carrie to prom she can’t believe it’s actually happening and for the first time in her life she’s happy and hopeful. Little does she know that someone has a horrible plan for her and that that prom will be referred to as the Black Prom for years to come.  

Finally, helpless, she said: “Do you like me?”
He said: “You’re beautiful.”
She was.

After that dramatic summary, let’s move on. I didn’t actually know much about the story of Carrie before I read it. Unlike the rest of the world I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations, so all I knew about it is from what I read in King’s On Writing (though I skimmed some of the stories about Carrie because I didn’t want to be spoiled). I knew about the bullying and the telekinesis and shit going down at the prom, and of course the infamous locker room scene, but that was it. That sounds like a lot but it’s not really. 

If you don’t know the locker room scene, oh boy, let me tell you. The novel starts off with that scene and it really illustrates both Carries problem with bullies and her mother’s abuse and neglect. Carrie gets her first period in the showers and thinks she’s going to die, as she has no idea what it is because her mother never told her (she’s 16 years old). The other girls notice and start to throw hygiene products at her while laughing and screaming “Plug it up!” Meanwhile Carrie cries, still thinking she’s dying. One of the girls end up with a bloody hand-print on her skirt. It’s awful and  humiliating and so effective. Damn ballsy way to open up a novel. 

Carrie is an extremely uncomfortable book to read, mostly because of Carrie’s mother Margaret, who is the real monster here. Carrie is just the victim of her “religious mania,” there’s only so much you can take before you snap. What an awful woman, she gave me major creeps. She’s abusive, both physically and mentally. She’s obsessed with “sinning” and locks Carrie inside a closet every time she “sins” (getting your period is a sin, by the way, because that means you haven’t been able to stop yourself from having dirty thoughts). Margaret calls breasts “dirtypillows.” That says something. 

I didn’t know that this book was written in an epistolary form. That was neat. It consists of parts from Carrie’s point of view, but it also contains snippets from books written by survivors of the Black Prom, interviews with various people, research papers and essays (about Carrie and telekinesis) etc. It makes the events seem real when you see things like “From The Shadow Exploded (p. 131):” and “My Name Is Susan Snell (p. 45).”

“Nothing can change [Carrie] back now from something made out of newsprint into a person. But she was, and she hurt. More than any of us probably know, she hurt. And I’m so sorry and I hope it was good for her, that prom. Until the terror began, I hope it was good and fine and wonderful and magic…”

I gave this book 4/5 stars. I thought it was great but I could have been a little bit more invested in it, so that pulls away a star. I wanted it to be a little bit scarier to, but to be fair, what’s scarier than Margaret White and the wrath of bullies? Not much. 

Carrie by Stephen King
Have you read it? What do you think? 
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Review: Saga (volume 1-4) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Saga
 
volume 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Published by: Image Comics
on March 1st 2012
Pages: ?
Genres: Graphic Novel,  Adult, FantasyScience Fiction, Romance
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository (volume 1)
Rating:
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Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war.
– Goodreads

I’ll be reviewing all the volumes that are out this far, which is four. The fifth one comes out on September 15h, you can pre-order it here

In this sci-fi/fantasy series we meet Marko and Alana, lovers from different species from different sides of the war in a Romeo and Juliet-like situation. Alana is from the large planet Landfall and Marko from the moon Wreath, which is heavily oppressed by Landfall’s people. Alana and Marko met when Alana was assigned to be Marko’s prison guard, but instead they ended up eloping and having a child, causing major outrage. Drama ensues.

 I’m really enjoying these, they’re so intriguing, the characters are complex, and the artwork is stunning and sometimes really creepy. The Stalk, a human/spider woman with boobs and no arms and four sets of red eyes comes to mind as a character that both intrigues and freaks me out. There’s the ghost of a teenage girl that’s just a floating upper body with her guts spilling out (she’s really nice though), there are giant naked cats called Lying Cats that know when you’re lying (I love them), and then there’s the robot people, with humanoid bodies but television heads. I have now seen a royal robot person give birth, that was… new.  

Speaking of the robot people, that’s an interesting plotline in the story. The Robot Kingdom is on Landfall’s side in the war, and Prince Robot IV is assigned to recapture Marko while his pregnant wife waits for him at home. In volume 4 something dramatic happens and I’m so excited to know what’s going to happen in volume 5 based on the very last page. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. I’m so here for that type of plot development.

Out of the characters I really love Alana, Gwendolyn (Marko’s ex), Lying Cat, and Izabel (the teenage ghost). I pretty much like them all but these all stand out. I also love the gay tabloid journalists, Upsher and Doff, I want more of them. I really love how diverse the cast of characters is. It’s wonderful. 

Alana and Marko’s relationship is something I really like too. They argue, they bicker, they have ups and downs, but they love each other. Their banter is really funny too, I found myself chuckling several times. In volume 4 they start having more serious relationship problems, and while it’s heartbreaking it feels very realistic. 

I have to say that it’s got a lot of adult content, so it’s not for the younger audience. Or, it can be if you don’t mind that sort of thing, I’m not going to tell you what you can’t read, that’s lame. But it doesn’t shy away from nudity, swearing, sex, or violence. I like that though, it keeps it raw and real.

I don’t really know what else to say about this, other than I really like it. I gave the four volumes the total 4/5 starts because… I don’t know. The first volume I gave 3.5 because it was more like a pilot, it set everything up for the rest of the series. The other volumes range between 4 and 4.5. 

Have you or are you going to read Saga? What do you think?