Book Review #67: October is the Coldest Month by Christoffer Carlsson

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Title: October is the Coldest Month
Author: Christoffer Carlsson
Pages: 192
Genre: Young Adult, Crime, Mystery
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Date Published: June 08, 2017
Publishing House: Scribe Publications
GoodReads Rating: 3.3
Personal Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Vega Gillberg is 16 years old when the police come knocking on the door looking for her older brother, Jakob.

Vega hasn’t heard from him in days, but she has to find him before the police do. Jakob was involved in a terrible crime. What no one knows is that Vega was there, too.

In the rural Swedish community where the Gillbergs live, life is tough, the people are even tougher, and old feuds never die. As Vega sets out to find her brother, she must survive a series of threatening encounters in a deadly landscape. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s dealing with the longing she feels for a boy that she has sworn to forget, and the mixed-up feelings she has for her brother’s best friend.

During a damp, raw week in October, the door to the adult world swings open, and Vega realises that once she has crossed the threshold there is no turning back.

My Personal Thoughts

The story is short but it was able to send me the message that it wants to convey. I was cringing the whole time! It was a mixture of crime, sex, and everything in between. I love how simply it was written without omitting the meaning of the book. The setting it an old suburb where it is possible that murdered people can be shoved and forgotten in an instant. The character is young but not innocent! I feel sad for Vega because at a very young age she felt and experienced all those terrible things. The need for sex, being an accessory to a crime and falling in love with someone who treated you like shit. Everything will still go back to basic, LOVE. It was because of love that Vega followed his brother, it was love that their uncle Dan got involved with Diana, it was love that Diana did everything for her son Tom, it was love that Tom did what has to be done, and it was love that Vega was able to do stupid and wreckless things for Tom. 198 pages and yet a lot of things took place. I have nothing against that there was no solution about the crime, it just shows how realistic this book is! Not all crimes were being solved in reality and the people involved just have to live with it for the rest of their miserable lives. I like this book! It is fast-paced and a fast-read. The twist is predictable but I just love how perfect it went. The ending is not a cliff hanger although it went nowhere, it’s not amazing for some readers but I like it. It’s just one of those moments in live where there’s no closure, things happen and that’s it. Just bear with it and live with it. I dont like Vega, the character is twisted and pathetic and not a good influence for young readers. It may be a YA story but I find it suitable for mature readers. I’ll giving it a 4/5 for being realistic.

~JaNnA

 

Book Review #61: Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole

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“One body.. Six victims…”

Synopsis
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
My Personal Thoughts
Ragdoll is a story that will give you the feels as if you are watching the tv series CSI. It is about a detective and his journey towards unraveling a case that has been haunting him for quite a long time. It is a heinous crime where six victim’s specific body parts were stitched together to create one dead body for the police and the media to talk about. My reading experience is so fantastic that I cringed a couple of times while the characters are trying to piece together all the clues that the murderer was giving them. It was a topsy-turvy escapade because 6 victims will also be killed on designated dates and the last victim is detective Fawkes himself. The writing style is good but not that appealing, although the author caught my full and undivided attention. I was able to finish the book in 2 consecutive days. It is a decent and nice crime fiction story but I find the scenarios too TV Series-ish. All that was included in the book were also scenes that a reader can find in some tv programs nowadays so I wasn’t really that surprised with the ending. In addition to this, the Evil-ish thingie in the end is not my thing. I find it off and not too appropriate with the plot line. Overall, it is recommended for readers who enjoy crime fiction but don’t expect too much because it is a conventional type of story and writing and nothing will surprise you that much. The characters are easy to like and relate to but not that impressive when action-packed scenes are involved. The setting matches the genre, kudos to that. I am just not sure with life lessons because I don’t think it contains a lot where the readers can reflect to. I was honestly kind of disappointed, not that much but just a bit, I was so excited to read this book once it arrived because of the synopsis but once I was able to finish it, it made me think. Is it okay or not? Anyway, I am still giving it a 4/5 rating for being able to finish it that fast which means that it is gripping and a page-turner.
Thank you, Hachette Australia Books, for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.
~JaNnA

Book Review #57: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner. (www.goodreads.com)

My Personal Thoughts
Scarlet is the 2nd installment of The Lunar Chronicles written by Marissa Meyer. It is a re-telling of the famous childhood story, “The Little Red Riding Hood”. The author did a spectacular job with this piece, and I honestly like it better than Cinder because I somehow gave the 1st book a not-so-giddy kind of review when I read it last year. I left my copy of this series in the Philippines which is why I am only reading them thru my kobo e-reader, and it saddens me because beautiful books are meant to be touched and felt. Anyway, the world building in this series continuous as the story progresses and as Cinder’s crew multiply as well. From China, the setting is now in Europe where Scarlet used to live in a farm with her grandmother and where it all started between her and Wolf (Ze’ve)! OMG! I just love and ship this pair! I like the idea of liking someone at first sight. Ofcourse it’s a cliché’ but what can I do? I am a mama who still believes with butterflies in the stomach and who fantasises about fairy tales, haha! Kidding aside, Scarlet and Wolf are both good for each other because they accept the fact that they can’t be together but did everything to be together (huh?!). I know it’s hard to understand so I suggest that you go ahead and get your hands on this series so you can catch up with me. I loved every chapter and I adored every character! A Fairytale re-telling that takes a reader into a magical world but still wants us to think how it can be related to a real life scenario. Even though it’s full of cyborgs, wolves, and other creatures, you can still feel the authenticity of the character’s feelings of love, friendship, and principles. I read this in 1 day and a half and I immediately delved on to the 3rd book which is Cress (Rapunzel), the author has a brilliant and creative mind that was able to incorporate all the fairy tale princesses into one amazing world which brought us a breathtaking story to indulge on to. I just can’t move on, not yet, it’s too good and precious. Five fabulous stars for this. Highly recommended for readers of all ages. Bravo! 👌👍👏
~JaNnA

Book Review #50: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

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Title: The Rose Society
Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 396
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Ebook
Date of Publication: October 13, 2015
Publishing House: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites. (www.goodreads.com)

My Personal Thoughts
I know most readers out there loved and enjoyed this series. Is it just me? Or some of you out there are also hesitant to give this book a perfect rating? I don’t know why or how or what the heck happened to me. I got bored, detached, and I did not enjoy this book. I also did not like the first one. What is wrong with me? The setting is fine, it is brilliant. I like the world building in this series, it is actually one of the things that I’ll give it a perfect score. But the characters, the plot, the story, ugh! Please don’t get mad at me for not being hooked or ecstatic about the existence of this series. Don’t get me wrong, I freaking adored Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy! It is my favorite series (one of my faves of course, lol) and  I loved each and every chapter of this! It was perfect! But for this one? I don’t find Adelina promising. I don’t like her character. She is trying so hard to be a badass chick but sorry it didn’t work out for me! I still see her as some pathetic character. Enzo, on the other hand, is my favourite character in this story. The antagonistic aura of Adelina is just so annoying. The story is slow paced and it took me a couple of weeks to finish it. Maybe it is not for me. I have nothing against those readers who enjoyed it, we all have different preferences and perspectives when it comes to fantasy themed novels. Will I read the 3rd book? Yes. Of course. I still want to give it a try. Maybe the 3rd one will work for me and maybe this time Adelina might surprise me. ~JaNnA

Book review #49: My Husband’s Son by Debborah O’Connor

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Title: My Husband’s Son
Author: Deborah O’Connor
Pages: 352
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Large Paperback
Date of Publication: June 16, 2016
Publishing House: Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads Rating: 3.61
My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis
Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth… (www.goodreds.com)
My Personal Thoughts
Deborah O’Connor’s debut novel is beautifully written and executed! Everything that I anticipated and hoped for in a thriller/crime/mystery story is present. It is, indeed, a gripping and mind-boggling roller coaster ride! At first, I felt somewhat frustrated and disappointed because of its slow pacing. As I flip and turn the pages, I found myself being hooked and very eager to unravel the secrets and mysteries that the characters are trying to conceal. The book’s synopsis is very intriguing and that’s the exact same reason why I personally requested for a copy of this masterpiece to read and review here on my blog.
Heidi and Jason proved that misery loves company. They are bound together by their individual loss and suffering. Heidi’s daughter was murdered a couple of years ago while Jason’s son was suspected of being kidnapped; he never gave up searching for his kid. Grief has always been a part of their relationship, they are happy together but there will always be that part of them that longs for their departed and missing loved ones. One day, Heidi bumped into a little boy whom she strongly believed is Jason’s son. She did everything she can to stalk the boy and his family. She even risked her own life just to find out the true personality of the kid. Unfortunately, Jason did not believe her. He is so firm that the boy is not his son and that his wife is just hallucinating.
The setting is fine. It is well-suited for a story like this which involves crime. It is a simple neighbourhood where people are accustomed to keeping secrets and pretending that things are normal. The characters are promising. Heidi is very admirable because of her perseverance and devotion towards Jason. The husband, on the other hand, is lousy, frustrating, and such a waste of time. I don’t want to get into too much detail because I might spoil the most important part and the twist of the story. I was mind-fucked! Yes, I expected those turn out of events but I was surprised with Heidi’s decision in the end. I am impressed! I like it because it’s not every day that I get to read books where the ending will shock you. It became fast-paced as the story went by; I think I managed to finish it in two days. It is pretty intense especially when Heidi is playing detective-ish.
What I liked most about this story is that it contains a lot of lessons. First, no matter how much you think you know someone so well; there will always be secrets between the two of you. Second, frustration and sadness can ruin a lovely and fruitful relationship among two people. And lastly, we just have to move on no matter how badly we are hurt. We have to move forward and still be the best person for those who are still here for us.
Thank you, Allen and Unwin Australia, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
~JaNnA

Book Review #48: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

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Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Pages: 489
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Date of Publication: July 08, 2014
ISBN: 0805099239 (ISBN13: 9780805099232)
Publishing House: Henry Holt & Co.
Goodreads Rating: 4.07
My Personal Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. (www.goodreads.com)

My Personal Thoughts
Whoa! The reason why I bought this book is because I’ve heard really great and intriguing reviews about it. It was also personally recommended by a bookish friend and I always trust her preferences when it comes to fantasy themed stories. Surprisingly, this book left me breathless and pulseless! Haha! Kidding aside, I adored each and every part of it.
The Kiss of Deception is the first installment of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. The synopsis may sound cliche’ because the princess is a runaway bride. I know, right! But don’t get me wrong, it is so good and entertaining! I even liked the author’s writing style and the way she narrated the story. I got really confused but in a positive way. I was impressed with the way that she was bale to deceive me! I was mind-fucked when I found out what she did with the characters! I got it all so mixed up. The assassin and the prince, wow! I did not see that one coming. I was thinking of the other way around and I was dumbfounded! Anyway, the setting is great and appropriate with the story as well! I enjoyed how the author built the world in an intricate manner. I was able to imagine everything perfectly. The world building is so astonishing! The characters were perfectly justified. The alternating point of view is my favourite part, it has always been my preferred narration because like what I always say in my reviews, I am able to dig deeper into the characters’ perspectives. Let us not forget the gorgeousness of the cover, awwww! Hardback-worthy. ^_^
I highly recommend this novel and I’m so excited to buy the 2nd and 3rd book. The ending is a cliff-hanger, though. And I just hate it so much! hahahaha! The author probably wants to torture me, ugh. By the way, my succeeding book reviews from now on will all be just brief but meaningful because UNI is taking up too much of my time and energy. But I promise to still be active on Instagram and promote books that are being sent by Hachette, Allen and Unwin, and Bloomsbury. 🙂
~JaNnA~

Book Review #46: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Ebook
Date of Publication: November 01, 2016
ASIN: B01DRXCPW2
Publishing House: Delacorte Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.21
My Personal Rating: 5 out of 5
SYNOPSIS
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
(Credit to http://www.goodreads.com)
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
Brilliant and captivating!
Wow! Just, WOW! The author gave me a different perspective when it comes to young adult (YA) contemporary stories! At this point in life, I’m not ashamed to admit that YA books are not my cup of tea, ugh! But, this one definitely made an exception! I enjoyed it a lot. Its simplicity and innocence made it more appealing and entertaining for me. I hate too-good-to-be-true and shallow stories that’s why I rarely read these kind of books (oopppsss.. sorry!). Oh well, I can always adjust and broaden my preferences anyway.
The setting took place in the USA where people in my home-land aspires and dreams of travelling one day. Who doesn’t want to anyway? I personally dream of being able to take a photo at the famous Golden Gate Bridge or at the Statue of Liberty and have a fun-filled day in Disneyland! This is the perfect setting for a one-day-old romance! Oh how i truly adore the simplicity and directness (obviously!) And the scenarios are not unusual. They are undeniably realistic. They tend to occur in our everyday lives and many undocumented people are really residing there. Not by choice, it’s just… it happens.
The characters are funny, cute and very lovable! The Asian-meets-the-Jamaican is so cute! It’s rare for me to enjoy books where the couple came from different heritage and cultural background so I really like the way the author made it multicultural and unbiased. It’s a plus point. Kudos!
Honestly, the twist is not surprising. The ending is actually predictable but the journey towards the ending is worth it. It’s like the saying “It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey!” So, yes! I love how a YA contemporary story brought butterflies in my stomach and taught me a lot of life lessons that I have chosen to neglect before. This book contains a lot of things that will make you realize how good life is; and that plenty of things that are happening around us are mainly brought by Science
Lessons that this book taught me:
1) Fate is real. So damn REAL.
2) Family should always be prioritised.
3) No matter what your cultural background is, there are people out there who will accept you for who you are and what you can offer.
This story deserves my precious 5 stars.
It is highly recommended for all type of readers.
~JaNnA~
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