*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
The first thing that caught my attention was the gorgeous cover you see above. Isn’t it stunning? Well, let’s get to the review, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
This is a middle grade adventure story in which 10 children take the bus to school one morning, as usual. At a crossroads, they find themselves transported to a magical fantasy world where there are many dangers as well as magical creatures that try to help them in their quest to look for a way to go back home.
I thought the characters were brilliantly made. Each child acquires a power once they arrive into the fantasy world that goes with their personality and their rol in the story. All of these powers fit each of their personalities perfectly, even giving you tips on how they’ll behave and interact.
The world they get to introduces quite a lot of magical beings and events, such as fairies, sprites, huge evil birds, a gigantic silver cat, humans who arrived like them and stayed and dragons. However, you’re never confused either among the characters or the magical beings. The author did a great job intertwining their personal stories with the events they go through. It is never easy to portray so many different characters and do it in a way the reader never feels confused.
Regarding the world-building, I thought it was perfect. Atmosphere is what catches my attention first on a book and makes me like it more than the media, and this book’s created magical world is so atmospheric I dived straight into it and was able to imagine everything clearly; colours, appearance and magical beings.
Nevertheless, there were a couple of issues I found on the writing style and a certain character.
Regarding the style, I found it appropriate for the age range and easy to read, although every now and then, there’d be a paragraph that seemed written for a 4-year-old given that the sentences became straightforward, short and simple, with no connection between ideas. That leaves the reader lost, kicking them out of the story and trying hard to dive back into the world.
Also about the writing style, I believe the chapters were too long. 409 pages with approximately 20 pages per chapter may be too long for the age range it’s aimed at.
One of the characters, Dylan, obtains the ability to jump incredibly high through farting. This is ok and even funny, initially, but not when the farting thing is repeated far way too many times throughout the book.
I’d recommend this book to those who like a good adventure story and are character or atmosphere driven, mainly.
*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
A contemporary that is also a bildungsroman in which I found it impossible not to connect emotionally from page 1.
This book got 4.5 stars from me, which is pretty high.
Page 1 got me into the skin of our main character, Alice Murphy. Chapter 2 had already made me cry twice. 51% of the book meant I was not able to stop at all, despite my continuous tears rolling down my cheeks without previous notice. It was one of these books that has you yelling at her every other page to do or refrain herself from doing something.
You can picture the settings perfectly, thanks to incredible descriptions not only of the places themselves but also of the feelings they produced on the people who lived and visited, their traditions and how they felt live in general.
The characters are so well rounded and real that it is impossible not to clearly imagine them and feel close to them in a way. It has been, in fact, the first book that makes me live the story from the perspective of several characters!
I found, however, a couple of aspects that I personally disliked. The first one was the fact that they all seem alcoholics. None of the main characters -except one- are mature enough to face their issues without a drink (or a couple of them), and get drunk regularly, even if it’s morning time.
The second issue I had with the book was the message that one who loves you will necessarily hurt you somehow or that women will play dirty on each other to obtain a man’s love.
What did I like the most? That despite being a contemporary romance, it is not at all focused on the romantic side of it, but it shows how different events in life will change you view of things to come and your behavour towards whatever comes your way next; real life issues that affect you and any living person would, in a way, be able to relate to.
This book is, definitely, a must if you like contemporary romance. Highly recommended.
*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
TW: Being burried alive, attempt at sexual abuse, kidnap and cheating a partner.
Connie, an American forensic psychologist, is called to join the search for a famous person in Edinburgh who disappeared and seems to have been kidnapped, but little do they know that the case will turn out to be much more complex than expected. At the same time, we live the story from the head of the kidnapper and come to understand his mental disturbance to the point of feeling sorry for them. Will the case be solved or will it turn out to be too complex for Connie and Baarda? I guess you’ll have to read it to find out.
The city of Edinburgh so perfectly portrayed that you can see its alleyways and feel the ancient and stunning architecture that makes it what it is and gives it the nostalgic feeling visitors get to experience.
It was impossible not to feel with the characters, given that the writer explained each of their stories in such depth, including their emotions to whatever had happened or was taking place in their lives.
Connie is a badass forensic psychologist who chose her profession because of some difficult events on her adolescence that are more common than they should be. A psychiatrist made the wrong call, which ended up affecting who knows how many people, just to keep a reputation and using it as a means to justify his mistakes.
Baarda is the police officer assigned to work on this case with Connie, a proper chap who learned to treat people kindly and always do whatever is right. A very sweet and intelligent man.
Fergus, our criminal is deeply disturbed with a disorder that is not accepted by science simply because it has not yet been included in the manuals used to classify which are allegedly all possible disorders.
The writing style made this book so easy to read, revealing just what was necessary and not letting the reader know more than what her characters were thinking at a given moment. You will be surprised at the same time they do and feel hanging more about 40% of the book at least, needing to know what’s going to happen to all of them. No flowery writing.
This book so incredibly documented that every single explanation was supported by thousands of scientific articles and books. It talks about real cases and never includes a symptom or part of an investigation that would be impossible to find in real life. As a psychologist to be quite soon, I only have praise for the investigation done for the making of this wonderful book.
If you’re either character or plot driven, you’ll certainly enjoy this book; especially if you like properly documented books and emotional connections to characters.
*Thanks to Riverhead Books and NetGalley for granting me this book in exchanged for an honest review.*
TW for loss of a loved one, discrimination against trans people and mental health.
I don’t think there are enough words to describe it, but I’ll do my best to do so.
She did it again, got to my heart, nurtured it, surprised my brain, shocked it and then destroyed me with a full blow.
The Death of Vivek Oji is the coming-of-age story of Vivek, or better said, Nmendi, a trans girl who’s born and lives in a small town in Nigeria. Because of her culture, she is rejected, thought of as needing fixing even by her family, and deeply loved by her friends and cousin.
The plot is perfect and leaves you hanging and needing to know what happened from page 1. The way she starts unveiling little parts of the story; just the perfect words to leave you intrigued and craving for more, was masterfully done. I would feel one word less would have made me delay reading and one extra would have disappointed me.
All main and side characters were logical, real and relatable. Their feelings were so coherent it was impossible for me not to feel with them, so much so that I cried for hours when I finished the book and 5 days later I still feel grief and emptiness.
I had previously read PET, by the same author, and fell in love with it. This one, however, got even deeper into my heart and I don’t think I’ll be able to forget it.
There are a few morals that can be drawn from this story. Love implies acceptance, not wanting to change others; support networks are essential and needed for your mental health, express love to those close to you every day because you never know when they won’t be with you, take daily steps to know those next to you as deeply as possible because you cannot say you love that you do not know.
I highly recommend this book. Please, read it if you think it will not affect your mental health.
How’s everyone? Hope everything’s going well for you.
This time, I’m writing to spread the word about a wonderful readathon I’ll be helping with, Sherlockathon! I mean, who wouldn’t like to participate in a reading event based on Benedict Cumberbatch. Oh, sorry! I meant Sherlock Holmes.
After this introduction, I wanted to try to help choosing reading options for all the prompts. You don’t have to do all of them, just in case. So, here they are!
The Retelling: read a diverse retelling by an own voices author:
For this prompt, I would recommend Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi, a magical middle grade story in which our MC lies to gain the favour of her peers and ends up building a whimsical journey after a stunning discovery about herself in previous lives. Side plus, The cover is gorgeous!
The Stout: Inspector Bradstreet. Read a book with more than 500 pages.
Well, I think we can all think of many, but my favourite book comes into play, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This one is massive, but tells the story of Edmond Dantes, a man with a noble heart who is thrown in prison having done nothing but fight injustice. So he’ll seek vengeance in the most brilliant way possible.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is the first book from an amazing middle grade trilogy called Inkworld. Who doesn’t love a book about books? This is one of my favourite series. In it, a family has the ability to get you into the stories they read aloud, which takes them into a journey full of perils, villains, love and adventure. A late middle grade that kept me needing to know more.
The Sedentary: Mycroft Holmes. Read any book only in one room.
You could basically choose anything for this prompt, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is a children’s story of hope that shows the keys of live are love, never losing hope and doing things for the appropriate reasons. You could read it in one sitting.
The Capable: Inspector Gregson. Read a book you hope to learn something from.
Although I believe you can learn something from any book, there’s one I read this year that taught me loads about living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a non-fiction named Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? by Jude Morrow. Jude is autistic and tells his own story since he was a little child in order to explain how becoming a father changed his perspective about his autism, how to face it, his view of how his loved ones felt about his behaviour and how to accept there were many ways in which he could become a better father for his son by accepting help.
The Woman: Irene Adler. Read a book by a woman.
Well, I know, there are so many great female authors, it seems impossible to choose. However, Circe by Madeline Miller is one of my most recent reads. This is a retelling of the story of the goddess told in first person. A wonderful book that brings Greek mythology closer than I had ever felt it. I was instantly thrown into her skin. A story about female independence totally worth the try.
Other authors I’ve read from that I highly recommend are Jessica Townsend (middle grade), Angie Thomas (THUG), Sarah J. Maas (the ACOTAR series, to start with), Tahereh Mafi (middle grade), Leigh Bardugo (Grishaverse), Elizabeth Acevedo (no way of being wrong with her), Jane Austen, Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), Roxane Gay (non-fiction), Akwaeke Emezi (PET!), and many others.
The Nemesis: Professor James Moriarty. Read a book with enemies.
What can I say? I love Tolkien! The Lord of the Ring series by J.R.R. Tolkien are not for everyone, but they introduced me into the unending world of fantasy. Yes, I got into fantasy reading epic fantasy. I was one of these readers who thought fantasy was not good because it didn’t show you any real events or people. It was through these books that I understood fantasy is an amazingly creative way to depict reality. Thanks to the author, I’ve come to think of fantasy as my favourite genre.
The Scot: Mrs. Hudson. Read a book by a Scottish author or set in Scotland.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a contemporary about a woman who suffers from anxiety and TOC due to a PTSD after shocking events that took place during her childhood. There’s romance, perfect depiction of her mental health, trauma and the beginning to the road towards recovery.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie had always come to my mind when thinking of children’s books, but the real story is dark and so interesting I didn’t want to put it down. I do not believe this was meant as a book for the little ones. Absolutely loved this!
Lastly, I cannot stop myself from recommending any book by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Plagiarist: Inspector Lestrade. Read a book that is ghost written or written under a pen name.
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain is an engaging story about two children who swap places in life for a while and try to make everyone else believe each one is the other. However, the morals are that no matter how much you desire to be someone else, the lie will be caught and you’ll end up missing what you had before.
The Narrator: Doctor John Watson. A book with a narrator.
One of the most surprising plot twists I’ve read lately belongs to The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides. A thriller that leaves you open-mouthed not only because of this, but also making you believe you’re predicting events while diverting your attention.
The Consulting Detective: Sherlock Holmes. A book with a detective.
Aside from the obvious, I’d recommend any book from the Poirot series by Agatha Christie. My favourite is Murder on the Orient Express. I believe it needs no introduction, but Hercule Poirot is a Belgian peculiar detective who solves any crime. There’s nobody like Agatha and Connan Doyle to depict detectives.
The remaining book is the group book: The Hound of the Baskervilles, my absolute favourite of all Sherlock Holmes’s stories.
Hope this post helps you choose a book you end up enjoying as much as I did!
Thank you for reading.
Hope to see you around and don’t hesitate to comment.
Before getting to what brought me to write this post, I would like to thank all those who helped organise this readathon because I’m having so much fun! The films chosen for the watchalongs were perfect, there’s no pressure to read an excessive amount of books, the group readings are short and interesting. I have no complaint. Thank you so much everyone.
Now, I do not regularly publish TBRs because I am a mood reader, which means I could certainly plan, but would change my mind whenever I’m about to start a new book. The reason why I’m publishing this one -even though a week late- is that it was stated that we can changed published TBRs at any moment, so here I go!
I decided to join The Beasts, so my prompts are:
Mah Swamp: a good looking book.
For this one, I’m currently listening to Belle Révolte by Lindsey Miller, a YA fantasy about two girls who swap places at university, thanks to what they change the history of their country. A book that teaches us you should do what you dream of and parents that there’s no point on making their children miserable by forcing them to study something that will make you -not them- happy.
2. Whispering Woods: an underhyped book.
For this prompt I chose a Shakespearean theatre play, Measure for Measure. I quite often think reading his plays is underhyped. Dark, funny, with as much blood or aggressiveness as a Tarantino film, religious and legal criticism, literate, what else could you ask for? All in 114 pages!
3. Lair of the Babadook: book with LGBTQIA+ representation.
I had heard so much about Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore, that when I found it on Scribd, I didn’t even doubt about choosing it for a second. This is a historical fiction book that includes how the Catholic Church treated those who wouldn’t fit within the standards they set for the public; so when they find out there’s a queer girl in town, they mean to accuse those around her of having caused a terrible illness.
4. Hydra’s Hangout: a mythology based book.
There is a book I had had on my shelves for far way too long, not only for the 13 months it was sitting there and getting covered by dust, but also because I feel it is sinful not to read it sooner. I’m talking about Circe by Madeline Miller, a retelling of Circe’s myth told from her perspective that becomes a great story about female independence.
We also get bonus points for completing the prompts, so I have decided to add Gypsy Blood by Linsey Miller that meets The Conspiracies’ prompt for a retelling called The Upside Down.
I may add more bonus prompts. We’ll see.
Thanks for reading! Don’r forget to follow if you like the blog and comment if you want to (I love to read you too).
First, I’d like to apologise for not being so active this past month, but life happens and I really missed writing and reading your comments. Now, let’s get down to business.
As it normally happens when you have a severe case of FOMO, I’m participating in several readathons this month, but I’m here to talk about book options for the prompts within the three Monsterathon (where monsters hide) themes. This readathon is running for the whole month of September and I think you can guess what it’s based on!
The first team is The Beasts, monsters with plant or animal-like qualities.
Prompt 1. Whispering Woods, a book you don’t hear enough people talk about or underhyped book. For this one I recommend Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado, a Spanish thriller that will lead you to see the beast inside certain individuals. Another book is The Count of Monte Cristo, my favourite book of all time, although it is a long beast!
Prompt 2. Lair of the Babadook, a book with LGBTQIA+ representation. I have recently read two books that I highly recommend: PET by Akwaeke Emezi, in which there are actually monsters and The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, a story of coming out and simply be yourself because whoever loves you will do so just the way you are.
Prompt 3. Hydra’s Hangout, a book based on mythology. I am about to start the third book from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and would highly recommend the first one if you have not read it. It is an adventure middle grade retelling of Greek mythology.
Prompt 4. Mah Swamp, a book with a nice cover. This one is a little bit subjective, but if you have not read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (yes, it has beasts) or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, what are you waiting for?
The first book is a YA fantasy based on Orishas’ mythology with a very strong female MC and the second one a middle grade about curious stories told me a grandfather that nobody would believe until something happens… This one reminded me to the film Big Fish.
The second team is The Haunts, dead mosters.
Prompt 1. Under the Bed, a book by a black or indigenous author. King and the Dragonflies by is a hard and beautiful story about a 12 year-old boy who is trying to deal with the loss of his brother while trying to discover himself and his sexuality.
Prompt 2. Secret Crypt, a book with mystery elements. I’d say you can read any Stephen King book for this prompt! I’ve so far read Carrie, The Green Mile, IT, The Shining, Doctor Sleep and Pet Sematary; the only one that got 4 instead of 5 stars was Carrie. I could also recommend any Locke&Key graphic novel volume, written by his son, Joe Hill.
Prompt 3. Your Friendly Neighbour’s House, a book picked for you by someone else. For this one I’ve read two books that were recommended to me and came to be in my top 10: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, first one in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series because, who doesn’t like a book about books?! and The Silent Patient, a thriller that will surprise you several times with a shocking twist towards the end.
Prompt 4. A Moment of Peace, a comfort read. Although I believe this one to be subjective, there was a book I read a couple of months ago that I found breathtakingly deep called Days Without You, by a Spanish author called Elvira Sastre. This is a short read that took me a few days due to me needing to process the depth of some thoughts. It is about a guy who breaks up a relationship, but his experiences and grief alternate with teachings received from his grandmother that will help him through this emotional process and teach us all a couple of lessons.
Last but not least, The Conspiracies, anything else (robots, mutants, aliens, etc.).
Prompt 1. Area 51, a book that has aliens or mutants in it. For this, I cannot stop myself from recommending Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury, a sci-fi in which humans want to mix with aliens meant to be a sociopolitical criticism through sarcasm that made me laugh from beginning to end.
Prompt 2. Rearview Mirror, a book published more than 5 years ago or an indie book. There are countless books I could recommend here, but the first one that springs to mind is what I consider to be the best graphic novel I’ve ever read, V for Vendetta, a mystery plot based on Guy Fawkes written by Alan Moore in which he will not leave anything to chance; an MC that has Sherlock Holmes’ intelligence potentiated.
Prompt 3. The Upside Down, a retelling. I believe most people will have read this series, but The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer made me very happy and got me interested all along. Each book is a sci-fi version of Disney classic fairy tales, but the evil queen is just one that connects all the princesses’ lives and for which they mean to take revenge together lead by Cinderella, who is a cyborg.
Prompt 4. The Bunker, a book with disability or deaf representation. I listened to a YA contemporary last month that would fit for this prompt, Dancing Daisies, about a 17-year-old girl who has a type of cerebral palsy that left her on a wheelchair her whole life. However, she can communicate perfectly thanks to a computer and has no cognitive impairment whatsoever, which many don’t understand is possible.
Well, that’s it for me now!
I really hope if you read any of these books, you comment and let me know what you thought about them. I’d equally love to read your recommendations.
*I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley in exchange from an honest review.*
Thanks to them and Ava Lock for allowing me to read this.
A dystopian world in which all females are bots and males but one are human. A depiction of submissiveness of women, how outrageous seemed to the ‘perfect housewife’ that there were others living differently, The Truman Show delusion and Stockholm Syndrome greatly intertwined.
Ava’s style is quite easy to read but not too simplistic. It consists mainly on conversations, which speeds you up and gives you a constant sense of movement in time.
The rating given is because days after having finished it, I still have no idea how I feel. I loved the general story and the fact that it defends equality and diversity. However, at times I felt like reading scenes from any Tarantino film or The Fight Club, mainly. Certain ideas felt forced, as if introduced just because the writer wanted to mention them without previous or later connections.
One of the scenes was Tarantino style, but with badly harmed animals as explicitly pictured in words, which I personally find disturbing.
There are TW for abuse, explicit sexual language, animal harm, and explicit violence.
Mostly, I found this book quite entertaining, reflecting and enjoyable.
I would certainly recommend it if you like things like Transpoitting, Quentin Tarantino, The Fight Club, dystopian, sci-fi and a creative author.
Thanks for reading me!
Don’t forget to like and subscribe if you liked it enough.
*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Thanks to Pushkin Children’s Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
A wonderful children’s story in which normality is overrated.
A boy of 12 finds a penfriend add on a newspaper apparantly left to burn on a chimney and suddenly receives a reply through the same spot. Edwin gets scared and tries to forget what happened. However, he soon finds out that his new ‘friend’ seems to be able to find him no matter where he is and a bizarre adventure starts, in which the children will realise normality depends on where you live and what your elders tell you.
I could not bring myself to like Edwin, our main character. He was extremely self-centered, selfish, arrogant and bold for a boy that age. It would have made sense at 8, I believe, at the most. And that is the age I pictured him and his friend Lanthorne to have from beginning to end, who seemed to be too naive to say something and stand to others.
Even though both worlds are just different, the main character keeps on treating others who are not the same with extreme arrogance, consequences or not, even if they are just trying to help. He constantly criticises his friend’s world.
There’s a very positive aspect that can be extracted from this story, aside from the appreciation we should give to differences; life doesn’t make sense without its colours!
This story reminded me to the underworld in Tim Burton’s films and is properly explained.
If you like that style and don’t mind the difference between the characters’ age and the one they seem to be, this is the one for you. It makes you laugh and it’s quite visually descriptive.
*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
A modern fairytale that shows the reader extremism is negative no matter which side you take; it never leads to improvements, that fate doesn’t exist in the sense that nothing is determined, everything is rather chosen by those involved and that this love rules the world. This kept me needing to know what would come next.
I entered into the story thinking it would be like most young adult fantasy I’ve read; aka good fairies, an evil character (either fae or human), a saviour; everyone either pure or evil. Don’t get me wrong, I actually found these elements in the book, but they were certainly not the only ones.
There were characters that simply allowed the popular/strong one to lead them into doing the wrong thing and make all the incorrect decisions, being too late when they realised they had not even chosen for themselves. Does this ring a bell? Secondary school is full of these situations that, in many occasions, include rather tragic events.
Yet, none of these I found to be the main focus. I strongly believe love is the key to existance itself. This is the force that, pure or transformed in other feelings, represents the core of motivation. We can still change the world if we reach the understanding that acceptance, giving and patience consitute love and are the only way in which humanity may not end this planet.
This work is classified as Young Adult, but I believe it is in between that and being a Middle Grade except for just a couple of comments.
If you like fantasy, fairies and morals, this is definitely for you.
*I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions depicted are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and the author for allowing me to have an advanced copy of this book.*
This is a non-fiction book that describes the experience and thoughts of a mother who has a son with severe autism about their daily life, the fears about what the future might hold for both of them and some reflections regarding her religious views or current discussions surrounding autism.
Amy made it possible for me to get under her skin and feel every single experience she told in the first chapters. Of course, I cannot wholly understand what it is like to worry about a child’s future when you know they will always need help for their daily activities; those who are so simple for many of us that we take them for granted. We should be grateful to be independent enough to cross the road by ourselves.
What I read really made me reflect on how much time and effort we spend on complaining about struggles that are, if we stop to think about it and see every in perspective, secondary.
As a psychologist focused on neuropsychology and neurosciences, I can understand a little bit better Jonah’s (her son) experience as well as hers. This is why I was conflicted when I found the chapter in which she “makes him” have a traditional religious ceremony with her because it was important for the mother, wondering the rol of God in his autism. I know a person with no abstraction abilities can learn to do things but does not understand beliefs. Moreover, even though science has not yet come to discern the specific cause for autism, it has been clarified the reason does not belong to a supernatural being, but to external factors that affect the fetus during pregnancy and/or at birth. However, I do understand we tend to see things from our own perspective.
Another aspect this story helps us think about is how intolerant we have become to those who act differently. Every member of society (I’d say in the world) is so full of themselves that we do not accept any other way of thinking or acting; we don’t even try to understand, which drags us further and further away from each other.
Overall, I would recommend this book to those who would like to understand autism and the concerns of family members of those who suffer from it severely.