Last week, I announced that I was switching up my reviewing style. I was a little nervous about it, I’m not sure why, but everyone’s overwhelming support and encouragement meant the world to me. And I’ve decided this is definitely where I want to be reviewing-wise for the time being. So here we are, with the second:
Rachel’s Reading Update:
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes // ★★★★★ (+★)
I don’t think I can explain how much this story is perfect. I just… *dramatic sigh*. This story is beyond belief. It was intense, raw, enthralling. I read it in a single sitting. I wept, I cried, I laughed, I cried a little more. The writing style is stunning. Absolutely bloody gorgeous. Our protagonist was flawlessly developed. I was completely immersed in her story. She is one of the most complex, unique characters to ever grace the YA genre. The plot’s pacing was spot on too. It unraveled slowly but inevitably and kept you wanting more, but not enough that you were impatient. It explored gender, race, religion and mortality without bias – letting us draw our own conclusions. And best of all? It had an open ending so that we were left hoping, but satisfied. I cannot give this book anything more. I loved it. It was beyond belief. I’m trying to refrain from giving it six stars… but I might have to cave.
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella // ★★★★
This was cheesy, ridiculous and one of the best chick-lit novels I’ve ever read. I honestly loved it! It’s my third Sophie Kinsella book, and I think I enjoyed it even more than Remember Me?. It was the perfect blend of funny, emotional, swoony and engaging. The plotline was a mix of romance, suspense, paranormal and contemporary. It was artfully told. I loved the we dipped and dived between different subplots, but followed a larger universal plot too. I loved Lara so damn much. She was funny and realistic. She was random and had a weird sense of humour and was a great friend and I loved it. Eddy was a little random too, but sweet and I couldn’t help but love him too. I thought Sadie was a bit of a brat, but at the same time, she was kind of meant to be and she grew on me. I loved her story. I loved the way Lara learnt about the importance of family, of legacy, of history and laying down roots. If you love feel good rom-coms with paranormal aspects thrown in for the hell out, look no further – this will be your new favourite.
The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan // ★★★★
I was nervous to pick up this book, and have put it off for ages – it came out late last year so it’s actually been quite awhile. Oops! If you didn’t know, Ranger’s Apprentice is one of my all-time favourite series (even if I only discovered it last year), and there seemed to be quite a few people saying that this prequel didn’t live up to the original series. But young Halt? There was no way I could resist that for too long. And I’m did finally pick this up. I enjoyed it so much! It has a very similar feeling to RA and I think that was a problem for some readers too – it was too similar, Halt and Crowley’s relationship was a little bit like Will and Horace’s in RA. I’m not denying that, but Halt and Crowley’s personalities are so different that it is easy to dismiss that. Crowley quickly became a massive favourite of mine. He reminds me of Ron Weasley a little bit, and Halt was perfect. Exactly as I pictured him. The story was a little slow starting, but quickly grows. It was great to be able to draw the paralells between what’s happening in the story, and knowing its impact in RA later. It takes place smuch earlier than I realised though, but that’s even better since it means we’ll definitely get a sequel. Well, we better! Anyway, Flanagan sense of humour definitely shines through in this book, and makes it a standout as always.
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly // ★★★★
This story was the perfect combination of mystery & suspense, character development, elegant writing, on-point world/era building and subtle romance. It’s 100% a new favourite of mine.
- Jo Montfort was the perfect protagonist to tell this story. There was so much complexity to her character. She struggled to understand her place in the world – whether she should pursue her career ambitions or her follow her family’s dreams. I loved that she didn’t know exactly what she wanted at first, or whether she was willing to loose her family. I loved that she began to question what she was taught. I loved that she learned over the course of the story more about herself, and what she wanted. I loved that she was a little naive, but admittedly so. It was just a consequences of the way she was raised, and she wanted to overcome that. I loved that it wasn’t simple, it was hard and painful process. I felt so realistic.
- The complexity of the mystery Jo and Eddie investigated was spot on. I loved the twists and turns and how Jo didn’t stand back and let everyone do the running around for her, she went out and got what she wanted. I did, however, realise who the culprit was immediately. I think if you’ve read a few mystery books before you probably were able to spot the foreshadowing early on too. It was a little disappointing to be proved right, but it didn’t stop my enjoyment of Jo and Eddie getting to that conclusion at all. Just a bit disappointing.
- Oscar. He was hilarious. I want a sequel with him as the protagonist. Please.
- And Eddie was so charming. I couldn’t resist him.
- The romance was passionate and adorable at the same time. I loved the tension but it could have done with a little less drama – as almost always seems the case with YA.
- Like I said, the building of the ‘world’ (era, whatever) was done fabulously. The dialogue, the characters, the setting…. yes, yes and yes to it all.
- The story was a little slow however. I’m not sure if that’s my fault for reading it across a longer span of time than I normally do, but it was a large, hefty book and I’m sure some of it could have been cut a little.
Currently Reading & Listening To:
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
I’m about fifty pages into this story, and floundering with the story line. There’s so much background information and history of their world that I have to know, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. I almost wish there was a guide or prequel or something I could read, just to help me head wrap around it. The writing is blowing my breath away though. It is absolutely bloody gorgeous. I want to rip it off the pages and ink it on to my skin… well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but damn, Stacey Jay can write. Oh, and I’m not enthused by this pretending-to-be-a-boy situation. We all know that there’s going to be a romance developed here, and a romance developed on lying to one another isn’t appealing to me. I’m worried this is going to be a deal-breaker. We’ll have to see…
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Rook, narrated by Fiona Hardingham
I said last time how much I was enjoying this… and I haven’t made any progress whatsoever. My official excuse is that I lost my iPad charger so I didn’t have anything to listen to it on, but I think it was mainly me being lazy. I really need to listen to more of this soon. I’m loving what I have read though.