Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern // ★★★½
FI hate when a book starts out strongly, but peters out as the story continues. It’s disappointing and kind of draining and exactly what happened with this book. For a second there, the witty banter, complex characters and wonderful writing style had me thinking I’d found the contemporary story to rival my favourite, Night Owls. But in the end I had too many small problems with the story that added up and effected my overall enjoyment: I wasn’t a fan of the MC, the love interest (Caleb) was such a great character, but wasn’t given the attention and development he needed to really shine, and the plot didn’t focus nearly enough on Rose’s ballet career for my liking. Ultimately, this story was raw, emotional, hard-hitting and thoughtful – which is why it is going to one of those stories that sticks with me. I loved the portrayal of family, and the exploration of free will and whether knowing how you were going to die would change the way you lived your life. I thought Rose’s obsession with trains was sweet and different. The romance had me smiling, but I needed to know Caleb better before I could by on board with it completely (yes, train pun 100% intended). I did like the general storyline and the writing style stole my breath at times, but I just needed more from Rose and the characters. I’d definitely recommend this for fans of Things We Know By Heart though.
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose // ★★★ ½
I find that I truly don’t have much to say about this particular read. It was for school, obviously. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a play for simple pleasure reading…. but that’s not the point. This story should’ve been right up my alley since it’s largely a thriller, but it was pretty monotonous and a little slow. I did think it was engaging and realistic. It cast a pretty accurate (from what I believe) picture of life in 1957 America, but it was anticlimactic – and that ultimately made the book/play pretty forgettable to me. I was expecting some sort of Agatha Christie twist at the end, but it was all so straight forward. Hopefully studying it in school will give me a better insight into the story. I did enjoy it, but I think it could have been a lot better too.
Cloudwish by Fiona Wood // ★
I’m both crying and screaming in frustration right now. I don’t want to have to write a negative review for this, and the fact that I do have to it infuriating me. Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things was funny, relatable and slightly odd. I was hoping for something similar with Cloudwish, and I just didn’t get it. I found the writing style uncomfortable from the very beginning. I literally cringed after reading the first page. It was tried so hard to be “literary”, but it just didn’t work. On top of that I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist, the love interest or the failed attempt at romance (man was it underdeveloped and felt fake because of the magical realism element). Also they way that this book made itself seem so diverse pissed me off. Yes, we had a POC protagonist. And that’s fantastic. It truly is. I loved that this book looked at the “boat people” stereotypes in Australia, they way it does justices to the Vietnamese-Australian community (IMO). But this one element of diversity doesn’t excuse the fact that all of the other characters were stereotype: one-dimensional, typical air-headed “mean girls” that bullied our MC for no good reason; a romantic interest. rich, jock guy that wants to live the life he wants, not his parents’ dream; a gay best friend; and a smart, bespectacled Asian kid. I’m all for diversity (you know I am), but this isn’t the sort of “diversity” I support.
The Ex by Alafair Burke // ★★★
This is the first Alafair Burke novel I’d read. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as good as I would have hoped. It actually felt like a raw draft so with some changes in structure, I really think there is potential in this book for it to become a powerful thriller. I enjoyed reading from a career-driven female lead (Olivia), but I thought her voice needed to be split into parts – present Olivia and past Olivia. The long, seemingly random tangents that the author is forced to go into to explain the history between Jack (the client/suspect) and Olivia – an important sub-plot of the central storyline – broke the story up and made it harder to follow. If those parts could have been incorporated as flashback chapters every now and again instead, it would have worked so much better. The fact that I also guessed how the story would end within the first 30 pages didn’t help my enjoyment of the story. The wait to see if I was right got a little tedious, and then the epilogue was just awful. It kind of implied this idea/theory/thing rather than told it out right, and I know that readers that didn’t guess it early on will be confused. But overall, I did enjoy this book. I don’t normally read mysteries from the defense’s POV so it was interesting to see how that worked and I feel like I learnt something about the American justice system. I’ll definitely be read more of this author’s works, especially her standalone thrillers, but this one wasn’t for me.
Ex Machina, Vol 3 by Brian K Vaughan, Tony Harris & John Paul Leon // ★★★★ ½
*flails* For those that don’t know, this is my favourite graphic novel series. I have no idea what it is about these books that I love, but love them I do. The art is realistic and just stunningly coloured. It isn’t as gorgeous as the Amulet series, but something about its simplicity and believable characterization makes me happy. The story follows Mitchell Hundred – an ex-superhero vigilante with the ability to communicate with machines who is the current mayor of New York City. Even though it mostly just follows his political career with flashbacks to his vigilante days, I cannot help but be engaged. It’s somehow incredibly personable and realistic. I love Hundred as a character, and find it so easy to slip into this world. I think there’s only one more bind-up in this series, and I’m going to be sad to see it over with.
I’m only 50 pages into Bruiser and somehow, despite the simplicity of the plotline, it’s all kinds of engaging. I’m not just enjoying it, I’m loving it! I really hope that keeps up. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book so I don’t want to set my standards too high, but at the same time, I’m kind of expecting good things from this book. A Stolen Kiss has a great writing style. I actually love the way it feels so fairytale-like. The characters are adorable, and I’m really invested in their journey – they better work out this curse, or I’m going to be heartbroken!