Sunday, 25 October 2015

Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Read: October 23-25   Verdict: 4 Stars

Set in a dystopian future, Only Ever Yours is narrated by frieda, a 16-year-old girl living in a world where baby girls are no longer born, they're created. Growing up in a school where she's constantly told how to be pretty, and skinny, and how to please a man by doing whatever they ask, whenever they want it. The reader meets frieda and her 'sisters', the other Eves, a few months away from the Ceremony - an event where they will either become Companions (wives), Concubines (prostitutes) or chastities (nun-like teachers). As the Ceremony draws nearer, frieda started to unravel.
This book is terrifyingly real. Everything the Eves are taught, mimic the unconscious message that's constantly put across in today's society. Fat is ugly. Skinny is pretty. But you can't be too skinny or else you're undesirable. A girl shouldn't say no to a guy, but saying yes mean's you're a slut. Saying no means you're frigid. The other girls are your friends. But they're also your enemies.

I couldn't help but feel that this book was not going to have a happy ending. The whole tone of the book is desperate and remorse, and frieda flicks back and forth from being reliable to an unreliable narrator, depending on how much SleepSound she's taking. I really wanted her to do well, and become independent of isabel and megan, and not need that constant reassurance from everyone. Again and again, frieda let everyone down but it was almost like she was programmed to do it. I really wanted more from Darwin or any of the other guys but at the end of the day, the girls were just meat to them, as they had been taught they were.

I thought it was a really interesting and smart decision of Louise O'Neill to take away the girls' capital letter in their names. It was one more subtle way of taking away their power and making them second-class citizens. They were 'unworthy' of having a capital letter in their name.

I wouldn't be surprised if in 5 years or more, this book appeared on required reading alongside The Handmaid's Tale. It almost feels like a sequel to Margaret Atwood's modern classic. While this is not comfortable reading, I would certainly recommend it as it's a fascinating read.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Read: October 22-23    Verdict: 4.5 Stars

This book starts off with an accident and then a woman called Jenna is running away from all her heartbreak, wanting to make a fresh start where no-one knows her and she can forget about what's she's lost. Ray, a detective with the Bristol Police, is trying to investigate all the pieces of the night that changed Jenna's life but as the months go in, he starts losing a grip on his family. Eventually, just as things start going well for Jenna, they all fall down again. And when Ray think's he's solved the case, another mystery appears.

This is an amazing, beautifully written and emotional read. I was completely hooked. I really felt for Jenna and loved all the mystery surrounding her life, even though it drove me crazy. I felt like I was pretty sure I knew what I was reading until about 50% through when suddenly it flipped and everything turned much darker and a lot more sinister. From that point, I couldn't put the book down until I had solved everything. This was definitely not one of those books where I guessed what would happen. It really did keep me on the edge of my seat until the very end!

The detective and police work described in this book by Ray and his colleagues felt very authentic to me, and it all made sense when I read the Author's Note and Clare Mackintosh wrote about her years as a police officer and dealing with a similar case as in the book

This was an incredible debut and a really strong introduction into the world of mystery and thrillers for Clare Mackintosh. I'll definitely be picking up her next book! 

P.S I also adore the cover of this book!


The one thing I didn't like were the feelings Ray had about Kate. They didn't seem entirely solved. He walked away with her once at the end of the book but it didn't make clear if he would walk away again. I also felt frustrated at him believing his son to be bullied for almost two years, and not bothering to once approach a conversation with him. I also would have liked to have read about Ray's conversation with Tom when they found out the truth. Or something like Ray explaining Jenna's story to Tom and making him realise that he shouldn't want to grow up to be a bully of a man like Ian. I was happy with the way domestic abuse was approached in this book, there was a huge degree of respect given to the women involved (largely, I guess, taken from Clare's own experience with such case while she was a policewoman) and it was just handled very beautifully. It was wasn't introduced as a 'click-bait, view grabber' kind of way but as a real aspect of the story that became very important.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Book Review: Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Read: October 15 - 17   Verdict: 5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! A must-read for anyone who has read Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon.

Ollie is allergic to electricity. Moritz is a blind kid with a pacemaker. Because of certain obstructions, these two teenagers who feel very alone in the world can never meet but they do write letter. Because You'll Never Meet Me is a book completely told through Ollie and Moritz' correspondence to one another. They share secrets and their fears, they tell each other daily details on their lives and who they see everyday. They encourage each other and metaphorically pick each other up when they fall. I throughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down and kept saying "Just one more letter, one more letter." And of course, something would happen that I would have to read the next letter.

This book tells the power of friendship, overcoming boundaries and fears and truly accepting yourself for who you are. You have got to read it!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Book Review: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Read: October 12 - 13   Verdict: 4 stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

Cara Morris and her family are a little bit accident prone. In fact, so many bumps, bruises and other things happen to them (including deaths in the family) that they've dubbed a certain number of weeks in Autumn 'The Accident Season'. This year, things feel stranger and more dangerous than usual. It seems that this accident season, more things will break than hearts and secrets will be revealed.

This book is a perfect October read. Not only is it set in the last two weeks of October but the whole premise of the story is set in a very subtly mystery and spookiness. Who is Elsie and why does she appear in every photo? Why can't anyone remember her? What is Alice hiding? Is Bea actually a witch?

The creepiness, well, creeps up on you. It furls around your ankles like mist until before you know it, it has hold and grabs you under, bringing you in a world of mystical changeling siblings with a tin man with a metal smile as a stepfather.

The relationships in the book are all strong and weak at various times but it's very heartening how everyone sticks by each other, and no-one really lets off steam about someone else needing alone time, or sharing secrets with others when they're not ready to share with everyone. Everyone has their own personal problems and troubles to solve, and they know they have someone ready to catch them at the elbow if they fall.

I also loved that the book was set in Ireland. i didn't know it was at first and it was Irish in a beautiful subtle way. No silly over emphasis on Irish culture or language. Certain words (such as school classes and exams) weren't changed to American slang, but were kept, at least in the edition I read, the Irish system.

The Accident Season is full of friendship, family, mystery and spook all woven together with beautiful lyrical threads.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Book Review: FaeFever by Karen Marie Moning

Read: October 4-6 Verdict: 3/3.5 Stars

Faefever continues the adventures of MacKayla Lane in Dublin, Ireland, as she hunts the evil fae who killed her sister and are now stalking her. At the same time, Mac is also dealing with the strange and turbulent affections of two strange and powerful men.

Since starting to read this series, I've had time to reflect back on the other two and slightly lessen my opinion on them. I was so caught up in the hype of the books, that it took me several months to actually stop and really think about them - causing me to slightly drop my rating of the first two. I'm not 100% sure that this book series deserves all the hype anymore but they are still enjoyable reads, if not amazingly written.

I went into FaeFever with my critique cap on and boy, did i write notes, and I had fun writing them too! Mac does have great character development in this book. Following her experiences in the last book, she has grown more confident and lethal and isn't afraid to make tough choices anymore. There was, as always, insane sexual tension between Mac and Barrons and Mac and V'Lane. It's starting to get a bit unbearable to be honest. While I love both male characters, their opinions on women are extremely derogatory. There are several remarks that women are basically made for sex and made to be controlled and they rubbed me the wrong way (though, they did Mac as well.)

Okay, so I need to point out some flaws in this series, coming from an Irish reader. It's very obvious this book is written by an American, who may think they know Dublin and Ireland well, but really doesn't. Honestly, the amount of murder and 'dark zones' in Dublin don't make sense to me anymore, there's simply too many of them now. Dublin is a pretty small county, despite being the Capital, in retrospect to the rest of Ireland. And the city is only a portion of it, with a larger portion being suburbs. The crime rate and 'locations disappearing off maps' are simply too much for me to be completely logical. Also, on the 'American tries to write about Ireland', the phrasing of certain language and placement of these words in sentences... not to mention some of the bogus pronunciation guides at the back of the book for Irish words (most of it is wrong).

Yes, in Ireland we refer to fun as 'craic' and often use 'feck' in sentences. However, we don't describe places as 'craic-filled'. We say, "What's the craic?" instead of "What's up?" or "Sure it was grand craic" for "It was great/lots of fun". So you have no idea the frustration when these words are used wrong. It's also not right to put 'feck' and 'fecking' randomly into sentences. It doesn't work that way. The way Dani talks...yeah, noone talks like that.



Sorry guys, that one's been bothering me for years!!!

The end scene was gruesome, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. It felt to me like the times that TV shows put in sexual assault or rape to boost viewings. It didn't feel right at all, and it made me angry. BUT, it made me want to pick up the next book asap.