Book Review · Books

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

I remember loving Elsewhere when I read it as a teenager. And now, reading it again, I know why I always loved it so much. It’s sad, happy, but most importantly, real. 

About the book:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 271

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

“I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before she crossed the street.”

Liz is almost 16 and she dies in a hit-and-run accident. And this is where her story begins. Instead of going wherever it is that people go when they’re dead, she wakes up on a big boat that’s heading to a place called Elsewhere. It turns out that people go to Elsewhere when they die, they live there (if you can call it that), age backwards and then return to Earth as babies to be (quite literally) reborn. 

As we follow Liz around on the ship, she is having a very hard time understanding she is dead. She thinks this is all a dream and expects to be woken up anytime. 

“It can be particularly difficult for young people to realise they have passed. Young people tend to think they’re immortal. Many of them can’t conceive of themselves as dead.”

As the story goes on, Liz meets her grandma, Betty, who passed away before Liz was born. Due to how time is measured in Elsewhere, Betty now looks quite young. Young enough to be in a relationship with Liz’s friend. We’ll get into that in a minute.

Liz is supposed to now live her life and find an avocation.

An avocation is like a job on Earth, except you have to really enjoy doing it and can only do it if it makes you happy. So Liz becomes a counsellor for the Division of Domestic Animals, and her task is to welcome dogs on Elsewhere and explain everything to them when they arrive. I loved the idea that the dogs could talk with some people that can speak the dog language. Some of my favourite scenes are when the dogs are talking – the humour in them is priceless!

At the beginning, Liz is having a very hard time accepting this reality. She dies before she could truly live her life and she will never grow up, have children, buy a house, or grow old. Not on Earth and not in Elsewhere either. She’ll just age backwards from 16 to 0. She is very depressed and spends a lot of time at the Observation Desks, where she can watch people on Earth through binoculars. She even tries an illegal way to make contact and it massively backfires. 

“Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead.”

But in all this grief, she meets a friend and things slowly start to get better for her. She starts to find joy in the years she has left and enjoys herself. This book has a powerful message about living in the moment and making the most of life with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s a sad, but true story about life and death, grieving, depression, but also about friendships and love.

“People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or all bad. Sometimes they’re a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes, they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.”

The ending is a bit sad, but at the same time satisfying. And it will definitely make you want to read the book backwards as soon as you have finished it. 

About The Author:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Gabrielle Zevin is an internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed author, whose books have been translated into thirty-eight languages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry spent several months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, was a USA Today Best Seller, and has been a best seller all around the world.

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Book Review · Books

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

About You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 422

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

You… How do I start writing a review about you? You had all the potential to be something special… A thriller with a psychologically unstable character, a person that becomes so obsessive about another person. We were almost there, me and you, You. But you ruined it with the cliche ending and unsurprising reveals. At the end I even started resenting the way you are written in second person. 

I’m not going to lie, I have had this book on my TBR since forever and I always found the synopsis so gripping. It’s not every day that you can enter the mind of a stalker who falls in love with “the girl next door”. I’ve always been captivated by twisted characters and this time was no different. But Joe kind of disappointed me. It wasn’t anything special, just a guy who goes really over the top about people he loves. Badshit crazy over the top, but predictable. 

I expected him to do everything he went on to do.

In fact, I was surprised by Beck. She was a real bitch actually. Obviously, she never deserved what happened to her, but she was brutal with her lying and cheating. If I was Joe, I’d be a bit upset too. Not as upset, I mean, the guy is bonkers… 

“The only thing cruller than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly. Only a monster would lock a bird in here and call himself an animal lover.”

I am not sure what exactly I was expecting, but the book didn’t have it. That wow factor maybe. Or I was maybe missing the tension about someone figuring out who / what Joe is. Maybe it was Beck’s perspective I was missing, to understand her better. I never knew if I could trust the girl. And this is where the masterpiece comes – this is where we realise how genius the author is. The writing made me root for Joe. Made me root for the crazy guy without a single doubt in my mind. This book is so twisted and clever that I liked Joe as a character, despite him being a proper psychopath. I knew he was the bad guy, and yet his excuses made sense – which prompted me to double question myself after numerous chapters. 

I was lacking some tension and action. The book kept me gripped with its twistiness in characters, but it didn’t impress me. I was waiting for the big finale that never happened and the ending was underwhelming to me. However, I’m still planning to read the rest of the series because I’m curious to find out what is next for Joe.

About The Author:

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence and…

You Love Me. Publishing in the US on April 6, 2021

Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up on Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles.

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Book Review · Books

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here is a beautiful story with a lot of lessons to give. It has a little bit of everything and just enough to keep you intrigued and melt your heart!

About The Book:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Luca Laine Thomas has lived in Parris Island all her life. And one year ago, she lost Polly, her best friend. Now there’s a new girl that moved into Polly’s house and the curse that surrounds this island strikes again. 

Young women keep being murdered and the cases remain unsolved. Now it’s Luca’s turn to do some investigating on her own and figure out what the hell is wrong with this island. 

Luca is such a refreshing character.

She is mixed-race, queer and plus sized, but most importantly, she’s hilarious, smart, and not afraid to stand up for herself. I was glad to see her embrace her mental health journey and show us how she is dealing with grief. She is not afraid to open about her feelings – and thank God for that – we need more Luca’s in our lives and on our pages, so that people start realising that talking about emotions is okay. 

The story is intriguing and captivating. Meeting a log of characters and having those parties on the island gave me some “We Were Liars” vibes. The chapters are short and the way they end prompts you to continue. I stayed up until 2am, finishing this book. 

“People lie about where they were when they don’t want anyone to know what they were doing and where they were doing it.”

I liked the mystery elements, although I think there were some flaws. Luca relied on just one source to give her clues, and if that source ceased for some reason, she wouldn’t have been able to reveal anything. Additionally, I think in real life, that person would never reveal anything at all, because of how it relates to them and the connection, in my opinion. And even though we get one reveal in the end, we don’t get answers to the old cases at all. There was supposed to be some connection between all the murders, and it was never entertained afterwards. It left me slightly disappointed from that point of view.

I liked the romantic connection Luca had, and how real it all was. Especially towards the end. It proves to show that you can love and care for someone so deeply, but still cannot forgive or forget if they hurt you bad enough. We don’t always get the happy ever afters. And maybe time will heal their wounds and destiny will guide them to each other again. We’ll never know, and we can only hope, and that’s the beauty of it. 

About The Author:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Rebecca Barrow is the critically acclaimed author of Bad Things Happen Here, Interview with the Vixen, This Is What It Feels Like, and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. She is a lover of sunshine, Old Hollywood icons, and all things high femme. She lives and writes in England. Visit her at www.rebecca-barrow.com

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Book Review · Books

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

I cannot believe it took me this long to finally mark Eragon as a read book. This book has been on my shelves for way too long and I am happy I finally got to it.

About The Book:

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 517

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Knowing how saturated the fantasy genre is today, I was apprehensive going into the book. The boy and the dragon story have been used very frequently. But as soon as I read the first few chapters, I was transported to Eragon’s farm in Carvahall, joined his adventure and never looked back. 

Eragon is just a boy on a farm, doing his bit to help his uncle. When one day he finds a shiny blue egg, he is sure he can sell it in town and buy food for the winter. But as soon as people find out he got it from the Spine, they want nothing to do with it. So Eragon decides to keep it for a bit, until he can find a buyer. When the egg cracks and a dragon is hatched, Eragon’s whole world is about to change. He knows a few things: he has a special connection with the dragon through his mind and he is in big danger. Along the way, an old man called Brom offers Eragon help and knowledge, and we find out so much more about dragons, Dragon Riders, magic and all the dangers Eragon Is about to face for being a Dragon Rider in his time, when the king is searching for him. 

From one adventure into another, the book is quite rich with action, stories, and interesting characters. I really liked Angela and the merecat, as well as the Twins. They seemed quite interesting, although I can’t say I trust them. I liked Brom and Murdoch too – their knowledge and experience in different topics intrigued me. 

The magic in Eragon was a cool concept.

I liked the Ancient language and the fact that you have to know certain words to cast a spell. I also liked that you cannot lie in the Ancient language, although I’ve seen that before in other lore that features elves. And I was also quite intrigued by the “true name” and the power it held, the possible duels and the rules on how magic works from a distance. The magic concept in Eragon intrigued me a lot and I loved that. 

Be prepared to watch Eragon learn about who he is now, his legacy and his powers. And watch him try to choose what allegiance he should aid, and how involved he wants to be. The Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility” rings very true in this book. 

Eragon’s dragon, Saphira, is also a big character. She has great powers and ancient wisdom, and together with Eragon they make a great team. They share a unique bond and I’m excited to see how they’ll grow stronger together. 

I will be continuing the series and pick up the second book in the series, Eldest. I am curious to know more about their adventures. If you haven’t read Eragon yet and love fantasy, I warmly recommend it. It made me forget I was a book reviewer for a long time. I was so captivated by the story I forgot to take notes and had to re-read some parts of the book later. Could not recommend it more!

About The Author:

Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

Visit Paolini.net for the latest news about this project and connect with other fans at Shurtugal.com, his Facebook page and Twitter profile

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Book Review · Books · Monthly Tags

Sweet Readings – A Reading Update

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update

Hello, you lovely lot! It has been a while since I posted, due to me being on holiday and then having severe internet issues, but I’m back now and ready to share my reading experiences with you. This sweet readings post is dedicated to some lovely brownies and will feature a reading update of all the books I have read this month.

The Best Brownies I’ve Ever Tasted

I don’t say this lightly, because I do love all things sweet. The team at Chummy’s Bakery were extremely kind and sent me a box of brownies that I devoured in a day! They came in different flavours: Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate, Nutella, Ferrero Rocher etc. and were quite delicious and melted in my mouth. Check out my unboxing video and order your brownies from them HERE.

@diaryofdifference

Thank you @chummysbakery for the delicious box of brownies! These #brownies are #yummy and #scrumptious – order yours today x

♬ Food – Fresh and Delicious – MuraMusicStudio

My Reading Update

During the past month, I have read 7 books, across multiple genres. I enjoyed all of them, some more than others, but they all were a unique reading experience to me.

Note To Self by Anna Bell

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. Note To Self by Anna Bell

Pages: 384

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: A wonderful story of a woman reading letters she wrote to herself 20 years ago. Very romantic and an absolute tear-jerker.

1984 by George Orwell

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. 1984 by George Orwell

Pages: 326

Genre: Fiction, Dystopia

Publisher: Penguin

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: Incredible journey of a book, and scarily this dystopian terrifying world has too many parallel points with how things are now with the world. George Orwell was way ahead of his time.

The Baker By The Sea by Paula White

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. The Baker By The Sea by Paula White

Pages: 40

Genre: Children’s, Picture Book

Publisher: Templar

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: Beautiful story about a boy who is the son of a baker. Amazing art and powerful message. There is also a recipe for Hot Coconut Buns that I haven’t tried yet, but will do.

Overland by Richard Kaufmann

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. Overland by Richard Kaufmann

Pages: 224

Genre: Travel

Publisher: Raz el Hanout

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: Intriguing travel book, featuring travelling by train. Read my full review HERE.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Pages: 517

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: I can’t believe I haven’t read this sooner. Epic adventure about a dragon, a young brave man and the fight for what’s right.

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

Pages: 352

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof, Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: Quite an interesting mystery, full of adventures, secrets, grief and the biggest battle a person can have – the battle with themselves.

The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning

Sweet Readings - A Reading Update. The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning

Pages: 334

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★

Thoughts: Fast-paced mystery about a woman carrying a lot of grief and her past catching up with her. For me, the ending had its flaws, but I can see people enjoying the story.

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