Book Review · Books

Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer [BOOK REVIEW]

Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so privileged to have an advanced reader’s edition of “Some Mistakes Were Made” by Kristin Dwyer. Huge thank you to the team at Harper 360 YA.

About The Book:

Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 374

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Publisher: Harper 360 YA

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

Ellis and Easton have been inseparable since childhood. Everything they do, they do it together. And Easton’s family also takes Ellis into their home due to her personal circumstances. But one rash decision changes everything, and Ellis is forced to move halfway across the country. It’s been a year now and Ellis hasn’t spoken to Easton. And maybe it’s better that way – allowing the heart some time to heal. But when Easton’s mum invites her back home for a visit, Ellis is quickly surrounded by the anger, sadness and betrayal she felt a year ago. And also with the boy she never stopped loving!

My Thoughts:

I was bawling my eyes out whilst reading “Some Mistakes Were Made”. Easton and Ellis really captured my heart. I could feel all their teenage angst, anger, sadness, love and the pain of a broken heart, especially when that happens to be your first love.

“Easton is a habit I can’t break. A feeling I can’t let go of. A truth I only admit in my weakest moments.”

This book reminded me of feelings I felt years ago, and took me back to a time when I could feel exactly how they were feeling, and for that, I shall cherish this book!

“And I have to be careful because memories are like rain. A harmless drop here and there falling against my mind, then suddenly, I’m standing beneath a flood.”

Ellis and Easton have this intense chemistry between them, and when they are not together, the love transforms into great pain and suffering for both of them. How Kristin Dwyer managed to capture all those vibes into the pages of this book I will never know, but I am here for it.

Ellis was also a very powerful character.

Reading about her story and her family, I had so much love for her. Making choices like those is difficult, and dealing with things she dealt with was not easy at all. I unfortunately, may have had the misfortune in my life to find similarities there. I am glad she had Easton to be there for here, even though for only a moment. And not only Easton, but his brothers too. They are, honest to God, angels in every sense of the way. I love how they accept Ellis into their family and never stop caring for her!

“Old people say all the time that they wished they’d travelled when they were young. Let’s go on an adventure. Let’s see the world and meet interesting people and eat weird food and live a life that’s bigger than this house and a lake and your parents and my parents.”

When I picked this book up, I was expecting teenage romance. And I got so much more! Little did I know, this book would make me feel so many things and bring me back my high school memories in such a vivid way. Be ready for a story that features love, suffering, resilience, family, teen angst and a better hope for the future! I cannot recommend it enough!

About The Author:

Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer [BOOK REVIEW]

Kristin Dwyer grew up under the California sun and still prays every day for a cloudy sky. When she’s not writing books about people kissing, she and her spouse can be found encouraging their four overly opinionated misfits to get into trouble. Kristin is a part-time hair model and wants you to know she is full-time TSA PRECHECK, and one time a credible news outlet asked for her opinion on K-pop (it was the best day of her life). Please do not talk to her about your fandom, she will try to join.
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Book Review · Books

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire [BOOK REVIEW]

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire [BOOK REVIEW]

Middlegame has easily become, and will stay for a long time, one of my ultimate favourite books of all time. I am so glad I won it as a giveaway, as otherwise this book may never have found me. 

About The Book:

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 528

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publisher: Tor

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

About Middlegame:

I went in unprepared, and loved the experience I was introduced to. I read the synopsis, but the book didn’t do it justice. There is so much going on that one blurb could never be able to explain. You will get to meet twins Roger and Dodger. Roger is very good with languages and stories. Dodger is amazing with maths. Numbers come so easy for her, and they are her world. Roger and Dodger are not actually human, although they don’t know it. The bond they have between them is special, and it serves a special purpose in the world. They are two pieces in a puzzle, and need each other’s abilities to unlock their full potential. 

“The unspoken pieces of language are sometimes the most painful.”

And even though they’re twins, they live in separate states and can communicate in a unique way. This was actually one of the most intriguing parts for me – I loved how they get to know each other and start communicating, and also how throughout the years, despite all the challenges, they keep finding their way to each other. 

“Heredity is not only in blood. It is in the sympathetic vibration of the universe, in the places where atom becomes alchemy.”

Roger and Dodger were created by Reed, an alchemist, who has goals of his own. His plan is to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own. I particularly liked Reed’s chapters. I enjoyed these, as they show a much larger picture of the motives behind what he is doing and to learn more about what the Doctrine is.

“Ignorance is bliss, or at least ignorance leads to better choices: ignorance doesn’t try to account for the costs and consequences of a hundred doomed timelines every time it takes a step.”

My Thoughts:

As I said, the blurb doesn’t do this book justice, in fact, it will probably confuse you rather than offer an explanation. But Middlegame is so much more than that! If I could recommend one thing, it would be to dive into the story without knowing too much. Everything will be explained properly as you start reading, and it will all make sense, unlike my notes of the blurb.

“But what is perfection, really, if not the act of winning?”

For me, diving into Middlegame transported me into another reality, where alchemy resembles magic. It has been a while since a book did that to me from the first chapter and that is one of the reasons I will remember this book. Middlegame starts with an “end of the world” type of way, and then we go back in time to find out what led to this moment

“Time is like skin: it can scar if you cut it enough times.”

The other fascinating thing for me were the excerpts from “Over the Woodward Wall” by A. Deborah Baker. Deborah Baker was an alchemist and she created Reed. After finishing the book and doing some research, it turns out that this is a real book. And the author, A. Deborah Baker, is a pen name for Seanan McGuire. What an incredible thing to do – I am still in awe of this fact.

As for Seanan McGuire, I have nothing but praise! For all the feelings Middlegame evoked from me. For the incredible writing and for hiding a book within a book. And an author within an author, within a character. I will be definitely continuing “Alchemical Journeys” and reading “Seasonal Fears”, the second book in the series, as well as “Over the Woodward Wall”. 

“In the same ordinary town, on the same ordinary street, lived two ordinary children who had never quite managed to cross paths.”

From “Over the Woodward Wall” by A. Deborah Baker

About The Author:

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire [BOOK REVIEW]

Seanan McGuire is an American author and filker. McGuire is known for her urban fantasy novels. She uses the pseudonym Mira Grant to write science fiction/horror and the pseudonym A. Deborah Baker to write the “Up-and-Under” children’s portal fantasy series.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Game by Scott Kershaw [BLOG TOUR]

The Game by Scott Kershaw [BLOG TOUR]. The Game is definitely one of those books that instantly grabs your attention.

A very big thank you to the team at HQ Stories, for sending me a copy of The Game by Scott Kershaw. Make sure you follow the other mentioned bloggers above for their reviews of this book. The Game is definitely one of those books that instantly grabs your attention.

The Game by Scott Kershaw [BLOG TOUR]. The Game is definitely one of those books that instantly grabs your attention.

About The Book:

The Game by Scott Kershaw [BLOG TOUR]. The Game is definitely one of those books that instantly grabs your attention.


Pages: 429

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

As soon as I read the synopsis, I wanted to know what this game is all about. We are introduced to five people, and someone they love goes missing and they receive a message to start playing the game. There can only be one winner and they cannot share this message or seek help from anyone. If they lose this game, their loved one will die.

My Thoughts:

The first half of the book feels like a prolonged introduction. There is a slight issue with pacing, due to us reading five chapters for five different characters, all having to do the same few tasks. For example – they need to buy a prepaid phone and come to a certain location.

Whilst this is great in terms of character building, and us understanding each character’s back story, at times it felt like a recycled content. Once the game officially starts, my reading experience improved significantly. There is a lot of tension and uneasy atmosphere that I quite enjoyed. We discover a lot of secrets about the players and see how each of them deals with the situation they are into.

Writing this review now, it’s extremely hard to not reveal anything. The big reveal was very unexpected, that’s all I will say! It took me by surprise still, even though I had my suspicions and picked up on a few clues along the way. The ending was dark and twisty and it was interesting to see the aftermath of everything. A lot of questions were raised regarding morality and taking responsibility of small decisions that may have a huge impact in the long run. There are definitely a lot of topics for discussion, and I can see this book being a great pick for a book club. It kept me glued from start to finish. The game aspect of the book satisfied me and the gripping ending was a masterpiece. Don’t miss this one out, despite its difficult beginning.

The Game is Scott Kershaw’s debut novel, although his writing doesn’t feel like a debut author’s writing. I will definitely keep Scott on my radar and look out for his next books.

About The Author:

The Game by Scott Kershaw [BLOG TOUR]. The Game is definitely one of those books that instantly grabs your attention.

Scott Kershaw lives in Lincolnshire, in a Victorian cottage that was formerly ruled by mice. He likes the crackle of vinyl, the smell of paperbacks, the taste of a stiff drink and the view from a front row barrier. He’s getting too old and heavy for crowd-surfing, but that rarely stops him from trying. His first real love was cinema. His beagle, Darwin, is the one true king of dogs. As a child, Scott believed in monsters. Sometimes he still does. The Game is his debut thriller.

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Book Review · Books

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun [BOOK REVIEW]

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun [BOOK REVIEW]

First of all, I want to say thank you to the team at Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun for me to read and review. This book was truly a unique reading experience.

About The Book:

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 176

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★/★★

Synopsis:

There were a few reasons why I was interested in this book. The vivid colours on the cover shouted radiance and mystery. The title is intriguing and I was wondering how it connected to the story. The synopsis starts off as a thriller, but dives into the unknown. And finally, I love exploring translated works because I always learn something new.

Lemon is a story that features the murder of a 19-year-old Kim Hae-on. Known as the High School Beauty Murder, there are instantly two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, a rich kid in whose car Hae-on was last seen, and Han Manu, a delivery boy who witnessed Hae-on in Shin Jeongjun’s passenger seat. When no evidence can be pinned on both boys, the case goes cold.

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a mystery thriller, I’m afraid this book is not it. We may or may not find out the truth behind the murder. It doesn’t even matter. What we will definitely see though, is the aftermath. The lives this murder impacted and how they are getting on seventeen years after the murder.

Although this murder is the big event that drives everything, Lemon actually focuses on the people that survived. 17 years after the murder, the grief takes a big toll on Hae-on’s little sister, Da-on. Da-on is struggling to move on with her life. She lives more in the past than she does in the present. She even does some very dramatic things, all in the hope to be able to find out what happened to her older sister and move on.

“Death carves a clear line between the dead and the living,’ she said in a solemn tone. ‘The dead are over there and the rest of us are over here. When someone dies, no matter how great they were, it’s like drawing a permanent line between that person and the rest of humanity. If birth means begging to join the side of the living, then death has the power to kick everyone out. That’s why I think death, with its power to sever things forever, is far more objective, more dignified, than birth, which is the starting point of everything.”

I felt for Da-on. She felt she had a responsibility all her life. And she feels like she failed to protect her sister. I also felt for their mum. It was interesting to find out about her believing in bad omens. When Hae-on was a baby, she was supposed to be called Hye-eun. But the dad called her Hae-on due to his accent and this name stayed. Because of this, the mother thinks her daughter’s destiny has also changed. After Hae-on dies, the mum tries to change her name, but they won’t allow it. That scene was very heartbreaking. But it also made me wonder. I’ve never thought to ask that question before. Can you actually change a deceased person’s name? I tried to find information on this (specifically for the UK), but I wasn’t able to find anything, so I am assuming it’s not possible.

Aside from Hae-on’s family, we get to know more about the lives of the two suspects at that time. And also some of Hae-on’s classmates. It is very notable that this murder has a huge impact on a lot of people, and they all deal with it very differently. In some of the scenes where Da-on meets with these people, you can notice the awkwardness and rawness is still present, even after years have passed.

Even though it’s not the most suspenseful fiction novel, I still recommend it. I read it in a day and it did keep me intrigued. It was a different take on an aftermath of a murder, and I enjoyed it. I also learned a few new things, which I always cherish in my reading adventures!

About The Author:

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun [BOOK REVIEW]

Kwon Yeo-sun was born in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea in 1965. Kwon enjoyed a brilliant literary debut in 1996 when her novel Niche of Green was awarded the Sangsang Literary Award. At the time, novels that reflected on the period of the democratization movement in South Korea, were prevalent.

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Book Review · Books

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW]

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

If you are looking for an inclusive picture book that also has beautiful illustrations and thought provoking stories, and you also want to help children in Ukraine, please look no further and grab Maya and Her Friends!

About The Book:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 


Pages: 68

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Publisher: Studio Press (imprint of Bonnier books)

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

Nine-year-old Maya goes to school in Ukraine and has sixteen classmates, all with different home backgrounds. As she introduces us to each of her friends, she shares an important message about love, respect, and what means to be a family.

All publisher profits will be donated to charities helping to protect the children of Ukraine.

My Thoughts:

Maya and Her Friends is a book by Ukrainian human rights activist and author Larysa Denysenko. The author wrote the introduction whilst hiding in Kyiv, and the book itself is a beautiful story about acceptance and tolerance in a country deeply affected by conflict.

I couldn’t help but read the first few pages, and I was so intrigued by Maya and her friends that I couldn’t put the book down until I finished. The tone of storytelling is very refreshing and gripping. We get to meet Maya’s friends from school and her teacher Yulia. Every child has a unique story. I was pleasantly surprised how inclusive and relatable these stories are.

I enjoyed the illustrations as well, and if you understand Cyrillic, or are in the process of learning the alphabet, you will have lots of fun seeing the children’s names written in Cyrillic – this being my main alphabet I really enjoyed the representation! The colours are vivid and the art style is very interesting too.

Maya has a very gripping voice of how she introduces her friends. And all friends share something interesting about them. We meet Hrystyna, who lives with her grandma, and Danylko, who doesn’t know who his father is. The twins Sophiya and Solomia, and the three Sophiyas that can cause some serious sophiyahavoc.

I warmly recommend this picture book! It’s funny and keeps you interested, I am sure children will love meeting Maya’s friends as well.

About The Author:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

Larysa Volodymyrivna Denysenko is a Ukrainian writer, lawyer, human rights activist, TV and radio presenter, and member of the PEN Ukraine.

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