The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton [BOOK REVIEW]

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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton book review books blog diary of difference

★★★★

Mind blowing and unputdownable, this is one of those mystery thrillers that will keep you up at night until you see how it ends!

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die every day until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

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Honestly, the first couple of pages, I didn’t know where this book was going and whether I am going to enjoy it at all. But as you go through the chapters and get familiar with the story, you realise how clever this book is, and you enjoy it like you have never enjoyed any other book before.

As a debut novel, Stuart Turton did an incredible job with this book. It starts slowly, and grows into a great story. We follow the main character Aiden through many bodies, day by day. The book is set into one place, one town, one house and its surroundings, and sometimes moves backwards and forwards in time.

If you love mysteries and closed escape room books, you will enjoy this book so much!

I have always admired Aiden. Even though all the bodies he was in tried to make him forget about who he really is, he would always fight so his character can flow on the surface! I loved the sacrifices he makes towards Anna, and their relationship.

The ending, the last 30 pages are so smart, amazing and perfectly wrapped up that I couldn’t believe I never noticed those clues.

I am giving it 4 stars out of 5, because, even though I really, really enjoyed it, it was extremely hard for me to follow the times and bodies, and I couldn’t get along with the stories and solve the mystery together with Aiden – I always felt like I was falling behind, that put me under stress.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, please grab a copy as soon as you can. This is the escape room mystery that we have all been waiting for!

I want to thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me an advanced reader e-copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

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Ignite (Midnight Fire #1) – Kaitlyn Davis [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

Kira Dawson has the power to burn vampires to a crisp. The problem is, she doesn’t know it yet. The even bigger problem is, she’s dating one.

When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they’re keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan’s lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heart-breaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.

Ignite was another book from Tea’s Wishlist challenge. I did enjoy this book, even though I found it slow at first. We have a familiar setting of a girl that moves to a new place, makes friends and enemies right away, and discovers secrets. And, it turns out the boy she loves is a vampire.

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The first though I have in the first chapters, and I believe you did too, was – Twilight much? But, no. Once you get to read further into the book, you realise that Kira is nothing like Bella. And Tristan is nothing like Edward either.

This book is so different, and somewhat refreshing from all vampire books I have read so far. It isn’t even a book about vampires. It’s a book about this girl that can mirror the sun’s light and heat from her hands, and is able to hurt only vampires. With her friend, Luke, Kira will discover that she has this ability, and so much more, she will discover secrets about her past that will change her life forever, and she will have to choose between her best friend or the love of her life.

I thought that this book might have used more action, as I felt a bit bored, especially at the beginning, and sometimes during some parts of the book.

I loved Kira’s character – she is the typical girl that moves and tries her best to fit in.

I loved Tristan – he proves that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and sometimes people aren’t what everyone thinks they are, and your environment doesn’t define you as a person.

I didn’t like Luke – I know he was there with a mission to tell Kira her secrets and protect her – but what friend would make you feel guilty about every single choice you have to make in your life. He is like, the very attached and overprotective boyfriend, that isn’t her boyfriend.

Overall, it was a great refreshing read, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. If you love vampire  high-school stories, women that discover they have powers, a lot of forbidden love and paranormal fantasy – you will really enjoy this book. Solid 4 stars from me!

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Fawkes – Nadine Brandes [BOOK REVIEW]

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Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is one of those books that draws you into a world, enlightens you with its magic, and then sends you back to reality, so you can enlighten others while you glow!

Nadine used the history of Guy Fawkes and the failed attempt to blow the parliament as a base to her story, that follows Guy Fawkes’s son, Thomas, into an incredible magical journey.

‘’A foundation of truth represents what life was intended to be.’’

Thomas is about to get his mask, that is supposed to make him control one colour. He also happens to be affected with the plague, that turns his face into stone. His family are all Keepers, and he, by default is a keeper too. But things are never that simple. What will happen when he might not get his mask, and the plague is about to kill him?

We follow the journey of Thomas through a first – person perspective. He feels incomplete when he has the plague, and all his life he is waiting to get his mask, and to be able to control a colour. Any colour, even though he prefers Grey.

Only with my mask could I bond with a color.

But on the day when he is about to receive his mask from his dad, he learns that his father is in London, and is not willing to come.

Scared for his life, and angry at his father, he goes into an adventure to find him. His father is Guy Fawkes, a Keeper that is involved in a Gunpowder plot, which will kill the whole parliament, and most importantly, the king of England, who is the cause of the plague!

Thomas joins the plot, knowing that this is the last chance for him to survive the plague! If the king is dead, the plague would be gone. But will it?

I never imagined a single moment of acceptance could reverse a year of bitterness and prejudice.

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Through Thomas’s eyes, we see a war between the Keepers and the Igniters. It might be a metaphor for the Catholics and Protestants, but I won’t go into this now. The Keepers were loyal to one color only, and Igniters wanted to control all colors. Igniters used the White Colour as a source to control all power. But White Color doesn’t obey like other colours do – the White Color makes people go crazy for power and glory. Something similar to the ring in Lord of The Rings.

‘’Igniters believe that for each Keeper that dies, one person is cured of the plague’’.

We see Thomas caught between two sides – the keepers want to be free of oppression, and the Igniters want to be free to use color speech as they wanted. On such a crossroad, Thomas wants to find the truth for himself. But there is no time, and not many people that he can trust.

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‘’You’ve given me your truth. I have to find it for myself for it to become mine. And curiosity is the first step’’.

On his journey, his relationship with Emma becomes stronger. She is an Igniter, and they share  different beliefs, and she also knows he has the plague. But she is still around, and she accepts his as he is. And Thomas, taught to always hide his face, because otherwise he would be killed by the Igniters, is able to relax around Emma. This will teach him to accept Emma as she is, once she tells him her secret.

I loved the character of Emma. She is a strong person, but unable to show her true self due to the fact that she is not like the others, that she is not the same. In this book it is also shown quite well how women were underestimated in the 17th century. How they were thought to be unworthy. The only bit I didn’t like about Emma is that, even though such strong character, she would have never fought for herself if Thomas wasn’t there to ‘’save’’ her.

This book is a lovely story about Thomas, and how he finds his true self, how he is not afraid to stand up for the things he believes in, how he learns that he shouldn’t be hiding his true self anymore and embrace his fears, as they might turn out to be the best things that ever happened in his life.

‘’Take a breath, Thomas. There has always been fear. There will always be fear. It’s up to us to stand tall, even when the fear demands we bow to it.’’

So yes, my lovely readers, I loved this book so much! I loved the magical moments, I loved how it turned out to be an amazing plot, based on real history events. I loved Thomas’s character, and I loved Emma. I loved Guy Fawkes as well, especially in the end of the book.

If you happen to love these types of books, please get your copy as soon as you can. You won’t regret it at all!

I have received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Cryptid – MIchael Kott [BOOK REVIEW]

Cryptid by Michael Kott is the second book of these series. It is a sequel to the Piasa, and you can find my review on that here. I have to admit and say that I didn’t enjoy Cryptid as much as I would like to, and you’ll find out why soon.

About the book:

Cryptid continues to tell the story of Sara, a girl that survives a car accident, when all her family dies. While in the first book she meets Mike, who gets her a job as his assistant in his adventures, in this book we will see Sara still maintaining that position, but a little bit from the background. When a few cats that look like leopards will appear at the museum, people start to get scared, and the police wants to shoot the animals. Then Mike and the team come to the rescue, to try and identify what the cats are, and save them from dying.

Review:

In Cryptid, we will be introduced to a couple new characters, some of which I happened to be very fond of (Hi Xenia!). The good thing for me was, that I could get a bit of a break from all the Sara moments. The thing I didn’t like was the fact that their background was too short and untold, and they kept making decisions based on the past that we didn’t know (I will mention Shannon’s decision here).

My favourite moments of the book, were, of course, those where Sara wasn’t there. Followed by my previous review of the Piasa, I sometimes like the character of Sara. But I  also couldn’t agree with her. I couldn’t understand her character, behaviour and decisions. Maybe it is because of my own childhood. I mean, luckily, I haven’t lost any of my family, but I have lived without both parents in those crucial years, raised by grandparents, while having a little sister to look after, and having an aunt similar to Pamela to guide me through my worst. But I was never this arrogant, self-centered and desperate for ME-ME-ME attention like Sara. Whoa, that lady really can push my limits sometimes.

The same goes with everyone around Sara that constantly tries to please her, and make sure she’s not upset.

And what is the reason that all of the characters are losing their shoes somewhere?

Unlike Piasa, in this book the focus is only on one big event, at two main places – the park and the museum. Apart from a few places in the introduction, the whole story keeps us around these places, which I particularly didn’t mind, but some people may or may not find it boring.

I was a bit sad because I really like Mike, and he wasn’t as present with his story as his was in the other book. I expected to see and learn a bit more of him.

Not to be all negative though, there were a few moments that I really enjoyed! I loved to read about the sisterhood of Pamela and Xenia, and the beginning of the book was fantastic. Xenia is also such an incredible character, and I really admired her. I also loved the explanations on the different kinds of cats and their latin names and meanings.

All in all, I am a bit sad to say that this will be a 3 out of 5 stars. Especially because the author, Michael Kott, is a dear friend of mine, and I greatly enjoyed the Piasa. I may have expected a bit too much of this book, that left me disappointed. But I do believe that some of you might greatly enjoy it! If you like Young-Adult fiction, and stories about mystery animals and cryptids, you will definitely enjoy this book!

Thank you Mike, for sending me a copy of the Cryptid, in exchange for an honest review.

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Wide Open – Amy Bodossian [BOOK REVIEW]

Wide Open is one of the few books of this kind. I personally am not a huge fan of poetry, and I don’t enjoy reading it too often, but sometimes a book comes and makes me wonder I act this way. Amy Bodossian truly wrote something beautiful and unique, and I look forward to reading more poems from her.

I have to say a huge thank you to Outside the Box Press, for letting me have a copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

Wide Open (Published by Outside the Box Press) is a book that contains poetry written about love and sex. Amy writes with so much emotion and oh, the feels! It can be very straightforward and harsh at times, and it can be warm and loving as well, and it is a perfect blend of feelings and emotions that make you see the art of love and sex in a completely different and unique way. In the book you can also see a lot of amazing illustrations made by Amy, which perfectly represent each poem.

I wouldn’t say I loved it, because I don’t easily love books, but I have to mention that this one did surprise me in a very pleasant way. It is incredibly open and very thorough, and I believe it deserves a place on your shelves as well. It makes your body shiver from her words in an unusual way, and it helps you realise to always keep your heart open – to new loves, to new experiences, to new adventures, to new opportunities!

How A Good Person Can Really Win – Pavan Choudary [BOOK REVIEW]

I have received ‘’How A Good Person Can Really Win’’ through Goodreads, in exchange for an honest review. I will honestly have to say that I had a very hard time finishing this book, and even that took me months, while I was reading other books inbetween. My full rating is 3 out of 5 stars and here is why:

  • About the book

How a Good Person Can Really Win is a self-help book that is supposed to help the good people to win in life. It is a book that is designed to show you how you can be one of those people that isn’t bad, but still be successful and prosper in life. The book is split into three parts, and it focused on both the bad and the good persona, comparing both sides and pointing out the differences between them.

  • The Good and the Bad

The thing that put me off this book a lot was the focus of the bad person. Yes – I do realise that the book is split into a half bad / half good part, and yes – I do realise that we need to see the difference. But when you consider yourself a good person, and have this book in your hands, that is supposedly made to make you realise how you can win, all you read is about how bad the bad person is, and the response (solution) to this is an advice for the bad man to change.

This has occurred on so many occasions, that made the book feel useless for me.

Even though I have to agree that the ending is focused on the good persona and there are actually a few tips on how you can win over the bad guys – most of the advices were for the bad people to not do those nasty things they keep doing.

So my question to the author here is: Who would be the target audience in the book? The logic answer is – the people that claim themselves as good-makers and believe in a better tomorrow. But what the book says is – a book that tells bad people what they are doing and how that is wrong in 100 different ways. Too bad that those people are not the ones reading the book.

On the other side though, I have to admit that there were many excellent examples of real life, and many situations that were realistic and relatable. There were a few very excellent advices as well, and I am sure that I have learned a few things from this book.

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Piasa – Michael Kott [BOOK REVIEW]

The author – Mr. Michael Kott sent me this book for an honest review! I honestly enjoyed reading every single page, and I couldn’t put the book down, which deprived me from some sleep a few nights. This is what I thought about PIASA:

This is a very warm story that covers the life of Sara, a young little girl (don’t call her that, she’ll get angry!). My apologies – a young fifteen-year-old lady that survives a car accident while her whole family dies. In times when destiny is hard to accept, she will get involved into resolving the mystery behind the legend of the Piasa, and this adventure might actually mean a new start in life for her!

For a lady of this age, this destiny is extremely hard to accept, and on top of that, she has a few scars that will mark that experience probably for the rest of her life.

Her life is not easy – she lost her family, and all of her belongings, and here she is now, at her Aunt Claire’s hotel, still unsure whether she is ready to move forward with life.

Sara is a very unusual character. I have to admit that at times, she would made me cringe. Some of the things she says and does doesn’t comply with my opinion, but there are things that I really loved about her. I loved the way she is coping with all the challenges she has, after everything that she’s been through, her ability to admire someone the way she admires Mike, to start believing again, even despite everything that happens around her, to seize the day and enjoy the moments that life can offer. I love how she would find hope even in the darkest of places.

Even though I really liked the character of Sara, my favourite character has to be Mike. The way he thinks, acts and motivates everyone around him is unique. Mike is one of the characters that will make you realise and question some of your decisions in life.

The only character I couldn’t connect to at all was Pamela. I honestly am not sure why – it might be that there weren’t too many situations involving her that would make me care.

The story hooks you onto it and it is hard to put it down. I have never heard about the legend of the Piasa before, and one part of me wanted to find out before reading the book. I am glad that I didn’t, as I found out slowly about it, page by page, and that is an experience that will stay with me.

I love how it is presented that life is so unpredictable in so many ways, that mysteries are all around us, and that we are able to move forward and win – only if we wish to believe that we can do it. And sometimes, we are in doubt, and that is when precious people come into our lives – it all happens with a reason.

The only thing I wish was different about ‘’Piasa’’ is that I could’ve read this amazing book way, way sooner, when I was fifteen. I can’t wait to read the second book of this series – Cryptid.

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