The Visitor – Ti Ca [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★

An interesting and complex piece of work that covers memory loss and family love tightly together. A short read, but also a missed opportunity of what could be a lovely novel, if developed in a better way.

It is Christmas Eve, but the furnace has gone out, the breaker needs to be reset and the cupboards are empty. In her cold house, Mrs. Langstrum is waiting for her husband to arrive from his quick trip to the store. As a snowstorm is approaching, Mrs. Langstrum gets worried. But just as she decides to get help, someone knocks on her door. A visitor. A stranger. But before she can tell him to go, he says he has news about her husband.

The blurb was the main reason I picked up this book. You sort of get the idea of what this book might be about. A mystery person arrives, and he has a story. The woman has a story, and the setting makes you curious about how this will continue to unravel.

The plot is complex, and even though it’s a very short book, the story went incredibly slow. The plot twist happened at the begging, and knowing this, I expected another one, as the beginning was obvious. In the end, when no other plot twists happen, and the book ends exactly how you thought it would end at the beginning, you are felt disappointed and unsatisfied.

I really loved the idea of the woman who has a memory loss, and a person that reveals information bit by bit. Going from other perspectives and back in time, it was a nice concept. I also really enjoyed the family relationships captured, and all the challenges openly discussed. We have some big taboo subjects here, and not many people are brave enough to openly talk about this.

However, this whole concept, and idea, was not delivered as it should’ve been, as it had the capacity to. There was room for more development, more work, and more plot twists.

Some parts are confusing, and it was nice that the story was so short and you could go back to it and re-read it, but is that really a good thing? Would we go back and re-read a 300-page book if it was confusing? I wouldn’t.

Purchase links: Amazon 

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Happy Girl Lucky (The Valentines #1) by Holly Smale – Blog Tour, Exclusive Book Extract, Competitions and More!

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BLOG TOUR, EXCLUSIVE BOOK EXTRACT AND COMPETITION

The first time I found out about Holly Smale was when my sister came to visit me and she gave me all these Geek Girl books and said I must read them. After reading the first one (click here to read my review of Geek Girl), I knew I loved the writing and I was a forever fan of Holly Smale. And now, a few months later, I was so lucky that I got the finish off this amazing blog tour, give you my thoughts of Happy Girl Lucky, share an exclusive extract of the book with you and have a competition for you to win 5 signed copies with 5 ‘The Valentines’ pop sockets.

To enter the competition, all you have to do is go over on my Instagram post and enter!

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GIVEAWAY TIME! I have the amazing opportunity to be a part of a blog tour, and finish it off with this amazing giveaway. The book: Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale, the first book from The Valentines series The prize: 5 Signed Copies with 5 pop sockets! (5 winners in total) HOW TO ENTER: Follow me – @diaryofdifference Follow Holly Smale – @holsmale Comment on this post, tagging three of your friends. (you can do this unlimited number of times) Additional Entries: Share this on your Stories (don’t forget to tag me, so I can note your entry) Share this on your Feed (don’t forget to tag me, so I can note your entry) Competition ends on 22nd February 2019, and I will announce the winners on 23rd February 2019. This competition is open Internationally! Good Luck Everyone! ❤

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BOOK REVIEW 

★★★★★

Happy Girl Lucky is the first book from The Valentines Series. This is a story about a famous family, The Valentines, who have been Hollywood stars for ages. Hope is one of the daughters of the famous couple, but she grows up without all that paparazzi attention and hype. It is a family rule not to involve their children into the famous world until they are sixteen. Hope can’t wait to turn sixteen and start living this amazing life.

Hope spends her teenage years as a normal girl – she steals clothes from her sisters and makes movie scenarios in her head. She reads her horoscope every day and knows what the magazines say is true. She is naive and funny and so unique. And when one day, her horoscope says she is on her way to finally meet her true love, she has to make everything possible to make this come true.

And when she meets this boy, we follow Hope’s adventures from touring London, to travelling to the US, to making decisions she never thought she could make. I loved how we are with Hope every minute of her journey and we watch her slowly grow and make us giggle.

Even though Hope gives the life of this story, and makes us all want to be friends with her, all of the other characters have their own little unique spark, which I loved so much.

A wonderfully written story, but also a very meaningful one. Holly Smale managed to perfectly capture some of the issues that some teenage girls are facing today. Living their own reality while their family lives a completely different world is not so uncommon, and girls need to know this. Sometimes, we wake in a reality we don’t know and think we are the ones to blame, but there is nothing wrong with you. All you ladies out there, you need to hear this. There is nothing wrong with you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are unique, and you should believe in what you are, who you are, and what makes you truly happy. And through Hope’s story, we can understand this so well, and I am forever grateful!

A fun and entertaining story, meant to capture all the teenage hearts out there. This is definitely a must-read for every girl out there, to find her true self and be happy for what she truly is.

My favourite scene in this book was the moment when Hope meets her ‘’dream boy’’ in the train, and I am sharing an exclusive extract of that chapter with you!

Click Here To Read The Exclusive Extract

Purchase links: Amazon | Harper Collins

I would love to chat with you, so let me know in the comments:

  • Is Happy Girl Lucky a book you might enjoy?

  • Have you entered the competition on Instagram?

  • Have you read any of Holly Smale’s books before?

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Pretty in Punxsutawney – Laurie Boyle Crompton [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

What happens when you get stuck in time, re-living the first day in your new school?

Andie is a teenage girl, who loves movies. She is the type of person that knows exactly what to say… after it’s too late to say it. She is quirky, cutishly nerdy, and adorable in a silly way. And when she moves to Punxsutawney (I don’t think I’ll ever pronounce this town correctly), on the first day in her new school, she gets caught up in an endless loop of having to re-live those 24 hours again and again.

As in the movies, she is convinced that the curse can be broken with a true love’s kiss, she goes on a mission to get the boy. But is he the right one? And is true love what breaks the curse?

Not knowing how to end the loop, Andie tries to get first kiss with a guy she thinks is her true love, and when that doesn’t work, she suddenly tries to make the different types of people hang out together and realise that it doesn’t matter how you look like, to be a good person.

I really loved the idea of the loop in a high-school theme, and that was the main reason that I wanted to read this book really badly. I also loved that the main idea of this book was that looks don’t matter, and don’t judge a book by its cover, but I think that the author took this meaning way too far into the book, and it became too unrealistic, that it was laughable.

I enjoyed the layout of the different types of kids in the school, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the goths, the school-paper girls, the nerds. They were all described very realistically, and I enjoyed the times when we would realise that prejudice doesn’t matter. I can relate to a lot of this, because I was hanging out with both nerds and jocks in my high-school times, being a sports person and being a ‘’weirdo’’ that wants to read at the same time.

I also somehow managed to like the movie references, even though at moments, they are too overwhelming, and sometimes completely unrelated to the plot in place.

What I didn’t like, is how Andie kept changing in order to fit, how her behaviour changed, and her mindset during different days. I did not like this at all. I think that a person should always keep being themselves, no matter who they talk to. Doing the thinks she kept doing, only to be liked by one guy was miserable. Ladies – you are beautiful, no matter what you wear or how you do your hair. If that guy really likes you, he wouldn’t care about all these things and he would see within.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In retrospective, this was an enjoyable read. I am glad I read it, but somehow I think I might’ve been too old to read it now. But for you guys that are still in high-school, or love reading about high-school,  this one is definitely worth your time.

Thank you to Netgalley and Blink, for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

‘’In the beginning, Orisha was a land where the rare and sacred maji thrived. Each of the ten clans was gifted by the gods above and given a different power to land.’’

It is not every day that you encounter a book that lets you dive in a world of magic, with such intensity as Children of Blood and Bone. A story so beautifully written, that you forget this is not the real world and you are in a fantasy story. This is one of the books I wish I could keep reading it for the first time again and again.

When majis are born with white hair, it means that they are touched by the Gods. They are called Diviners, and when they celebrate their thirteenth birthday, they have the ability to use magic.

Zelie still remembers how Orisha used to have magic. Different clans existed, and they could all control different things: air, water, earth… But Zelie also remembers the night when everything went wrong. When the king and the army came and killed hundreds of people. Zelie remembers, like it was yesterday, how on that night they brutally killed her mother. The night when magic disappeared forever.

And when Zelie realises that she is one of the very few people that can still use magic, and return magic in Orisha, she goes on a quest with her brother. With the help of a princess that escapes the castle, she has to learn to control her magic powers, and also her feelings for an enemy she mustn’t trust.

‘’I longed for the day I would feel the magic of the dead in my bones, but right now all I can feel is an unnerving tingle in my veins.’’

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The world is so well created, and the characters are all loveable and adorable. The magic story in this book is unique and I loved getting to know more about all clans, what they can do, and reading about people realising they have magic in themselves.

Zelie, as a character, is the protagonist, as all adventures are revolved around her, but the other characters are as much as important, if not in some cases, more important than her. She is a character that many of us can relate to. A person that has been denied the sole purpose of existing. A person that has suffered, because of other people’s choices. For Zelie, this was the denial of magic to her and her people, but for others it could be just anything. What I loved the most was the bravery that she showed, even though inside her she would be so scared. It felt as if fear itself made her to be brave. And I have felt that many times. Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice, but to be brave, no matter how scared you might be.

Then, we have Zelie’s brother, Tzain, who is always the more cautious one and tries to (unsuccessfully) keep Zelie out of trouble. He has so much love for Zelie in his heart and is always the one throwing himself out there to protect her. If I ever had a brother, I would wish for him to be Tzain. I couldn’t explain the love and connection they have together with Zelie. It’s so beautiful!

Then there is Amari, the princess that doesn’t agree with her father’s choices, and decides to follow her heart. I think I loved Amari the most out of all characters, as she was my true hero. Raised in a world of ruthless cruelty, and forced to do things she doesn’t want, her father, the king, always believes that she is weak, and incapable of defending herself and ruling a kingdom. And out there, with Zelie and Tzain, is where Amari finds her true self, and the moment she does is the best scene in this whole book, the beauty of a woman being so powerful, only because she was being belittled her whole life.

‘’It’s like seeing her for the first time: the human behind the maji. Fear embedded in the pain. Tragedy caused in Father’s name.’’

And in the end, we have Inan, the most controversial character in this book. The son of the king, and brother of Amari, dedicated to follow his father and rule the kingdom, but struggling between what is right and wrong. When he realises he has magic as well, he can’t confess, as his father kills those who have magic, but meeting Zelie, he is not so sure anymore of what really is happening in his kingdom, and has to make a decision on whose side he wants to be.

‘’The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known.’’

I loved how the story is focused on both worlds:

The world of Zelie and Tzain, where they live in small town with their father, they have to pay incredible amount of diviner tax, and the taxes get more and more expensive, and become impossible to be paid, so people have to go and do free labor for the king, never to be free again. They are faced with such unfairness and cruelty, but their families and the people in the village are sticking together to survive through everything.

And then we have the world of Amari and Inan, and the King. A world where magic is forbidden and all people that can use magic are being slaughtered. A world where being fierceless and cruel means that you are strong enough to lead a kingdom, and protect Orisha.

The only remark I have on this book were the acknowledgements. As much as I respect that story being told, and appreciate it with all my heart, I also really wished I haven’t read that part as it changed the story in the end for me, in a negative way. As I truly believe that every single person has the ability of magic in themselves. Every single person is powerful, and we all should be Diviners! And Inan having the ability himself proves my point on this as well.

A story about the battle of magic and friendships, a story about wins and losses, a world where magic lives in every single one of us. A world where we all belong. A masterpiece, this is. And a powerful one as well.

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Awaken (Northern Witch #2) – K. S. Marsden [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Awaken is book 2 from the Northern Witch Series. Read my review for Winter Trials, book one in the series.

I have enjoyed reading the first book, and I was so eager to get to the second one. This is a story about a young boy Mark and his grandma, who is a witch. This is also a story about Damien, a new guy in town, in which Mark falls in love with.

The second book starts where the first book left off. Mark and Damien have feelings for each other, but Damien is a danger to himself and others, and grandma will try to fix this with her power.

The book is a short and fast read. It is fast-paced, and I kept spinning the pages intensely. It brings you the feelings of home, and winter times, and family moments, and high-school memories. It has all the good vibes put together neatly.

The high-school romance was an addition to the book, and it was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed it a lot, even though we didn’t see as much romance in this book as we do in book one.

And then, there is the word ‘’Dunno.’’ A word that I don’t really mind, unless it’s used too often. And it bothered me, I will admit it.

But then, there was Nanna – a character full of light and power that pierces through. A character full of wittiness, giving life to each scene unlike any character can. A woman I so greatly admire, for her love and dedication to the family, and unconditional love and teaching towards her grandchild.

I read about magic, and high-school, more about high-school than magic. I wish there were more romance scenes, and was terrified when the book finished the way it did. I was afraid, and happy, and excited and sad, and not to forget, annoyed, but this book gave me all the right feels at times, and all the wrong ones too.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It has never been harder to judge a book in-between this space of annoyance and love, and I am struggling. But I love Nanna too much.

I would recommend you to read this (or the first book in the series, if you haven’t yet). If you enjoy LGBT high-school romance and witchcraft adventures, this one will be a pleasurable read for you.

Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

If someone offered you $500 to answer a few personal questions and stay anonymous, would you do it?

The makeup artist, Jessica Farris goes into a client’s house to do her job. Just the usual. And then she hears her teenage client mentioning the survey that gives you huge amounts of money for a few anonymous questions. When the teenager says she won’t be able to attend, and she is too lazy to let them know, Jessica decided to use this chance and go instead.

But what happens when after a  few simple questions a woman starts telling her deepest secrets? And the money will increase, but so will the difficulty of the tasks she needs to do.

”It’s easy to judge other people’s choices.”

I was hyped about this book before I even started to read it. I read the synopsis, and it intrigued me from the very first moment. Of all the mysteries and thrillers, I have enjoyed the psychological the most. Something about how a twisted mind works triggers my pleasure senses. It’s creepy, but I wish you all get that feeling for a genre.

Right after the first chapter of the book I was satisfied, and happy. This book was all I needed right then, and it just kept getting better and better.

We get to meet Jessica and see how she thinks, follow her as she answers question after question, revealing secret after a secret. With each question, and each task, and each secret being revealed, the book kept becoming darker and darker, better and better.

It reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with the content getting darker after time. If you remember the first Harry Potter book, it is Children’s fiction, but the significantly darker compared to the first. Same happens with the movies as well.

I loved the questions that were asked on the survey – they are really meant to make you think through and try and give your answers.

Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

The relationship between the people in this book is twisted. It’s all about playing games. It’s all about the cat and mouse chase. As much as I loved it, it also annoyed me at times, as I wanted it to stop.

The twists, cliff hangers and unexpected moments were brilliant. Pure skill, I tell you that. I haven’t been so surprised, excited, thrilled at the same time by any book I’ve recently read.

And with such twisted moments, and thrills throughout the book, and chapters ending leaving you breathless, you would expect the most thrilling ending.

I did. I expected it.

And I was very disappointed. It ended… rather bland. Like a Sunday Roast without gravy.

”We all have reasons for our actions. Even if we hide the reason from those who think they know us best. Even if the reasons are so deeply buried we can’t recognise them ourselves.”

I have a hard time judging this book now, as it was all hype and thrill, until it stopped dead. Maybe the authors wanted to ensure that we experiences exactly this feeling – I am not sure. Maybe for such a twisted book, calmness is all it needs to end with. I’ll leave this judgement up to you, as you experience the book and its ending on your own.

At this time, I feel like giving it 4 stars, as the ending was the only things that bothered me. This book is still a gem, and deserves to be read by people that enjoy psychological thrillers.

This book comes out on 7th February 2019, so make sure you pre-order your copy.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble (signed copy)

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

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The Last Seven Months Of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★

When I went to the library to pick up the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I also picked up this book. I wanted to learn more about her last months, as Anne didn’t write in her diary after she was found and brought to the camps.

If you, just like me, are looking for books to help you find this info, please skip this one.

The title is completely misleading, as Anne Frank is barely mentioned in the book, and these women that claim to know her seem to not have known her at all. If I see a person on the far end of the fence, or sit together while the guards are counting us, I wouldn’t consider them a friend. Just a fellow unfortunate companion.

Don’t get me wrong – these six women, that went through all this traumatized period, and are brave enough to tell the story are worth mentioning, and are worth of great recognitions. And this book is also a great value to history of what happened in those cruel places.

But when people use a famous person’s name in order to sell a book, on such painful basis, this is beyond me to comment, so I will leave it to you to make a conclusion on your own.

Among this part, the stories of these six women were heartbreaking, and so well-described, it felt as if I was there for a moment. The things they went through and the families they lost is so sad.

I also liked the old images that were in the middle of the book. They added a real image to the words.

If you want to read more about Anne Frank – choose another book. But if you want to find out about other people’s stories from this time period – grab this book.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

I love the idea of time travelling and I love the idea of time travelling books. That is the main reason why I chose to read this ARC copy. The synopsis sounded intriguing, and the cover was gorgeous. I don’t have much experience reading time travelling books. I still believe the synopsis is intriguing and the cover is gorgeous, but I am not satisfied with the feelings this book left me, after I read the last chapter.

The story begins when four ladies in the early 1960s work together and build the first time travel machine. And they are surrounded by curious people and media, and one of them has a breakdown and is expelled from the project, as she is a risk to herself and others. But they don’t just exclude her from their project, but from their whole lives, and time travelling altogether.

”Sometimes we want proximity and a crowd gives us the excuse.”

And many years after, when time travelling is something everyone knows about, secrets start to be revealed, little by little, and a murder happens without explanation. A few young women, completely unrelated and with different missions will try to get their way into the whole time-travel business, and try to figure the answers to their questions.

In The Psychology of Time Travel, one is certain – you will flow through time and places like never before. One chapter it’s 1967, and the next one, it’s 2015. You will meet a lady and her young self, her old self, and her current self, all at one place, talking to each other, or simultaneously performing a dancing act. You will get to see a world very well created, a complex structure of how time travel might work, and details that you wouldn’t thought of checking twice.

I couldn’t connect to any character. Maybe there were too many. The chapters were very short, and they travelled through years so quickly, that I couldn’t catch up. Catching up with the plot of a book, and figuring out what is going on while being presented things so fast is very frustrating. It’s like watching a movie in a foreign language, the subtitles being your only way of gathering information, and they disappear instantly, without you having a chance to understand.

The romance in this book was another thing that bothered me. While we get a lot of romantic relationships going around, one particularly threw me off my feet. A love story where one girl is in love with another. This is the completely realistic part. But the unrealistic one was that one girl lives in the present, and the other is a time-traveller in the past – so even though they are currently (technically) the same age, in reality one is in the mid 20s, and the other in the mid 80s. I couldn’t process this, or agree with it.

”You couldn’t get involved with someone who spent most of their life in a different time period from you.”

I am sure I would have loved the characters, have I had more chances to get to know them. They showed signs of bravery, and goals and hopes for a better tomorrow, with a spark unlike any others. But it all lasted so short, before we switched to another character, and so on.

Even though this one didn’t work for me – I still encourage you to give it a go, if you are a fan of time travel. The idea of time travelling is very well done, and deserves to be discussed.

 Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for providing me an ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s to better books, and here’s to a better tomorrow! 

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The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman [BOOK REVIEW]

The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman book review diary of difference books classic novel short story goodreads

★★★★

I haven’t read much classic reads this year, and a few days before the end of 2018, I decided to go for a classic short story, and I chose The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

This classic has been written by a woman in the 19th century. A time when women weren’t treated the same way as today. A difficult time, where women couldn’t express their opinion as they wished, but they were suppressed by the male authority in the family.

When The Yellow Wallpaper came out, it was considered a Gothic Horror Tale. It is hard to believe for me, knowing the world we live in today, and how we, as women can express our opinions openly. But back in the days, this is how it was. It wasn’t easy for the woman, and I am glad we have a lot of brave women from that time, that gathered the courage to tell stories for the next generations.

This is a story about a woman, who seems to suffer of post-partum depression (a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth). She has been forced by her husband and doctor to stay in her room until she is ”mentally capable” again to take care of her baby. I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain and suffering of not being allowed to see and hold your unborn child. And people thought this was okay?

The woman is constantly staring at the yellow wallpaper and the window, constantly reassuring herself that this is all happening for her own good, and that the husband and doctor know best, until a point where we are not actually sure if she is in her right mind anymore.

She starts to see a woman inside the wallpaper, and believes the woman is struggling to break free. I loved the metaphor used, as her subconscious knows she is trapped, and the end is so painful to read, but oh, so powerful.

Even though such a short read, The Yellow Wallpaper is an impressive view on cultural traditions, and the position of women in the family. A classic and a must-have for every woman!

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Do you know any stories similar to this? I would love to explore them?

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All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

A beautiful story about families, love, betrayal, the difference between the rich and poor, and a girl that tries to discover what happened to her missing mother, while discovering herself.

Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for – a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends, and top grades a privileged boarding school. But Charlie’s never been interested in what most people want. Like all Calloways, she’s been taught that she’s different, special – better. So when her school’s super-exclusive secret society extends a mysterious invitation, Charlie’s determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.

But their secrets go deeper than she knows.

Charlie finds herself thrust into the centre of a decades-old mystery – one that implicates her family in not one terrible crime, but two. Uncovering their past may destroy everything she knows – or give her the answer she’s always craved: Who or what was behind her mother’s disappearance ten years ago?

I haven’t heard about this book until I received it as a birthday gift from my sister. The cover is just – gorgeous! You can feel the raindrops on the cover, and the sides are painted black, and you can read out ”I KNOW”. They have been thinking of all the little details.

The story is a bit slow at the beginning. It took me a while to get into it, as they delay the plot for a while, but once you get past that little hill of boredom, it gets better and better. I could imagine myself climbing a mountain with my bike, struggling while climbing, just so I can enjoy the great fast downhill and wind in my face.

The story is told by many people’s perspective, and it changes after each chapter. The amazing thing was, the stories go back in the past as well, but the story keeps flowing in one direction, event by event, which I really enjoyed. If this was poorly made, the book would’ve been so confusing, but fortunately, it wasn’t.

Even though I didn’t expect, this turned out to be a great mystery-solving novel, with wonderful and unexpected plot-twists, and a cliffhanger until the end. Is the mother dead or alive?

Many of the topics covered are very relatable. The difference between children raised in rich families versus the children raised in not-s-rich families. Their thoughts and mindsets, their beliefs, and the people they hang out with. And when a girl like Charlie, who has a father from a rich family and a mother from a poor family, is on the cross-road, it is amazing to see this character develop and make choices for herself, that reflect on both her backgrounds.

A lovely read, fast-paced novel, with a beautiful cover and even more beautiful reading material, this is one of the stories that I would recommend for you to read on a rainy day, covered in a blanket, with a hot chocolate – despite the summer theme on the cover, this was a winter book for me.

Purchase links:

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

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