Book Review · Books

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

If you are looking to try a different take on mystery, All That’s Left Unsaid is a great book to start. It has the right amount of mystery and emotion to get you invested and keep you intrigued until the very end.

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 400

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis

Just let him go. These are the words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny–optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny–is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.

Returning home to Cabramatta for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by Denny’s case: a dozen people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.

Desperately hoping that understanding what happened might ease her suffocating guilt, Ky sets aside her grief and determines to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels back another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny, exposing the seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam, and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.

My Thoughts:

“You can’t be there for everyone. You can’t be everything to everyone. People will make their own choices, no matter what you do.”

My goodness, this book is beauty and heartbreak, brilliantly put together. It will hold a special place in my heart. All That’s Left Unsaid is quite close to me, not because Ky will lose a brother. I’ve never felt such loss and I hope to never feel it. But Ky speaks to me because of who she is and where she comes from. Being an immigrant myself, I could connect with Ky’s story in a way that I didn’t anticipate I would. I’ve read many books with this topic before, and didn’t quite click with a character in a way I clicked with Ky. The culture differences and the lost sense of belonging casts a shadow on every written page.

“When I’m away from Cabra, I feel like I’ve shed my own skin. But whenever I come back here, it’s like I didn’t shed anything at all. It’s like I’ve just flipped a switch, you know? And my old self was there all along.”

I devoured this book, because it entwined these motives into an interesting and emotional mystery. Ky is trying to find out who her brother has become in her absence from home. And why he is now suddenly dead. Everyone is keeping secrets and Ky is not sure who to trust.

“It wasn’t the punishment itself that Ky feared. It was the look. The look that said, I expected more from you. I’m disappointed in you. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

I also enjoyed how her past friendship ends up having a role in her present life. The author can portray broken relationships in a very relatable way. Drug abuse and drug dealing are a main topic in this book and they often come up – so please be aware if this may trigger you whilst reading.

“Would an explanation of why something was not done in the past make you feel better? Because if it would change your life for the better and put happiness in your heart, pull up a chair and I will explain everything I have never done.”

About The Author:

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That’s Left Unsaid is her first novel.

Website: https://www.traceylien.com

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Book Review · Books

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed!

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 391

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Black Swan – Penguin Books

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway… And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My Thoughts:

“There are three types of people in this world, Very. There are those who make the world worse, those who make no difference and those who make the world better. Be one who makes the world better, if you can.”

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read Away With The Penguins. I knew I wanted to read it during the winter season, though, and I am glad I did. The scenes of Antarctica and the stories about the penguins, especially out penguin Pip (Patrick) made me glad to be wrapped in a warm blanket.

Veronica is such a funny character!

I warmed up to her instantly, and I think if she were to ever team up with the gang from “The Thursday Murder Club”, she’s be a remarkable addition to the team. I loved how opening an old box and ready her old diary set her on a few new adventures that changed her life. It was interesting also having Patrick’s point of view in the book – Veronica’s grandson. There was an incredible contrast of lifestyles and personalities between him and granny. It created a realistic atmosphere and opened up a mystery I enjoyed reading so much.

Antarctica was beautifully described and when Veronica was there with the scientist, I could almost feel as if I was there with them too. With Veronica’s arrival, it was interesting to see how the scientists accepted her arrival and got used to her as time went on, but weren’t too keen at first. Their dynamic changed and Hazel wrote this amazingly. Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed! There was a lot of raw emotion, the guilt of time lost, of the things that never happened, of the life that just keeps on going and the years pass on by.

I couldn’t help by feel the loss that Veronica felt, reading about her part, and seeing how it intertwined with her present. It was incredible, though, her stubbornness to keep fighting and try to do good in the world. Her resilience. Alongside her, I loved watching Patrick grow as a person too – his journey was also not very easy. But together, these two polar opposites (pun intended) found each other when they needed a companion the most. The messages this book sends are powerful; about the penguins, the extinction of other animals, saving the planet. But also about love, life, joy, being brave and being one of those people that tries to make the world a better place. Avery warm recommendation from me!

About The Author:

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and Richard & Judy Book Club number one bestseller AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). Her third book, CALL OF THE PENGUINS, will be out in the UK this November and is available to pre-order. Hazel is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.

Website: https://www.hazelprior.co.uk/home

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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

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so thrilled to be joining the blog tour for “With This Kiss” by HQ Stories. If every time you kissed someone, you knew how they will die, would you have the courage to try and find love? “With This Kiss” by Carrie Hope Fletcher explores this in a sweet romantic fashion.

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

About The Book:

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 400

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★/★★

Synopsis:

When their lips touch, will she seal his fate?

From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die. But she’s never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was sixteen.

Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t… or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.

My Thoughts:

I chose to read “With This Kiss” by Carrie Hope Fletcher because the cover looked gorgeous, and it fit for my April Monthly TBR Prompt to pick a book with a beautiful cover. But it was actually the synopsis that really intrigued me to want to really read this book. I really like the idea of Lorelai’s ability to see people’s deaths when she kisses them. It was an idea that was well thought of and well developed throughout the book. I couldn’t help but think what would I do if I was in that situation.

Usually, when the main character is going through something in their life, I am able to relate to their thoughts and feelings. And I had my concerns that I won’t be able to with this book, because what Lorelai is going through is very fictional. However, I was wrong. I felt everything she was feeling. Through her story and experiences, I was able to understand why she makes the choices she does and it all makes sense. I also loved her friendship with Joanie. Joanie is a true gem and every person deserves a friend like her in their lives.

I really enjoyed how Lorelai and Grayson meet.

The book club scenes made me quite excited and I could instantly feel the geekiness from Grayson, that I adored! But there were too few of these scenes. I can’t help but feel that this book club was only introduced for Lorelai to meet Grayson, as well as for the author to introduce a trans couple. But where I felt the frustration was that neither the book club nor the trans couple were mentioned later on in the book. So I’m not quite sure what the author wanted to achieve with this. The other bit that was mentioned here was Lorelai’s passion about working on movie adaptations, which she briefly mentions twice of three times in the book, and nothing comes out of it.

Now let’s talk actual romance.

I loved their meeting and I was all up for the little teasing combined with geekiness. But then the couple slightly lost me, especially during the period when Lorelai wasn’t sure what to do, but also kept leading him on, promising to explain things and never did. I also refuse to believe someone would let two weeks pass by and not listen to their voicemails.

However, I still enjoyed the book a lot! It just wasn’t the romance I was hoping for. Instead, it was a beautiful journey of a woman that has unique abilities. Her struggles to find courage to be able to truly love someone. Her relationship with her family, who are able to offer much more that she was led to believe all her life. This book will make you feel all the feels – you will be rooting for Lorelai to go out there and fight for what she loves!

About The Author:

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

Carrie Hope Fletcher is an English actress, author and singer-songwriter.

Her debut book, All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully was published in May 2015. Her first fiction novel, On the Other Side was published in July 2016. Fletcher is well known for her YouTube channel where she shares videos about her life and her work as an actress and author.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery [BLOG TOUR]

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery! Huge thank you to the team at Mills and Boon, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About The Book:


Publisher: Mills and Boon

Pages: 385

Format I read it in: Paperback

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★

Synopsis:

When Daisy’s dad married Sage’s mum, Daisy was thrilled to get a new sister. Except Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

As a young girl, Sage found herself living in a palatial home where she didn’t belong. Intimidated by her new sister’s intelligence she used her popularity to put Daisy down. After their parents’ divorced, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled to Europe.

Years later, Daisy never expects – or wants – to see Sage again. But brought together by an accident involving the little sister they have in common they must learn to put aside their differences. Slowly the stepsisters begin to view the past through one another’s eyes and long buried secrets are revealed. Until their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences…

My Thoughts:

When I heard about the author, I knew I have heard that name before and I thought I have read some of her books. It turns out, I have “The Friendship List” in my library, but I haven’t read it yet. As soon as I finished “The Stepsisters”, I was full of regret that I haven’t read the other one as well. That is about to change soon.

The Stepsisters is such a relaxing novel, in the sense that it provides a certain sense of comfort while you’re reading it. I found myself flying through the pages. The stories intrigued me and every chapter ended with me wanting to read a little bit more. The beginning was a bit hard for me to get into. It felt like a lot of characters were introduced very quickly. However, as soon as you get through the introductory part, everything goes smoothly.

Even though the synopsis focuses on the two sisters, Sage and Daisy, we also have the third sister – Cassidy. All three sisters have different qualities, and even though for some time, they were all living in the same household, they all have different experiences growing up. Sage and Cassidy were always close to each other. Sage bullied Daisy, which led to Cassidy also hating Daisy, with no real reason. And all of these feelings somehow stayed with them in the years to come, creating a very complex and fragile relationship between the three of them. Throughout the book, circumstances will make them cross paths again. This will give them a change to rekindle their relationship and either change or stay the same.

I really enjoyed the story as a whole.

The relationship between the stepsisters really intrigued me. I loved how their differences were explored, alongside with their opinions and past and current choices in life. However, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy, such as the random racist accusation that was thrown, and how both stepsisters handled this issue. It left me very confused. The other part was Sage’s story, and how it ended. For what she did and the people she hurt in the process, forgiveness shouldn’t have been served to her on a plate. There should have been a bigger road to redemption, and it’s just not a reality that I believe in.

To conclude, The Stepsisters is a very good choice of a book to dive into this summer. The variety in characters and their storylines, as well as the relatively small chapters will definitely keep you hooked and entertained.

About The Author:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

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