Book Review · Books

Pleasant Grove by Jason Price [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

Thank you to the author, Jason Price, for sending me a copy of his book, Pleasant Grove, in exchange for my honest review. Pleasant Grove was a very interesting, fast and pleasurable read.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Pleasant Grove, a quiet small town where neighbor helps neighbor and doors are left unlocked at night-an unspoiled paradise with one peculiar feature: It’s enclosed by a glass dome.

No one can leave and no one can enter.
No one can survive beyond the dome.

But then, a visitor arrives from the outside.

When 12-year-old Agnes Goodwin discovers a strange boy with no memory, she teams up with her best friends to unravel the mystery. Their extraordinary adventure will threaten everything they know…and everyone they love.

My Thoughts:

From the moment I read the synopsis, Pleasant Grove reminded me of the Simpsons movie, when they have a dome put in Springfield. No one can come in. No one can come out.

And honestly, with a synopsis like that, curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know everything! Why is the dome there? Why are the parents not saying anything? Who is this boy and how did he come in? And most importantly, what is outside the dome?

Pleasant Grove is aimed for middle-grade, YA audience, and it won’t disappoint. The writing is very vivid, and every chapter leaves you wanting to know more. From the very first moments, I was hooked with the description of the town. The people leave idyllic lives, everyone is minding their own business, and all seems to be perfect. During lockdown, I could actually understand being in this dome in a while new level. The whole reading experience felt a bit surreal as well, and I enjoyed it! But 12-year-old Agnes can feel something is wrong, despite her family denying it. When one day she sees a boy that she knows does not belong to this town, she knows something’s up. And if no one can give her the answers, she’ll have no choice but to find the answers for herself.

Agnes perfectly portrays the curiosity I feel in the book.

She is looking for answers, and she is determined and not afraid to look for more clues and ask questions. I also loved her determination to help this boy that she doesn’t know.

“Agnes liked asking questions, and had always assumed answers would lead to understanding. But sometimes, she now realised, answers only led to more questions.”

Alongside her, there are her friends and her brother, that are helping her on this adventure and the chemistry of this group is amazing! I loved their chats and when they were making plans, I loved their bickering, but most of all, their ability to keep encouraging each other and stay together. It was also interesting to see how each of the friends had a small story, or a small challenge they were dealing with at the moment – it added a bit of refreshing diversity from the actual plot and its intensity.

I even enjoyed the scenes when the bully Ruth was involved with her friends. It was interesting to see the fear she awoke in many people, and their personal growth when they would slowly start overcoming this fear. There were a few things left unsaid I felt like, especially in the end and regarding Ruth, that I wish were explained more. I have my theories for now though.

The reveal in the end was very pleasurable to read about.

For me, the ending was somewhat predictable because of books I have read before and movies I’ve seen, but there were still a lot of unexpected elements in it that I really enjoyed. I feel like we got all the answers that we were looking for. The last part felt a bit slow, but it left some space for another book I think, which may have been the reason why it was slower. If you are a fan of YA fantasy, with sci-fi elements, this is definitely the perfect book for you!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Books · WWW Wednesday Tag

WWW Wednesday – 4th November 2020

WWW Wednesdays (3)

WWW Wednesday – 4th November edition. The first week of November is going well for me, and hoping for even better one next week.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly tag revived by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. It’s quite simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to this week’s edition – the first Wednesday in November!

The Three W’s are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

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What are you currently reading?


I am currently reading Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley. This week, I am part of the TandemCollective bookstagram readalong, and it’s ending tomorrow. Unsurprisingly, I am currently enjoying it a lot – it’s very eerie and spooky, but in a very slow, but intense way. I keep having that feeling when your stomach slowly twirls. It’s amazing, and I can’t wait to see how it finally ends!

Synopsis:

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke and wow, this book is so emotional and wholesome! My full review will be up in a few days on the blog, so keep an eye out for it. I read this book so fast, and I loved it so much!

Synopsis:

The secret a mother was forbidden to share . . . the consequences a daughter could not redeem—but will risk everything in her attempt.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah unlocks secrets of her mother’s mysterious past, including the discovery of a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father, ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, demands a marriage for his daughter to help advance his career. But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas secretly works against the Reich. How far will her father go to achieve his goal?

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who hides wartime secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’ll be starting The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls next. It is a book I really want to read, and it came alongside some goodies, that I have to admit, I am very eager to open and see what they will unravel. I will be sharing this experience on my Instagram Stories, so keep an eye for that.

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK

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How does your WWW Wednesday looks like? Was your first Wednesday in November productive?

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Book Review · Books

Beneath The World, A Sea by Chris Beckett [BOOK REVIEW]

Beneath The World, A Sea by Chris Beckett [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

Beneath The World, A Sea by Chris Beckett is a book I won through ReadersFirst, published by Corvus. And to be honest, Beneath the World, A Sea wouldn’t have been my first choice, because I don’t often go outside my comfort zone. I am so glad I did though, because I really enjoyed this book a lot!

Synopsis:

Beneath The World, A Sea by Chris Beckett is a story told mainly by Ben, the policeman. The story is also told from other people’s points of view as well, all connecting to Ben in one way or the other. 

A number of people go on a journey to Submundo Delta, all with different missions and plans in mind. During this trip, they have to go through a place called Nus, where no one can remember their duration of their stay there. 

In Submundo Delta, the people that live there are called Mundinos. However, there are also creatures that live in the forest, called duendes. And the duendes want to get closer to the Mundinos, which results in them getting killed vigorously. 

Ben is sent there to investigate why the local people are killing the duendes. During his investigation, he meets different people and gets a chance to have some weird encounters with the duendes themselves. 

My Thoughts of Beneath the World, A Sea:

Beneath the World, A Sea is very philosophical and deep science fiction, and definitely not for everyone. It touches on many topics, but mostly the topic of self-discovery. Who are we? Who are we really? How do we get to be the person we actually are? Are we hiding any hidden intentions? Are we just performing a play and not letting people see behind the curtain? What if there is a place we can truly be ourselves? And we don’t remember it after? Would we be murderers, or samaritans? 

This book will make you wonder, all while maintaining the story and introducing interesting characters. Ben is trying to discover who he really is, Hyacinth seems to somehow know everything he’s about to experience, Rico has a relationship with the duendes like no one else, Jael is extremely smart but chose to do something else with her life, Justine had her heart broken and never had the courage to leave… Beneath the World, A Sea is a unique experience with fantastical elements in it. It is also very well written, with intriguing plot twists and a very unexpected ending. I especially loved the intrigue that involved a certain diary. It kept me hooked until the very end. 

Even though a very unique and niche book that won’t appeal to all, I warmly recommend it, as I think this is the perfect book to get you out of your comfort zone and take you on a unique adventure.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Book Review · Books

The Breaking (Northern Witch #3) by K.S. Marsden [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Breaking by K.S. Marsden is the third book in the Northern Witch series. Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read my review of book one – Winter Trials.
Read my review of book two – Awaken.

Synopsis:

Mark thought being a witch would be easy, but it has ruined everything.

Now, he has to fight for his friends and the guy that he loves.

Which would be challenging enough, without school being a living nightmare; more demons than he can handle; and witches that have strayed from the light.

My Thoughts:

Continuing where the previous book left off, The Breaking followed up nicely with the story of Mark trying to save his lover. It is a very heartwarming story that also contains fantastical elements.

I enjoyed that Mark’s friends Harry and Sarah got more time in the book. Their scenes were very interesting to read, and I was really invested in their plotline as well. I loved the moments when the band was in the spotlight – the scene in London when they appear on the stage is my favorite one!

I loved the travel to London and the adventurous spirit that Mark showed, alongside with the suspense and dangers that arose from that trip. The introduction to new witches was intriguing, and I was curious through the whole book. The demons were my favourite, and I couldn’t help but care for them. I think that at some point, I cared more about them than I did about Mark, and I’m not even sorry to say this. 🙂 

To sum up, I wanted a bit more fantastical elements, aside from the demons. I wished there was more magic involved in The Breaking, and I was a slightly disappointed on the cliffhanger at the end of the book. But then I realised another book was coming out, so hoping the next book will conclude some of my predictions. I am hoping for more character development in the next book as well. But I also really enjoyed this book, and I admired the adventures that Mark went through in this book, compared to the first two. There was a bit more intensity and it felt as if there was more at stake this time, and Mark had more to lose, which I loved reading about.

If you love magic, witches and teenage gay romance, I definitely recommend this series to you. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Book Review · Books

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik [BOOK REVIEW]

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

I was so excited to read A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik.

A Deadly Education is the first book in the Scholomance series. It was supposed to be everything I love – magic, magical school, a bit of romance. And it left me so disappointed and just empty within. I have no words of how sad I am to be writing this review. I am crushed, but I have to be honest to myself and to the people reading my reviews.

Synopsis:

A Deadly Education is indeed a story about a deadly magical school. This school, Scholomance, is a school for students that are magically gifted. There are no teachers and students are left alone to master skills and attend lessons. They are also forbidden to walk the halls at night, because deadly monsters are lurking from every corner. And the ultimate graduation test is a deadly game of survival by fighting these monsters. 

The students’ magic works based on either mana (the good magic) or malia (the bad magic). 

El is our main character in this book, who can use malia to defeat all the monsters, but that would involve killing the other students. Survival also means working on strategies and making allies with other people.

And then we also have Orion Lake. He has many friends and admirers and he keeps saving El’s life. And she’s not impressed and hates him. 

My Thoughts:

I feel like A Deadly Education was a great idea about a magical school that has a “Hunger Games” type of graduation, but somewhere in the middle the plot got lost and we got a weak story. 

First of all, I hated El. I don’t usually hate characters, but God, I really despised her. Not only was she incredibly rude all the time, but she was very entitled, self-centered and very selfish. I hated the fact that she always thought the world revolved about her. Furthermore, she kept pushing people away, especially her so-called friends and Orion. 

Then we have Orion Lake, who is portrayed as the hero, saving so many lives. Which he is. But he also is this person that can’t speak for himself, and seems like he does whatever other people tell him to do. 

And the romance between them was very non-existent. There wasn’t any form of attraction that I felt, only El’s rudeness. I don’t know how it escalated in the end to a romance, because I didn’t see it. El was even then being rude to him. 

This is such a hard review to write, as I know this book is widely popular. But for me, it didn’t hit the mark in any way. I wish there was more to it than just the deadly monsters and strategies for a graduation that was so talked about. And I wish the romance was real. But I’m still keen to read the second book, just to find out whether it will redeem itself, at least a bit. If you’re looking for a magical school, I’d suggest Hogwarts.

This ain’t it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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