Book Review · Books

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline [BOOK REVIEW]

When I first found out that there is a sequel called Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, I was so excited! But I was also doubtful whether it would live up to the hype. Writing this review was a bit hard for me, considering how much I loved the first book, but here we go.

Synopsis:

Days after Oasis founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible.

With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

My Thoughts:

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they read Ready Player One. I remember I was listening to the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Wil Wheaton. It was the first audiobook I ever listened to, and I loved everything about it. The plot, the Oasis, the easter egg contest, the 80’s references. And for me, Ready Player One ended perfectly. Wade won the contest, and everything was fine.

So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I heart that there is a sequel coming. Of course I was excited! But I was doubtful at the same time. A little bit afraid that this new book wouldn’t live up to my expectations.

Ready Player Two starts very soon after the first book ends, and Wade and his friends uncover a new set of technology, where people can now feel and touch things in the Oasis. But something goes wrong and a villain appears. Only this time, the stakes are very high. People’s lives are in danger. And Wade and his friends must go onto another quest, gathering seven stones, to save everyone!

The quest element was basically the same as the easter egg contest.

Except this time, there were different puzzles and the stakes were higher, with a very tight deadline. I was not impressed at this part at all, and not even the 80’s references could help anymore. Some of the quests went on and on, making me fall asleep on my hardcover book a couple of times. And then, some of them were completed in two pages or less, not given any attention.

Then we had our main hero, Wade, who I started to despise. The Wade I knew from the first book suddenly turned into this rich douchebag that had a God complex. He definitely forgot where he started, and how humble he used to be. He does change a bit in the end, but I gave up on him way before that happened, so I didn’t care.

To be fair, the second part of the book wasn’t that bad, which is why I gave this review an extra star. I loved the final battle, and I’ll be honest, I might even watch that second movie, just to see that scene in action.

But let’s be honest. Ready Player One ended as it ended, and it didn’t need a second book. If feels as if everyone involved in the first book and movie loved the revenue, and decided to milk it as long as it is popular. Because we all love the idea of the Oasis and will keep reading things that feature it. And that’s what gives me the ick.

There is no easy way to say this. When people would ask me about sci-fi recommendations, I would instantly say: “You have to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline!”. Now, when people ask me the same, I say this: “Ready Player One is amazing! But don’t read the second book. It’s not worth it.”

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Book Review · Books

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW]

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW] This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride.

★★

I was reading The Spiral by Iain Ryan as part of a readalong with some amazing people on Instagram. I have a few readalongs in the pipeline for 2021 for both book bloggers and bookstagrammers, and you can read more and join HERE if you want to. Reading The Spiral was a very unique experience!

Synopsis:

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

My Thoughts:

First of all, I feel the need to say that I still feel confused after finishing The Spiral. But in a good way. This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride. And don’t let my 3-star rating put you off, because it’s a very strong 3 star. The Spiral is definitely one of those books that is bound to give you a hangover. The characters will haunt for me for a while, especially Erma.

Erma’s life changes when her assistant Jenny tries to kill her and then kills herself. With Jenny dead, Erma has no answers on why Jenny did that, and all she can do is try and follow her steps and try to reveal the reason why.

Through Iain Ryan’s amazing writing and creativity, this book takes a very unique approach. I loved how the author incorporated the “choose your own adventure” narrative not just in the book, but also as part of the book plot. It was a very new experience for me, and I had lots of fun reading it! If you are not familiar with the “choose your own adventure” format, these types of books are written with a narrative that give you an option, as the reader, to make certain choices. And they usually contain sentences like this one:

” You are standing between three doors. If you choose the red door, go to page 35. If you decide to go for the white door with blue sparkles, go to page 46. And if you are feeling brave today, and want to choose the black door surrounded by thorns, proceed to page 59.”

– Please note that this quote was a product of my imagination, and is not an actual quote from the book.

But now you sort of get the point. You go to a certain page, and then read a story based on your choices. Then you end up making more choices along the way. These books usually have a lot of different endings that you can unravel. The Spiral, however, uses this “choose your own adventure” narrative to provide more information on different character’s plotlines, but doesn’t actively impact the outcome in the end. Well, not completely. Just a little.

I still feel like there are many questions that were left unanswered, and I am currently in between two worlds. The curious part of me wants a conclusive ending, and doesn’t like to keep wondering. And the creative part of me things that this is the point of the book – to give us a chance for us to imagine how the character’s future will unfold.

The Spiral is a very dark, very eerie, very unpredictable book. It’s also full of twists, or dare I say, spirals 😂. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you’ll give it a chance if the synopsis pulls you in.

“Memory isn’t fact. Memory is subjective and loose. A memory can get close enough to fiction that the line blurs. What good is it?”

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Book Review · Books

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Love Letter was my first book by Lucinda Riley, and I can’t believe I haven’t read a book by this author before. This is a magnificent book, full of secrets, forbidden romances and unsolved mysteries of the past.

Synopsis:

Set in London in 1995, this book starts off when Sir James Harrison passes away. He was one of the greatest actors of his generation. During his funeral, a lot of people gather, considering how impactful he was. Among them, one old woman, that sits alone in the crowd…

Joanna Haslam is a young journalist, and she is assigned to cover the actor’s funeral. Many famous celebrities will be there, and she can’t miss this moment. But something else captures her attention. An old woman, that shares a secret letter Harrison left behind, which needs to keep a secret forever.

The closer she gets to tracking down the source, the more she realises how dangerous this secret is. Many people are interested to keep this letter a secret, and they’ll stop at nothing.

My Thoughts:

The Love Letter is a book my mum chose for me, when “Mama Pick” came up on my TBR game. It’s a book she really enjoyed and I am so glad I was able to share this with her. I am very excited to see what she’ll pick next when the next prompt comes up for her.

I find it very intriguing that there seems to be a certain mysteriousness of the censure this book received. It was mentioned in the acknowledgments that some obstacles occured with the ability to get it published, due to the fact that there is a royal family involved, even though a fictional one.

The Love Letter is mysterious from the very beginning, when Joanna meets the old lady. Little does she know that she will be involved with keeping a very dangerous secret that happened many moons ago. Things start to get very interesting when the reporter gets close to the actor’s family. Each of these individuals keeps their own little secrets too, and everyone keeps playing games to their own liking.

The storytelling, the characters and the many plot twists were incredible.

I was turning the pages so fast, desperate to see what happens next. Desperate for more. I was eager to discover all their secrets and found myself hoping for their wellbeing. The plot twists would happen in places I would least expect and I loved the ending.

The Love Letter takes you to a very different set of culture, and reading this in 2020, I could easily notice it is set in 1995. There are many small things in the book that happen, which reminded me that time has passed since, and I really enjoyed that. It has been a while since I have read something over two decades ago.

A wonderful fiction, full with secrets, drama, suspense and a bit of romance. I loved every single moment of it. Lucinda Riley is definitely an author I will read more books from in the future.

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Book Review · Books

A Family For Christmas by Viv Royce [BOOK REVIEW]

A Family For Christmas by Viv Royce [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

A Family for Christmas is the first book in the Little Shops on Heart Street series by Viv Royce. It is a wonderful Christmas story about new beginnings, courage, love and kindness, and I enjoyed it so much! I read it on Christmas day, and I am so happy I did! Huge thank you to the author, who suggested this book to me during a random Twitter conversation, as well as Netgalley and the publisher Entangled Publishing, LLC for granting me an ARC copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Emma Miller recently moved to the quiet town of Wood Creek, opening her business and selling chocolates and bonbons to the residents. One day, a small her stops by her shop with a very unique request, and Emma is so intrigued. The little girl needs chocolates for her dad that will make him fall in love with her teacher. Emma can’t deny this little girl and of course, she complies. Little does she know, when Casey’s charming dad comes to the shop to find the creator of the chocolates, they will get on quite well. But she has to remind herself to be careful. After all, she knows that as soon as she gets attached to people, they tend to leave.

The pilot Grant Galloway is surprised by his daughter’s surprise, and he is even more curious about the lady that made these chocolates. After his wife passed away, he is still picking up the pieces of his broken heart. And Wood Creek is only a temporary stop for him and Casey. As soon as he finds a day piloting job, he will move away. He cannot allow to start anything new, especially not now, before the holidays.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

My Thoughts:

Reading this book at Christmas day added a special Christmas magic to it, and I finished it within a few hours. I loved the story, and I loved the characters. There is something about small towns that I miss now that I live in a big city. The kindness of the people, and the closeness. I used to find it intrusive that people knew everything about you, but these days, I find it very comforting, especially when people tend to alienate more and more each day.

The little town is beautiful, and Emma’s shop was described so well. I could almost see and taste her amazing chocolate creations. And same goes with Grant’s family business and the town fair that they were organising and decorating, right before Christmas.

I am always looking around for a romance novel, and I enjoyed Grant and Emma’s story. It wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to, but the book was quite short, and I think it was due to that. I still loved their little moments as well.

My favorite character has to be Casey. After knowing what I know, I can see how brave it was for her to come into Emma’s shop and ask for that favour. And that just says how much her dad’s happiness means for her. She is so selfless and kind, and oh so brave. Especially with the other surprise that she plans for her dad.

If you are looking for a lovely Christmas romance during your Christmas or winter holidays – grab this book. It has everything – the lovely town and lovely people, a family atmosphere, a lovely romance and a Christmas miracle magic in the end with a perfect happy ending. I am so glad I read this!

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Book Review · Books

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Flight (also known as The Last Flight) by Julie Clark is a suspenseful novel, with two very different characters that share the same goal – to escape their past and start a brand new life. I am glad my fascination with planes put this book on my radar! Thank you to the teams at Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley, for providing me with an e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for my book review.

Synopsis:

Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook lives a perfect life. On paper. She is married to a political figure, lives in a lovely place full of staff. She is surrounded by elegance, her days are planned and her future already known. But when no one is looking, nothing is as it seems. Her perfect husband has a bad temper, and he’s tracking Claire’s every move, making sure she lives up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has been planning for months on how to disappear.

At the airport, she somehow encounters a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they choose to make a last-minute decision to switch their plane tickets. Claire takes Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva now has a ticket to Puerto Rico. They believe this swap will be the final action they’ll have to take to finally leave behind their identities. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realises it is no longer a head start, but a completely new life. Cut off and out of options, with news surrounding her death in the media, Claire now has to pretend she is Eve and live as her. But when what Eve told her on the airport is a lie, and she has no clue who Eve was, Claire has new challenges facing her. Challenges full of danger.

My Thoughts:

The Flight follows these two different characters and their lives, as destiny connects them at the airport. They both have their own story and they both need to escape from something. While we know from the very beginning what Claire is escaping from, we know nothing about Eve’s secrets. And as we go along the story, the dynamic stays the same. Claire’s future combines with Eve’s past, as we follow a present narrative. And this part was very interesting to follow and read, and it was all I ever wanted it to be – intense, mysterious and exciting!

“That sometimes, the death of a dream can finally set you free.”

I am and have always been fascinated with planes, especially plane crashes. There is an irrational fear I always have when I am flying, and because of this I have spent many hours of doing research, learning about planes and how they work, as well as reading about the most unfortunate plane crashes. This was the main reason I chose to read this book. Somehow, I had the feeling that the plane and the crashing, or even the airport scenes would be more prominent in the book, but this wasn’t the case. The airport was just a pit stop for the plot to thicken, and not realising this at the beginning is on me. This is the main reason why I probably didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. But this also doesn’t mean that the book is not good, because it truly is!

“But what I’ve learned in life is that in order for true forgiveness to occur, something has to die first. Your expectations, or your circumstances. Maybe your heart.”

The characters are very well written and they are likeable.

I couldn’t connect to them enough to care, but both their stories were really intriguing. I have never been in association with rich people, or a victim to violence or surveillance without consent to be able to identify with Claire. Additionally, I also didn’t experience the type of life Eva had either, so that might have been the case. I did, however, really loved Danielle, who plays a critical role at the end of the book.

The writing was great and the intensity kept increasing as I kept reading, which I loved. It was very easy to read and I finished it very fast. The ending wasn’t predictable, but it also wasn’t as intense as I hoped the climax would be. The Flight was definitely a solid read and it kept me engaged all the way through. If you love suspenseful novels with vivid characters, I highly recommend it!

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