Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy is the first book I read this year, and my first 5 star as well. I am now confident that 2021 won’t be that bad. I knew I was going to enjoy it, I just didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. Huge thank you yo Kaleidoscope Tours and Scholastic Press, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Synopsis:

Niamh just moved to London, with the hope to pursue acting, meet friends and have fun. When she starts making new friends and these women keep getting attacked and murdered, she realises that this might be all somehow connected to her. Because all women that are being attacked look very much like her.

My Thoughts:

Last One to Die is suspenseful from the very beginning, because Niamh knows that she’s in danger. She just doesn’t know what/who the danger is. Trusting people is hard and so is making new friends again. And as the book goes on, the intensity increases and the stakes get higher.

It’s so hard to write a spoiler-free review for this book, because I want to share everything I felt while reading it. Niamh was a character I really liked, and she was very easy to relate to as well. I went in for a YA thriller and I got a supernatural horror that kept me on my toes.

The friendship with Jess, the family closeness and the love interest scenes were a wonderful addition to the suspense we get, like breathing a bit of fresh air as well. I loved it when scenes made me giggle or give me the butterflies. It was very light as well, which helped break the scary moments and make you believe everything was good, before another plot twist happened.

I also loved the history element too.

The library, the museum, the old scary stories that happened in the part and brought eeriness… These were some of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

This is one of those books where you’ll have a theory, be eager to know the villain, and see your theories change at least three times. I made so many prediction, and got it correct in the end, but even then I still had to wait until the end to confirm it and get a satisfying explanation.

If you love YA thrillers, with horror elements and supernatural moments, don’t miss this one. This trope is now on my books. It might even be my favorite genre if my next reads are good as well. Cynthia Murphy as an author is also now on my list. I will make sure to read the next book she writes! I couldn’t recommend it enough!

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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!

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Book Review · Books

After (After #1) by Anna Todd [BOOK REVIEW]

After by Anna Todd [BOOK REVIEW]

After by Anna Todd is the perfect teenage romance book.

★★★★

I know I’m late to the After party. But hey, better late than never! I started After by Anna Todd in the evening, then stayed up all night because I had to finish it. And then, I begged my teen sister for the second book. She kindly agreed to give the book to me. I hope she doesn’t change her mind just to torture me. We’ll have to see how this unravels. 

Synopsis:

Tessa is just starting college, and she’s got everything planned. In one year, her boyfriend Noah will join her as well. But then she meets her wild roommate Steph as well as the incredibly rude guy with a British accent, Hardin. And everything changes!

My Thoughts:

Tessa is a good girl and she doesn’t do parties and short dresses. And she goes to a party with Steph and something changes. She can’t look away. Harding is doing something to her and she can barely resist. But she has a boyfriend. And also, everything she has a good moment with Hardin, two bad ones follow. Hardin is toxic, and Tessa hurts him in return as well. Also, their communication has to improve. Not the mention how the whole boyfriend situation was handled. 

Honestly, I thought my opinions would be conflicting. But they’re not. I really enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to the second one. Also, I know Hardin is based on Harry Styles, but while I was reading the book, he didn’t once cross my mind. I also often have fantasies about celebrities, I just don’t happen to write them. Honestly, it’s not a big deal. 

My only worry was that teens might see Hardin’s toxic side and think that’s how a girl should be treated. But that would mean underestimating the girls out there. Even in the book, Tessa was aware Hardin’s behaviour was not okay, which is why she reacted the way she did. The facts she would return only meant that she had feelings for him. Their relationship has more issues than good parts, but in all honesty, when I think about my high school days, it was that way for me too. I didn’t handle things well. Sometimes I didn’t communicate well. I trusted people I shouldn’t have trusted. And that’s the beauty of this book. 

After by Anna Todd is the perfect teenage book.

It reminded me of my days of high school and uni. Attending parties I shouldn’t have and trusting people that didn’t deserve my trust. Handling relationships badly and having terrible ability to communicate. And this book brought all the excitement back and more. Fond and not so fond memories that reminded me that I have lived at the fullest. 

In the next book, I do hope that their relationship improves. I hope Hardin grows up and Tessa communicates to him, instead of hurting him back. Also, I hope Tessa fixes her relationship with her mother as well, even though her mother needs to work on her own biases as well. I also hope that the dramas continue as well – I really love them. 

After by Anna Todd was a very refreshing read for me, because I don’t usually read teen romance anymore. I really hope I read it sooner, and I think I should get back to this genre as well. It kept me intrigued and hooked all the way through, and I certainly recommend it. 

P.S. If you want a good boy Hardin, watch the movie instead of reading the book. But don’t expect too much. It could’ve used a more “”bad boy” looking actor as well. Sorry, Hero, it’s nothing personal. You’re just not the Hardin I imagined. 

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Book Review · Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★★

This year, I had the opportunity to re-read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was a favorite of mine when I was in high-school, and I read it again to see whether I still enjoyed it. 

John Green’s writing is one that I can always come back to. It’s very easy to enter the world he builds, and I remember vividly how much I enjoyed Looking For Alaska as well.

Hazel is suffering from terminal cancer. And even though her tumor shrunk by some miracle and bought her a few years, Hazel knows not to be hopeful. She is lonely and depressed, and she feels like a burden to her family. She goes to Cancer Kid Support Group, quite frankly, just to make her mum happy. 

But then one day, a gorgeous Augustus Waters suddenly appears, and Hazel’s story is about to change. He is immediately intrigued by her, and he wants to get to know her. Before they know it, they spend all their days together and get closer to each other. 

And Augustus’s story is also not a fairytale. He has been battling cancer and won, and now he’s supporting his friend Isaac with his eye cancer too. Which is also how he ends up to the support group meeting. 

I loved their instant connection, and I loved their love.

Their bond was something special and for the short time they were together they manage to have so many adventures and learn so much about each other. And when the tragedy strikes, which I won’t mention, even though most of you probably know how it ends, it’s very sad. It’s devastating and heartbreaking. That part made me cry the first time I read it, it made me cry on my re-read and I am quite sure it will keep making me cry every time I read it. 

I loved Hazel and Augustus’s love for books, and the whole part about Hazel’s favourite book and their trip to Amsterdam. Not only because they do it, but because of how selfless Augustus is with his last wish, and his letters, to try and make this happen – just for her. You can see that the only thing he cares about is Hazel. And it’s such a beautiful thing to see.

But something I noticed, that many of you might disagree with, is that I wasn’t too fussed about their love this time. It was cute, but maybe because they were teenagers, it felt not as deep. I think that if they happened to stay together and marry, that after 10 years they wouldn’t be happy. There were little things in the book that made me feel like this. And I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I’ll just put it out there.

What I loved most about The Fault in Our Stars is how real this book is. Especially about the cancer part.

I have had the luck to not ever be ill myself or have any family close to me, but I have had friends and long distance relatives suffer from cancer, and I could feel the suffering and heartache it causes. Especially when a person you love so much doesn’t make it. And the process of treatment is such a hard battle, ongoing struggle and fighting the odds. It must be so hard to keep fighting and to stay positive. I can understand why some people feel like they just want to give up. Even Hazel does a few times, especially at the beginning of the book. The pressure you feel from the family as well, they want you to keep fighting, and you just can’t imagine another day of suffering, it must be devastating. And John Green explains this part so well – and it hurts my feelings every time.

The Fault in Our Stars is a one of a kind.

Still an all-time favourite, and I think it will always stay that way. Happy and sad story of two teens in love, trying to fight cancer against all odds and just be happy, when destiny has other plans. I definitely recommend it!

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Book Review · Books

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins [BOOK REVIEW]

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins book review books reading read goodreads blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

In Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. People in the other districts are starting rebellions. The Capitol wants their revenge!

In a post-games time, Katniss is trying to live her life as normally as possible. But nothing is the same anymore. Not since she has won the games and made a mockery of the Capitol in front of everyone. And now, when it is time for the new games to begin, there is a twist in the rules. The old victors are going back to the area. So Katniss has to fight against every other person in the arena, as well as against the Capitol. 

Read my review of the first book in the series – The Hunger Games.

I have to be honest, another games never occured my mind. From all the possibilities I though might happen next, a year where all the victors fight against each other was never a possibility. That is perhaps why I am having troubles to decide whether I think this idea is unique, or rather lazy. Either way, my feelings are with Haymitch on this year’s games: 

“So, Haymitch, what do you think of the Games having one hundred per cent more competitors than usual? asks Caesar. 

Haymitch shrugs. “I don’t see that it makes much difference. They’ll still be one hundred per cent as stupid as usual, so I figure my odds will be roughly the same.”

We follow Katniss again, when she’s trying to decide between two boys. 

Option one: she sort of likes him, but would rather be friends with.

Option two: she loves him, but cannot be seen with him, as it puts his and her family in danger. 

To me, this is a rather obvious choice, but what do I know? 

Either way, it’s a very difficult time for Katniss because she never asked for any of this to happen to her. She is frustrated and angry and it is all the Capitol’s fault. 

“Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.”

Despite the weak plot, I really enjoyed this book and I devoured it in one day. Katniss is a fierce character and I loved her resilience. I also loved Haymitch, mostly for his brutal honesty. I am not so sure I like Peeta, though. He is being a major third wheel in every possible situation, and if he just died in that arena, everything would’ve been okay. The fact that he also slows Katniss down in these games is very annoying. He is just a very inconvenient character, and while I understand that inconvenient characters are needed for plot twists and trouble causing, I wish I at least liked him more. 

This book ended with a major cliff-hanger, not surprisingly so, and I am looking forward to reading the third book in the series. I highly recommend it if you loved dystopian YA. It’s worth reading, for sure!

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