Book Review · Books

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

I remember loving Elsewhere when I read it as a teenager. And now, reading it again, I know why I always loved it so much. It’s sad, happy, but most importantly, real. 

About the book:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 271

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

“I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before she crossed the street.”

Liz is almost 16 and she dies in a hit-and-run accident. And this is where her story begins. Instead of going wherever it is that people go when they’re dead, she wakes up on a big boat that’s heading to a place called Elsewhere. It turns out that people go to Elsewhere when they die, they live there (if you can call it that), age backwards and then return to Earth as babies to be (quite literally) reborn. 

As we follow Liz around on the ship, she is having a very hard time understanding she is dead. She thinks this is all a dream and expects to be woken up anytime. 

“It can be particularly difficult for young people to realise they have passed. Young people tend to think they’re immortal. Many of them can’t conceive of themselves as dead.”

As the story goes on, Liz meets her grandma, Betty, who passed away before Liz was born. Due to how time is measured in Elsewhere, Betty now looks quite young. Young enough to be in a relationship with Liz’s friend. We’ll get into that in a minute.

Liz is supposed to now live her life and find an avocation.

An avocation is like a job on Earth, except you have to really enjoy doing it and can only do it if it makes you happy. So Liz becomes a counsellor for the Division of Domestic Animals, and her task is to welcome dogs on Elsewhere and explain everything to them when they arrive. I loved the idea that the dogs could talk with some people that can speak the dog language. Some of my favourite scenes are when the dogs are talking – the humour in them is priceless!

At the beginning, Liz is having a very hard time accepting this reality. She dies before she could truly live her life and she will never grow up, have children, buy a house, or grow old. Not on Earth and not in Elsewhere either. She’ll just age backwards from 16 to 0. She is very depressed and spends a lot of time at the Observation Desks, where she can watch people on Earth through binoculars. She even tries an illegal way to make contact and it massively backfires. 

“Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead.”

But in all this grief, she meets a friend and things slowly start to get better for her. She starts to find joy in the years she has left and enjoys herself. This book has a powerful message about living in the moment and making the most of life with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s a sad, but true story about life and death, grieving, depression, but also about friendships and love.

“People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or all bad. Sometimes they’re a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes, they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.”

The ending is a bit sad, but at the same time satisfying. And it will definitely make you want to read the book backwards as soon as you have finished it. 

About The Author:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Gabrielle Zevin is an internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed author, whose books have been translated into thirty-eight languages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry spent several months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, was a USA Today Best Seller, and has been a best seller all around the world.

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Book Review · Books

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

I cannot believe it took me this long to finally mark Eragon as a read book. This book has been on my shelves for way too long and I am happy I finally got to it.

About The Book:

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 517

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Knowing how saturated the fantasy genre is today, I was apprehensive going into the book. The boy and the dragon story have been used very frequently. But as soon as I read the first few chapters, I was transported to Eragon’s farm in Carvahall, joined his adventure and never looked back. 

Eragon is just a boy on a farm, doing his bit to help his uncle. When one day he finds a shiny blue egg, he is sure he can sell it in town and buy food for the winter. But as soon as people find out he got it from the Spine, they want nothing to do with it. So Eragon decides to keep it for a bit, until he can find a buyer. When the egg cracks and a dragon is hatched, Eragon’s whole world is about to change. He knows a few things: he has a special connection with the dragon through his mind and he is in big danger. Along the way, an old man called Brom offers Eragon help and knowledge, and we find out so much more about dragons, Dragon Riders, magic and all the dangers Eragon Is about to face for being a Dragon Rider in his time, when the king is searching for him. 

From one adventure into another, the book is quite rich with action, stories, and interesting characters. I really liked Angela and the merecat, as well as the Twins. They seemed quite interesting, although I can’t say I trust them. I liked Brom and Murdoch too – their knowledge and experience in different topics intrigued me. 

The magic in Eragon was a cool concept.

I liked the Ancient language and the fact that you have to know certain words to cast a spell. I also liked that you cannot lie in the Ancient language, although I’ve seen that before in other lore that features elves. And I was also quite intrigued by the “true name” and the power it held, the possible duels and the rules on how magic works from a distance. The magic concept in Eragon intrigued me a lot and I loved that. 

Be prepared to watch Eragon learn about who he is now, his legacy and his powers. And watch him try to choose what allegiance he should aid, and how involved he wants to be. The Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility” rings very true in this book. 

Eragon’s dragon, Saphira, is also a big character. She has great powers and ancient wisdom, and together with Eragon they make a great team. They share a unique bond and I’m excited to see how they’ll grow stronger together. 

I will be continuing the series and pick up the second book in the series, Eldest. I am curious to know more about their adventures. If you haven’t read Eragon yet and love fantasy, I warmly recommend it. It made me forget I was a book reviewer for a long time. I was so captivated by the story I forgot to take notes and had to re-read some parts of the book later. Could not recommend it more!

About The Author:

Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

Visit Paolini.net for the latest news about this project and connect with other fans at Shurtugal.com, his Facebook page and Twitter profile

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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

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW] I definitely recommend it! If you pick this book up, you'll definitely be in for a treat.

We Were Liars found me, instead of the other way around. It was hidden in the pile of books in my sister’s room and something compelled me to touch it. Then I read the synopsis, and it didn’t reveal anything. So of course, I wanted to know more. I needed to know more.

About The Book:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW] I definitely recommend it! If you pick this book up, you'll definitely be in for a treat.


Pages: 225

Format I read it in: Paperback

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★★

Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My Thoughts:

As you can see, the synopsis doesn’t give too much information. The mystery of it all brought out a curiosity I thought I had lost. We tend to rely so much on synopsis these days, that we become afraid to pick up books when we don’t know what they’re about. And I am so glad I dived into this one blind – it’s the only way to go!

And what an adventure this book is. We Were Liars is a story about a young lady and an accident. As we go through the book, we find out more and more about this lady, her family, her friends. A lot of lies, a lot of secrets, a lot of unknowns – all with a chill mood of young people having fun and easy to read chapters.

The book is quite short – 225 pages, and for instance, the chapters are very short too, with a lot of dialogues or easy monologues. As soon as you start reading, you get immersed into that world and you can’t stop reading.

And then we get to THE PLOT TWIST!!

I was very pleasantly stunned when I finished the book. I was hooked throughout the whole book and wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t that plot twist for sure! The ending was so shocking, that even now thinking back, I’m still shocked and amazed at how cleverly E. Lockhart did everything and set us up for that ending.

We Were Liars is one of those books that you just have to re-read again, just to see if you have missed any clues along the way and re-read the same story, knowing what you now know.

I definitely recommend it! If you pick this book up, you’ll definitely be in for a treat. And if you decide to read it, I recommend going in blind without knowing too much of the synopsis, to get the full experience!

About The Author:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW] I definitely recommend it! If you pick this book up, you'll definitely be in for a treat.

E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.

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Book Review · Books

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) By Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) By Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]

Cassandra Claire is one of those authors that no matter what she writes, I’ll be there to read it. Chain of Iron was no different – a very high-paced and adventurous continuation to Chain of Gold. I love this series and can’t wait for Chain of Thorns to come out now.

About The Book:

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) By Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 637

Format I read it in: Paperback

Publisher: Walker Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★★

Synopsis:

The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

My Thoughts:

Chain of Iron is the second book in The Last Hours series. It should be read after you have read the first book, Chain of Gold. This review will probably contain spoilers for the first book, but I will do my best to refrain from revealing anything major in this book.

I love the writing of Cassandra Clare, period. Her chapter openings that make me tab and seek the books she is referencing. The way she adds a foreign language into the books. Here, have some Latin and Italian. Yes, please. I also love how she casually drops so many interesting facts. I don’t think I ever was curious how chess came to be, but I love the myth that was in the book. And also, not to forget, the unforgettable Magnus Bane cameos.

“You all know Magnus Bane, of course?” Anna gestured to the tall figure standing next to her. 

“It’s my understanding,” Cordelia said,”that the question is never whether you know Magnus Bane. The question is always whether Magnus Bane knows you.”

The romance in the book was spot on.

Very slow burn, just as I like it. There were some couples I was expecting to start felling things for each other, and there were also some which pleasantly surprised me. It felt like every couple or potential couple had a unique connection and I felt differently pleased when reading their chapters. The middle of the book hyped me up, and I was so happy when I finished Chapter 22. I have also never been so annoyed at a bracelet before, so that’s a first. 🙂 The ending gave me a big heartbreak, and I can’t wait to read book 3 to see if some hearts will be mended, because I don’t like the way it ended, with some couples being heartbroken…

“My father used to tell me that sometimes you cannot reconcile with someone else. Sometimes you have to find that reconciliation on your own. Someone who broke your heart is often not the person who can mend it.”

I didn’t like the Lucie and Grace combo, and I really missed the relationship Lucie had with Cordelia in the first book. For best friends that are supposed to be parabatai, they didn’t have much time together in this book and I truly missed that. On the subject of Grace, I enjoyed her chapters, but I felt no sympathy for her at all and this didn’t change. She knew exactly what she was doing, and I will never have sympathy for her in this lifetime or the next.

“Love leads to pain, but if you are careful with the way you wield it… you can use it to wound, as well.”

The mystery part was a bit weak.

Without spoiling anything away, I will just say that a certain narrative kept being pushed as to who the killer is, and if you can instantly know this is not the truth and something else is going on. The reveal was very promptly revealed and wasn’t satisfying to me, but I did like some parts, for example the twist with Cordelia.

Overall, I loved this book. I devoured it very fast, and that always says a lot to me. If I don’t like a book, I tend to read it for longer periods of time. Chain of Iron was amazing and satisfied my need for adventure, romance, and Shadowhunter world vibe. I am looking forward to read the next book, and I also warmly recommend this series!

About The Author:

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) By Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]

Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

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