Book Review · Books

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

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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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Book Review · Books

Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld [BOOK REVIEW]

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Pretties is the second book in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I loved the first book a lot, and I had to continue the series! 

In the first book, we are introduced to a world where beauty means everything. People are born as Uglies, and once they turn 16, they undergo plastic surgery and become Pretties. 

Tally is still an Ugly, and all she ever wants to do is become a Pretty. After all, all of her friends are already Pretties. But she meets Shay, who doesn’t want to become pretty, and during amazing adventures in the first book, Tally discovered that there is much more in the world than just being a Pretty.

If you haven’t read the first book yet, please be aware that this review will contain SPOILERS. If you want to know more though, I would suggest reading my review of the first book, Uglies.

In Pretties, Tally is now a Pretty herself. She is completely different, until one day a person from the old crew pays her a visit. She can vaguely remember some things, and a challenge is in front of her. A letter from herself from the past will make her remember why she is a Pretty now and what she needs to do next. 

But accepting such a task means danger of being found out and silenced forever. But if she succeeds, she might actually find a cure to being a Pretty. 

My Thoughts

Filled with adventure, I read this book in only a few sittings. I am in love with the world the author created, and the moral dilemmas he tests us on. The chapters and scenes are vivid, entertaining and never dull. 

I did, however, struggle with characterisation. Even though I am a huge fan of Tally, she wasn’t much different from any other character. They were all sort of the same, believing in almost the same things, and not much  else was said. I would really have loved to see more perspectives from the Specials, but I think that is coming in the third book, which gets me all the more excited. 

The last few chapters were everything and I will cherish all the moments. Many “book highlightings” were done  and many quotes were remembered. I also need to mention that plot twist in the end. I should have seen it coming, because all the clues were there, but I didn’t. And I can’t wait to read book number 3. 

I recommend it to all readers who enjoy different worlds, adventure, a bit of fantasy and dystopia.

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Book Review · Books

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters left me unprepared for what I was about to read.

A perfect blend of mystery, spookiness, friendship and psychological trauma. This book will keep you away from social events until you are finished. And a few days after…

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real – and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

From the beginning of the book, you can feel the intensity, the guilt and the mystery behind it, which was something I very much enjoy in my books. We get to see the life of Heather 30 years after the death of Becca, and we know from the very first chapter that Heather killed her.
But they were best friends. And Heather loves Becca, even now, with every atom of her body. They were those BFFs that were always together, and knew each other’s secrets. They both loved mystery and talking about serial killers. And then things somehow start to go wrong. They are slipping from the friendship slide, and they can’t do anything to stop it…

The heart, the other half of which once hung around my neck, even after, is a cheap thing of nickel, stainless steel, or some inexpensive alloy. Originally affixed to a cardboard square and purchased by two girls who saved their allowance. Best Friends Forever. We meant it, she and I. We meant it with every bone in our bodies and every true and good thing in our souls. We didn’t know forever didn’t always last that long.

This is one of the few stories where I rooted for a killer. I know how horrible it sounds, but I loved that perspective. The innocence behind a terrible act. The belief that what you did might have been wrong, but you still did it for the right reasons. The ultimate friendship and the boundaries.
I loved Heather, and I also loved Becca. I hated all the things that were standing between them, driving them further away from each other.
This is a book about a murder, and about a scary story becoming real. But this book is also about friendship, about psychological trauma, and about the force a person needs to get trough it. The crucial support this person requires to get through the rainy days. Heather was struggling, and there was no one beside her to help her. Everyone she knew and trusted suddenly abandoned her, and this tells a sad and realistic story about the reality people with mental health issues are facing. No one wants a damaged person in their lives, I get that. But when this person is your friend for life, when this person is your life companion, you know. You know how they were before it, and you should always be there to support them, and get them to become their healthy selves again. We all need a person in life that will push our boundaries and be there for us when we are not able to be there for ourselves.
The Dead Girls Club covers so many topics that warm and crush my heart. And I love it for it. If your book taste is similar to mine, I am sure you will love this book too, and I recommend it! 
Huge thanks to Melissa and the team at Crooked Lane Books in the US, for sending me a paperback ARC copy in exchange for my honest review!

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Book Review · Books

Her Crown of Fire (Molten Crown, #1) by Renee April [BOOK REVIEW]

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Her Crown of Fire is the first book of the Molten Crown series.

Rose Evermore is a girl trying to survive high-school. But she suddenly has dreams that can predict the future and she seems to be able to control fire.

Curious about the power she possesses, she finds herself in the fantasy realm of Lotheria with her best friend Tyson. When she arrives, she is welcomed as a fire mage at the academy, while Tyson is forced to hide in order to survive.

With a lot of plot twists and new power discoveries, Rose and Tyson are in trouble and have to find a way back home.

I enjoyed this book, and I loved the characters.

It is quite difficult for me to find characters I actually feel for in young adult fantasies, but I loved Rose and Tyson. Both characters were full of energy and wisdom. I especially loved the way Tyson developed into a man during his time in Lotheria.

Aside from Rose and Tyson, we also met many side characters which were instantly lovable, such as Laela, Orin and Amisha. They all had something about them that made them special, and I loved every scene that they were in.

I wish that the academy had a more welcoming feeling about it. But given the circumstances, I also loved the mystery and danger that is surrounding it. I loved the the scenes when they talk about their classes and magic, and I loved the runes class. It gave me a Hogwarts vibe.

I enjoyed reading this book, and I cannot wait to read the next book of this series. If you love young adult fantasy, magic, danger and adventure, followed by incredible friendships, you will absolutely love Her Crown of Fire!

Thank you to the team at White Plan Publishing, for sending me an ARC paperback copy, in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review · Books

Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou [BOOK REVIEW]

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Love, Heather is one of the most disturbing YA novels related to bullying I have read! 

Please be aware that this book has bullying and assault triggers. 

Stevie and Lottie have been friends since they’ve known about each other. And when Lottie starts to hang out with the popular kids, Stevie wants to fit in too. One thing leads to another, and Stevie gets bullied by them, which quickly leads to the whole school avoiding her.

Then Stevie becomes friends with Dee, and they start plotting a revenge on the popular kids, which very quickly gets out of hand. The ” Love, Heather ” pranks are now spreading without anyone being able to stop them.

Stevie’s family is a bit of a troubled one. Her mum and dad are divorced, and her dad doesn’t have the interest to see her often, being busy with his new missus. Her mum is starting to date other men too, often not spending time with Stevie. Lacking her family love, Stevie sees Lottie’s family as hers. Very understandably, given the fact she has spent countless days and nights there. Lottie’s family is not perfect either though. They have their own problems, and the most recent one is Lottie’s mum transitioning into a man.

Stevie as a character

Stevie is a person that makes you want to feel for you, but you can’t. She is supposed to be sympathetic and she is supposed to be a victim. However, most of the time I found her quite annoying and attention seeking. It is also important to mention that she is not alone and could reach for help, but she didn’t, despite people often asking her whether she is feeling okay and if there is anything they can do to help.

The world was always revolving about Stevie, and she couldn’t understand how other may feel as well. A scene where she tells Lottie how to accept her mum’s transition comes to mind. We all know that Stevie cares about Lottie and her mum, but Lottie is way closer and more affected in this situation. There are times where it’s not our place to say things, and leave people to cope in their own way, and Stevie was not able to achieve this state of mind.

Powerful!

While I couldn’t connect to Stevie on many levels, I absolutely cherish this book because it brings up bullying in a very powerful way. It is very emotional and very intense, every bit of reality hits hard and makes me angry for all the children out there that are getting bullied every day. I was once that kid. I was a Stevie too! And it sucks to see it happen again and again, and realise how cruel life and people can be sometimes, when no one gets punished for what they have done.

I loved how this book showed how small things done in consecutive way can have enormous effect to a person, or a group. How the small things we say today can hurt us badly. And I hope people will read this book with the hope of spreading the knowledge and standing up to bullies, before things go out of hand.

Thank you to the team at Netgalley and the publishers at Crooked Lane Books, for sending me an e-copy of Love, Heather in exchange for an honest review.

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