Book Reviews · Books

Lost Boy

lostboy Lost Boy by Christina Henry
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 4th July 2017
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Horror, Gore, Peter Pan

Synopsis
There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Review
I’m so glad that this book lived up to my high expectations for it, it was everything I wanted and expected it to be. A dark retelling of the story of Peter Pan, but from Captain Hook’s perspective back when he was Peter’s original Lost Boy. Peter is shown to be an extremely selfish attention seeker and thinks of the boys he takes from the real world as nothing more than amusing playthings to go along with his adventures and entertain him, if they no longer amuse him or become a nuisance he simply finds ways to get rid of them and replace them with more boys.

I felt truly sucked into this lost island and had a constant feeling of dread throughout reading, getting attached to characters and knowing more than likely at some point they will die. Plus the plains are filled with huge spider monsters called the Many-eyed which are just terrifying.

Peter’s idea of fun is ‘raiding’ the pirates which is effectively having children turn into vicious murderers or if they arn’t strong enough they will simply be killed themselves. Peter also likes the boys to partake in ‘Battles’ where they are pitted against each other to ‘practise fighting’ but ultimately some boys end up seriously hurt or he will even have them fight to the death while he watches.

I don’t want to go much more into the plot but this is a must read for any fans of dark retellings, it is gritty and gruesome and I loved it.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Spare and Found Parts

spareandfoundparts Spare and Found Parts
by Sarah Maria Griffin

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 4th October 2016
Keywords: YA, Sci Fi, Prosthetics, Frankenstein, Dystopian, Steampunk

Synopsis
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Review
After reading Other Words for Smoke earlier this year and loving it I decided to read Sarah’s previous book! I obviously went into this with pretty high expectations and although I do personally prefer Smoke, this was a solid read and one I really enjoyed.

Sarah seems to have a knack for making her characters very relatable with the way she describes feelings and passions, I found myself relating to how Nell felt quite a lot and the other characters were very unique, each showing their personal strengths and faults.

It was fun and heart breaking slowly unraveling the worlds and Nell’s past, most of which I didn’t see coming. The character that comes into the story in the second half of the book I absolutely loved and seeing the unique relationship evolving with Nell, I was happy with how the story concluded.

A must read for fans of dystopia style settings and those interested in the evolution of technology, AI in particular, and the possible negative effects it can end up having on humanity.

My rating: 4/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Gumiho (Wicked Fox)

gumiho Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 2nd July 2019
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Korean mythology, Romance, Drama

Synopsis
Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Review
A book I was really looking forward to reading and I really enjoyed the first 1/3, it started out very promising and then, for me, got too lost and caught up in a bunch of drama that took away from the connection that was being established between the two main characters.

I think simply I’m too old to appreciate this book for what it is, if I had read it 10 years ago (when I read Twilight) that I would have liked this a heck of a lot. Alas the unnecessary drama was completely lost on me, although I did enjoy most of the characters, I found Miyoung’s decisions and behaviour as the story progressed to not make much sense.

It’s been a week since I finished this book and I honestly struggle to remember the finer points of what happened, I don’t see myself continuing with this series.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Wilder Girls

wildergirls Wilder Girls by Rory Power
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 9th July 2019
Keywords: YA, Thriller, Body horror, LGBTQ, Gore

Synopsis
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Review
Why is it that the books I loved reading the most are always the hardest to write reviews for?? Well here is my attempt anyway a week after finishing this masterpiece.

This was already one of my most anticipated releases of 2019, it sounded like my perfect book and the early reviews were coming in great, that also got me worried that I was hyping this book up too much with too many expectations, and what if I eventually was about to read it and felt that it didn’t live up to the hype? I didn’t need to worry because it was bloody brilliant and it is easily one of my favourite books of all time.

But why did I like it so much? I’m a big fan of messed up stuff in general in books and movies and this book has quite a lot of messed up stuff in the forms of body horror, gore and pretty much the underlying plot in general. The 3 main girls we follow are all very different but very relatable and lovable in their own ways, and the best thing of all for me was their relationships with each other.

Especially Hetty + Byatt for me, having a very close bond myself with my best friend I felt I could really relate to how they felt about each other and boy did I cry about it.

Even the sub characters in this book you find yourself easily getting attached too, and not knowing the outcome of this book had me on edge constantly from halfway through right until the very end. I’m highly anticipating what Rory Power brings out in the future.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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windupbird The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 12th April 1994
Keywords: Adult, Japan, Magical realism

Synopsis
Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.

Review
I honestly have no idea how to review this book, but here is my feeble attempt. It took me roughly 2 months on and off to finish and not because I wasn’t enjoying it, I just found it to be quite a heavy read compared to Kafka on the Shore which I finished within a week. This is mostly due to quite a few historical flashbacks which did get quite graphic and quite honestly a bit depressing. I found this book had a lot of nods to depression which I personally found to be relatable but also at times hard to read.

It was filled with all of the usual weird magical realism elements that I love and most of it really didn’t make much sense, but then I’m not sure it’s supposed to. What a great cast of characters though, I particularly loved any scene that involved May and the role she played for the main character.

I’m glad I read this book and look forward to reading more of Murakami’s novels, would recommend for fans of magical realism and weird stories that don’t quite make sense but make you think hard about the world.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

S.T.A.G.S

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STAGS S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 10th August 2017
Keywords: YA, Thriller, Hunt, Mystery, Bullying, Violence, Contemporary, Romance, Animal deaths

Synopsis
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… “

Review
I went in to this book expecting it to be way more gritty and gruesome with less of the romance aspect which is mostly why my rating is on the lower side. Sometimes it even felt like I was reading a middle grade novel and as we are in the protagonists head some of her thoughts were very immature and inappropriate for the situation so perhaps I’m not the target audience for this. Nonetheless it was still a pretty fun read and focused hard on discrimination by class/race which is obviously a very relevant topic.

Too much focus from our main girl on how hot the main guy is and way too many movie referencing for me. The actual ‘hunt’ parts were more enjoyable and there were a few times that got my heart rate up. Plot twists were mostly predictable but I did enjoy the character of Henry (gave me some Cardan from The Cruel Prince vibes).

Would recommend for contemporary fans that like a hint of thriller, wouldn’t recommend for someone looking to read a gritty intense thriller.

My rating: 3/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books · Japanese Book Club

Goodbye Tsugumi

Readalong #1

The first book I chose for my Japanese Book Club was Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto which I had previously read last year and loved. I figured it would be a good book for people who maybe havn’t read any Japanese authors before (cos they can get a lil crazy), so here is my spoiler review and for anyone who has read the book too, please leave comments for us to discuss!

AmamiOshima

Continue reading “Goodbye Tsugumi”