[ARC] The Thing About Alice by Jean-Luke Swanepoel

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3stars

Title: Aurora Burning
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release date: May 5th 2020
Number of pages: 512 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: I think it conveys the hardness and hopefulness of life pretty well!
Bad things about this book: It’s very peculiar and I don’t think I understand it.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

I don’t think I understood what the book wanted to tell me. The writing was a bit hard to follow but I synchronised with it. Then the time jumps started and I got confused. I didn’t understand what was going on, who was who. And the last chapter is where the book lost me.

The story follows Alice, an old woman living with her husband, who knows everything about everyone and feels abandoned when her friends and neighbours start moving on and away. Each chapter focuses on a character important to Alice: it’s often raw, intense, you can’t catch a break, it’s rushed, things happen without you noticing.

I don’t know if I was supposed to feel like Alice, lost and having reality getting away from me, or it was just me who didn’t get what all of this was about. Nonetheless it was a very peculiar novella, one that left me wanting for so many information I didn’t get but wanted to know. I wasn’t expecting what I got, but the book has something that can’t be denied; life, crude life, with all it throws your way.

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Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale

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5stars

Title: Take Nothing With You
Author: Patrick Gale
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: This was such a sweet story, so well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I loved everything.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s worth it.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This book was a journey, an immense journey. It’s not about first loves, it’s not about that romance that blinds you. This is a book, a sort of quiet and calm book, about a man going into treatment for cancer, having to be isolated for two days, and reminiscing about his life. The first time he realized he was interested in boys, his love for music and the cello, his friend and school, his family, his life after college, his first big love who left him too soon, his heart healing, second chances, disappointments, anger, hope, living his life. I loved how the author decided to end the book. It was just so fitting the rest of the story’s pace. I loved it.

It’s the journal of Eustace. And it was incredibly touching and personal, just like a journal usually is. It infused me with all the feelings in a sort of zen garden way. I don’t know how to explain it. I guess you should just read it and see for yourself.

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[ARC] Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

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3stars

Staying awake with your thoughts while the rest of the world slept was a nightmare in reverse.

Title: Wranglestone
Author: Darren Charlton
Release date: February 6th 2020
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Full of potential and really creepy zombie scenes.
Bad things about this book: Some parts dragged a little then some others were too rushed.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 3.5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I couldn’t put it down. It was really interesting and had a lot of themes I like to read in books. Nevertheless, it had parts in which the inner monologues of the main character Peter dragged the story, and parts where more info and insight were needed, felt a lot rushed. Things happened real fast when a little explanation would’ve been great.

The premises was promising. A dystopian world full of zombies and a community trained to survive the walking dead. As I said, it was pretty interesting. Sadly it felt short in a few parts with the rushing of things and some other stuff just there pretty out of the blue. Again, an explanation would’ve been useful.

“Star Wars?” Peter shrugged. “OK. And what’s that about?” “It’s about a brother and a sister and their evil pa who’s up to no good.

Peter and Cooper were really adorable when they weren’t whiny which luckily didn’t happen often. I loved how Peter was all for good grammar, sewing, making pillows, and just having a tidy and clean house. Everyone needs a Peter in their lives. And if you’re a Peter, you’re amazing!!

There were things I didn’t see coming and revelations that I didn’t guess, which made me like the book a lot. I like coming up with theories when reading. Makes me feel like a very amateur Sherlock. Alas, I fail at my deductions most times.

Fast read, finished in a few hours, easy to read, fluent storyline even with its flaws. I sure will recommend it to fans of zombies when it’s release day!

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Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

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4stars

“Looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.”

Title: Vigilance
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Number of pages: 208 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Raw and violent and so very likely to happen.
Bad things about this book: I would’ve loved another short chapter to explain a bit the ending, because it left me like whaaat.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“Sometimes you need to put you first and get fit and strong so you can go out and save the world when you’re in the best shape to.”

Another win for Holly Bourne. I kept nodding, she kept raising relatable issues, and I understood. I almost never put my oxygen mask first, then help others. I usually jump into helping others even if it drowns me, even if it brakes me, because I need the people I love happy, and if I can give them my happiness or give them something that’ll make them happy, then I’ll do it, no matter what.

I was afraid there was going to be some forced romance that we didn’t need. The story that needed to be told was not about a girl finding love in the weirdest of places, but about a girl getting the help she needed to get better, to live the life she deserves. And we got that. I felt all the feelings Olive was feeling. I felt the rush when she was hyperactive, I felt the darkness when all seemed lost.

I was angry at her for not wanting to get treated, for thinking she knew best, that she could “cure” herself her own way. If it was that easy, we would all be the happiest all the time. So many factors come to play that can determine wether we develop mental illness, but sometimes it’s just how we are born. There is no logic, no reason behind it, we just are wired differently. Some can cope, some need help. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

The brain is a powerful thing. We need to keep it in shape. For us. If our brain is in shape, we can shape our lives better and we can share our happiness with the people around us, the people that we love.

I always recommend Holly Bourne’s books, and this is no exception. Read it.

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The Whispers by Greg Howard

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4stars

Title: The Whispers
Author: Greg Howard
Number of pages: 256 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: The story was so sweet and not predictable.
Bad things about this book: I can’t think of any, I enjoyed this little book a lot.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Look at me crying all the tears. I know I read this book was for fans of Bridge to Terabithia, and I still was surprised when the book was sad. I should have known better! It was exactly like that time I put on Netflix the movie I Fight Giants, thinking it was a movie about a girl fighting giants, and ended up crying all the tears I had inside me.

This book started with Riley being interviewed by Frank, asking him questions about the day his mother disappeared. I felt both sad and frustrated because Riley wasn’t telling him the whole truth. Why wouldn’t you do it if it helps find your mom? I was shaking my head hard, trying to remember what it meant being 13 and afraid. And you know what? I don’t remember. It’s been 20 years and the only thing that I remember is that of course I didn’t always tell the whole truth to grown ups. But what if the truth would’ve helped find someone I love? I would have told the truth, I’m almost sure of it.

But 13 years old don’t really know the weight of things, not really. They don’t understand how a simple detail that you think unimportant, can change everything. He is young, unexperienced, confused and afraid. Riley has a lot going on for him and I was saddened by his situation. I rooted for him to find the whispers, little fairies from tales his mom told him that could grant wishes in exchange for gifts.

The story is not as simple as it seemed, as I thought it would be. It was frustrating, infuriating, sad, and also hopeful. I didn’t get what I thought I was going to get and I’m happy for it. I read a beautiful and sweet story about a boy trying to understand his place in the world, to understand himself, and to get back the only person he thinks has his back.

The cover made me notice the book, so thank you cover for making me read this unique and heartbreaking story.

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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

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5stars

“If it’s going to be a world with no time for sentiment, it’s not a world that I want to live in.”

Title: A Single Man
Author: Christopher Isherwood
Number of pages: 152 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Raw and true, extremely well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, as long as it should’ve been.
Do I recommend it? Yes, and then watch the movie.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

A Single Man may look like a simple book. Well, it isn’t. It’s short, yes, it takes place during one whole day in the life of George, it analyses his struggles, his routine, his suffering. It may look simple, because it’s written simply, but it really isn’t. It’s a deep dive into George’s life as a gay man, grieving for a lost lover, not really living his life, just going with the tide until you can’t go anymore, and everything ends.

I love books that in just a few pages manage to transmit me so much feelings, either of joy or sadness. Relatable and raw. George’s inner thoughts are hard to process because he isn’t really living anymore after the loss of his lover. Each day is a struggle he just lives just because he has to. But he is determined to keep going.

The ending surprised me. I haven’t seen the movie yet, I didn’t know what to expect, and this was an ending I didn’t see coming. Throughout the book I thought what I was going to get, I was convinced I was going to be right, and I was wrong almost every time, right through the ending. Little book surprised me quite a lot. Highly recommended.

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram ☆

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5starsplus

“You’re okay,” he murmured.
“No, I’m not.”
“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”

Title: Darius the Great Is Not Okay
Author: Adib Khorram
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how calm and sweet this was, so very real!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I can’t recommend it enough.
Rate: 5+++/5 (it’s a favourite!)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I have never read a more relatable character than Darius. I loved this book with all my little heart. Feelings are overflowing. This is not an excessively sad book, it has sad parts but it’s a hopeful journey, and we get to see it through a very sweet boy’s eyes.

This story filled my heart with a bittersweet joy. I’m so glad I’ve read it. I’m happy, a sort of calm and quiet happiness.

I loved the quiet. Even if it sometimes made me think of sad things. Like whether anyone would miss me if I was dead.

Darius is bullied at school and it made me furious, not only because of the bullies but because of his dad telling him that if he was just more normal he wouldn’t have these kinds of problems. What kind of father tells that to a son? To a bullied son? To a bullied son who has also depression? He has a lot on his plate and he’s trying his best, he doesn’t need a father not being on his side.

Normally, I was thrilled to get pizza – it was pretty much the best dietary indiscretion ever – but I could feel Dad watching me at every bite, flaring his nostrils.

His dad infuriated me because he is exactly like my mother. Ever since I remember my mom has been obsessed with weight. I’m overweight, I have been this way, more or less, since I got my period at 9 years old. Pretty early, I know. Ever since that day I started getting curves and everything I ate stayed there with me. I have been thinner in the past, but it didn’t last, surely because I’m not supposed to be that way. I’m happy with how I am. I do care about my health and take care of myself, but this is my shape and people shouldn’t see that as bad or wrong.

Darius gained weight because of his medication, he really doesn’t have a problem with it. He has a problem with his father having a problem with it. Take that and add that he is going to Iran, her mother’s birth place, for the first time to meet his grandparents and relatives. Everything is overwhelming and different. Luckily, he meets Sohrab, a friend of his grandparents and they immediately click. They are destined to be friends. Great friends!

I liked that I could be silent with Sohrab.
That’s how I knew we really were going to be friends.

I love Darius and Sohrab together; they don’t get along all the time, they had a rough first outing together, but the nice thing about friends is that they can forgive you. Darius really needed someone like Sohrab, and I’m happy he got to meet him and bond with him. It helped him a lot. The subtlety of the LGBT theme was just right; I wasn’t disappointed it wasn’t more present, more told on page, because that’s just another way Darius was dealing with everything that’s been going on in his life. I liked how he just wasn’t ready to tell anyone, not even us, the readers.

Darius’ story was one of growth, family, friendship and understanding that is okay not be okay, but trying their best every single day. I loved this book, the way it built slowly, telling different stories that came together in the end. I loved it. I hope there are more books like this one out there, because as I needed this one, other people might need them in the future. I recommend it with all my heart.

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