Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

5stars

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Number of pages: 352 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I wanted to know more and more, I couldn’t stop reading.
Bad things about this book: Flynn’s lies were a little irritating.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As good as I expected it to be. I kept wondering what happened to January, Flynn’s girlfriend, and I kept being on edge about Flynn lying and keeping an important part of himself hidden, a part he just wasn’t ready to tell the world.

I kind of love seeing teenagers getting justice with their own hands because their truths can’t be shared with the police and they think they can do better jobs at finding the bad guys and get them arrested. It’s fun because, in reality, it can’t happen without real consequences, but in fiction it’s all allowed, and I love it. Give me teenage vigilantes!

Flynn is a flawed character, but he is so easy to love. Yeah, I’m aware of the age gap between him and Kaz, but things kind of evolved in a very natural way that I forgot at some point they weren’t the same age. He’s is 3 years older I think, not much but enough to have more maturity when it comes to life and things in general. I just hope that in this fictional world, they can build a safe relationship and if either of them feels it’s too much, they call it quits and move on.

The ending satisfied me, as the rest of the story. I’m not usually a fan of thrillers because I need to know who did it, how and when, so I skim read, but with this one, that had also coming of age, coming out, and romance, I was glued to the pages until the very end.

I recommend it and, after this second book by this author, I can officially say that I will continue reading his books in the future. There’s come coming out on January and I can’t hardly wait, it sounds great!

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Anatomy of a Murderer by Tim Floreen

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4stars

“We humans like to think of ourselves as more rational than we are. We imagine we navigate through life using pure logic, but far more than we realize, we do things for illogical reasons and then bend our perception of reality to make our actions seem logical, at least to ourselves. It’s a trick of the brain, something we all do.”

Title: Anatomy of a Murderer
Author: Tim Floreen
Number of pages: 370 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It has pretty dark themes but I liked how they were portrayed.
Bad things about this book: Read the trigger warnings before starting it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Oh, how I wish I could just spoil the entire book and write every little thing that’s in my mind right now. I have a lot of thoughts, really a lot! When I picked it up, intrigued by the darkness it promised, I truly didn’t expect to read what I read. I found myself following Rem’s mind, influenced by his feelings and thoughts. Our brain is really powerful; it tricked me into believing things that should have been obvious from the start. Maybe I didn’t want to believe, maybe I just wanted to imagine how the story would turn out if things went my way.

This is not an easy book; it has many triggering moments and it surely isn’t for everyone. I got palpitations during a few scenes, nothing that made me close the book but, in those moments, I imagined how these scenes would look like to someone who has experienced school shootings and bullying. I can’t begin to imagine how traumatic it could be and how frightening it is to live in a country where everyone can brandish a gun and kill whoever they want.

In the past, I have always thought of American high schools as some sort of great experience I wish I could have done: proms, sports, science labs, the canteen, the friendships. I don’t remember at what point my eyes opened to the awful reality that that high school dream hides. The bullying, the way if you do sports you are deemed a king and you can do what you want with no consequences, the shootings, the suicides, the popular kids feeling like royalty. I started to fear it, to start seeing high school in the US as a place you went but you never knew if you’d come out unscathed or alive.

This book made me think of myself back when the idea I had of high school broke into a million pieces. I felt for Franklin, being an odd kid, targeted by bullies for how he looked, what he liked, and how he was in general. I tried to understand Rem and the way he thought he was protecting himself by not being the nice guy everyone thought he was. I really tried to see the reason Rem’s mother had for starting her brain experimentations in Franklin in the first place. I tried to give everything logic, my logic, and failed.

Everything that happened couldn’t have been avoided by Franklin not being a sociopath, by Rem being always nice, by Tor and Pete not being bullies, by Callie making less jokes, by Lydia stopping herself from saying a bad thing. If it wasn’t Franklin shooting Pete, that day a year in the past from when this book takes place, it could have been another kid, another day, with a gun they could have gotten easily. And that’s the problem. Not only we should try to treat people they way they deserve, the way we want to be treated, we should also understand that without the means to violence, with guns purchased online with few to zero background checks, maybe things wouldn’t go as awry as the do today. Violence wouldn’t end but maybe it would be easier to control, and people with ill intent would be easier to stop if instead of a gun or a rifle, they were armed with a knife.

I’m rambling because I’m scared. This isn’t fiction, this isn’t fantasy, this is real. These things happen all the time. They are happening so often that, even though I’m all the way here in Italy, I’m scared every morning when kids the other side of the ocean go to school, hoping they all make their way back home safe and sound.

This book was hard to read but I’m glad I did. I think it will make a very nice tv show or movie. It has all the elements needed to be great. I started reading this book expecting something entirely different from what I got, and, as rarely as it happens to me, I liked how things ended here more than how I wanted them to end in my head.

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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

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5stars

What an ugly thing I am, he thinks. Why did I ever believe I could wreak anything but ugliness in this world? Why did I ever think that those near me would meet anything but pain and death?

Title: City of Miracles
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Good things about this book: Sigrud!!!
Bad things about this book: It is the final book of this trilogy.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Third and last book of a trilogy I would have never read if it wasn’t for Goodreads and a fellow reader who wrote a review that painted this book worth of a try. And it was worth it, believe me. It contains a world building written with so much detail it constructs itself inside your head easily. I don’t know how to describe it to others but I want to be able to do it because this trilogy hasn’t as much readers as it truly deserves.

That’s the cycle of your life, isn’t it? You throw yourself into dangerous, hopeless situations. These situations punish you mercilessly. Yet you overcome them, and live.

After two books with two amazing main characters, now it’s time for my beloved Sigrud je Harkvaldsson to take the lead. I have loved him since the first book, City of Stairs, in which he worked alongside Shara Komayd against the danger of Divinities. He is a complex character, driven by anger. He has many layers and almost all of them are full of pain and suffering.

The second book, City of Blades, ended with Sigrud having to run away from Voortyashtan. Thirteen years have passed since then: years of Sigrud waiting for Shara to tell him it was okay to go back home, that everything that happened was somewhat being forgiven and, hopefully, forgotten over time. Years passed and no news from his friend until one day he hears Shara has been murdered; he is in shock and wakes from a sort of slumber and makes his way back to find out who did this to Shara, why and to avenge her.

I know how anything I tell is a potential spoiler and it was so good not having any when reading the book so I won’t write anything unnecessary, anything that can give you clues that are best not to have. It’s great to gasp at twists and smile when you finally understand what’s going on. Those are irreplaceable feelings!

What a stupid creature he is, driven by rage and emotion.

Being inside Sigrud’s mind is painful. He suffers a lot from what happened to him and also to all the people that he cared about and are not longer alive. Sigrud is supposed to be 63 years old. Sixty-three years old and looking half his age, it’s his cursed; new scars added to his person but not a single wrinkle decorating his face. His mind is a nest of bad thoughts but also resolution to get vengeance and to get rid of the new danger they are now facing. This villain is immature so he is erratic, driven by wrong reasons, his ego being the the mastermind of his plans; every time I turned a page I feared for the lives of everyone.

He remembers Shara again, twenty years ago, outside of Jukoshtan: Our work asks us to make terrible choices. But make them we shall.

The fact that Shara is dead and we know she is dead from the synopsis of the book doesn’t make reading about it easier. We knew Shara; we knew her values and what she did to make the world a better place. The way Sigrud thinks about Shara, the way he remembers her and what they did together, is so full of love and admiration and it kept breaking my heart.

They were closer than lovers—for love, of course, is a flighty, mercurial thing.

I cried when I finished the book. The last paragraph gave me the final blow. Saying goodbye is hard, I know that, but this felt different: they were happy tears. The kind of happy that comes from sadness but that knows it couldn’t have gone in any other way. It gives you peace and it gives you hope. I want these characters to be their better selves and live a happy life. That’s all I want.

Goodbye magnificent world of miracles and divinities. Goodbye characters that gave them all to make a difference. Goodbye friends we made along the way. Goodbye to you all and thank you.

We float upon a sea of moments, he thinks. And never are we truly free of them.

If you haven’t read this trilogy I recommend it with all my heart. I can’t explain why and maybe I won’t ever be able to put in words what makes me love these books, but like the review that convinced me to give it a try, I hope my review will do the same. Spread the love!

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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“When you look into the darkness, the darkness looks into you.”

Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Why you should read this book: If you liked the summary then you should try it out, maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it, either way it will an adventure.

Summary from Goodreads:

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

“Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It’s the trifecta.”

Well, I can’t say I got it, I can’t say I hated it. That’s it. I don’t know how to feel about it because it didn’t say me anything. It can’t be a 3 stars book because I don’t think I will think about it for a long time. It was a story, a well written story, but that’s just what it was.
At one point, maybe 80% into it, I felt like something interesting was happening but then no, it wasn’t was I was thinking and the ending was quite disappointing.

The characters were a little interesting. Midnight was weak, he could be manipulated so well, it’s not even funny. The only nice thing about Midnight is his name. Everything else was a random mess.
I thought Wink was mysterious, a little bit magical. She wasn’t, I was disappointed by her behavior and I don’t think her part of the story was the nicer.
Poppy, random and evil Poppy. Her story was weird right from the start. The bully with a heart she is trying to conceal. She didn’t convince me.

That been said. I liked the way the book was written. I just didn’t like what was written in it. It felt that this wasn’t going anywhere and indeed, in my opinion, it didn’t go anywhere.

Do I recommend it? If I’m being honest I won’t recommend this because why recommend a book I didn’t enjoy? It doesn’t feel right.
Rate: 2/5

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