Wednesday, 6 July 2016

MINI BOOK REVIEWS | JUNE



Total number of books read: 5
Total number of pages read: 1696
Genres: 1 YA Fantasy, 1 adult thriller, 2 YA contemporary, 1 YA mystery.
Nationality of author: 2 UK, 2 USA, 1 Jamaican.

Total cliche right here, but HOW THE HECK ARE WE IN JULY ALREADY?! This year has gone so fast and I'm starting to get worried that I won't reach my Goodreads goal for the year *cries forever*.

But never mind because I am reading some books, albeit a bit slowly. I read five books last month, all in one week, and that was the week when I went on holiday. I don't think I've actually mentioned it around these parts but in June I moved house, interviewed for and started a new job, all in one month - so it was a pretty busy one! My holiday to Menorca was a pleasant relief and I read one physical book and four ebooks - so let's get into the reviews!


The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre | ☆☆☆☆
Deanna Madden has locked herself in her apartment for three years to stop her murderous fantasies from becoming reality. She makes money by being a cam girl, performing online for paying viewers. But a disturbing client and a missing girl force her to re-enter the outside world. Although this is marketed as an 'erotic thriller', I wouldn't really say it's erotica. The discussions of sex and sexual acts are very clinical and matter of fact, they're certainly not typically 'sexy' or erotically charged, and I think this actually worked really well alongside the character development. The plot was slightly clumsy and a bit predictable but it was overall really compelling and I'm intrigued enough by the main character to want to continue with the series.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | ☆☆☆☆
Violet and Finch meet for the first time on top of their high school's bell tower, both contemplating jumping. The two end up working on a school project together and their lives become entwined. All the Bright Places is an emotionally compelling look at love, loss and mental illness. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, I'm always wary of books that contain mental illness as a primary theme, but I think Jennifer Niven dealt with the topic really thoughtfully, although it could definitely be triggering for some - so fair warning there. I thought that the characters were really well developed and I really connected to them. I don't often cry when reading but I came really close with All the Bright Places and it definitely stayed with me long after I finished reading.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | ☆☆☆
Everything, Everything is about eighteen year old Madeline, who has been confined to her house for most of her life due to a rare illness, which means she's basically allergic to almost everything. Her life is mundane and monotonous until a new family moves next door and she catches sight of their teenage son, Olly. I started reading this almost straight after finishing All the Bright Places which might have actually affected how I felt about this book because I think I was automatically comparing them - and All the Bright Places definitely won out in my mind. Although the characters had so much potential, there wasn't much chance for character development before the narrative was pretty much eclipsed by insta-love. This is one of my least favourite tropes as it just seems rushed and the romance doesn't seem to have any foundation, the characters are just suddenly inexplicably in love. Insta-love is a collection of clich├ęs disguised as plot development and it just feels lazy. Despite that, the plot and the writing were interesting enough to bump Everything, Everything up to three stars, although I definitely didn't love it as much as most people seem to.



V For Violet by Alison Rattle | ☆☆☆.5
Set in London, 1961, V for Violet is a YA historical mystery that follows sixteen year old Violet, who is stuck working in her parents' fish and chip shop, dreaming of a more interesting life. Then one day she meets the handsome rocker Beau, her long-lost brother comes home, and local girls start going missing, including her best friend - suddenly life is a bit too interesting. I absolutely love historical fiction and I thought Alison Rattle's 1960s London was excellently developed - it felt very convincing. The mystery was a bit slow to build but the last third of the novel had me completely gripped and I was ultimately pretty satisfied with the ending. I thought Violet was a really interesting and relatable character and although at times she seemed a bit naive, it's understandable considering the time period.

The main issue I had with V For Violet was that the side characters just weren't developed enough. This might be a personal issue as I'm always interested in the side characters and think that they can add so much to a story. I really think that if the side characters, particularly Violet's family, had been just a little more developed, it would've added so much to the narrative and the intensity of the mystery. Overall, V For Violet was a really enjoyable read and I'd definitely like to read more from Alison Rattle.

Bad Apple by Matt Whyman | ☆☆.5
I got a review copy of this from NetGalley quite a while ago so by the time I got to reading it on holiday I couldn't remember what it was about, so I went in completely blind. This is something I usually enjoy doing but with Bad Apple it was a pretty bizarre experience, mainly because the plot was just so out of my comfort zone and kind of confusing. Bad Apple is probably best described as alt-reality or urban fantasy. It's based on the premise that 'trolls' are a subterranean race who look almost exactly like humans but behave differently, and that they have been secretly exchanging their children with human children for centuries and 'troll' behaviour is only apparent once they hit puberty. Thus, it is generally the explanation for anti-social behaviour. Fifteen year old Maurice is kidnapped by trolls whilst on a school trip to a troll settlement and is 'rescued' by Wretch, who happens to be a troll. Thus 352 pages of on-the-run hijinx ensues.

I kind of get what Whyman was trying to do here, a kind of mixing of traditional fairy-tale-esque 'trolls' and the way we use the world 'trolls' today - to describe people who exhibit anti-social behaviour online, in order to raise questions about difference in a humorous way. It's an interesting concept, I just don't think it was executed particularly well. I just wasn't invested in the plot or the characters, the world-building was pretty rushed and the hijinx quite drawn out, and frankly ridiculous. I love humour, I just think this might be intended for a younger audience than me and it definitely got a bit tedious. Give it a go if you have an open mind!

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What are you currently reading? Tell me all the things!

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