The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common

I’d like to say a big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

the lives of desperate girlsIn the small town of Thunder Creek, Ontario, Jenny wakes one day to the news her best friend Chloe has gone missing. Following this, a young First Nations girl called Helen is found murdered. Whilst Chloe’s disappearance is heavily investigated, Helen’s murder is pushed under the rug… and Jenny wants to know why. Sure Chloe is her best friend, maybe she should be happy that the investigation is putting its resources into finding Chloe… but Jenny can’t help but wonder why Helen’s death isn’t being treated as significantly. This book is a coming of age novel focused on racism, friendship and slut-shaming. I found the story quite riveting but had a few problems with it.

 “It haunted me to think that once a person was gone, all that remained of their life was a random collection of possessions and a shadow in other people’s memories. It made me feel as if I should live my life in a way that would transcend a closet full of clothing and the private sadness of a mother.”

So, my main problem with the book was that it felt very “white savior”. Jenny is shocked to realise the way everyone in her town treats First Nations people is racist. I don’t know how she didn’t realise this by the fact that all the First Nations people live on a reserve, which doesn’t even have access to public transport. She spends the rest of the book investigating Helen’s murder, by befriending Helen’s mum and some of her friends. Granted, Jenny did realise throughout the story she was being naïve AF, but it all just left a bitter taste in my mouth towards her. Despite my dislike of Jenny, I did like the commentary in the book regarding racism in Canada. It felt very familiar as someone from Australia, where people have their own prejudices towards Aboriginal people.

“People got worried when a white girl disappeared. If she was blond, it was a national emergency”.

 

I also didn’t connect with the relationships in this book. Firstly, the relationship between Jenny and Tom. I’ve seen others say this, and I also found it weird that Jenny just skipped school to go driving with this guy she DOESN’T EVEN KNOW. When her best friend is missing, presumed dead?! Yeah, no. Jenny, you are stupid. I also absolutely loathed Chloe and Jenny’s friendship. Now – this book is told in a first person POV so we only hear Jenny’s perspective of things… and from this perspective, the friendship seemed truly awful. Jenny seemed simultaneously jealous of Chloe and in love with her. Jenny also commented that she hated the way Chloe was slut-shamed… then in the next sentence judged her for sleeping with people?! You either respect your best friend… or you don’t.

All in all, I could take or leave this book. It reminded me of a lot of other books, but wasn’t written as well. All together I give it a 3/5 stars.

A x

The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited is the second novel written by Becky Albertalli, and the second novel of hers to win my heart. I will preface this by saying, I adored Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda so much and it will be forever be my #1 #simonandblueforever.

the upsideThe Upside of Unrequited follows our protagonist Molly Peskin-Suso. Some facts about Molly: she’s a twin to Cassie, she has anxiety, she’s fat and she’s had 26 crushes in her 17 years of life. Out of these 26 crushes, she’s had zero relationships, zero kisses… zero anything really! And to Molly, this is a pretty big deal. Where her sister Cassie is super confident in her ability to get a date, Molly is self-conscious and unsure of herself. That’s until she decides it’s time to let go of her inhibitions, and that’s when the book gets pretty fun!

I saw myself a lot in Molly. We’re both awkward AF and have anxiety. Heck, we even take the same anti-depressants. I loved the characterisation of Molly because tbh she wasn’t 100% loveable. Her lack of confidence was a bit annoying, but also very realistic. She bases er identity a lot on the fact she’s a twin, and seems to use Cassie as a crutch. As you can imagine, when Cassie get’s a girlfriend, this is a bit of a blow to Molly’s identity.

I loved the diversity in this book. We have 2 Jewish characters, a fat girl (who thankfully isn’t described as being “curvy in all the right ways” – my pet peeve), 2 mums (one who identifies as bisexual), a pansexual character who is also Korean-American and another bisexual character to name just a few. And the diversity does not feel forced! Unlike with Sarah J Maas books lol. You can honestly see that Becky Albertalli understands and appreciates the diverse world in which we live – bless you Becky.

To me, this book wasn’t as good as Simon Vs. That book was just the gold standard for me so what can you do. This book is still fabulous though. And I don’t want to give anything away but yes, there is a wee bit of a Simon Vs crossover and it gave me life. I give this book a 4/5.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book!

A x

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I’d like to say a big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

one of us is lyingDetention is where this story begins. 5 seemingly different students find themselves in detention, but only 4 students will leave the room alive. Pitched as ‘The Breakfast Club’ meets ‘Pretty Little Liars’, this book was super intriguing from the beginning, and kept me interested the whole way through. It’s got all your exciting aspects of a Whodunnit, mixed with teen angst, romance, and gossip!

Characters: The story is told through the eyes of our 4 main characters: Bronwyn (the brain), Addy (the beauty), Nate (the criminal) and Cooper (the athlete). Now, at the beginning I thought these characters were all a bit stereotypical and tropey. However, if you read the book you will see they have so much growth and change as you get to know them. To me, none of them were stereotypical by the end and I loved all of them so much!

Plot: I found the plot completely riveting. It’s fast paced, descriptive and exciting. Now, I will be honest and say I guessed the ending from about 1/4 of the way through the book, but as I told my friend Romie, I’m just that good!eQ20E

This fabulous book gets a 4/5 stars from me!

A x

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much to the lovely Book Princess Reviews for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Mandy’s blog is so beautiful and I love reading her reviews… I have also added so many new books to my TBR because of her so my wallet isn’t as big a fan as I am.versatilebloggeraward

THE RULES:

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blog.

7 facts about me:

  1. Outside of my reading life, I work as a nurse on a respiratory ward and am incredibly passionate about my job!
  2. I have 19 tattoos and hope to get many more.
  3. Harry Potter made me who I am today.
  4. My favourite flowers are peonies, king protea’s and lavender.
  5. My husband and I collect taxidermies, crystals and rocks.
  6. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs.
  7. I want to write a book one day!

10 of my favourite bloggers who I nominate and think you should check out –
novelparadiseblogquirkyandpeculiarflippingthroughthepagessunsnacksseriesblissfullifeprojectseelieknighttildareadsabookathoughtbloggirlwithapen and nerdytalksbookblog

A x

We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings

Hi Everyone! Firstly, I just want to apologise for the lack of the posts in the last month. In between being sick and working, I’ve just been so busy and uninspired. But I’m back and ready to continue posting.

we all beginI received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for sending it my way!

3.5/5. We All Begin As Strangers is based in 1980’s England. In the small village of Heathcote, a mysterious person dubbed “The Fox” begins breaking into people’s houses extremely stealthily and doesn’t really do much but lurk, spray perfume and leave the scent of dirt wherever they go. Until, one day, one of the townspeople go missing… assumedly taken by “The Fox” (or foxface as I like to call them).

Now, this story was honestly gripping. I really enjoy Harriet Cummings style of writing and the multiple perspectives the story is told in. We get to see 5 different townspeople’s point of views as the story unravels and we learn the village isn’t all it seems. Basically, they all have secrets that are pretty intense and in one case DISTURBING. This village was so annoying and I would not want to live there… everyone knows everyone else’s business and are so nosey…
I felt like the story had a very authentic vibe!

There’s one thing I’d like to talk about which is the reason my rating has been lowered. This story is based on true events. A person really did stalk a village and was dubbed “The Fox”. However, in the true stories case, The Fox also sexually assaulted multiple people. Now I totally understand and respect basing a story off true life events… but the author shouldn’t have called the character of this book The Fox. I feel by doing so it really belittles the pain of the victims of Malcolm Fairley (the real fox). I don’t think it’s right to profit from what others have suffered.

A x

Book Dedications – A Love Story

Today, I have chosen to share some of my favourite book dedications, found in books I own. I have always loved book dedications, from the simple to the sentimental; and don’t forget the downright hilarious. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

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“for Pop, who sees the stars

and Jude, who hears their music”

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I love the simplicity and beauty of this dedication.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset“For all the men and women who served in Vietnam; the ones who came back, those who didn’t and those who are still finding their way home.

This novel is also dedicated to the many mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, partners, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and friends… who, with love, wait.”

The Happiness Jar by Samantha Tidy

This dedication is so touching to not just those who died in the Vietnam War, but all those affected by it.

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“To those who refuse to be blinded by the glare or deafened by the hush, who are brave enough to question, and curious enough to explore. To those who will not forget. You will make a difference. And to the rest of us, so that we may learn how.”

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

I think this dedication is especially touching if you’ve read the book which is a story based on the asylum seekers detained in Australia. (You can read my review of The Bone Sparrow here)

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“To all the girls who have faced injustice and been silenced.

Together we will be heard.”

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

I think this dedication will ring true to many women in many different ways, and I hope one day we WILL be heard.

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“To the girl
who reads by flashlight
who sees dragons in the clouds
who feels most alive in worlds that never were
who knows magic is real
who dreams

This is for you.”

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

So I haven’t even read this book yet but oh, how I love this dedication – I was and always will be this girl.

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“The dedication of this book is split seven ways: to Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling 

No dedication list would be completed without this wonderful dedication by my queen, J.K. Rowling. I love the significance of it, although it breaks my heart a little…

Please, let me know if you enjoyed these dedications! Also let me know if you have any favourites.

A x

 

 

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Can I just say it physically pains me to write “behavior” instead of behaviour because that’s how it’s spelt in Australia! My laptop is basically yelling at me to spell it correctly! But I digress…

highly

Solomon Reed is an agoraphobic Star Trek nerd who’s honestly loveable in every way. Solomon (Sol) hasn’t left the house in 3 years due to having extreme anxiety and panic disorder, triggered by the outside world.

Lisa is a highly ambitious and selfish young woman who has her eyes set on the prize (a scholarship into a highly coveted Psychology degree). Lisa believes the way to do this is to “fix” Sol; despite the fact that having a mental illness doesn’t make you broken (but hey… it’s clear from the beginning that Lisa is an asshole). Lisa befriends Sol through a series of borderline stalker advances and brings her unwilling but loyal boyfriend along for the ride.

This book was actually fantastic, I found it to be very much character driven which I love. All the characters experience a lot of growth for the better throughout the book in a way that I personally found to be realistic. I do not have experience with agoraphobia so I cannot comment on the accuracy of this aspect of the story. I do have a experience with anxiety and I feel it was depicted really well. Sol is such a beautiful character and so is Clark (Lisa’s boyfriend). Lisa is average but she does redeem herself in the end. It was a little fast paced for me – I would have liked a bit more detail and I found the ending a bit anticlimactic and that’s why the book loses a star! 4/5.

“We’re just floating in space trying to figure out what it means to be human.”

A x