Review Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way DownSixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Paper Towns was my second ever read in English and my first encounter with John Green. I loved the storyline, the characters, the mystery, the symbolism, the humour, the flowing prose – in other words, everything about that book. I came to understand why so many readers have fallen in love with John Green’s literature. I excitedly dived into Looking for Alaska, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to my expectations. The same can be said of Turtless All the Way Down, a release that, as many other readers, I have highly anticipated for the last few months, given that John Green had taken a hiatus after his highly successful publication, The Fault in Our Stars, which I haven’t read yet.

Turtles All the Way Down was by no means an unpleasant read, but rather a confusing one without a clearly defined plot. My impression is that John Green failed in his attempt to build multiple subplots. While he took the plot into more than one direction, he has never finalized the process. As a result, Turtless All the Way Down has an uninteresting and unclear plot. Nonetheless, John Green displays once again his talent for crafting memorable teenage characters, capable of introspection. He couldn’t have illustrated in a more realistic manner how OCD affects one’s life. Considering that the story is told from Aza’s perspective, the youngster suffering from OCD, you are made aware of her thoughts on her mental disorder from the first page to the last and I promise that you will feel unsettled at times. In addition, the novel lays emphasis on how the people in Aza’s life cope with her mental health struggles and I thought that this aspect was well-done and realistically approached. I very much appreciated Daisy’s (Aza’s best friend) raw honesty, because she did not forbear from criticizing and scolding her friend, now and then.

Even though I disliked the writing style at the beginning, believing that John Green let himself get lost in unnecessary details, as I kept turning the pages, I was able to find many relatable quotes that summed up life and were worthy of highlighting on my Kindle:

It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.

True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.

Reading someone’s poetry is like seeing them naked.

The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.She noted, more than once, that the meteor shower was happening, beyond the overcast sky, even if we could not see it. Who cares if she can kiss? She can see through the clouds.

“The problem with happy endings,” I said, “is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.”

You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved,that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person,and why.

All in all, I have mixed feelings on Turtles All the Way Down. I enjoyed various aspects of this novel, but at the same time it had obvious imperfections that partly interfered with the reading experience. If you are an avid fan of John Green or the Young Adult genre, this is a must-read, although it is not as compelling as my beloved Paper Towns.

Rating:

Imagini pentru three stars rating

Review Here We Lie by Paula Treick DeBoard

Here We Lie

A riveting novel about how the past never stays in the past, from the critically acclaimed author of The Drowning Girls and The Mourning Hours 

Megan Mazeros and Lauren Mabrey are complete opposites on paper. Megan is a girl from a modest Midwest background, and Lauren is the daughter of a senator from an esteemed New England family. But in 1999, Megan and Lauren become college roommates and, as two young women struggling to find their place on campus, they forge a strong, albeit unlikely, friendship. The two quickly become inseparable, sharing clothes, advice and their most intimate secrets.

The summer before their senior year, Megan joins Lauren and her family on their private island off the coast of Maine. The weeks go by, filled with fun and relaxation, until late one night at the end of the vacation, something unspeakable happens, searing through the framework of the girls’ friendship and tearing them apart. Many years later, in the midst of a political scandal, Megan finally comes forward about what happened that fateful night, revealing a horrible truth about Lauren’s family and threatening to expose their long-buried secrets.

In this captivating and moving novel of domestic suspense, Paula Treick DeBoard explores the power of friendship and secrets and shows how betrayal can lead to disastrous, and deadly, consequences.

Due to be published at the end of January 2018, Here We Lie is my second encounter with Paula Treick DeBoard’s literature following The Drowning Girls, her enthralling novel of domestic suspense which I read a few months ago and very much enjoyed. Paula Treick DeBoard reinvented herself in Here We Lie in the sense that she left the realm of psychological thriller/mystery/suspense that she had explored in her previous publication and switched focus to the anatomy of female friendship intertwined with the themes of sexual assault and political scandal. I have always held the novelists unafraid to try different literary genres in high regard.

Here We Lie reconfirms the quality of Treick DeBoard’s storytelling skills. It is a slow-paced novel filled with well-done characterization and realistic, thought-provoking events. The chapters are told from Megan and Lauren’s perspectives and follow the past, when the two were roommates at Keale College and close friends, and the present, when the former friendship is non-existent. Even though the author opted for a dual timeline, the past accounts for a greater part of the story as it provides an explanation for the current state of the relationship between the protagonists.

Speaking of the protagonists, Lauren has always been the rebellious member of her political and very wealthy family, whereas Megan comes from an ordinary family and has been able to afford college tuition following her father’s death. Despite the evident antithesis regarding their backgrounds, the two form a close friendship when they become roommates, both being haunted by past secrets. While these characters are undoubtedly flawed and I have constantly wondered whether their friendship has ever been genuine, I wouldn’t say they are despicable. I appreciated the fact that both Lauren and Megan were well-aware of their defects most of the time.

All in all, Here We Lie is a spellbinding novel that requires slow reading in order to savour the beautiful and flowing writing of Paula Treick DeBoard. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a well-written and complex female friendship-themed book.

I was fortunate to be provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Special thanks for this opportunity go to NetGalley, Harlequin (US & Canada) and Park Row Books.

Rating:

Imagini pentru 4 stars rating

 

 

 

Review Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend RequestA paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It’s easy to hide behind a faceless page on the internet.

 

Friend Request marks Laura Marshall’s literary debut. It is a well-conceived and decently written psychological thriller with a very enticing and thought-provoking premise: Louise, the protagonist and the narrator of most of the chapters comprising this book, is a single mom of a little boy, Henry, and a successful interior designer who receives an unexpected Facebook friend request from Maria Weston, a girl who disappeared more than 25 years ago and has been presumed dead ever since. Maria started to attend the same high school as Louise during the senior year and the two were initially friendly towards one another. Different rumors about Maria’s experience at her old school in London began to circulate among the students and Louise, influenced by her popular friend, Sophie, distanced herself from Maria and took part in harassing her. Louise and her friends plotted something meant to embarass Maria publicly on the occasion of the leavers’ party which coincided with the night she vanished under mysterious circumstances. Haunted by the past, Louise has been living under the impression that she was responsible for Maria’s death.

The story is told in alternate timelines: on the one hand, we are witnessing Louise’s present increasing paranoia caused by the frightening idea that Maria might actually be alive and she seeks revenge; on the other hand, we learn about the events that took place in 1989 and concluded with Maria’s disappearance.

It’s been a while since I read a psychological thriller that captivated me from beginning to end. Needless to say, Friend Request is highly suspenseful and no character can be trusted. I had my theories regarding the culprit’s identity but, as expected, none of them proved correct or at least closer to the truth. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the denouement, given that the gradual build-up of suspense throughout the book was excellently executed. Nevertheless, it seemed realistic and plausible, which is a real plus point.

The social media aspect of the novel announced in the blurb wasn’t as articulate as I would’ve expected, but I didn’t necessarily mind that. Friend Request approached other important matters, such as school bullying and how the unpopular teenagers grow to behave uncharacteristically because they crave the popular students’ attention.

That being said, Friend Request is definitely a page-turner and I highly recommend it to the fans of mysteries/psychological thrillers. I am looking forward to reading Laura Marshall’s future releases!

Rating:

Imagini pentru 4 stars rating

 

Review It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

It's Always the Husband

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication. The interesting choice of title and the gorgeous cover aroused my interest in this novel. In my opinion, the storyline idea, albeit decent and promising, is not uncommon when it comes to the mystery fiction. The surprising aspect of this book given the genre it belongs to is the sophisticated and elaborate writing style. When I read The Couple Next Door, for example, I was bitterly disappointed with the immature writing, whereas Michele Campbell’s mystery left me with the impression that it was a little overwritten. Initially I must admit I was caught up in the heavy characterization and the in-depth analysis of the protagonists’ mentalities. However, as the story progressed, I started to slighly lose my concentration on what was going on in the book due to the fact that I felt exhausted by the vast amount of detailed information and the rather difficult vocabulary used by the author. Regarding the suspense, it built gradually and culminated in an anticipated revelation, taking into consideration the title. I believe that neither the suspense nor the mystery played a key role in this book. To be honest, It’s Always the Husband was all about the female characters and the dynamics of the apparent friendship between the three.

The novel comprises two parts which differ considerably one from another. Aside from the minor change of pace, in the first half of the book we are provided with everything we need to know about the setting, the characters’ personality traits, their backgrounds, the beginnings of their friendship and the events that have caused conflicts between them, whereas the second half partly resembles a police procedural. The story is told entirely in third-person and moves between past – when Kate, Aubrey and Jenny were freshman students at Carlisle College – and present – when the three women are in their 40s and all of them married.

Michele Campbell did a great job of creating a cast of unlikeable and obnoxious characters. Even though the female protagonists are strongly individualized throughout the entire story, they appeared a little stereotypical to me, especially in the first few chapters. Kate is a New Yorker coming from a very wealthy family. She lost her ill mother at an early stage in life and has always had a difficult relationship with her father who has disapproved of her chaotic lifestyle. Kate is beautiful, mean, materialistic, indifferent, manipulative, complicated and somehow everyone gravitates towards her. I think that her destiny perfectly illustrates the saying “What goes around, comes around”. Jenny is the intelligent, conscientious, calculated, opportunist, controlling type of woman. She has a competitive mindset and is capable of lying and betrayal in order to attain her objectives. Given all these traits, it is not surprising that she became the mayor of Belle River. As a freshman student, Aubrey was poor, naive and easily influenced by others. She idolized Kate and behaved similarly to her. While reading the first part of the book, I found Aubrey very antipathetic and foolish. Subsequently, she slightly grew on me because she was the only one between the three female characters who underwent a visible development. She has learnt that her so-called friends are untrustworthy and in reality they have never truly cared about her and regarded her as a person inferior to them.

In conclusion, It’s Always the Husband is a challenging read that requires patience and full attention. I enjoyed the manner in which this slow-paced mystery was written and the fact that it managed to maintain my interest despite of the lack of action. If you like a book in the mystery genre that centers predominantly around the characters and the toxic relationships established between them and less around the crimes, Michele Campbell’s debut might prove an excellent choice.

Rating:

Imagini pentru three stars and a half

Recenzie Eleanor si Park

 

22290961_1489907411091326_1262103098_oEleanor a fost dată afară din casă și, după un an, se întoarce să trăiască din nou împreună cu mama, frații și tatăl ei vitreg. O școală nouă, unde nu cunoaște pe nimeni și toată lumea pare s-o urască. Nu-și face nicio speranță că și-ar putea găsi prieteni și, când se-așază în autobuz lângă Park, un băiat tăcut, care nu vrea decât să fie lăsat în pace, să-și asculte muzica și să-și citească benzile desenate, nu se-așteaptă la mare lucru.

Însă unele povești de dragoste încep fără mari așteptări și se dovedesc a fi cu atât mai impresionante cu cât începuturile lor sunt mai modeste. Deși sunt suficient de deștepți să știe că prima iubire nu durează, Eleanor și Park au curaj cât să vrea s-o trăiască până la capăt, nu doar în ce are ea mai serios, ci și în ce are mai amuzant, mai naiv și mai stângaci.

AutorRainbow Rowell
TraducătorFlorentina Hojbotă
Coperta deHarriet Russell

Nu mă aşteptam să îmi placă aşa de mult această carte. Nu sunt o mare fană a cărților contemporane, iar „Eleanor si Park” m-a luat prin surprindere. Nu e prima carte de Rainbow Rowell pe care am citit-o, scrisul autoarei fiind unul cunoscut de mine.

In primul rand, am fost placut surprinsa de descrierea protagonistei, Eleanor. Ce am observat in majoritatea cartilor pe care le-am citit este personajul feminin ideal, frumos, cu un corp perfect si o inteligenta de neimaginat. Rainbow Rowell a spart acest stereotip, conturand un personaj divers, dupa parerea mea, mai frumos si mai complex. Subiectul pe care l-a atins autoare a fost unul sensibil, nu foarte usor de abordat, dar aceasta a reusit sa il stapaneasca cu succes. Eleanor are parte de multe intamplari nefericite in viata ei, aceasta trecand prin violenta si abuz domestic. Un alt aspect care mi-a atras atentia a fost modul in care cei doi protagoniștii ajung sa vorbeasca, eventual sa se indragosteasca. Este o poveste de dragoste unica, cei doi spargand standardele societatii. Modul in care ajung sa vorbeasca este unul nemaintalnit, acestia stand unul langa altul in autobuzul scolii, Park aducandu-si zilnic o banda desenata, Eleanor citind si ea pe furis. Ulterior, Park ajunge sa ii imprumute benzi desenate, cat si casete cu muzica,zilnic. Usor, usor ajung sa aiba sentimente reciproce, Eleanor fiind speriata de tot ceea ce se intampla.

De asemenea, Park are si el problemele lui, intr-adevar neinsemnate pe langa cele ale lui Eleanor. Acesta se confrunta cu parintii lui, el crezand ca ei nu sunt mandri de el. La inceputul cartii, mama acestuia nu are o parere foarte buna despre Eleanor, deoarece aceasta nu se imbraca ca o fata, purtand haine barbatesti si nearanjandu-si parul niciodata. Dupa mai mult timp, mama lui Park realizeaza greseala facuta si o accepta pe Eleanor. Park se lupta cu el insusi la inceput, crezand ca o sa fie judecat de cei din jur. Totul se schimba atunci cand cel mai bun prieten se ia de Eleanor, Park sarind  la bataie.

Dragostea celor doi protagonisti este una pura, inocenta, lipsita de ganduri gresite. Relatia lor este plina de emotie si sentiment. Mi-a placut foarte mult felul in care Park o descrie pe Eleanor: „Arata ca o opera de arta, iar arta nu trebuie sa fie draguta; trebuie sa te faca sa simti ceva.” .

Finalul a fost unul la care nu m-am asteptat, si nu as vrea sa vorbesc prea mult despre el, dorind sa va las sa il cititi si sa imi spuneti parerea voastra despre el. In opinia mea, a fost unul perfect pentru aceasta carte, potrivindu-se perfect.

Una peste alta, „Eleanor si Park” a fost o carte draguta, care mi-a lasat un sentiment placut dupa. V-o recomand sa o cititi, in special atunci cand sunteti intr-un reading slump. Eu i-am dat 4/5 stele . La noi este aparuta la Editura Youngart, si puteti sa o achizitionati de pe Cartepedia carora le multumesc pentru exemplarul oferit.

Recenzie Aleasa Dragonului

22281388_1489912214424179_75345241_oAgnieszka își iubește satul, pădurile și râul strălucitor, aproape de care pândește însă o prezență malefică. Singurul ajutor poate veni din partea Dragonului, dar prețul lui este unul îngrozitor: o fată pe care să o țină prizonieră zece ani în Turnul său.
Agnieszka și ai ei știu că o va alege pe draga ei prietenă, frumoasa, grațioasa și curajoasa Kasia. Și nu o pot salva. Numai că Dragonul va face altă alegere.

AutorNaomi Novik
TraducătorOana Ionaşcu

”Agnieszka si ai ei stiu ca o va alege pe draga ei prietena, frumoasa, gratioasa si curajoasa Kasia. Și nu o pot salva. Numai ca Dragonul va face alta alegere.”

O felicit pe autoare pentru ca a avut curajul sa scrie un stand alone fantasy. Rar mai gasesti carti de genul acesta! Parerile mele despre aceasta carte sunt destul de amestecate, avand de spus lucruri bune, cat si lucruri mai putin bune.

Ideea cartii a fost una pe care eu, personal, n-am mai intalnit-o. Bineînțeles, exista epicul cliseu in care o fata neinsemnata devine peste noapte foarte importatnta. Am trecut peste asta, avand in vedere ca mai toate cartile mele preferate au acest cliseu in ele. Prima jumatate a cartii chiar mi-a placut. Firul narativ era unul cursiv, iar actiunea ma tinea in suspans. Lumea era una interesanta, din care voiam sa aflu cat mai multe lucruri. De asemenea, antagonistul mi s-a parut unul nemaintalnit. Aveam o relatie de love-hate cu personajul principal, Agnieszka. Protagonista mi s-a parut copilaroasa pe tot parcursul intamplarii, chiar daca aceasta avea momente de curaj. Personajul care mi-a atras atentia cu adevarat a fost Dragonul, cu caracterul lui nesabuit si misterios. Sunt dezamagita ca nu am aflat mai multe despre el. In schimb, am fost foarte speriata de numele personajelor. Sunt un fan mare al genului fantasy, asta inseamna sa sunt familiara cu nume ciudate, dar, cu singuranta, „Aleasa Dragonului” are cele mai stranii nume pe care eu le-am intalnit.

Pot spune ca eram investita in poveste in primele 200 de pagini, eram foarte curioasa cu vedere la finalul cartii!Ma asteptam la ceva spectaculos , ceva ce sa o sa ma lase fara suflare. De la jumatatea cartii lucrurile au luat o intorsatura drastica. Protagonista la inceput nu avea cunostinte prea mari in ale magiei, dar brusc ea devenise una dintre cele mai mari vrajitoare. Intamplarile au fost mult prea grabite, nici nu am apucat sa ma bucur de a o anumita parte caci autoare sarea dintr-o scena in alta. Scopul cartii a devenit cu totul altul, fiecare personaj pierzandu-si din farmec. In ultimele 100 de pagini foarte multe personaje mor, dar se trece peste moartea acestora ca si cum nimic nu s-ar fi intamplat. De asemenea, si finalul a fost unul grabit, nici macar nu am apucat sa procesez ce s-a intamplat.

Cartea aceasta a inceput asa de promitator si s-a terminat asa de dezamagitor. Am vazut potentialul in ea si sunt sigura ca autoarea ar fi facut o treaba mult mai buna daca aceasta carte ar fi fost cu 200 de pagini mai lunga. Atat de multe lucruri au ramas in ceata, chiar si dupa final, iar lumea ar fi putut fi mult mai explorata.

Motivul principal pentru care am citit aceasta carte este pentru ca toata lumea din strainatate  vorbea despre ea. Am auzit, in general, lucruri bune despre ea. Voiam neaparat sa o citesc si sa imi pot spune propria opinie.

Una peste alta, eu nu va spun ca nu merita sa cititi „Aleasa Dragonului”, consider ca trebuie sa o incercati, sa va creati propria opinie. Eu i-am dat 3/5 stelute . Cartea este aparuta la editura Nemira si o puteti achizitiona de pe Cartepedia carora le multumesc pentru exemplarul oferit.

Andreea M.

Review One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

First of all, I would like to thank Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

One Dark Throne is the second installment of the Three Dark Crowns fantasy series by Kendare Blake and is due to be published this fall. It is a solid follow-up novel to the best-selling Three Dark Crowns and equally intriguing. As everyone surely remembers, the ending of the first book consisted of two major and well executed plot twists that, in my opinion, were very surprising, considering that about 80% of the story was characterized by a relatively slow pace and lack of action, and left the things up in the air. In contrast to its predecessor, One Dark Throne showed a welcome increase in both the pace and the amount of action comprising the book and was an overall lighter and quicker read. As regards the character development, Kendare Blake continued to do an impressive job in One Dark Throne, as well. I believe that Mirabella, Katharine and Arsinoe are three of the best-drawn fantasy characters I have ever encountered. In addition, the author created a great number of secondary and rather memorable characters whose names I still mix up now and then. Virtually each character of this series plays an important role in the plot development and I think that the superb characterization, along with the fascinating world-building, allows Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne to stand out in the realm of fantasy books.

As was the case with Three Dark CrownsOne Dark Throne is written in the third-person, in the present tense. Reading a fantasy novel told in the present tense can be an awkward experience at the beginning, but fortunately I quickly got caught up in the beautifully written narrative. The events of the second installment are set in the island of Fennbirn, during the Ascension Year. The three sisters are supposed to kill each other in order to ascend to the throne, which explains the choice of title. It was interesting to observe the personality changes of Katharine who was portrayed as a villain and found herself in the middle of a love triangle in this second installment. Mirabella also displayed some cruelty at the beginning but she returned to her normal self soon. I wonder whether I am the only one who has noticed that Arsinoe appears to be a little more priviliged than the other two queens, in the sense that the chapters focusing on her character are slightly longer and greater in number. I thoroughly enjoy the relationship between Arsinoe and the mainlander Billy and the manner in which it has evolved from their first encounter. I think that Arsinoe is my favourite sister, if I were to pick one. In One Dark Throne there were also some interesting things going on with Jules, Arsinoe’s devoted childhood friend.

One Dark Throne doesn’t include any revelation as shocking and unforeseen as those experienced while reading Three Dark Crowns, but there is a number of deaths which will certainly surprise you and an ending that is bound to leave you burning with curiosity about what is going to happen in the next installment of the series.

All in all, One Dark Throne is a complex dark fantasy novel which will undoubtedly prove a satisfying read for those who have enjoyed the first book of the series. I always appreciate a series which improves progressively and features creativity and it seems that Three Dark Crowns is one of those.

Rating:

Imagini pentru 4 stars rating