Review | The Project by Courtney Summers

“Faith is an expression and some people find certain types of expressions more resonant than others.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: hospital rooms, pamphlets, newspapers, necklaces, interviews, churches, white huskies, miracles and family bonds.

I was so excited when I got this book as an arc because I absolutely loved Sadie. If you have never read Sadie before, I highly recommend the audiobook version because it’s amazing! Needless to say, I was more than happy to get my hands on this book.

This story follows a girl named Lo, who felt alone her entire life. She lost her parents in a car crash when she was younger and the only person she had left by her side was her big sister, Bea. Lo was in the car with her parents when the accident occured and she was severely injured, but she survived against all odds. But right after the accident, Bea left Lo to join a very famous cult named The Unity Project, and they never saw each other again. This organisation is well known in New York for helping people in need and for their community outreach. But Lo is not convinced they are as good as they claim, and she believes they are hiding secrets that would reveal their true nature. After some suspicious activity, she decides to do her own investigation on what is really going on and she becomes even more determined to find her sister.

To be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. There were two main reasons for this: Firstly, I don’t usually find fictional books about cults and/or religion very interesting – and that’s on me, I know -, so overall I found the book a bit boring. Secondly, there was a point near the end where things just started to make no sense. This is due to the fact that there was a big change in the plot near the end that didn’t work very well, so unfortunately that part felt very rushed and misplaced.

On the good side, I really think this book has a very interesting take on religious cults and leaders in general. The story is very unique and I think the author did a great job combining this topic to a mystery novel. 

This is only my second book from Courtney Summers so I don’t know that much about this author from her work, but if sibling relationships are her part of her style, she sure does a great job portraying them. I saw this before in Sadie, and I also see it clearly in this book.

I absolutely loved Sadie, but this didn’t work as well for me. I think it’s a great book to pick up if you are interested in mystery books or books that talk about cults and faith.

A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart

“I stopped taking
photos of sunsets
a long time ago.

I can never
capture its colors.

The same goes
for you.”
3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: heartbreak, anxiety, depression, grief, unrequited love, beauty and happiness.

Swimming Lessons is Lili Reinhart’s first published collection of poems. For those who don’t know, Lili is the actress who played Betty Cooper in Riverdale. I personally don’t have high expectations when it comes to celebrity books, but I’m happy with how this book turned out.

I think what really stood out the most for me was the effort she put into the book. I don’t know if it applies to all the physical editions of the book, but my copy was beautiful. The material was really nice and the finishing touches showed me she wanted to create something durable and high quality. To me, that speaks volumes. So kudos to her for investing in the quality of the book.

Now, is the collection itself good? Well, it definitely shows this is her first book. I didn’t love the poetry, but it wasn’t terrible as well. There were some great poems here and there, but overall I wasn’t super impressed with the collection. The most relatable poem to me was one of the last ones where she talks about the feeling you get when someone passes away and you know the world keeps spinning like nothing ever happened. When I read it, I knew exactly what she was talking about because I have had that same feeling before.

There are also simple illustrations and doodles throughout the collection to reinforce her words, and I liked it a lot. I don’t know if the illustrations are hers, but I couldn’t find any information on who had done them.

For a first book, it was a good effort and I think she did a good job.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Delicates (Sheets #2) by Brenna Thummler

“Everyone has ghosts. I think we all need to learn that there’s no shame in letting them out.” 3.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: video games, ice cream, photographs, peer pressure, protective pins, chocolate fish, trick-or-treating, sheets and bullying.

I liked this better than the first book! For me the plot was better, it felt more emotional and it showed more character development.

Other than the art itself – we’ll get there in a second -, the characters brought this book to life. Marjorie and Eliza were the main characters in this book, and they both had some struggles in their lives. Marjorie was conflicted about her fake and rude “friends” and she didn’t know what to do because she felt like she wanted to belong somewhere, and Eliza felt like she was invisible and didn’t fit anywhere because people thought her hobby was dumb and weird. 

The secondary characters were great additions because they contributed to the emotional weight of the story: Marjorie’s fake friends were very annoying – as they should be -, Wendell was adorable as always, and the teacher’s humour was a nice contrast to the sadness of the story. And I have to say this… what the hell Colton?! Like Tyra would say: “We were all rooting for you!”. 

Now, about the art itself. I seriously can’t get over the art in this series. It’s beautiful just like in the first book. The colours and illustrations are by far one of my favorite things about this series. There was an illustration in particular that I loved: when Wendell and Marjorie were sitting on some rocks looking at the lake… just beautiful.

With that said, don’t be fooled by the colorful drawings because this story talks about very serious topics such as bullying, mental health and depression. It’s a book that describes perfectly what it’s like to feel lonely and to be bullied for what you like and defend. It reminds us that we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to fit other people’s realities.

I think this series is worth giving it a try for two main reasons: the art and the big lesson behind it.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Sheets (Sheets #1) by Brenna Thummler

But this place is home, baby. And once you have that, there’s nowhere you’d rather be. 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: laundry, ghosts, piano, pamphlets, bathhouses, swimming lessons, Houdini, yoga resorts, red dye, pumpkin cookies and new friends.

What a cute graphic novel! I personally liked the story, but it’s not a story that will follow me forever. It’s more of a fun, quick book you can pick up when you don’t want to read heavy books – or in my case, when you’re in the middle of a reading slump. 

The plot and the characters were okay. Not bad, not amazing… just okay. I would say the story has a sad tone – nothing too strong, but it’s definitely there -, not only because of the backstory, but also because the main character Marjorie hardly smiled through the book. Wendell was super cute and he’s probably the character I liked the most. For me, this book was worth reading mostly because of him.

I just wish the author mentioned what happened to Wendell’s parents, because something about them is hinted in the newspaper’s clips. He also says ghosts can’t remember their past because people forget about them, so I’m curious to know why he can’t remember his past. What happened to his parents? He was only eleven…

The color scheme and illustrations are very pretty, and I think the story is cute… but that’s about it. It’s a good fluffy book to pick up and go through quickly.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: rainbow hair, hackers, private planes, hot springs, code lines, championships, limousines, power ups, memories, fancy dinners, glitches and security shells.

This story took me by surprise! I liked this way more than I thought I would, to be honest. I usually don’t love books with strong technologic themes, but this story stole my heart. I think it’s really cool that Marie Lu worked as an Art Director at a video game company, because her knowledge is apparent. Maybe it’s because I work as a programmer, but when I read the book I noticed she writes about code and technology in a deeper way – in a way most authors wouldn’t, even if they did some research on the topics. Her love for those topics was crystal clear, and it gave me so much joy to read about it!

The characters were great. Emika was a very likeable character for me, because she was very strong, brave and intelligent. Hideo was probably the character I found the most interesting of all – there was so much mystery around him and the company he built while being so young. The relationships in this book were all pretty good, but I have to highlight the team spirit between the members of the Phoenix Riders. Their sense of companionship and friendship was so sweet!

The romance was the cherry on top for me! I’m a sucker for a good romance – no surprise there – and the relationship between Emika and Hideo was everything I could hope for. I really liked their chemistry and how their relationship developed during the book. Just don’t go into this book thinking it’s mainly a romance novel, because it’s so much more than that… but it’s a nice extra to the story.

I have to admit I saw that plot twist coming so I wasn’t that surprised when the big bomb dropped. With that said, I still liked how things turned out and the way the second book’s direction was set.There are so many great things about this book! The characters, the romance, the mystery that will keep you guessing all the time, the championship… so many great elements. I honestly loved the book and I would recommend it especially to technology lovers – just keep in mind this is still fantasy! I never read Ready Player One, but I feel like this series may have a similar feeling to it… I could be completely wrong, though!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Layla by Colleen Hoover

“She’s the victim now, even though she’s unaware of it. The only thing Layla did wrong is fall in love with me.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: weird dances, paranormal activity, rope, online forums and cameras.

I appreciate the author exploring and diving into new genres because some authors just tend to stay with what they are known for. This is a bit different from what I’m used to and to be completely honest, I prefer her other books. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think the story was bad. The plot caught my attention and I thought the concept was very interesting and different. And of course, the classic Colleen elements of surprise and plot twists were there, and I loved them all – like always. But in general, this kind of story is not really my thing.

Still, I know this would not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not only because of the genre being fantasy/paranormal, but because of the plot itself. It’s a pretty weird book that will give you some weird feelings, especially regarding the characters and their behaviours. 

I don’t think I would recommend this book to you if you are a fan of her other books. I personally liked this, but it’s not my favorite book from her. It was entertaining, different and an interesting look in the paranormal world though.

xoxo, Neide

The Worst Books I Read in 2020

If you saw my last post The Best Books I Read in 2020, you know I had an amazing reading year last year. But even the best reading years have terrible books, and that’s exactly what I’m bringing you today. Fortunately it wasn’t that bad of a year because I only have 8 books to share with you. But before going into the list, a quick disclaimer: please don’t take it personally if I mention a book you loved! We all have different opinions and tastes when it comes to reading and I’m not trying to offend anyone 🙂 Okay, now let’s go into the list! Here are the worst 8 books I read in 2020:

  1. Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna
    I don’t even want to talk about this book because I don’t want to promote it, but it’s definitely one of the worst books I read last year. There are two main reasons why I didn’t like this book: first because it’s terrible, and secondly because of Gabbie’s intentions when she decided to publish this. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s difficult to REALLY mess up a poetry book. I’m not saying writing poetry is easy by any means, but even if you wrote a bad poetry book, there will always be someone who would find it inspiring or relatable. This poem collection is neither inspiring nor relatable. It just felt lazy and rushed. It was clear to me this was just a cash grab, because when you read the book you know there was little effort put into it and the work is unfinished. If you want to read this go ahead, but my advice for you is to not spend your money on it. It’s not worth it. Just borrow it from someone or get it from the library if you can.
  2. Vox by Christina Dalcher
    Vox was disappointing. I really wanted to love this because when I read the sinopsis I thought it was the perfect book for me! A world where women can only say one hundred words a day? Sign me up for that! But unfortunately the execution was not good. The main plot of the book started to fade away, and another weird plot was going on instead of what was promised in the sinopsis. I was disappointed to say the least. You can find my thoughts on Vox here.
  3. Enemies by Tijan
    Enemies was not boring, but I felt like nothing made sense in this story. The dialogs were so weird and the relationship between the two main characters was very confusing. I thought about DNFing this three times while reading it, but I wanted to give it a fair shot. I still didn’t like it and I decided I wouldn’t be writing a review just because I didn’t even want to talk about it. I read Tijan before and I liked it, so I guess I just wasn’t lucky this time.
  4. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
    I didn’t necessarily hate this book, but I was disappointed with the story. I don’t have a lot to say except I didn’t love the story and it felt like nothing was happening – which is funny because the entire book happens in a single day. I just wish the book was more memorable. Not terrible, but not good as well. Here is the full review if you are interested!
  5. Blood Orange by Harlet Tyce
    Okay, I admit: I bought it for the cover. Yes I’m an idiot, but what else is new? To me this book is similar to The Girl on the Train which I also don’t love, but at least I think it’s better. They both have a main character who is struggling in some way and they are both determined to solve a mystery. The problem is that I have a hard time connecting to characters like the woman from Blood Orange, because I feel like she was struggling in a few areas in her life but she never made a real effort to turn her life around! She kept finding excuses for her behaviours and she kept doing worse by the minute. I just can’t feel sympathy for characters like that. And not only that, but the mystery was weak and boring. I don’t know, I was expecting more from this book. But to be completely fair, I know I’m the unpopular opinion here because everyone seems to like this book, so don’t reject it based on my opinion. Here is my full review if you want to check it out.
  6. The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
    I don’t have a lot to say about this book, except it was boring and unmemorable. I didn’t care for the characters or the plot. I have tried to read Christina Lauren before, but I never loved a single book from them. Maybe it’s time to give up? Full review here.
  7. They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
    Again, I blame the cover. The cover is stunning, so of course I had to pick it up. I thought I would like it because it’s about a bunch of preppy kids and a mysterious murder… but no. I was constantly annoyed by the characters and their attitudes, and how they treated the others around them. The story felt hollow and it wasn’t even interesting. You can find my full review here.
  8. Odessa by Jonathan Hill
    I received this book as an arc and I didn’t love it. The truth is that it’s not a bad story, it’s just really boring. This is the first book in a series, but I knew halfway through I had no desire to keep reading it. I also think the color scheme used for the entire book (black/white/pink) didn’t help, because it made the story even more monotone. It had good artwork though! You can find my review on Odessa here.

Like I said, please take my opinion with a grain of salt. Everyone likes what they like and we all have different opinions! So tell me, have you ever read any of these books? Let me know in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you in my next review 🙂

xoxo, Neide

The Best Books I Read in 2020

Last year was one of the best years I have ever had when it comes to reading. Not only did I read 125 books (23 more than 2019!), but I also encountered a lot of amazing, beautiful stories that I will take with me for a very long time. 

I was going through my 2020 Goodreads reading list to pick my favorites, and let me tell you… I struggled. My initial plan was to pick my top 10 favorites, but there were so many great options there that I didn’t know what to do. I took my time selecting the best of the best, but then it got to a point where I couldn’t take any more books from the list… so I decided to make a list with my 12 favorite books instead!

In this list you will find a few books that came out in 2021, but there are a lot of books here that came out before. So without further ado, here is the crème de la crème of my 2020 reads!

  1. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
    I will never forget Elizabeth is Missing – no pun intended! This book is about an elder woman who suffers from dementia, and the entire story is told from her perspective. As you can probably tell by the description I just gave you, it’s a very sad book. But it’s also one of the most memorable books I read last year. It gave me a glimpse of what it is like to have a disease like that in a very realistic way. The book is beautifully written and very well made, I can’t recommend it enough! You can find my full review here.
  2. Scythe (series) by Neal Shusterman
    I put the cover of Scythe above, but what I’m about to say is valid for the entire series, because I didn’t read just the first book last year. This series is absolutely amazing! If you like dystopian books like I do, you need to check out this series because it surprised me. This story takes place in a time when humans achieved immortality, so now there are assigned scythes to kill people in order to control the population. So the story follows two apprentices and their scythe master who is teaching them how to do their jobs. What is so amazing about this story to me is the world building and plot. The story is complex, incredibly well made and entertaining… it’s worth your time, I promise. You can find my full review of the first book here.
  3. The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air series) by Holly Black
    Just like Scythe, I’m referring to the entire Folk of the Air series, not only the first book. I’m a big fan of dark, slow burn romances so it’s natural this would be right up my alley. Another fantastic thing about this book is the fantasy world! You have magical rules, a magical atmosphere and really complex, deep characters. It’s a terrific fae series that everyone should try. You can find my full review on the first book here.
  4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    I was physically shaking when I finished this book. Yes, I agree, it sounds like an extreme reaction to have while reading a book, but this mystery thriller was absolutely insane. I won’t tell you a lot about this book because you’ll have a better experience if you go into it without knowing too much. Just trust me on this one. Just read it… you’ll thank me later. If you want to check out my full review (after reading it!), you can find it here. I still can’t believe how strongly that bomb hit me…
  5. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
    I confess I had zero expectations when I first picked up this book. I didn’t expect it to be bad, but I thought it would be just a normal YA book with a typical story. Well, I was wrong and I’m not afraid of admitting it! This book is amazing. There are so many great elements present, like the fearless and intelligent main character, a good murder mystery and the interesting plot that grabs you and won’t let go. It’s truly an amazing book that took me by surprise. If you like murder mysteries, this is a great one to pick up! You can find my full review on this book here.
  6. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
    It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of retellings. I picked this up thinking it would be just another Cinderella retelling, but it was so much more! Stepsister became one of my favorite retellings of all time. The story is amazing and I fell in love with Isabell and how strong she was. This is a coming of age story that tells us we are not defined by what people think of us – a very powerful message, in my opinion. It was a very inspiring book to read, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can find my full review here.
  7. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
    It took me four months to finish this book. I know that does not sound like a compliment to the book, but that’s my fault. I could have read it faster, but I admit I felt intimidated because the portuguese version – my version – has almost 900 pages! I know for sure I would have finished this book sooner if I wasn’t an idiot, because the story is incredible! I wouldn’t describe it as an in-your-face kind of horror though, it’s more of a creepy, slow, disturbing story. It’s very haunting and the author does a great job creating an eerie atmosphere. The characters are amazing, the story is really good and I was creeped out the entire time! Yes, it took me a long time to finish it, but I can honestly say it was worth it! You can find my full review here if you want any more details!
  8. Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen
    Oh boy… this book. I’m guilty of choosing books by their covers sometimes and I know I put myself in these situations, so why am I surprised when the books don’t turn out as I imagine them to? Don’t be fooled by the cover, this is not a cutesy YA book. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this book, but it definitely brought out a lot of feelings from me. I can’t believe I felt so angry and protective over a single character! It’s really a great, heartbreaking book that is not what you expect! You can find my full review here.
  9. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
    Kate Elizabeth Russell messed up with my head with this book. I think I never felt so conflicted and grossed out by a book like I felt with this one. This is one of those books you will never forget – and probably will remember several times after reading it. It’s a book with a huge blurred line. In case you don’t know, this book portraits the romantic relationship between a high school student and her Literature teacher. You will be asking yourself constantly if what is going on is wrong or not, and you will keep rethinking your feelings. Some of my most asked questions while I read this book were: Is the teacher doing it on purpose? Does he know that he is doing it? Are his feelings true? It was such a conflicting book for me, but that’s why it was so great. This book will make you question things on a different level. I still have a hard time remembering the story is fictional, because I know this could easily be about a real person. I’m not going to lie, it’s a difficult book to go through, but I promise you it’s worth it. If you’re interested to know more about it, you can find my full review here.
  10. Leo (Preston Brothers series) by Jay McLean
    I’ve read a lot of romance books before, but only a few were as good as Leo. I was in the mood for a smutty romance, and since I read all the Preston Brothers books except for this one, I knew it was time to pick it up. And let me tell you, this book is incredible. You would think by the cover that it would be a hollow, smutty romance but it actually has a very complex, dense story behind it. The plot draws you in and before you know it, you finish the book. What’s even more surprising is how this book is different from the others from the series. The first two books don’t have the depth this one has. Nonetheless, I still highly recommend the entire series if you never picked it up… but this book is the best, for sure! You can find my full review on Leo here.
  11. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
    I read a few of Colleen’s books in 2020, but this one was my favorite. This book in particular reminded me a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books because it’s set in the summertime and it’s more focused on romance. Of course you still have the mystery and twists that are part of her writing style, so if you like her books for that reason, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great mix of romance, good plot and mystery… I highly recommend it! Here is my full review if you’re interested.
  12. Fable by Adrienne Young
    Fable was stunning. There are a lot of pirate books out there, but this one is exceptional. The atmosphere, the writing, the way the characters talk and act, the storyline… It’s just beautiful and immersive. You can tell the author took her time with this book because it is very well made. If realistic pirate books existed, this would be their king. I’m also very excited for the sequel that is coming in a few months! Until then, you can find my full review of this book here.

See, what did I tell you? Aren’t these amazing? It was a great reading year for me because I got to know amazing stories and I truly had a lot of fun with my books! I’m excited for the future and I hope I’ll find new, beautiful stories to share with you in 2021.

What about you? What were the best books you read last year? Did you read any of these books I included in the list? Let me know in the comments – remember, sharing is caring! 🙂

xoxo, Neide

Review | Leo (Preston Brothers #3) by Jay McLean

“Hatred is a one-way emotion.” I take a breath. “It only affects the person holding on to that hate. Take Laney’s ex, for example…” I face him, but he’s already watching me. “Do you think he knows how much you hate him? Do you think he cares that you do? (…) Does he even know you exist?” His lashes lower. “So, what’s the point, right?” I murmur. “Only you carry the burden of hatred, Leo. And it’s a lot easier to let go of that pain than it is to hold on to it.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: curse words, water towers, terrible birthday cakes, photographs, bikes, rock tumblers, yellow flowers, handmade jewelry, welcome signs, faith and three words.

This book took me by surprise. Compared to the first two books in the series (Lucas and Logan), this book has a very solid, complete plot – and that’s why it felt so different from the others. 

For starters, I felt a bit intimidated because this book is over 600 pages long, while the others have around 300. What was even more shocking is that I finished the book in 3 days! It was really fast paced and there was so much going on that I was entertained the entire time! I finished reading this book a while now, but I keep thinking about how memorable it was, knowing it was supposed to be a smutty romance. I can’t say the same about the other two books even though I loved them.

I think this definitely deserves the 5 stars! It’s full of romance, the plot is complex and and very well developed, there is the right amount of depth and surprises… it was just perfect!I hope this won’t be the final book of this series because I want to read more! Seriously, I would love to read about the rest of the family. The twins and Lucy don’t have a book yet – and maybe Tom? That would be cool! I would read every single book about this family if the author would write about them. A great addition to the series! *Fingers crossed it’s not over*

xoxo, Neide