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 | 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 | Odessa by Jonathan Hill

Odessa | Book by Jonathan Hill | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

“The world ended, right? But it didn’t. We’re still here. Things never end. They just change.” 2/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: earthquakes, explosions, boat trips, talking bottles, trades, bears, jynx roots and gangs.

Odessa takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where three siblings try to find their mother, who abandoned them and their father after the earthquakes started. This journey starts when Ginny, the older sister, receives a birthday present from her mother. She wonders where she is and why she left her family behind eight years ago, so she decides to go look for her and try to get some answers back. Without her knowing, her brothers followed her and now they team up to try and find her.

To be honest I was not the biggest fan of the story. The art and color scheme were cool and very appropriate for the post-apocalyptic world, but the story is very slow-paced and nothing interesting happens. The characters were okay, but I feel like I would appreciate the book more if there was more character development.

To be completely fair, I didn’t think the book itself wasn’t bad, it was just not that interesting for me. I probably won’t be continuing this series.

***A big thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review***

xoxo, Neide

Review | Depersonalise by MSJ

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I was never
tall enough to reach
the top shelves,
that’s where you
all the good things
seemed to be.
4/5 stars!

Damn I loved that quote I put above.
This is a beautiful collection of poems. There were some poems here that really hit home and I remember feeling some of the things the author is describing when I was younger. The poems regarding how sometimes we feel alone and not good enough for someone are the ones I related to the most. I swear I felt it on my skin when I read them.
I thought the idea of having different artists to make the illustrations was genius and the result was absolutely beautiful. The illustrations gave life to each poem and were a great addition to the collection. I appreciated this very much!
Now, to be completely honest, even though I liked it a lot, I wish the collection wasn’t so short. I would love to see a 100 page work just because it would help me understand the author better.
I think eventually the author will write bigger collections – because she is obviously talented – but for a debut collection of poems, it was pretty good. This one’s for all of those who appreciate and collect beautiful words and beautiful art.

***A big thank you to the author MSJ for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review***

xoxo, Neide

Review | Whatever Works by Thalma Lobel

“The only time a disorganized office can be an advantage is when you are working on a problem that demands creativity.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: dim and intense lights, privacy, creativity, colours, emotions, nature, walks, music, negotiations, handshakes, open spaces, and messy desks.

By the time quarantine started I’d already started working remotely. At first I had a hard time defining a healthy daily routine for myself, creating a good working environment, and most importantly, defining the fine line between my personal life and work. And even though I’ve finally found my balance, I’m always willing to improve my working conditions and make the most out of it. So I decided to pick up this book because I thought it would be perfect for my current situation.

The book is divided into three sections: the first part is dedicated to how your environment affects you and how you can use it for your advantage; the second part focuses on how relationships and communication with your co-workers affect our work; and the third part how our personal habits have power over our performance and creativity.

First of all, I was very surprised to see that this is not a book only based on the author’s experience and opinions, but it’s mostly based on scientific studies. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic – such as light, open areas, music, temperature – and several studies and results that were made on that subject are presented to the reader. The cool part is that in the end of each chapter – and sometimes in the middle – there is a small note in a post-it format with a conclusion and tips on how we can apply what we learn after reading the chapter.

I applaud the author for all the research made and commitment to write such a complete guide on improving your work. I would say this is a book more focused on ways of increasing performance and have better communication and relationships with your co-workers. The second part unfortunately will only be useful when I return to the office, but I found the first and third parts very helpful for the times we are living in right now. 

I didn’t know what to expect at first, but I found some useful information that I will definitely apply in my daily life. If you are interested in learning how your environment affects your productivity and how to use small simple ways of increasing your productivity, this is the book for you!

A big thank you to NetGalley and BenBella Books for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo

“I don’t want to be afraid of you anymore. I don’t want to be afraid of me. I see how hard you’ve tried in the face of everything. I know how difficult it’s been. And… I love you. I want to break the cycle. For me. And I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be great.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: coffee shops, magic chocolate bars, hurtful friends, cute cats, old crushed and eating disorders.

This book really hit home.

As someone who has struggled with being overweight most of my life, this book touched me. Fortunately I didn’t struggle with eating disorders like the main character does, but I definitely identified myself with Mindy in a lot of ways.

This story is about a girl who is overweight and struggles with eating. In front of her family and friends she tries not to eat, but when she’s alone she eats until she feels sick. She is also criticized for not eating regularly and people are constantly making comments while she’s eating. She is very depressed and she wishes she could change the way she is, but she feels stuck. One day, she goes to the store to grab some things she needs and she picks up a chocolate bar she never heard about. Turns out the chocolate bar is magical and it takes her back to when she was about 12 years old. In those flashbacks, she revives some moments with her parents and friends and she starts to understand where her disorder began.

I honestly loved this book so much. It’s been a while since a book made me this emotional! Mindy is a very relatable character, and watching her deal with depression and food broke my heart. It’s a book not only about self acceptance, but also self love!

I also really appreciate the representation of hurtful close friends – even if they have good intentions – because it’s not something that’s talked about often.

The art and the colour palette were beautiful, and the drawings were perfectly linked to the story making it very easy to understand. I would definitely grab more graphic novels from this author!

If you are considering picking this up, please keep in mind that there are trigger warnings for eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression and body shaming. 

I honestly think this is such an important book for young readers! It is very touching, personal, relatable and will probably make you cry. Definitely worth it!

A big thank you to NetGalley and Boom! Box Paperbacks for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Sisters by J.S. Ellis

“Jenny had always been first and excelled in everything she did. She’s the perfect one. I am the black sheep. The misfit. The outsider.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: Fires, book signings, interviews, engineering, tweets, toxic marriages and home improvement.

Wait wait wait… what just happened?! For such a small book, this sure has a dark punch to it!

This short story is about Evie, who has a perfect older sister. She has it all! She is blonde, tall, smart, has a great career… and she’s everything Evie is not. She has been living in her sister’s shadow since the day she was born. One day her sister brings home her perfect boyfriend for her family to meet. I wish I could say more but you’ll have to read it to know what it’s about! Let’s just say that these sisters may have more in common than what you first think! 😉

This is great if you want to read something quick and don’t have the energy or patience to read a full book. Very entertaining for a quick dark read. I’m still processing that ending!

A big thank you to BookSirens for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Nineteen by Makenzie Campbell

I should have never made a home of you.
People are not homes.
Not when they can stand up and walk away whenever they decide it is time to go.
4/5 stars!

I’m surprised! Nineteen is a mature and beautiful collection of poems about love and getting hurt. Not only that, but it also talks about healing your heart and moving forward with your life. It was written by Makenzie Campbell when she was only nineteen years old, hence the title.

I don’t usually read a lot of poetry but comparing to what I’ve read before, I would say this is probably my favorite collection of poems. I just love how mature the book is, despite it’s young feel. I identified with a lot of the things she talked about and went through herself. I would describe her writing style as a sweet, beautiful punch in the guts – well, if that’s even a thing. The author is clearly very talented with words if she wrote these poems at such a young age.

Other things I enjoyed: I liked how the chapters are divided into different places – because sometimes we associate memories and feelings to places; there were also a few beautiful, simple illustrations to go with the poems, but nothing overwhelming; and I love how personal the book felt!

I’m surprised, I really liked this one.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Central Avenue Publishing for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake

Resultado de imagem para Nowhere on the Earth by Nick Lake

“They were flying: not high, but not touching the earth, either; they were in the snow, part of the snow, suspended and whirling and dancing, in blue light. They were energy in movement, no effort at all now, all the ease of the dance without any of the pain-they were drifting, they were flurry; they were eddies in the air made into bodies; they were snowflakes.“ – 4.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: fires, pushy jocks, SPOT trackers, wood cabins, plane crashes, rifles, bears, monkey plushies, ballet in the snow, viral videos, antibiotics and motivational magnets.

I don’t usually gravitate towards science fiction/alien books. It’s just not my cup of tea. Then I saw this book, I read the synopsis and I thought I should give it a shot – plus, the cover was beautiful! I’m always trying to read different types of books to get out of my comfort zone, so I have to admit I was skeptical at first, but I started reading it anyway. 

Long story short: I’m very impressed. This book was absolutely beautiful, and exceeded all my expectations. I’m really into survival books, and a young adult version of that was exactly what I needed. It’s definitely NOT a heavy book – for my surprise! It was very easy to read, I loved the writing style, and I only put the book down when I had to.

The writing was one of my favorite things about this book. Nick has a writing gift. His writing is smart, beautiful and leaves you hungry for more. Most chapters ended in “mini-cliffhangers”, so you were always wondering what was going to happen in the next chapter! And can we talk about the scene when Emily was dancing in the snow for Aidan? I seriously felt that in my heart, and that does not happen often.

The atmosphere was absolutely magical. The book is set in Alaska, and through my reading I was transported there. The snow, the cold air. The descriptions were so authentic, it’s impossible to read this book and not feel the cold – I had to grab a few cups of hot tea myself, no joke!

Emily was exactly the kind of heroine I like: strong, intelligent and skilled, but still human. Qualities I find in other female leads I loved before, like Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games”. I loved the other side characters too – especially Aiden and Bob – but Emily was definitely my favorite.

I’m shocked I liked this as much as I did. I honestly hope this book gets the hype it deserves! It’s a unique, beautiful book that you should read with your own eyes to understand the magic.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s Knopf Books for Young Readers for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

xoxo, Neide