Review | Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher

“Everyone, everyone is like a buried treasure. Everyone. Every person who has ever been born is inestimable valuable.” 1.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: removals, aurors, teeth, hot air balloons and mythology.

Sinopsis

Kay felt everything change in the room around her.
Everything.
Kay’s father is working late- as usual. Fed up, her mother bundles Kay and her sister into the car, and drives to his Cambridge college to collect him.
But, the staff say nobody by his name has ever worked there.
When they return home, Kay discovers a card left on her pillow:
Will O. de Wisp, Gent. F.H.S.P. and Phillip R. T. Gibbet, Gent. F.H.S.P. K.Bith. REMOVALS.
That night, Kay is woken by voices at her window: the voices of Will and Phillip, the Removers. But they are not human. And Kay shouldn’t be able to see them. Except she can…

My Review

I’m just confused. Isn’t this supposed to be a book for children? I felt like this story is too complex, scary and slow paced for children to follow. If I was confused and bored, I can’t imagine what kids would feel while reading this.

I spent so much time listening to this book, waiting for it to get better but it never happened. And I really thought it was me, because I re-listened to hours of it just thinking it was my fault and that maybe I wasn’t paying attention. But I was, and I got to the conclusion that I was not the problem.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was how painfully slow it was. I think it’s supposed to be an adventure book, but the scenes are so slow that it feels like they were never ending.

The characters were incredibly boring, and when I think about the two main characters they’re either sleeping or crying. And why are they leaving in the middle of the night with two men/creatures? What about their mother? I thought that was weird. But that wasn’t the only problem, there are so many plot holes and unexplained situations in this it’s insane. Oh, and did I mention there is mythology in the mix? I was just confused the entire time.
I will say that if you like very descriptive books, this one’s for you. The author describes anything and everything in this and he does it beautifully, so if you prefer descriptions in books over plot maybe you’ll like this? And the narrator is also pretty good, I would love to hear more books narrated by her!

It’s no fun forcing yourself to read a book. And keep in mind I listened to the audiobook version. I didn’t know listening to an audiobook could be so hard. I appreciate my free copy, but it was definitely not for me!

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

xoxo, Neide

Review | A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: morning inspections, rope, Saabs, radiators, stray cats, tools, lost wallets, white shirts, trailers, snow, parking tickets, train trips, grief, baby cribs, wheelchairs, kid drawings, mailboxes and nosy neighbours.

Sinopsis

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

My Review

Everyone under the sun was recommending this book to me, so I finally bought it and I read it. And let me tell you, what an emotional rollercoaster it was! I was crying, then laughing… then crying again. I understand 100% why this book is so popular, and it deserves all credit.

A Man Called Ove is about a grumpy old man named Ove. He is a very strict, short tempered, serious man that has nothing friendly about him. He doesn’t get along with any of his neighbours and he has no plans of changing that. But what no one knows is that underneath his hard shell is a man who suffered a lot in life and still carries a lot of sadness and grief within. Until one day, when a new family moves in next door to him and Ove’s life changes forever.

I read Anxious People, and I thought this would be just as crazy/funny, but I was surprised by the amount of sad chapters this had. To be fair, there are a lot of funny scenes here, but this book talks about some serious, sad topics that I wasn’t expecting.

Ove is the kind of character that you think you would dislike, but I really liked him from the beginning. Maybe it’s because I myself have a Ove in my life, but I completely understood his pain and I cared a lot about him and his story – and I was rooting for him the entire time! So naturally, I cried a lot. Not only when I finished the book but also during most of it.

This is my third Fredrik Backman book, and I completely understand why his books are so popular. His writing style is very unique, and he has a talent to mess with your emotions. I also just watched the trailer the other day for the movie, and it looked interesting so maybe I’ll see the movie soon as well. I’m just hoping they did justice to the story!

It’s an amazing, emotional book that I will never forget. Highly recommend it!

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

“They will be judged, by the police and by everybody else. Serves them right, leaving their baby alone. She would think that, too, if it had happened to someone else. She knows how judgmental mothers are, how good it feels to sit in judgment of someone else.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: pink babygrows, video cameras, ransoms, dinners, debt, plans, tire marks, neighbours, police inspectors and missing babies.

Sinopsis

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Review

What an incredible book! I was hooked from the beginning and when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

The plot was very interesting and unpredictable. The story is about a couple who has a six-month daughter, and when they come home from their neighbours’ house – because they just had dinner there – they notice their daughter is not in the crib. So now the baby is gone and you don’t know who did it. The police is called to the parents’ house and the inspector is determined to uncover the truth of what happened to the baby.

The story is told in third/first person, but not in a defined way. What I mean by this is that we don’t get chapters with different POVs. There is a third person narrator but we sometimes get to see what’s inside of every single person’s head. We get to see the perspectives of the parents, the grandparents, the neighbours and the police inspector.

We also get to know some things the characters don’t, but in the sense that some characters are hiding stuff and you know what they’re hiding, but the other characters don’t. But with that said, it’s important to say that you won’t know all their secrets in the beginning, so the surprise element is there and it’s constant!

What I liked so much about this book is that it’s the kind of mystery where you find out new information as the story goes… and you can’t trust anyone. The author did an amazing job creating a full mysterious experience for the reader, because there are so many twists and the story keeps changing so you never know what is going on and you can’t predict anything. 

It’s a really cool and very well made book, and I think anyone who likes thrillers/mysteries would really like it! I can’t wait to read more from this author.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Of Wicked Blood (The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1) by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz

“If I relied on kisses for luck, I would never make it out of the streets alive. (…) Word of advice: make your own luck. It will last you longer.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: artifacts, clovers, witch costumes, gloves, madeleines, big rings, black curls, The Little Mermaid, cactuses with names, bruises, wells, wheelchairs, blood, rivers and ghosts.

Sinopsis

No rest for the wicked… or the cursed.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.
If any of us fail, I’m dead.
I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
Wrong.
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.
But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

My Review

What a nice surprise! This book won my heart for how amazing it was. This was also my first ever experience listening to a NetGalley audiobook, and fortunately it was a positive one.

The story is super good and it exceeded all my expectations. The search for magical artifacts with limited time added a lot of motion to the story, so of course I was hooked from the beginning. I think the fantasy world was very interesting and the setting in Europe was definitely a good decision for this book. 

The characters were interesting, and I feel I did care about all of them. I liked everyone, even the characters you are supposed to dislike. Everyone had their own story and uniqueness, and they made a great team with great dynamics. A cool thing I saw in this book was that not every relationship in this book is linear. Most of the characters had complex relationships with each other. There are so many examples in the book for this, but I’ll just give Slate and Adrian’s relationship as an example. They both have strong feelings for the same girl, and there are moments where they dislike each other, but there are also moments where you see how close and amicable they have become with each other. A few more relationships I found very interesting were the relationships between Slate/De Morel, Adrian/Cadence and Cadence/her dad.

The romance was a huge aspect of why I liked this book so much. It’s the kind of romance that starts with them both hating each other and it transforms into a very intense and loving relationship. I think the authors did a great job with this relationship, but I have to admit it felt a bit like insta-love. It didn’t bother me too much because the good thing is that even the characters address it in the book. I don’t know why, but I feel like when they acknowledge it, it doesn’t feel that bad! But yeah, I wish they didn’t feel like they actually loved each other so soon.

There were so many things that made this book amazing – the plot, the romance, the characters and relationships -, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I flew through this book!

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series! Since the book is named “Quatrefoil”, I’m assuming there will be four books in total? Fingers crossed!

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

xoxo, Neide

Review | Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire

“She knew better now. The world was bigger now. She was bigger now, and that made all the difference.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: unicorns, cauliflower, garter snakes, doorways, toxic friendships, centaurs, hooves, horns, kelpies, thumbs, husbands, baked apples and destiny.

Another incredible addition to the Wayward Children series from Seanan McGuire! 

I originally was going to give this 4.5/5 stars, but I really think this book deserves more. And the reason for this is because it is truly an amazing book! It’s full of magic, it has a solid story and characters with depth, and the atmosphere is amazing. 

This book is about a girl named Regan. She goes through a doorway and enters the Hooflands. This is a land full of magical creatures such as centaurs, kelpies and unicorns – the perfect place for her because she loves horses. Of course there’s more to the story, though!

I think my favorite thing about this book was the plot originality. It was so interesting and magical, I couldn’t put the book down! I just love this concept of kids going through doors to their perfect world and leaving their lives behind.

If my memory is correct, I don’t think Regan appeared in the series before (but I could be wrong, though). I say this because it is common in this series to find characters from other books, so I can’t be 100% sure but I think she’s new to the series. Nonetheless, I really liked her as a main character and I particularly liked to see how she grew and developed better relationships. I wouldn’t be mad to read another book about this girl. Maybe she’ll cross with the characters from the first books? That would be really cool!

I’m also glad the author talked about subjects such as intersex, gender and bullying. I learned some new things while reading this book, and that to me is always a positive aspect to me.

It’s funny because I feel like this series has so many highs and lows, and to me this was definitely a high! It’s my second favorite story in the entire series, the first one being Jack and Jill’s story. A plea to the author: please keep writing and I promise I’ll keep reading!

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side by Agatha Christie

“One has to dare if one wants to get anywhere,’ said Mrs. Bantry.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: movie stars, drugs, paintings, fancy parties, poison, secrets, cocktails, photographs, “the Development” and cracked mirrors.

It was an okay murder mystery. This book was recommended to me by a friend because she loves this book and she really wanted me to read it, but I didn’t love it as much as she did.

This mystery itself was good but I didn’t love the plot. This was my first Miss Marple book and I really liked her role in solving the mystery, but I was expecting more from the story. Don’t get me wrong, I was surprised when I knew what happened in the end, but I didn’t care for most of the characters present at the party, and I felt like the final explanation was too simple and short. So needless to say, I was underwhelmed.

It’s not a very realistic book in the sense that there are too many coincidences, but I feel like this is part of her writing style. I don’t read a lot of Agatha Christie’s books, but I understand why people like them so much. She’s really good at creating stories with shocking elements and unpredictable secrets. She makes it very difficult to figure out the truth of what really happened.

I will say it was entertaining, though! I was intrigued to see where the story was going and I read the book relatively fast. But if I had to pick a favorite book from Agatha Christie, I would still prefer And Then There Were None.

In conclusion: good mystery, but not the best story. I know there is a movie about this book and I’m curious to watch it, I need to check it out!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

“The mind can make you believe whatever it wants you to believe.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: old memories, blue scarves, assassins, institutes, scarlet and sapphire gems, doors and innovative scientific research.

What a fantastic duology! This book was a bit different from what I thought it would be, just because the story takes an unpredicted path. When the first book Warcross finishes, something happens that sets the tone for this book so I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen… but, oh boy, I was so wrong. I really had no idea what was coming!

I think the author did a great job wrapping up the series with this book. I couldn’t be more happy with how the story ended. I really appreciate the author for giving proper closure to all the possible aspects of the book, because the finale was really satisfying! 

I would say this book is a bit different from Warcross. It definitely has a sadder tone to it – mostly because of Hideo’s brother – but it has also a very strong action vibe to it.

If I had to pick a favorite book from the duology I would still pick the first one because it feels more magical, but both books have their uniqueness and merit, and they balance each other perfectly.

I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I promise you it’s worth the try. This series is amazing, I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially to readers who are into technology and programming.

So… when is this becoming a movie?

xoxo, Neide

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