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Book Review: The Dry

Title: The Dry

Author: Jane Harper

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Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

(Synopsis is taken from Goodreads page. I changed it a little bit).


After only a few pages, I completely fell into the story. How could I not? The reader soon discovers, that there is something else going on, not just a story we read about. And that things aren’t the way they seem.

Location, where the story unfolds, makes everything more interesting and intense. A drought increases the tension in sleepy little town and it also supposes to be the cause of double murder and suicide. It’s a story about a small town with their typical inhabitants, where everyone knows everyone and where the past is never forgotten but it’s also affecting present even thoug people try to escape it.

It’s the same with federal agent Falk who tried to escape his past by leaving the town and moving to the big city but he’s back for the funeral of his best friend. Now Falk has to deal with unexpected death, his past and it’s secrets. Falk is not one of the most interesting detectives I read about. Actually, none of the characters stood out in any way. They are extremely good or bad. Those in between are almost irrelevant and do not have too much influence on the story. Falk as a character seems rather plain and it’s difficult for a reader to create an opinion about him. We can learn the most about his character from the records of his youth when he is described by his friends.

But the story was still tense enough for me, that I keep reading with interest. It was a quick read that kept me in tension until I read it. The ending was maybe a little bit unexpected because I surely didn’t foresee such an ending. Still, it was good enough that I will read another book about Falk.

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Book Review: Slade House

Title: Slade House

Author: David Mitchell24500887

 

In London, in the Slade Valley, is where you can find a Slade House. However, the usual passers-by can’t see it. Slade House opens its doors every nine years, for a chosen person. This person is invited to enter the Slade House by its two strange residents, brother and sister, who carefully choose, who will visit them.

Though, the chosen one does not enjoy in a visit for a long time and also can’t leave the Slade House just like that.


This is the first book that I read from the author Mitchell and certainly not the last. And this review will probably be short but I really don’t want to talk about the book too much or spoil anything.

The book is quite short and in each new chapter, there is a new character. It all begins in 1979 when the boy enters the house, and the story ends in 2015. So, every nine years a new person enters the house with his own life story and discover the secrets behind the Slade House.

Each story reveals more about the Slade House and mystery behind it and each story creates more tension which towards the end of the book only intensify. It’s amazing how all characters are well developed, despite their diversity and shortness of the chapters. The book really isn’t long, neither are chapters but it’s still really well written. I was hooked right from the first page, from the first story. But with each new character, I wanted to know more.

The ending was unexpected for me but rather average for a book like that. Considering the plot before, I expected something else, something more unique. But despite everything, it was a solid conclusion.

For me, it was not spooky at all, even though this is a horror book. Yes, there were moments that were creepy but otherwise, this book is more of a fun and intense read that you can’t put down.

Slade House was a pleasant introduction to Mitchell’s writing and I can’t wait to read something else by him.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Did you read Slade House or any other book by David Mitchell? What are your thoughts about it?

 

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Book Review: The Letter for the King

Title: The Letter for the King

Author: Tonke Dragt18113445

Young Tiuri is getting ready for a grand ceremony where he will become a knight. He just has to pass the last test with three other boys and spend the night in silence and isolation. However, they are disrupted by knocking on the door and Tiuri breaks a rule and opens the door. He accepts the request of a stranger, to deliver a mysterious letter for the Black Knight with the White Shield. He leaves his friends and goes searching for Black Knight but when he finally finds him, he’s dying. Tiuri promises him he would deliver a letter to King Unauwen in a neighboring realm.

But soon, the Red Riders who also want a letter, start chasing him. Tiuri finds himself in an incredible adventure, full of intrigues, danger, and betrayals.


What a wonderful books this was!

This book is written for younger readers, which was rather obvious from the writing style but I really didn’t mind. Dialogues are simple, also situations are presented clearly and characters are very black and white. This is particularly obvious in situations where there could (should) be a violence. The author avoids the violent situations, despite the fact that reader is expecting some bloody situations. After all, this is a book about knights who want to destroy a kingdom and Tiuri.

While reading I often smiled at the naivete of the situations and their outcome – unravellings of the events are simple and always in a favor of the main protagonist. I’m really not used to it (yes, I’m looking at you, George R.R. Martin!) because in adult fantasy books there’s a lot of deaths and the hero can’t only rely on his/her good instinct and belief that all people are good and will help him/her.

Like I already said, the characters are presented black and white. Where the author wants that reader would not trust the first impression, it’s clearly displayed that way. Characters are good or they’re evil. There really is nothing in between. There are the ones who help Tiuri and those who hinder his way.

Tiuri is clever and truly nice main character. At times a little naive but charming. His kindness and faith in people are incredible. This book as well shows an incredible friendship between him and Piak. It was truly amazing reading about such a bond.

I would say that this book is perfect for younger readers who want to get into fantasy books. For slightly older readers it may be a little too simple and easy. But if you have in mind for whom this book is intended, it still can be an amazing read. The writing style is beautiful despite being simple. It’s a book about good and evil, where it’s obvious that good will win at the end. But that really doesn’t spoil the pleasure of reading.

I just can’t wait for next book!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book Review: Fly on the Wall

Title: Fly on the Wall: How one girl saw everything

Author: E. Lockhartmuha

Gretchen Yee is attending Manhattan School of Art and Music but she feels like she can’t fit in. Everyone else is standing out, they are different and special and she’s just a completely normal teenage girl. Even in a classroom, she’s not standing out, her teacher thinks she shouldn’t drawing just comics.

She’s in love with Titus but is too shy to do anything. And even her best friend Katya is preoccupied with other things and doesn’t have time for her anymore recently.

So one day, Gretchen wishes she could be a fly on the wall in boy’s locker room. She could learn more about boys, what they really like and how do they think.


I read this book for one of my reading challenges. It really surprised me, in a good way. I thought it would be just another typical YA book, cheesy and full of cliches. But it was nicely written and full of humor.

As a synopsis tells, it’s about a girl named Gretchen who turns into a fly in boy’s locker room. She’s stuck there and has to spend a few days trapped there. Observing through the eyes of a fly was fantastic. It was funny and felt real. Above all, I truly identified with the fly because I would felt exactly the same in her skin.

The story remains realistic all the way and reader actually believes what’s written. Even when she has transformed into a fly, I believed it and never wondered why did it happen.

If I thought this book would be just another one of many similar teenager books, and that it will not stand out, I was wrong. The author perfectly demonstrates how it is to be a teenager and how young people (and older maybe) feel in their skin. Even more, she shows us, that boys are not different at all! Describing all the details of boy’s bodies, their hairiness (or lack of hair), pimples on their asses – it was fun to read about it. I really think it’s great for young girls who doesn’t have experiences with boys, that they can learn, boys are not just some “confident gods” as many thinks but they also have flaws and their own insecurities.

The process from shy and unnoticeable Gretchen to Gretchen the Fly, who is observing the most intimate parts of guys without shame and with a lot of pleasure and who becomes a real naughty girl, is amazing and unique. And why not? Why should only guys look at girls in a sexual way? Why shouldn’t girls also objectify guys and wondering what’s hiding in their pants? After all, it’s normal we all have the same thoughts. But it’s pity that only boys can act that way but it’s inappropriate if girls are talking about it. But it’s different in this book which I support completely.

All the characters are typical high school teenagers, with whom the reader can identify easily. But Gretchen really stands out because she’s just an average, sweet and nicely confused girl.

I’m happy I get a chance to read this book. It was short but entertaining read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Please, comment below.

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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author: Laini Taylor8490112

Karou is a high school student who attends art school in Prague. In her sketchbook, she’s drawing most unusual creatures with animal and human body parts. Her friends admire her artwork and her imagination. However, Karou is not drawing things that would be made-up. She never had a human family and since her birth, she was raised by creatures she’s drawing.

Brimstone, demon and monster, who took over a role of her father, collects animal and human teeth, but he doesn’t want to tell her why. Karou is curious about her past and she starts to discover more about it, when burned palm prints start to appear around the world, left there by angels. One of them is Akiva, who is particularly interested in Karou.


Years ago, I was seeing this book everywhere, but I was not interested in reading it. Last time, I saw it in my local library and said, why not? I borrowed it, read it and I was pleasantly surprised.

I liked the main character Karou because she was strong, independend and had a strong character. Nevertheless, the author didn’t exaggerate with her strong character – her loneliness and questioning about her past made her vulnerable and even more interesting.

At first, I was unimpressed by Akiva, because he seemed too cold but later, I changed my opinion about him. In the second half of the book, when his story begins to reveal and when I learned about his life and loss, I started to like him and understand better, why he acts so untouchable.

The story pulled me in from the start. Brimstone and the rest of the characters were interesting and certainly I wanted to learn more about them and their role in the world. What bothered me were small plot holes. It was strange that the events did not have (almost) no impact in the world. Yes, the author mentioned that people were started seeing angels and considered it as miracles. But still, I thought was strange, when Karou and Akiva were fighting and a crowd, watching this faith, remained completely passive. For me, this was unbelievable and quite unrealistic.

Not to mention the reaction of Karou best friend Zuzana, when she tells her about her past. Zuzana just accepted her story without questioning, like it’s something totally natural to have a best friend who hangs out with angel and strange monsters. Yeah… we all have a friend like that.

When I started with the second half of the book, I was skeptical. It was boring at the start and I was not convinced about a love story of Akiva and Madrigal. However, both stories connected really well at the end and altogether turned out completely unexpected.

I was surprised that romance was so in the foreground in this book and love at fist sight seemed to me far-fetched in both cases. I understand that it happens once, but not twice. Sorry. Nevertheless, I didn’t mind about romance scenes because of beautiful, poetic language and it was not cheesy at all. So, it was ok.

I liked this book so much, that I will continue with next book in this trilogy. I really want to find out what will happen between Karou and Akiva and how the fight between angels and demons ends.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Does the trilogy get even better?

 

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Book Review: City of Lost Souls

Title: City of Lost Souls

Author: Cassandra Clare8755776

Despite the fact that the demon Lilith was defeated in a bloody battle, Clary, Jace, and others cannot enjoy happiness. Because of Lilith’s magic, are Jace and his brother Sebastian inseparable bounded and missing. The Clave is looking for both but they are aware of truth – they can’t harm one, without destroying the other. Clary is determined to find a solution and is trying to find Jace on her own, while Alec, Magnus, Isabelle and Simon ask demons for help.


I was so glad, that this book was better than the previous one. The story was still focused on Clary and Jace but they were more in the background and other characters came into the front. Reading about others was so much more interesting and despite the fact there is still too much drama in their lives for my taste, I still prefer reading about them and their love life than about Clary and Jace. I still like Simon and Magnus the most, though even their relationship became too complicated. Mostly because of Alec who become really strange and his behavior in a relationship was unacceptable for me and I wasn’t surprised at all about the disentanglement at the end. I also liked Maia and Jordan, although they were too immature at times. If I would have to choose one character from this series who has never annoyed me while reading, I would easily choose Magnus. The reason is probably his immortality and all the experience that he got during that time. All the others are childish, they are whining all the time and mindlessly getting into impossible and stupid situations.

I never liked Clary and also in this book she hasn’t left the best impression. Her immaturity, her love for Jace and her blindly worshiping of him really got on my nerves. I don’t understand why in almost each chapter, I had to read about his breathtaking beauty and his chiseled body – yes, I understood he’s hot the first time. There is no need to repeat yourself (if these descriptions would be thrown from the book, I assume that it would be at least 50 pages shorter).

I also felt uncomfortable while reading about Sebastian’s flattering to Clary. I don’t mind reading about sexual allusions, but he’s her brother! Eww!

At least the story was better than in a previous book. More action, a lot was going on and I liked how individual elements linked to one another in the end. Sebastian made this story more interesting and even though he’s a villain, I like his character. Ok, with an exception of seducing Clary (which I already mentioned but I can’t get this out of my head).

This book was not bad but I would enjoy more if there would not be all the teenage drama, which bored me. I understand that it’s probably necessary to include some romantic conflicts to make things more interesting but seriously in this series everything is complicated. Nobody can be just happy. I am glad, that I’m almost finished with the series because almost all characters get on my nerves and the story is no longer able to weight out their stupidity.

The end of a book was great because nothing shocking happened and I can wait with reading next book for a while. But probably I won’t because I still want to know how everything will end. And I really want to finish this series.

Rating: 4/5 stars

What did you think about the book City of Lost Souls? Did you like characters and story?

 

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Book Review: Max

Title: Max

Author: Sarah Cohen – Scali28231016

Max is a fetus inside a blonde and blue-eyed German mother. His father is also German and influential figure in the German army. However, there was no love between them, they served to one purpose only – to conceive a child in a Nazi program “Lebensborn” (Fountains of Youth). The purpose of the program was, to conceived as many purebred Aryan children who will become the future leaders of the Third Reich.

Already as a fetus, Max is aware of this and he’s not attached to his parents at all – he thinks that Germany is his mother and Hitler his father. Since his conception, he wants to become a concept of the Aryan race and he’s successful in this – he’s a first child born in a Lebensborn program and later he’s always an example to other children.

His unconditional trust in Reich begins to crumble when he become friend with Lukas – blue-eyed and blond Polish boy, who must hide he’s a Jew. Max starts asking questions and he’s beliefs begin to crumble.


I was attached to the story from beginning because of certain real historical facts and narrator of the story. I didn’t know much about Lebensborn program and I was drawn in this book because of this subject immediately.

Another thing which fascinated me was the narrator in this book. The story is told from Max’s point of view and he’s only a fetus in his mother’s abdomen when a story begins. And… how can somebody so small and who’s barely a fetus, can be so wicked already? However, in some strange way, I actually sympathized with him and felt sorry for him despite the fact he clearly showed signs of malice and that he was obviously brain-washed even before he was born!

Max is a perfect product of Lebensborn program (even before his birth). Even when he was still in a womb he was planning to become the best and one of those who will, in the future, help Hitler with his projects and their realization. I felt sad but in the same way it was somehow funny, reading about that kind of thoughts from an unborn child. And after his birth, Max was relieved because he was true Aryan not only by heart but he also looked like one. Blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful complexion and physically fitted all the measurements that were performed in the program. And precisely because of his physical qualities and deeply sympathizing with Nazism, Max is the one, who, from an early age helps in Reich.

If I was shocked at times, reading about all malicious thoughts that Max has as a fetus, I was even more shocked later, when he was a child participating in different actions. It’s hard to read about a child who enjoys in cruelty and is proud of himself and the things he’s doing, despite the fact, that innocent people are dying because of him.

Therefore, I was actually amazed by his immediate attachment to Lukas. Max has noticed Lukas because of his appearance but I was surprised that their friendship lasted even later when Max found out who Lukas really is. Nevertheless, Max still needed a lot of time to begin doubting in his Nazi beliefs and  realizing that many things they’re doing are wrong. In a way this is logical – you can’t change your beliefs and ideas over night especially not about something that you believed in it even before you were born.

Although, I found their relationship unusual and it didn’t convince me like it should. I didn’t understand why they are so attached to each other and what dragged them together. Their friendship made me confused.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who want to read more about the history, about a Lebensborn program but they are not interested to read nonfiction. You still can learn a lot by reading this book.

Max is a book, which is, despite its difficult topic, written in a humorous way and it can be a quick read. Certainly, the most interesting part of this book is, that it’s written from a perspective of a little Nazi fanatic which fascinated me the most.

Rating: 4/5 stars

If you read this book, please, share your thoughts with me in comments! Or, if you have any other similar book recommendations.