Winter Stroll (Winter #2) By Elin Hilderbrand

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Synopsis

“Happy Holidays 2015! It has been a rough year for the Quinns, but I would like to start by saying thank you for all of the well wishes and positive missives sent our way.”

Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflecting on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley, now single, at least is on better terms with his first wife Margaret, who is using her celebrity to lure customers to the inn in record numbers. Their son Kevin has a beautiful new baby, Genevieve, with the Inn’s French housekeeper, Isabelle; and their daughter, Ava, is finally dating a nice guy–her devoted colleague, Scott.

Now the Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve’s baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the inn–through the holidays intact.

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My Review

The book had a great setting into it. I love that I could imagine what was happening from the descriptive words of the author. The emotions of each character are well-received to the readers as it was written well. I could feel what they were going through and the transition from page to page was easy to read. The characters felt like real as I was reading it. The setting of the book felt surreal and I felt drawn into the book. Even though I had never been to Nantucket, I could envision the island and how vibrant it was.

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However, I felt that the changes from each character were confusing. There were too many characters to focus on and I get distracted at times. I could not follow who is each of them. The ending was also abrupt and I felt hanging.

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Sum Up

Overall, I love the imagery of the book. It was well-written with great descriptive words to enhance both the characters and setting. It was easy to get lost when reading the book due to that.
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Ratings

4 Star

 

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Good On Paper By Rachel Cantor

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Synopsis

Is a new life possible? Because Shira Greene’s life hasn’t quite turned out as planned. She’s a single mom living with her daughter and her gay friend, Ahmad. Her PhD on Dante’s Vita Nuova hasn’t gotten her a job, and her career as a translator hasn’t exactly taken off either.

But then she gets a call from a Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet who insists she’s the only one who can translate his newest book.

Stunned, Shira realizes that—just like that— her life can change. She sees a new beginning beckoning: academic glory, demand for her translations, and even love (her good luck has made her feel more open to the entreaties of a neighborhood indie bookstore owner).

There’s only one problem: It all hinges on the translation, and as Shira starts working on the exquisitely intricate passages of the poet’s book, she realizes that it may in fact be, well … impossible to translate.

A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.

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My Review

The book contains a great amount of literary and linguistic theory. It takes certain readers to fully appreciate the book enough. The translation and interpretation of the author regarding La Vita Nuova by placing it into the story line was done well. The book has great insights of the Dante and the works that he had done in the past.

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However, the no indicated speech could easily confuse the readers. There were times I was confused with whom was saying what. Readers must follow the dialogue carefully to fully comprehend what is going on. The passive sentences of the dialogue made it much more difficult to follow as well.

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Sum Up

Overall, the book has such great elements into it that many readers can enjoy. It celebrates literary theory and well-off for readers to fully enjoy. The struggles that the characters go through show the capabilities of the author in writing it well.

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Ratings

4 Star

 

 

The Twilight Child By Elizabeth Harris

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Synopsis

In the hot September of 1942, Clare is waiting for the birth of her first child and trying not to miss her husband who is away fighting. The gift of an antique cradle coincides with sinister visions, and Clare realises something is threatening her. 
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My Review

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest feedback.

The theme of the book was dark and intriguing which excites me even more. I love the style of writing here. The book was well-written and the style of writing was easy to follow. It was easy to follow especially with how beautiful the descriptive the book is. The author was able to write about Pagan, Witchcraft and Wicca well. The main character, Claire, showed how worried she was about her newborn child and the weird dreams she had about something dark taking her child away. I felt that the book was well-written in overall aspects be it the storyline, character development and even the setting itself.

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However, I felt that the book was long winded. The story line was too long which could drain readers from reading it. It felt repetitive at times and I could not understand the part in which she had a crush on the guy who helped her. That part was a little not well-explained on how he was able to be there when he was already dead. But otherwise, I just have an issue with the length and the repetitiveness of the book.
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Sum Up

Overall, I found the book to be a great read. As stated above, the book was indeed well done in all aspects. The development from one stage to another was great and it went above my expectations.
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Ratings

5 Star

None Of the Above By I.W. Gregorio

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Synopsis

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

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My Review

I find that this book has taught me many things about intersex which I was unaware about. This book touches on connecting the readers with the emotions that someone having intersex is feeling. The confusion that the main character, Kristin, faced when she first found out that she was an intersex was overwhelmingly intense. The emotional connection between the readers and the character was well executed. Moreover, incorporating real life intersex stories made the story more interesting. By letting the readers know of The Caster Semenya Controversy about her gender and winning the Olympics Gold Medal showed the discrimination that intersex faces.

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However, I felt that the ending was too good to be true. I understand the flight that she went through with the whole school finding out she was a hermaphrodite. She was bullied and her boyfriend had dumped her for her gender. The discrimination was unbearable for anyone to face. But by ending the book with another boy and not being looked down upon was unrealistic. The ending should be raw in terms of her accepting the reality and tries to move on with her life.

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Sum Up

Overall, I found the book was a great read. The characters were well-written and developed which made reading it much more enjoyable. The storyline was great but it was such a fairy-tale ending. The book was able to educate the readers about hermaphrodite and the struggles they went through. Being able to tell them the foundations that help them is another wonderful thing being incorporated into the book.
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Ratings

4 Star

Ascending The Boneyard By C.G. Watson

 

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Synopsis

Donnie Darko meets The Matrix in this mind-bending and captivating mystery about one teen’s surreal experiences after surviving a major trauma.

Everything’s a battle.

Sometimes life gets too real, and Caleb Tosh has taken one hit too many. First, there was the accident that changed everything for Tosh’s younger brother. Now his mum has left. All the pain, the grief and loss, have finally pushed Tosh over the edge.

If only he could have a do-over. Wipe his reality. Start fresh. Maybe he could fix all of his mistakes and everything would be different. Tosh immerses himself in the complex missions from the game he obsessively plays, The Boneyard. The game bleeds into the dark nature of his everyday life, folding reality into surreality until it’s impossible to separate one from the other. Tosh is desperate to Ascend, to reach the next level, to become Worthy.

Readers are brought on a one-of-a-kind, absorbing journey where no one can say what is real and what isn’t—right up until the shocking, yet deeply powerful conclusion.

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My Review

The book is fast pace and putting in the elements of a game into the book was indeed interesting. I have not read a book that incorporated gaming to become a storyline. The adventures that Caleb Tosh went were dangerous and exciting. It made the readers want to read more as events keep on changing from one page to the other.

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However, there was no explanation on how the world changed from normal to his game like in the story. It was abrupt which made the readers confused to continuing on reading. There was not really a mission for him to complete and the things that he did seem pointless as he just roams around each time. His character was one-dimension with a lack of progress in the book and the people he met was also just as boring as him. The unexpected ending was also pointless as I was not really able to follow the storyline and I could not understand what the story was trying to convey.

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Sum Up

Overall, the storyline was weak as readers could not really able to follow. The decisions that Caleb made was not explained and the abrupt ending was not living up to the reader’s expectations. But, the intense adventures he had was fast-paced which made reading the book a little more enjoyable.

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Ratings

3 Star

 

We Were Liars By E. Lockhart

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Synopsis

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

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My Review

I felt that the book has its mysterious elements well written. The pace of the book was fine and the writing was not too bad. I love the subplot within the book. It is a story within a story where I find it entertaining to read. The part about the Kings and his 3 Daughters with different variations made me enjoyed it more. I also love the twist in the ending which was different than the most coming of age books I ever read. It was unexpected which might be good or bad depending to the readers.

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However, the characters in the book were one dimensional and lacked depth for me to better understand their motive in the story. The story does not really explain each character well which was a downfall. The writing can get a little irritating with the spacing in between the lines which have no purpose. It just disturbed how I read the story.

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Sum Up

Overall, I found the book to have a decent story line. I love the parts telling the story about the Kings and his 3 Daughters which gave different variations. The unexpected twist at the end worked in my favour. I just felt that the story needs to be work on further to give the readers a better satisfaction.

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Ratings

4 Star

A History Of Loneliness By John Boyne

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Synopsis

Propelled into the priesthood by a family tragedy, Odran Yates is full of hope and ambition. When he arrives at Clonliffe Seminary in the 1970s, it is a time in Ireland when priests are highly respected, and Odran believes that he is pledging his life to “the good.”

Forty years later, Odran’s devotion is caught in revelations that shatter the Irish people’s faith in the Catholic Church. He sees his friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed, and grows nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insults. At one point, he is even arrested when he takes the hand of a young boy and leads him out of a department store looking for the boy’s mother.

But when a family event opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within the church, and to recognise his own complicity in their propagation, within both the institution and his own family.

A novel as intimate as it is universal, A History of Loneliness is about the stories we tell ourselves to make peace with our lives. It confirms Boyne as one of the most searching storytellers of his generation. 

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My Review

A History of Loneliness explores the journey of Father Odran Yates in becoming the priest he is today. The book examines his life and what he went through when his mother had a calling for him to be a servant of god. While he never thought that the job was not for him, he never spoke up to his mother and just went along with it. The book also dwells on the church sexual harassment situation in Ireland and it had a major affect to the child that it happened to. Odran nephew was also a victim as he was sexually assaulted by one of Odran’s closest friends. That had caused their relationship to strain and Odran only found out towards the end of the book when his friend was arrested and charged for doing it to other boys.

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However, I found it Father Odran Yates characteristics to be annoying as he seemed to be whiny during the book. It is understandable to be frustrated that people now treat him badly due to the sexual assault were done by other priests. But to keep complaining it in every part of the book gets irritating. He is also judgemental of others as he thinks highly of himself due to his profession.

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Sum Up

Overall, the flow of the book is not in sequence as there are many flashbacks to explain the current day situation. The book also explored the past of Odran Yates and how it led him to where he is today as it is a huge part of the story.

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Ratings

4 Star