Friday, 28 August 2015

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

Monsters
by Emerald Fennell

UK release date: September 3rd 2015 


Summary: A blackly comic tale about two children you would never want to meet.

Set in the Cornish town of Fowey, all is not as idyllic as the beautiful seaside town might seem. The body of a young woman is discovered in the nets of a fishing boat. It is established that the woman was murdered. Most are shocked and horrified. But there is somebody who is not - a twelve-year-old girl. She is delighted; she loves murders. Soon she is questioning the inhabitants of the town in her own personal investigation. But it is a bit boring on her own. Then Miles Giffard, a similarly odd twelve-year-old boy, arrives in Fowey with his mother, and they start investigating together. Oh, and also playing games that re-enact the murders. Just for fun, you understand...

A book about two twelve-year-olds that is definitely not for kids.
So I didn't actually intend to read this book, but I was bored and thought since I had the book then I may as well just read a couple of pages, just to see... But then I couldn't put it down.

The book, it wasn't at all what I was expecting it to be and whenever I'd think I had it figured out, it would manage to surprise me again a few chapters later -- and I loved that. It reminded me of this bizarre little cabaret I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival* last year, it had all the quirk and charm and dark humour that the show had.


Initially, I thought it was going to be like that the whole way through, but then it introduced more serious things in this really subtle way, and I found myself unexpectedly caring about the main character and found that she had more depth and heart than it initially seemed...and yet it never lost that dark humour or oddness that it had in the beginning.


The plot -- it's one of the least predictable books I've read in a while, especially the ending, and I appreciate it so much more because of that.


Basically, the book surprised me in a good way, it totally shattered all my expectations. It's not a book I would ever have chosen for myself, but I'm glad I read it. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5.


Later.


*The show I mentioned? The Twins Macabre, they were hilarious and I really recommend checking out one of their shows if you ever get the chance.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Romance Review: Sustained by Emma Chase

Sustained
Emma Chase
Gallery Books
[August 25, 2015]
ARC provided by publicist


A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.

It seems like everyone loves Emma Chase. Literally, everyone. I've heard raves about her for years from all over the board. So, when I was offered a copy to review, I couldn't turn it down. But I was really unimpressed.

The first few chapters were just so stereotypical. The entire story is told from Jake's perspective and he was basically a mash up of every douche bag player trope you can imagine. Every chapter oozed arrogant asshole. I was so annoyed, I nearly put it down.

But then Chelsea came into the picture. Chelsea was funny and smart and an aunt and guardian to six kids. I loved Chelsea and how well she took this on. If this book had been told from her perspective, I would've LOVED it so much. Chelsea was different and I love romances that involve kids and how that dynamic plays in. But Jake was such a cookie cutout of dick-romance-characters, I had a hard time dealing with it. Chelsea deserved better. This book deserved better.

The writing was just okay. I think my big issue was that it fell back on a lot of cliches and stereotypes, so it was nothing special. It felt like she's taken from a bunch of other romances and pasted it in. It felt like...fanfic. Unedited fanfic from a slightly better than average writer. Again, I was bored and rarely felt totally sucked in.

Basically, this book was average. I was very meh on it and probably wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't a quick, easy read. The only bright spot in this book was Chelsea, really. Otherwise, it was predictable and the perspective it was told from was irritating because Jake was the worst. I'm in the minority on this, since I know a lot of people who LOVED it, but I barely finished it.

--Julie

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Dear Teen Julie

Sometimes, a review just isn't gonna cut it. Sometimes, I just need to get personal with it. So, occasionally, I'll be writing letters to the Julie that needs it to discuss a book. My review for this book will come closer to release.

Dear Teen Julie,

You're probably uncomfortable in your own clothes right now. You don't wear clothes you love very often and it's the end of summer, which definitely doesn't help. You don't go out much and you worry constantly about somebody else asking you if you're pregnant because of that one douche bag and that other drunk guy.

You, dear, sweet, teenage Julie, are fat. And nobody in your life seems to have this same issue. This constant insecurity. This worry about fitting into tight spaces. There's just this little niggling thought that follows you around with everything you do, reminding you that you're fat. Especially during gym. Even the swimming unit, despite your life of swimming, is a thing to dread because swim suits in front of your classmates? Yuck. Clearly they're all going to stare at you and think about what a disgusting human being you are, right?

Oh younger Julie. Let me tell you now - it's not going to suddenly get easier. You're going to start to feel more comfortable in your skin most days. You're going to discover the magic of selfies and how gorgeous you are. You're going to start to feel confident wedging yourself in that subway seat because honestly, you carry your weight pretty well. You're still going to be fat, but you're going to be in better shape. I promise. It'll still haunt you and niggle at you and try to convince you your worthless. But you're going to learn better.

And younger Julie, you're going to read this amazing book. I wish I could give you this book, but it's just not possible this moment. That book is going to have a fat character. Shamelessly fat. And she's going to own her weight and be proud about it and still feel a little worried, a little insecure, but in a way you know. A way you understand to your core. And this fat character? She's going to be fabulous. A pageant contestant and Dolly Parton fan. She's going to be all that I wish you could see. Because if you could see Miss Willowdean? She would rock your world and your perspective of how amazing and beautiful and fat you can be.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy is going to embrace everything you want to be. You want to be fabulous and confident and loved with a great gang of girlfriends - but you wanted to be skinny while doing it. Willowdean is okay being fat and doing it. She's okay being fat and having attention. She's not always comfortable with it, but she lets it happen. And all your fears about somebody loving you while you're fat? She has them too. She knows them. She does what you would do and has to learn from it. Because you can be fat and be loved, Teen Julie. I promise, you can. 

I can't give you Dumplin'. My time travel machine isn't that fancy. But I can read it now. I can read it over and over. I can meet Julie Murphy and collect multiple copies and gush about this book. I can learn from this book, even if I'm not still a teen. I can make sure other teen girls learn from this book since you couldn't. I can make sure other fat teen girls learn that they can be loved and fabulous and fat. And that's what I'm going to do for you. 

Hang in there,
20-year-old Julie

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