BOOK REVIEW: Dangerous Boys – by Abigail Haas

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Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary
First published: August 14th 2014
Finished reading: February 22nd 2016
Pages: 336
Rating 4,5qqq

“Some pieces couldn’t be glued back together. Some people weren’t for fixing.

Sometimes, the only thing to do was burn the whole fucking world down and start again.”

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Dangerous Girls was one of my favorite 2015 reads, so when I was looking for something good to get me out of my beginning reading slump I knew Dangerous Boys was a safe choice. I was right: Abigail Haas did it again! Although slightly less twisted and with a more predictable ending, there is no doubt that this author will mess with your mind  when you read this. There are so many unexpected plot twists that it takes a while to figure out what really happened… The story goes back and forth between past and present, and you slowly start to realize just how twisted the main characters are. Partly unreliable narrator, partly very unlikeable main characters, but with a story this dark and intriguing it didn’t really matter. Dangerous Boys has a fast pace and the prose reads so easily that you are sucked right into the story and you’ll find yourself flying through the pages to find out what on earth happened that day. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but if you can overcome the fact that you might want to hit Chloe for being such an annoying pain in the *** I’m sure you will love this read as much as I did.

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Chloe has been dying to get out of her small town and escape to college, but it seems to turn into a crushed dream more and more every day. Her mother never got over the fact that her husband left her for another woman and cannot even get up in the morning. Chloe doesn’t want to leave her mother all alone, but that does mean she will have to stay in the town she despises, with everyone looking at her differently after the divorce. When new-to-town Ethan shows up in the diner where she works, he becomes a pleasant distraction from it all. Chloe is determined to get her mother’s life back on track so she can go live her own, but she cannot resist Ethan for long. They start dating even though she is supposed to leave in a few weeks, but her mother doesn’t improve and the arrival of Ethan’s brother changes everything. One night the three enter the abandoned Monroe estate, hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. What on earth happened?

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In a way I was a bit afraid to start reading Dangerous Boys since I loved Dangerous Girls so much last year. That one is still my absolute favorite, but Dangerous Boys is a close second. The plot and especially the ending might be slightly more predictable, but that doesn’t take away that Abigail Haas has mastered the art of both creating a dark and twisted story and playing with your mind perfectly. If you like these kind of books, make sure to give both a go! You won’t regret it.

BOOK REVIEW: Charm & Strange – by Stephanie Kuehn

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Title: Charm & Strange
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Genre: YA, Mystery, Fantasy
First published: January 11th 2013
Finished reading: February 20th 2016
Pages: 224
Rating 4qqq

“From what I can tell, morality is a word. Nothing more. There’re the things people do when others are watching and the things we do when they aren’t.”

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Charm & Strange has been floating around on my kindle for a while now, and I finally picked it up the other day because I needed something short and entertaining to get me to read again. Let me tell you: it worked like a charm. Like the title says, this book is without doubt strange, mysterious and very intriguing. What I thought was going to be another fantasy story full of werewolves and romance turned out to be something completely different… And I must say Stephanie Kuehn left me speechless and guessing what was really going on even long after I finished the last page. Win/Drew is a very interesting character with a touch of unreliable narrator, which makes the story into something messy and unique. Reading Charm & Strange was not quite what I was expecting, but in this case in a positive way. The story has a fast pace, reads easily even though you might not know exactly what is going on and I liked the character development. Recommendable!

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Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. Part of him is Win, a lonely teenager who is forced to attend a remote Vermont boarding school after a family tragedy. He doesn’t want to connect to his classmates and prefers to be alone with his secrets… And then there is Drew, an angry young boy that seems to be under the control of violent impulses. His family seems to have a secret, and when he spends one summer with his brothers and teenage cousins something unthinkable happens. Something that will lead to the family tragedy Win is now suffering from… Andrew will have to battle both the ghosts and pain of the past and the loneliness of the present. And what does the moon and do his wild and dark memories have to do with it?

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This novel by Stephanie Kuehn has truly surprised me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but Charm & Strange turned out to be a truly unique and intriguing story. I’m not sure I actually like all the main characters, but the whole mystery around Win/Drew really makes this into a great read. If you are looking for a fast, interesting and unique read, make sure to give Charm & Strange a go!

Sunday Post #15 – February 28th

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Today is Sunday, which means it’s time for another installment of my Sunday Post where I will share a summary of my blogging week and other random facts… Here we go!


# CURRENTLY READING

I have been wanting to read The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton for ages, so I’m really excited to be finally diving into this historical fiction novel. It belongs to one of my favorite genres and the Amsterdam setting surely will bring back a lot of flashbacks… I’m not that far into the story yet, but so far it’s good!

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# LATEST ADDITION TO MY SHELVES

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Haruki Murakami has been recommended to me at least a million times, but somehow I haven’t read any of his work yet. Norwegian Wood is not the first novel by this author on my TBR pile, but it is definitely one that has been mentioned most in combination with his name.

# OTHER (BOOK) NEWS

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I don’t really have a lot of book news other than that I finally have a copy of Glass Sword so I will do a Red Queen reading marathon next month! 😀 The same thing will probably happen with the Red Rising trilogy if I like the first book (which I probably will since everybody seems to love that series).

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Talking about something different, I’ve made a promise to myself this year to really focus on my running. With bad knees and ankles I’ve never actually actively focused on running before (although I do a lot of ‘speedwalking’ and love spinning),  but this year I want to try and participate in a 5km running event. In February I’ve increased my ‘record’ from 2000m to 2300m… I know it’s only 300m, but I take it considering my good running shoes decided to die on me and the temporary old running shoes I have been using are basically a blister paradise (and my personal nightmare haha). Next month means new shoes and more running, so hopefully I will see more improvement in the future! 😀

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# WHAT’S NEW ON IT’S ALL ABOUT BOOKS


That’s all for this Sunday Post… I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! ❤ 

BOOK REVIEW: Every Day – by David Levithan

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Title: Every Day
(Every Day #1)
Author: David Levithan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 28th 2012
Finished reading: February 18th 2016
Pages: 322
Rating 4qqq

“There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go.”

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up Every Day. It’s the first time I read a novel that has been written solely by David Levithan even though I’ve read some of his work in the past. To be honest I wasn’t fully convinced by either his short story in My True Love Gave To Me or his Dash chapters in Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares he wrote together with Rachel Cohn, but luckily enough I was able to enjoy this novel a lot better. Every Day is an intriguing story told from the point of view of A, who wakes up in a different body everyday and doesn’t have a fixed gender. The how and why is never explained and brings a little magical realism into this contemporary romance story. Because if you leave out the body-switching and paranormal element, this is basically a simple love story where A asks the Rhiannon to see past the everchanging physical appearance and love A for who ‘he’ is essentially. I wasn’t really a fan of Rhiannon’s character, but I really liked the fact that David Levithan incorporated a lot of glbt-friendly characters in the different bodies A changed into. And this multidimentional character basically is what makes this book so special and combined with a fast pace and easy-to-read prose I would definitely recommend Every Day.

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A has been waking up into a different body every day since ‘he’ can remember. Every day means a different life and it is never the same body twice… Years of practice has shown A it is best to not get involved with the individual lives of the bodies ‘he’ wakes up in. Any mistake A makes can change the life of that particular person in a bad way, and A never wants to get too attached for that to happen again. A knows not to interfere, but that becomes impossible the day ‘he’ wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend. Rhiannon manages to dazzle A and ‘he’ doesn’t want to live by ‘his’ own rules… A no longer wants to make peace with the fact that ‘he’ wakes up in a new body every day, because I finally found someone ‘he’ wants to be with forever. Will A find a way to make this happen? And what does Rhiannon think of A’s situation in the first place?

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I was expecting a sappy romance story and part of it maybe is, but Every Day is so much more. The multidimentional character A is what makes this read into something truly special and I really liked the ‘hidden’ messages in David Levithan‘s prose (about for example equality). It’s a very intriguing read with just the right dose of mystery and romance that I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy the genre.

BOOK REVIEW: Me Before You – by Jojo Moyes

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Title: Me Before You
(Me Before You #1)
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
First published: January 5th 2012
Finished reading: February 15th 2016
Pages: 369
Rating 3,5qqq

“Some mistakes… Just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.”

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It seems like everybody is reading or rereading this book right now! I’ve heard so many great things about it and I know everyone including my neighbor’s cat loves this story, but I guess I am one of those unlucky few who wasn’t blown away with Me Before You. Yes, I do have a heart and I thought the ending was heartbreaking. It is an interesting enough story and I like the general idea of the plot, but that doesn’t take away that I had some minor problems with it. I know part of the disappointment itself comes from the fact that I had really high expectations of this novel by Jojo Moyes before I started it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I thought the main character Lou is annoyingly ignorant at some points in the story. I do like Lou and I can actually relate to her partially (especially the not being afraid to be different than the stereotype), but her expecting to change Will’s mind without asking him if he wants to? And organizing all those outings without thinking it through and asking will first if he likes those things in the first place? I’m sorry to say those facts and other more day-to-day things started to get on my nerves. Will’s character is more complicated to judge and I give him the benefit of the doubt, but Patrick is a man I seriously can’t stand. And yes, I would totally order cheesecake in a bar full of health freaks like Lou did and I’m not afraid to admit it. Another thing that seriously bothered me was the pace, or at least it took me ages to actually finish it. It might just be that the read wasn’t for me, but I just couldn’t understand the hype around it… But Me Before You won’t be the first nor last hyped book that doesn’t live up to my expectations anyway. So if you like the genre, don’t let my slightly negative review discourage you!

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Lou Clark is living a comfortable and predictable life living in a small town with her parents and sister. Lou has been in a relationship with Patrick for years, but somehow they never decided to take the next step. She also loves her job working in The Buttered Bun tea shop… But everything changes as the owner decides to close the shop and Lou is left without a job. She is desperately trying to find another job, especially since her parents and sister count on the money she earns to keep things afloat. She has tried all kinds of jobs already when the opportunity comes up to work as a caretaker for Will Traynor. Will has been in a motorcycle accident that took away his movability and desire to live… His mother wants to hire Lou to show him that his life can be worth living, but what Lou doesn’t know at first is that she has a deadline: if she doesn’t convince Will in six months, his parents will have to assist him in ending his life. Will Lou be able to chance Will’s mind?

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I’m not saying Me Before You is a bad read; it’s a great story even though I had some problems with the characters and pace. I’m not sure if it was just me or if the story reads slow for everyone, but it took me a long time to actually finish it. The fact that Lou’s actions were starting to become annoying at points didn’t help either… And lastly, I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but I felt the story kind of gave the negative impression that it’s easy just to give up on life if something bad happens to you. Still, Me Before You was good enough for me to want to read the sequel some time in the future.

Friday Finds #75 – February 26th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Books And A Beat and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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BOOK REVIEW: Sharp Objects – by Gillian Flynn

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Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 26th 2006
Finished reading: February 14th 2016
Pages: 272
Rating 4qqq

“There was nothing I wanted to do more than be unconscious again, wrapped in black, gone away. I was raw. I felt swollen with potential tears, like a water balloon filled to burst. Begging for a pin prick.”

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I’ve heard a lot of people say they liked Gillian Flynn‘s debut novel best, and I have to agree Sharp Objects is my favorite as well. The story is sick, twisted, disturbing, full of unexpected plot twists… Which is highly typical for all her work, but somehow Sharp Objects managed to convince me better. It’s not that I actually liked her main character; Camille Preaker is just as dark and problematic as the characters in Gone Girl and Dark Places. Camille still suffers from both her complicated childhood and her history as a cutter. When she has to travel back to her hometown for an assignment, she will have to face her ghosts of the past as well as doing her job as a reporter in covering the murder of two young girls. The whole murder and disappearance of the two girls is a very intriguing plot on it’s own, and the situation with Camille’s family only adds an extra layer to it. Sharp Objects has a fast pace and is well written, with many plot twists that will keep you guessing about what really happened to those poor girls. Dark and twisted, but highly recommended if you like the genre!

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Camille Preaker has had a very complicated childhood and her body shows the proof: she has been cutting words all over her body ever since she was a teenager. As an adult she finally had a chance to escape her hometown and she now works as a reporter in the big city. Her cutter history got her into a psych hospital, and things didn’t get better when she is released as her boss tells her she has to return to her tiny hometown for an assignment. A young girl was murdered last year, and now another one is missing… Camille doesn’t want to go, but her boss convinces her it will be her best chance to finally move up the ladder. She hasn’t been home for a long time or spoken to her mother or her half-sister, and they are all surprised when Camille shows up at the door of the family’s Victorian mansion. Things don’t exactly go smoothly and Camille soon finds herself both fighting against her old demons as well as trying to get a proper story so she can finally leave the place that has tormented her for so many years…

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Sharp Objects might be Gillian Flynn‘s debut novel, but for me it is her strongest work yet. Almost every main character in the story has some dark, twisted or disturbing secret and the two different storylines (the murder investigation and Camille’s family history) slowly intertwine as Gillian Flynn throws one plot twist after the other at you. Sharp Objects is a fast-paced and intriguing read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. If you like the genre, make sure you read this book.

WWW Wednesdays #79 – February 24th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I still haven’t finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr… Don’t get me wrong, I love this book so far both because of the prose, setting and characters, but somehow I haven’t been in the mood to read it. I’m fearing a starting reading slump, so I am trying to read quick, ‘easy’ or different reads instead. I’ve just picked up Bestiario by Julio Cortázar as well to start working on my promise to read more Spanish books; I’ve read a lot of his short stories during Uni and it’s nice to revisit them.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Every Day by David Levithan. I had my reservations and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be an excellent read.
* I then read Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn mostly because I needed something short and entertaining to get me to read again. Like the title says, this book is without doubt strange, mysterious and very intriguing! Recommendable.
* I also finished Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas, a book I picked up on a whim after remembering how much I loved Dangerous Girls last year. I still prefer that one, although Dangerous Boys is almost as good. Abigail Haas knows how to play with the reader’s mind!
* The last book I finished is Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas, a Veronica Mars sequel that didn’t really live up to expectations. I loved the first book, but the sequel read a bit slow and failed to keep my attention. There was too much focus on the relationship between Veronica and Logan and politics and the actual case they were working on was pushed to the background…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson first though if I’m in the mood for a light read…. And I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but that depends on how I feel after finishing my current reads. The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my newest TBR jar pick.

BOOK REVIEW: Extraordinary Means – by Robyn Schneider

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Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: May 26th 2015
Finished reading: February 12th 2016
Pages: 336
Rating 4,5qqq

“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

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I’ve had Extraordinary Means on my radar ever since it came out last year, but somehow I never actually picked it up… Until my TBR jar decided it was time to finally read this novel by Robyn Schneider. What sounds like just another sad story about sick teenagers (this time suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis), is actually so much more. First of all, the Extraordinary Means is very well written and I really liked the main characters and their development. They live at the Latham house which is part hospital and part boarding school; no contact with the outside world is allowed since the disease is so contagious. This all sounds really depressing, but Robyn Schneider is able to give her story an unique touch through Sadie and her friends. They decide to ‘fight’ the system and the four form a close group of eccentric troublemakers who want to have the feeling they are still alive. I really liked Lane as a character as well, and the together the five characters really make this book into something special. Sad moments are mixed with both dark and funny ones and the story has just the right dose of romance. If you like contemporary fiction and don’t mind having to keep your box of tissues on standby, I would definitely recommend reading Extraordinary Means.

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At seventeen Lane has his whole life already planned out and has been working towards his admission to Stanford for years. All of this comes to an abrupt halt when he is diagnosed with an incurable strain of tuberculosis… And he is sent to Latham House so the disease doesn’t infect those around him. Latham House is a sanatorium for teens with TB and Lane has a hard time fitting in. He doesn’t want to throw away the future he has been working so hard for, but slowly he is starting to realize that this time he will have to put his health and body first… But it’s hard to relax if you don’t have friends to share your time with. He did recognize a girl he knew from summer camp a few years ago, Sadie, but she doesn’t seem to even want to talk to him. She has transformed from the shy loner he remembers to a very intriguing teenager, and both Sadie and her friends really fascinate Lane. Will Lane make any friends and accept the fact that he is sick? And will they win the fight against tuberculosis?

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What I liked of Extraordinary Means is that it is not just about a bunch of sick teenagers fighting against a disease (in this case an incurable strain of tuberculosis, which in itself is quite original). It’s also a story about friendship, second chances, first love and finding out what is really important in life. The novel is very well written and I really liked the main characters. The fast pace had me literally flying through the pages and the alternating chapters between Lane and Sadie made it hard to stop reading. Robyn Schneider was able to create a story that is both sad, dark, funny and cute at the same time; if you are looking for a good contemporary read, you should consider reading Extraordinary Means.

Teaser Tuesdays #82 – February 23rd: Mr. Kiss And Tell

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I decided to pick up Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas a few days ago since I was in the mood for a mystery/thriller read and I loved the first book of the series. Unfortunately, the sequel isn’t nearly as good as The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line… So far it has turned out to be quite a slow read and the plot just doesn’t grab my attention. Such a shame!

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My teaser (55%):

“Veronica’s footsteps echoed with unnerving loudness as she made her way up to the hall. She’d been half afraid she’d run into janitorial or security, but so far there was no sign of them.”

What are you reading right now?