ARC REVIEW: The Girl From The Sea – by Shalini Boland

brthegirlfromtheseaTitle: The Girl From The Sea
Author: Shalini Boland

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: June 9th 2016
Publisher: Adrenalin Books
Finished reading: August 5th 2016
Pages: 306
Rating 4,5qqq

“It’s as though I’m riding a never-ending rollercoaster, my stomach constantly swooping and rising. There are too many things to think about, and I don’t know what to do about any of them.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Adrenalin Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

myrambles1reviewqqq

I know I have been reading too many mystery/thrillers as it is lately, but when I came across this book I just couldn’t resist. The Girl From The Sea is a gripping psychological thriller with many many plot twists that will keep you guessing what really happened to the main character for a long time. And even though I kind of suspected part of what happened  to Mia a while before the big twist was revealed, it can’t be denied Shalini Boland used Mia’s amnesia to the fullest and she is the perfect unreliable character for this story. And that ending! I’m still not sure I actually like Mia, but her character development is well done; she feels real and it’s easy to feel sorry for her. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to wake up and not remember ANYTHING and not even recognizing yourself in the mirror… It’s without doubt a scary thought. The story itself is fast-paced and I enjoyed the prose and descriptions. In fact, I found myself flying through this book! If you are looking for a good psychological thriller with a refreshing twist, The Girl From The Sea is definitely a great choice.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Mia doesn’t remember why or what happened to her, but somehow she ended up washed up on the beach only barely conscious. In fact, she can’t remember anything about her life and doesn’t even know who she is… In the hospital, she is diagnosed with amnesia because of the traumatic experience and told her memories will probably come back in due time. But what can Mia do in the mean time? Then, her boyfriend shows up and he seems to be as eager to fill in the blanks as her family. But can Mia really trust them? Why do people seem to be lying to her and why don’t they want her to remember her past?

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

I first decided to request a copy of The Girl From The Sea after I read a few positive reviews. And I’m glad I did, but it turned out to be one of my favorite psychological thrillers I’ve read so far this year! This story reads like a train and is full of plot twists that will mess with your mind. The fact that Mia isn’t just another unreliable character and is suffering from amnesia is actually refreshing, and I really enjoyed reading this story. Recommended for fans of the genre!

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

brharrypotterandthecursedchild

Title: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child
(Harry Potter #8)
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 31st 2016
Publisher: Pottermore
Finished reading: August 4th 2016
Pages: 320

Rating 3,5qqq

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

I was lucky enough to be growing up along with the main characters as the books were first published, and it’s easy to say the Harry Potter series is one of my childhood favorites. I’m still a fan, so of course I was thrilled when I first heard about Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. But then I started thinking. The original series played such an important role in my life when I was younger; how will this new title ever live up to that? And I normally don’t like reading hyped books either… Plus, this eighth book is actually the script of a play I will probably never actually see. To be honest, I was going to resist temptation and not read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child for the time being. But then the publish date arrived and reviews started popping up everywhere. And as you might have guessed, I couldn’t resist temptation. I gave myself the excuse that I didn’t want to run into any spoilers, but to be honest I just wanted to revisit their world one last time and see what the future had in store for my favorite trio. And it sure was a journey full of nostalgic feelings! I can’t say this new story actually lives up to the original series and I can understand why so many people seem disappointed by it, but Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child scored bonus points simply for the nostalgia. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but I can say this: I liked the time travel and alternative past, but I wasn’t convinced by all the characters and final acts. And the fact that it’s a script does make it less pleasant to read even though it’s a superfast read. I wish I could actually watch the play! Still, if you are a Harry Potter fan it will be hard to resist this new story. I know I couldn’t…

shortsummary1reviewqqq

WARNING: SPOILERS!! DON’T READ THE SUMMARY IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST SEVEN BOOKS.

It still isn’t easy being Harry Potter even nineteen years after the final battle. It’s a different kind of difficult though as he is now the overworked employee of the Ministry Of Magic, a husband and father of three children. He still struggles with the past and memories still haunt him. And not all his children are happy with their famous dad… His youngest son Albus feels like he isn’t living up to the family legacy and hates being a Potter and above all resents feeling likea disappointment. He doesn’t really fit in at Hogwarts and has only one friend: Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius and another misfit. Then one day the two take a decision that will threaten to change the past and present forever…

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

I can’t say this new story lives up to the first seven books, but I still really enjoyed reading Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child for nostalgic reasons. It’s a script which makes it less comfortable to read, but it is a fast read and there are many references to the past. I didn’t love it, but I think it’s still worth reading if you are a Potter fan. I hope they will make a movie version one day though! Either that or a rewrite of the script to a novel.

Cover Characteristic #7 – August 7th

covercharacteristic

I saw this meme popping up the other day and I thought it would be a fun way to take a closer look at all those beautiful covers out there. Cover Characteristic is hosted at Sugar & Snark and has a weekly theme.

covercharacteristicinfo

This week is all about covers with SMILEY FACES. I haven’t actually read any of these titles below besides More Happy Than Not, but they do all have a smiley face or two on the cover!😉

ccaugust7th2016

# More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. (Read in June 2016: 3 stars REVIEW)

# The Haters by Jesse Andrews

# Graffiti Grandma by Jo Barney

# Read Between The Lines by Jo Knowles

Now on to my favorite cover of this week:

17801394

>>> Sisters by Raina Telgemeier <<<

What is your personal favorite out of these 5 covers? And have you read any of these books yourself? Feel free to comment!:)

BOOK REVIEW: The Summer I Became A Nerd – by Leah Rae Miller

brthesummeribecameanerd

Title: The Summer I Became A Nerd
(Nerd #1)
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Finished reading: August 3rd 2016
Pages: 352

Rating 3qqq

“Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

I picked this book up on a whim because of the summery title, mostly because I needed something to distract me from the cold weather down here. And while it’s certainly a great summer read, I’m having mixed thoughts about The Summer I Became A Nerd. It’s without doubt a fast-paced and mostly entertaining contemporary romance story and I LOVED the geeky/comic references. Those nerdy elements are without doubt the best part of this book! The story reads easily and both Logan and Dan are adorkable (in the best possible way.) And there is where it also went wrong: it really bothered me that the main character Maddie is so ashamed of the fact that she likes comics and other geeky things. Especially since she has been hiding it for so long and creating an alternative personality in order to be popular… Add a bunch of other cheesy high school cliches and a love triangle and it was close to ruining the story for me. Luckily the final part did manage to satisfy my inner nerd and that probably saved the rating from plummeting even lower. If you don’t mind cheesy high school cliches and a love triangle, you will probably end up loving this contemporary romance story though.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Seventeen-year-old Maddie looks like just another typical blond cheerleader and she has worked hard to create that image; picking only popular friends, liking only the right things and even dating the quarterback. But Maddie has a secret: she is a huge fan of comics and doesn’t really care about pep rallies or her best friend’s favorite singer. She is desperate to keep her secret nerd identity hidden, and doesn’t even enter the only comic store in town because she is afraid someone will see her. But when de delivery of issue #400 of her favorite comic is delayed, she can’t resist and enters the local comic shop anyway. And working at the counter is Logan, a geeky guy from school she secretly likes but can’t date because it would ruin her reputation. But Logan recognizes her and Maddie will soon have to choose between letting her inner nerd out or ignore her love for comics and lose Logan forever…

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

I love books with geeky elements, and those parts (especially the role playing!) were probably my favorite in The Summer I Became A Nerd. Logan is adorable as well and I really wanted to smack Maddie various times throughout the story for being that ignorant. I mean, why is it so necessary to be popular if you can’t even be yourself? That and the cheesy high school cliches/ love triangle lowered my rating considerably. I do have to say the story itself is fast-paced, entertaining and I LOVED the role-playing descriptions and comic references. Therefore I would still recommend it to fans of the genre.

ARC REVIEW: Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection – by Barbara Venkataraman

brjamiequinnmysterycollection

Title: Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection
Author: Barbara Venkataraman
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime
First published: September 3rd 2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Finished reading: August 2nd 2016
Pages: 360

Rating 3,5qqq

“It’s strange how technology enhances life and diminishes it at the same time.”

*** A copy of this collection was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

myrambles1reviewqqq

I can always enjoy a good cozy mystery read, so when I was approached by the author if I wanted to read and review her collection of three Jamie Quinn stories it was easy to say yes. And Death By Didgeridoo, The Case Of The Killer Divorce and Peril In The Park are without doubt fast-paced and entertaining cozy mysteries that are perfect vacation material. A huge bonus: since important character background is repeated in each sequel, it’s really easy to read them separate as well. The main character herself, Jamie Quinn, is a family law lawyer in a town called Hollywood and I liked the way her character develops during the three books. She sure has some surprises in store for her that are not related to her cases at all! The balance between the cases, PI work and Jamie’s personal life is well done, especially in the first and third book. Peril In The Park is without doubt my absolute favorite of the three, but the other two stories are good as well. If you like cozy mysteries and are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining read, this collection by Barbara Venkataraman is without doubt recommendable.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Death by Didgeridoo: 3,5/5 stars

Family law lawyer Jamie Quinn is still struggling to deal with the death of her mother, but she is forced to get back to action when her cousin is wrongly accused of murder. Adam is autistic and the whole experience is highly traumatic for him… And the worst part is that the police seem to think he is guilty. It is up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late, because the case is getting a lot of media attention. The victim is a former rock star with a lot of enemies… But who killed him? Jamie asks for the help of an old client and PI, Duke Broussard, but the clock is ticking.

The Case of the Killer Divorce: 3/5 stars

Jamie Quinn has returned to her family law practice after she had to deal with her cousin’s case. Things are going well enough, until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation. Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect, and she decided to yet again hire Duke Broussard to try and clear her client’s name. There are a lot of lies floating around, and it is getting difficult to find out the truth… And it’s not the only thing that goes around in Jamie’s head, since she is also trying to find her long-lost father.

Peril in the Park: 4/5 stars

Someone is trying to make things difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend. Kip Simons is the new director of Broward County Parks, but it seems like not everybody is happy to welcome him. Someone has been vandalising the parks and there are a lot of unhappy people on the list of suspects. An angry supervisor that wanted the job himself, fired employees… They will have to figure it out soon, because someone has even threatened to do harm if Jamie and Kip don’t back off. Jamie has to call in the help of Duke Broussard yet again to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

If you like the genre, you will without doubt enjoy these three cozy mystery stories as well. They turned out to be easy to read, fun and fast-paced. All three stories have the perfect mix of contemporary, mystery and legal thriller elements, although the third story Peril In The Park is my absolute favorite. Without doubt recommended for fans of the genre!

Friday Finds #98 – August 5th

fridayfindsmeme

FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Babs Book Bistro 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:

ffaugust5th2016

Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: When We Collided – by Emery Lord

brwhenwecollided

Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Finished reading: July 31st 2016
Pages: 352
Rating 4qqq

“Even the constellations can see us now: we are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

I know a lot of bloggers are big Emery Lord fans, but I have never actually picked up any of her novels so far. Now I’ve finished When We Collided, I know this is going to change. Contemporary romance is not really my genre, especially if it’s too cheesy, but this story is definitely one of the exceptions to that rule. First of all, I loved the writing style! The prose and fast pace made When We Collided into a very quick and entertaining read and the only reason it took me this long to finish it is because I forgot my kindle when I went away during the weekend… Because the story reads like a train. The character development is well done and I really liked the main characters. Vivi and Jonah are just adorable together, and I love little Leah! The POV switches each chapter between Vivi and Jonah, and I like how the chapters complement each other. Also, I can really appreciate the whole bipolar angle. It’s a very important topic in the first place and Emery Lord did a great job of both incorporating it into the story and showing what it’s like having to live with the disease. The many artsy references are great as well! If you like a good contemporary romance novel with a ‘serious’ twist, I can definitely recommend When We Collided.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Jonah has been struggling to deal with his father’s dead himself, but his mother is so down she cannot even get out of bed… It is up to him and his older siblings to take care of the younger ones, as well of the family restaurant. It’s easy to say life hasn’t been easy during the last few months. Things change when he meets Vivi when he takes his little sister Leah to a pottery workshop. Jonah would never have thought a girl like Vivi would pay attention to him, let alone be interested in him… But Leah is less insecure and invites her new friend over for dinner. Jonah and Vivi never expected their summer to be like this, and it is definitely turning out to be a summer that will change their future forever…

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

Although it’s not my favorite genre, I can still really appreciate a contemporary romance story as long as it’s well written and not too cheesy. When We Collided is one of them. I fell in love with both the writing style and the main characters (especially Jonah, Vivi and Leah). I did feel Vivi was almost too ‘bubbly’ and cheerful at points, but that was until I reached the part that explained her character. I liked the ending as well: it was kind of refreshing! I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of the genre.