Review: Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Perfect (Flawed #2)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: 6th April 2017 (HarperCollins Children’s)
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Format: Hardback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…? [Goodreads]

Frustration. That’s all I felt until the end of this book because being perfect isn’t a thing!

Celestine is Flawed, making her an outsider to everyone around her who are ‘Perfect’. But no one is Perfect and she knows it. Especially when the man in charged should be marked Flawed, Judge Crevan, the man who gave her the sixth Flawed brand on her spine. But Celestine has been marked as a threat to others and is on the run.

Perfect picks up shortly after Flawed. Celestine is in hiding, but she knows her time is running out. But after a surprise raid from the Whistleblowers, Carrick finds her.

It’s a little slow during the reunion between Celestine and Carrick. Their relationship and romance is so bizarre to me. After a few intense stares through glass and the shared moment of knowing about the sixth branding, they are in love? They hardly know one another! Which is how the complications roll out but this is all after they go way too far with one another first. Part of me thinks, is that the point?

Luckily after the reunion, a bit of GCSE science and rushed romance, it all kicks in. The pressure resumes and we’re reminded that Celestine and Carrick are wanted. And unlike the first novel, they are both more vocal and active. They don’t stand the hatred against them and take charge of the situation. Celestine and Carrick both have the same intentions, though like the Divergent series, miscommunication makes the journey longer than needed. People and trust issues…

Celestine follows an un-perfect, and yes flawed, journey to get where she wants to be. But she keeps going until she get’s what she wants. She’s our UK Katniss.

 

My rating:

I liked it

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Review: Swear on this Life by Renée Carlino

Title: Swear on This Life
Author: Renée Carlino
Publication Date: August 2016 (Atria)
Pages: 306
Genre: Romance
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Book Depository|

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction? [Goodreads]

Carlino outdoes herself as she gives us two stories in one novel: the present world, which follows Emiline struggling with her current relationship, and a novel written by J. Colby. But the J. Colby novel is also Emiline’s childhood. It did get a little exhausting at times and I am guilty of skimming one part of it.

After Emiline’s housemate, Cara, raves about the novel From All the Roads Between, Emiline reads it to escape her real life dilemmas. She gets she’s sucked in straight away, not because of the fiction but because it rings the truth. Her truth. And she knows who J. Colby is, Jase, her childhood best friend and someone she hasn’t seen in over a decade. But now he feels it’s okay to write about her life?! Fury and rage! Especially when he spills the truth about her private home life, with exaggeration to make it more dramatic.

Emiline reacted like any normal person and I liked how Carlino touched on the complexity about using personal and real life situations in a novel. It challenges the idea of writing as a whole – what is real? what is made up? But also what is acceptable. To Emiline and everyone in the book it seemed acceptable. I didn’t feel that way but each to their own…

It’s funny how when we get older we think more about our childhood freedom and friendships, but there was something in Carlino’s writing that didn’t hit a cord as much. From All the Roads Between was too gimmicky and left me feeling detached from Emiline, as we weren’t reading Emiline’s real feelings but a retelling and from Jase’s view point.

Writing a novel for someone and reiterating the terrible life someone once had doesn’t sound like a romantic gesture, no matter what the ending.

My rating:

It was okay

2 cups

Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Title:Someday, Someday, Maybe
Author:Lauren Graham
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 358
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three-year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates – Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material – and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works.

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing “important” work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It’s hard to tell if she’ll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won’t call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job. [Goodreads]

After finishing all episodes of Gilmore Girls, and enjoying it, I thought I’d try reading Graham’s novel, Someday Someday Maybe.  (Funnily enough I was very close to ordering this book a few years back).

Fran is still trying to find her big break in NYC and her deadline of three years is almost over. She’s awkward, nervous and self-conscious. She has to please an agent, a director, her fellow acting class members. And she’s constantly in battle with herself internally. Fran over-analyses everything, which is realistic but very dense to read, and then her thoughts would jump everywhere and anywhere they wanted. It became overwhelming and difficult to read. I had to take frequent breaks from the novel because I had to focus so hard when reading it.

Several pages were filled with Fran’s filofax with scribbles and doodles, which were a nice touch and a good way to break down the heavy text, though easy to flick through and ignore.

The romance is breezy and easy, and predictable. Their interaction was probably the only thing that managed to get me through, with their banter similar to Lorelai and Luke’s relationship in Gilmore Girls.

Not a lot happens, yet stuff does kinda happen.

My rating:

It was okay

2 cups

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: August 2016 (Atria)
Pages: 376
Genre: Romance
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. [Goodreads]

A heartbreaking novel that delivers on everything that Hoover said she wanted it to reflect in her acknowledgements. I’m always unsure about how to books with serious topics but I’ll try my best, reviewing it as a piece of fiction.

The blurb itself sells the novel as a love triangle, which is what I found most troubling.I had no idea of the themes in this book and I wonder now if that would have had an affect on my reading experience. It makes Atlas seem like a huge part of the novel when he’s not. It’s not about Atlas, but Lily and Ryle and their relationship development.

Lily  falls, bends and breaks for Ryle. And I hated it. Everything that she did for Ryle and what she let slide because it was Ryle. I didn’t understand any of it. She wants to run from her past and never go through what her mother went through with her father, yet when she finds herself in the same situation, she does nothing.

I found myself watching Lily from a distance rather than really connecting with her. I was mostly angry with her because of what she allowed herself to go through. The worst part is that she knew and did nothing, as if she wouldn’t have the support from those around her.

The thing that made me keep going was that small bit of hope. I wanted and needed her to do the right thing.

And being a helpless reader, all I could really do was read on ’til the end.

My rating:

I liked it

Review: Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson

Title: Conspiracy Girl
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publication Date: 2015 (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 306
Genre: Thriller
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings .
There was only one survivor – a sixteen year-old Nic Preston

Now eighteen, Nic is trying hard to rebuild her life. But then one night her high-security apartment is broken into. It seems the killers are back.

Finn Carter – hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.

But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

To survive she has to stay close to him.
To keep her safe he has to keep his distance. [Goodreads]

Nic is trying to lay low and hide from the past.  But after her involvement in the killing, it’s become tricky to know who to trust, because people seem to be leeching on Nic so they can sell stories of her to the press.

But then the killers are back. Or killers who work just like the ones in the past and Nic has to run. She’s teamed up wth Finn, a genius hacker, and together they dig deep into the network and servers to figure out who the real murders are. It’s the first time that Nic lets go and trusts someone else who isn’t herself. But the closer they get, the more risky everything is and people they hold closest to could also get hurt.

I really loved this book! It was super quick to get through but packed with fast paced action and I was constantly flicking through the pages wanting to know what happens next.

Nic’s exhausted with the fact that she can never feel safe. When Nic and Finn get reacquainted it’s full of lots of awkward tension. He was the one who let Nic’s mothers killers run loose after all. They both know they need to be cautious around one another. Yet they both have flaws and a long unfortunate history, which they are trying to improve from the present, and they find comfort in one another. An escape from the manic chaos that’s happening around them.

Finn was by far my favourite character out of the two (the story being a duel narration). He is perceived to be the ‘baddie’ at the beginning, but when it comes to crime, he always seeks one thing: justice. Alderson planted lines about Finn early on, that almost made us see the worst in him! You’re not only guessing who the killers are but also who Finn is. Seriously fell hard for him and he’s definitely someone I’d like to have by my side if killers are chasing me down.

The climax of the book, wasn’t as climatic as I thought it’d be. The ‘reveal’ threw off the speed and excitement that build the whole book up and suddenly it was like I had to read through a GCSE science text book. The overwhelming pressure that kept Nic and Finn moving was gone and everything came to a stop. It didn’t work well for me. I also predicted who was behind everything…

I was really underwhelmed after reading the Hunting Lila duo, but Conspiracy Girl stole my heart away, crushed it a bit and then fixed it back up together… I thoroughly recommend!

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup