Book Review | Miss You by Kate Eberlen


missyouAuthour:

Kate Eberlen
Format:
ARC, 433 pages
Publication date:
April 4th 2017
Publisher:
Harper
Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
David Nicholls’ One Day, has a special place in my heart as it was the book that kept me company when I was living alone in Israel. So when I heard that Miss You was being compared to One Day I knew I needed to get my hands on a copy. Fortunately I was able to obtain an ARC allowing me to read it before the release date.

Miss You follows Gus and Tess, who meet briefly as teenagers in Italy during the summer that would become the “start of the rest of their lives”. Miss You started off quite promising and full of hope, however the stories quickly take an incredibly depressing turn which rarely lets up. This is unfortunate as I grew to adore Tess, and it was incredibly heartbreaking to see how miserable she became. Despite giving up everything, her sacrifices never were appreciated instead it was borderline pathetic how she was always waiting for something/someone to “push” her towards seeking better things for herself. I did like the friendship between her and Doll although it was rather unfortunate as to how they fell out with each other. And while Doll does eventually redeem herself, the ordeal further shows how much of a pushover Tess could be as she was way too giving and nice to everyone.

The other half of the equation was Gus. I found it extremely difficult to like him or feel more than an ounce of sympathy towards him. He truly was a dreamer and not in a flattering way as he comes off as a rather awful person at times. And while there were definite similarities between him and Tess, I don’t think this necessarily is a sign that the two were meant to be or are “soul mates”. After all, even though two people are both miserable and have made some foolish decisions in life, it doesn’t mean that they would be perfect together. Perhaps if they had actually interacted more throughout the years, it would’ve been easier to root for him and Tess as a couple, instead the ending feels sudden and random almost as if it came from out of nowhere.

Despite being compared to One Day, Miss You shares more similarities with David Nicholls’ Us, a book which I did not enjoy all that much. Miss You’s premise was definitely promising, however despite its few moments of charm the novel came off as too long and heavy which did not work for the execution of the romance that was to come in the book.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk

breakAuthour:
Lindsey Kelk
Format:
ARC, 404 pages
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Harper
Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Okay, show of hands, how many of you thought of the TV show Friends when you hear “we were on a break”? That’s basically what came to mind when I saw the title of the latest Lindsey Kelk novel.

I absolutely adored Always the Bridesmaid thus I was curious to pick up We Were on a Break. Furthermore, I was in desperate need of a fluffy light read and I was fortunate to have a review copy of this book arrive on my doorstep at a perfect time.

Unfortunately, after Always the Bridesmaid, We Were on a Break was a bit of a letdown. The novel follows Adam and Liv a couple on vacation and the aftermath of what was supposed to be the “perfect” proposal but has now become a “break” of sorts from each other. Switching back from the point of views of the two characters readers get to experience the events from both sides of this couple.

Perhaps that was the reason this book didn’t click with me, I couldn’t connect to either Liv or Adam. Which is unfortunate as the novel has told from a dual perspective of the two of them. It may have just been me, but I found the pair of them to be remarkably selfish and self-absorbed which made them not incredibly likeable. In addition, in my review copy the perspectives often switch without warning in a single chapter which often made it a bit confusing as to who’s point of view, it was.

On the other hand, I did appreciate the doubts that Liv and Adam had about each other and life in general as it felt authentic to their characters and situations. I also did like some of the side characters that appeared, including David who was the better friend to Liv than either of her girlfriends> In addition the bromance between Adam and his best friend, Tom was also rather sweet.

So while, We Were on a Break was a light novel for the majority of the book, it was also one riddled with so much misunderstanding and conflict which were basically a result of some frustrating miscommunication. In the end, I can’t help but feel unsatisfied with the conclusion as it felt too sudden and given all that unfolded throughout the course of the novel it left me doubtful as to whether what happened in the end was truly what was best for both Liv and Adam.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Us by David Nicholls

UsAuthour:
David Nicholls
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 392 pages
Publication date:
October 28th 2014
Publisher:
Harper
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

Sometimes love isn’t enough. This is what the protagonist and narrator of Us comes to learn when his wife suddenly wakes him to tell him she (thinks) she wants to leave him. And subsequently this is the catalyst for the journey that Douglas undergoes in this book, as he, his wife, Connie and their son, Albie embark on one last family vacation together before Albie leaves for college.

To be honest Us was not at all the book that I thought it would be. I went in expecting a fluffier and lighter story of a man trying to win back his wife in a romantic comedy sort of style and instead what I got was an intelligent, thought provoking novel on the subject of relationships and family. However, I am definitely not complaining since this book made me truly ponder the story I was reading and I loved that. Douglas Petersen, in my opinion is not an easy person to love. In fact in the beginning I was a bit frustrated with reference to his insufferable attitude towards things and how utterly clueless he was as his recalls his past and the history of his relationship with Connie. Nevertheless as the book progressed, he slowly started to grow on me as I noticed that he was just awkward and he truly cared about his family and as such was always trying to do what he thought was best for them. After all who here doesn’t have regrets similar to his regarding certain things we’ve said that sounded better inside our heads except when it came out it sounded extremely wrong?

Without spoiling too much, what I loved was the second half of the book since it is all about making amends and communicating and connecting with your loved ones. I love the confrontation between Douglas and Albie, and I enjoyed seeing how the entire experience brought them closer as Douglas learned to not be so rigid. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy the relationship between Douglas and Connie as much. I found it unfathomable how the two being such different people where able to come together, get married and have a family together as there were numerous problems in their relationship from the beginning to the present. Still, in spite of it all it is obvious that they truly care about each other, and maybe that’s what makes this story feel so true to life. In reality, not all families and marriages are perfect matches instead they are complicated and messy. And every now and then even with a mass amount of work, things don’t exactly work out the way you expected. That’s why though I did not enjoy Us as much as David Nicholl’s previous book, One Day I still adore it. Us was a wonderful combination of heartbreaking and uplifting which makes for a warm though bittersweet read, just the thing for this autumn season.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige

Authour:dorthydies
Danielle Paige
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 452 pages
Publication date:
April 1st 2014
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Who here has grown up reading stories of an Oz that’s wonderful, beautiful and full of genuine happiness? Ok I haven’t but I did see the movie and I loved the retelling of the witches’ story in the musical Wicked. Anyways the Oz in the children books and the Judy Garland movie is not the Oz that is found in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die. Here Oz has become a dark and twisted due to the return of Dorothy who over the years has become both power and magic hungry.

Meet our protagonist, Amy Gumm. Amy is an ordinary, modern day, pink haired teenager from Kansas whose mission is as the title suggests; to kill Dorothy. Personally I found prefer Amy’s character over Dorothy both the original Dorothy as well as this retelling’s version. And while I was a bit frustrated with how she kept on disregarding the warnings of others to do what she felt was right, I slowly came to accept that this was part of who she was. And in the end it does pay off for her. Another thing that increasingly annoyed me was how ill prepared Amy was in her mission, it felt like she was practically thrown into her mission by those who supposedly “trained” her when she clearly wasn’t ready for such a big task. In addition I was shocked at how vague her instructions were and this in the end had its consequences.

When it comes to the world building, Danielle Paige has done a fantastic job remaking the land of Oz as her own. It was interesting to see how each of the once familiar Wizard of Oz characters were now adapted in this retelling. As a warning though there are some gory parts in this book though given the title it should come as no surprise to the readers. However these are few and they are usually in between the action scenes which are fast paced, exciting and magical of course as it is set in Oz. And while I could have done without the element of romance, (maybe it’s just me but I enjoyed her interactions with the witches more) it thankfully was only a minor part in the entire book so it did not distract too much from main plot and Amy’s mission.

Dorothy Must Die is a thrilling, creative and dark take on a classic children’s novel series that is filled with political intrigue, espionage, and magic. It is also a tale of coming to terms with who you are and accepting yourself. I can’t wait to read more in this series, and strongly suggest that all YA fans pick this book up.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Mondays |The Execution by Dick Wolf

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour:execute
Dick Wolf
Series:
Jeremy Fisk #2
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 335 pages
Publication date:
January 7th 2014
Publisher:
William Morrow
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk—introduced in Law & Order creator Dick Wolf’s New York Times bestselling debut The Intercept—must stop an assassin in the pay of a shadowy cartel in The Execution, a tense thriller that superbly blends suspense, politics, intrigue and high-flying action in the tradition of Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, and Robert Crais.

Ten days after the Mexican presidential election, twenty-three bodies are discovered beheaded on the United States border, each marked with a carving of a Hummingbird. Detective Cecilia Garza of the Mexican intelligence agency recognizes it: it is the signature of an assassin called Chuparosa. Garza has been pursuing the killer for years, yet knows little about him, except that he’s heading to New York—with the rest of the world.

It’s United Nations Week in Manhattan and Jeremy Fisk can’t let grief over a devastating loss keep him from safeguarding his city. Complicating matters is the startling news of a mass murder in nearby Rockaway—and the arrival of a disturbingly beautiful and assertive Mexican cop.

To have a chance at finding Chuparosa, these uneasy allies must learn to work together and fast. As they soon discover, there’s more to this threat than meets the eye—and that justice is not always blind.

Review:

What would you do if someone close to you was brutally killed? How would you react? Would you take revenge or would you seek justice in some other way? This is something that remains an underlying theme in Dick Wolf’s The Execution.

The Execution follows Detective Jeremy Fisk shortly after the events of The Intercept as he deals with the trauma that is the deaths of his comrades including his partner and girlfriend by the hands of a terrorist. This book also introduces readers to the character of Commandante Celicia Garza, a member of policia federal and part of the security team of the Mexican president in the book. Celicia as reader will learn has her own tragic back story which turns out to have some surprising or perhaps not so surprising ties to the case in the book.

The writing throughout The Execution is razor sharp which helps to move the story along even when the little details start to feel like they are overwhelming you. Additionally the pacing is very slow and there are a lot of details at the start which can be kind of boring depending on how interested you are in the office politics of the different law enforcement agencies in USA. However the story does pick up after a while to become a very interesting and fast paced plot. More specifically for me the story picks up once we are introduced to Commandante Garza and once she and Detective Fisk meet.

The Execution is book two of what I believe will be an ongoing series, still the ending of this book was perfect as it tied things together while leaving just enough room for more books. Even if you’re not a fan of the show Law and Order but you like fast paced thrillers, I’d recommend you pick up both The Execution and The Intercept (the first book in the series) by Dick Wolf.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Black Box by Michael Connelly

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Authour:happy marriage
Ann Patchett
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 306 pages
Publication date:
November 5th 2013
Publisher:
Harper
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband—creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.

As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.

Review:

“Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration?” (p. 28)

While I do pride myself on reading fiction and non-fiction, it’s not very often that I review or request non-fiction books for review unless I am very interested in the book. What I love about Ann Patchett’s collection of essays, titled This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is that it reads like any other piece of literature making it also appeal to those who are normally fiction readers. For some people, the thought of reading essays for pleasure may seem intimidating but I do not think it is the case with this collection. I found Patchett’s writing to be very accessible, her writing really spoke to me and it was kind of interesting to get glimpses of her life from the various essays.

My favourite essays in this collection would have to be the ones where she talks about her personal relationships such as those about her divorce, marriage, in addition to the ones about her relationships with her father, grandmother, dog and some of her best friends. In particular I especially enjoyed reading, “This Dog’s Life” even though I’m not a dog person. I liked it mostly because I found it hilarious that other people attributed her relationship to her dog with a desire to have a baby which was not the case. I also really enjoyed “The Wall”, in which Patchett talks about trying out for the LAPD. It was an extremely fascinating read as readers are given a sort of behind the scenes look at what the police exams entails. I also loved that it showed us more of her relationship with her father who used to work in the LAPD before he retired.

This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage is a wonderful non-fiction read about Patchett’s life, and for those who are currently struggling to write it also provides a lot of good insights and advice into the process of writing without romanticizing the profession of being a writer too much.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.