Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 256
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: February 4, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

An international bestseller, The Taste of Apple Seeds is a story of love and loss that will captivate your heart

When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there.

Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more.

The Taste of Apple Seeds is a bittersweet story of heartbreak and hope passed down through the generations.

My Review:

To be honest, I picked up this book because I was taken by the cover so much, it just drew my eyes that I didn't really think much about the synopsis, then I took a quick glance at what it was about and thought it would be kind of interesting. I always love a good story about family secrets and how when we go back, we remember things that may have been hidden from us long before.

After Iris' grandmother passes away, she is surprised when she inherits the house... she is not too sure if she wants to keep it now that she has her own life somewhere else. Iris is convinced that she can decide what to do with the house if she lives in it for a week and see what she gets out of it. The house holds so much more than Iris ever could have expected, family secrets and memories of herself and cousins as children, but it also brings back people from the past that will help her put her memories in order and maybe even help her realize her future.

There were great parts to this story, especially the idea of going back to a childhood home to remember the past. Katharina Hagena really brings out the idea of family in this story and how an enchanting place can really bring back those feelings of happy times. The one thing about this book was that the back and forth from past memories and the present got a little confusing at times, and it also seemed that there were many different stories going on at once.

I can say that this was a great story about family and memories of the past that answer questions that have been laying dormant for years. But I felt like the book was short and that certain storylines could have gotten more depth to really bring out the story that much more. A lot of this book will touch your heart as you read about Iris's childhood and her relationship with family members, showing why she would be the one to come back to this place, and you can see that Hagena does have a beautiful way of telling a story, if only more detail could be added, this story would be one that is beyond words.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Publisher: Hogarth
Pages: 205
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eimear McBride's debut tells, with astonishing insight and in brutal detail, the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. Not so much a stream of consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, to read A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator's head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation.

Touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is moving, funny – and alarming. It is a book you will never forget.

My Review:

This was a beautiful book in so many ways, the different topics that are touched on really make it stand out in a reader's mind. It is truly a realistic portrayal of life in the way that instead of being one perfect stream, it is a story that goes all over the place and is written in a way that a person thinks about things, just jumping from one topic to another.

I was definitely invested in this book, really wanting to learn more about this girl and her relationship with her brother. Now as much as I am saying all this good stuff about this book, I do also want to say that I had a lot of problems getting through the story. Eimear McBride tackled some very hard-hitting issues with this book, but it is very easy to get lost with what exactly is happening because of the writing style. This is a book that really needs a reader's attention, and there will be points where you will want to go back and re-read things because you aren't sure that you understood what exactly happened.

Eimear McBride writes this story as if the reader is truly in the mind of this character, it is how a person would think. There are so many thoughts flying around that it is hard to really keep track of the story, for me this made it hard to follow and stick with, I wanted to give up many times because I was so lost (it also didn't help that I continually put the book down). I believe that this book could easily be a top book for many readers because of the way Eimear brings out such difficult topics, and how she shows a personal struggle against real problems... But at the same time readers need to invest themselves in this book and not leave it for too long of a time otherwise they will be completely lost and you won't be able to find your way back.

At the moment I have to sadly say that this book was not one that I enjoyed, but I do want to shelve it and come back to it in the future when I am more invested in the writing style that McBride has. I am just the type of person who needs everything to line up in an easy way, I enjoy more stories to be a bit more linear rather than a jumble of thoughts, and I am truly disappointed that this book wasn't for me because it is a touching story. And I do recommend it to those that can handle the writing style, just be prepared for a jumble of thoughts!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Publisher: Blazer & Bray
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

My Review:

OH MY GOD! What in the world did I just do to myself?!?!?!?! This book kind of killed me, I absolutely loved this story and I was so enthralled, but thinking about it, I really don't understand why I loved it so much. This is such a horrible plot and I mean who actually does something like this? But the writing truly pulled me in and I was hooked from the beginning. I wanted to throw the book against a wall (but it was my e-reader so that would have ended badly for me) and yet I felt like it was a train wreck happening and I just couldn't turn away.

Honestly, I flew through this book, I could not stop reading. As the days of the summer continued on, I wanted to know what else Julia would end up getting into. All Julia wants to do is get through her summer with no problems and then be off to university in the fall, but readers quickly see that you can't outrun or even hide from your past, it will always come back to find you.

Julia has ruined her friendships with some of the greatest people and she ran away when everything exploded on her. Now that she is back for the summer after a year away, she has to deal with the fallout from everything, Julia has to work at her friendships again. The problem I had with this book is that Julia gets herself into more trouble when she is back, first she attempts to hide away and then when she actually takes herself out into society, she starts having a good time, until things go wrong.

The one thing I will say is that Katie Cotugno's writing style just draws you in and it's hard to not keep reading because you want things to turn out for the best. This book does truly show that not everyone is perfect and as a teenager Julia is still learning about herself and where she fits in the world. As much as I loved this book though, the ending truly upset me, I understand it shows that who you are in high school does not determine the rest of your life, but so much was still left unsaid.

This book had its ups and downs but I did absolutely love everything, Katie brought me a beautiful story. And I loved how it was written, each chapter is another day of the summer, some are shorter and some are longer, and it's so easy to keep going, just a couple more chapters, until before you realize the book is done and you are longing for more.
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