Reviews

Book Review – Odd & True by Cat Winters (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis:

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Review:

This book was definitely not what I expected it to be, and in this case, that’s a good thing. It took me a few chapters to get into, but after that I was engrossed in the story. The chapters take turns in narrating from Od’s point of view of the past, to Tru’s point of view of the present. I liked this, and thought it was very clever of Cat Winter’s to do. The chapter would end on a mini cliff-hanger, and if you wanted to know what happened next you’d need to read at least two more chapters to find out! I understand that some might find this annoying, but I really liked having an excuse to read even more!

I also love the relationship between Od and Tru. You can see how much they love and care about each other, even though they’ve spent time apart. The way Cat Winters portrays the bond of sisterhood is brilliant, and I couldn’t help but think of my sister and I when I was reading.

The two main characters are written brilliantly, too. I really connected with them, and I loved how Tru didn’t let her disability stop her from doing what she wanted, and how she ignored what others thought of her because of her disability. A lot of the time in YA books, you’ll find that the main characters are next to perfect, or their imperfections are miraculously cured by the end of the book, but it wasn’t the case here, which I thought was amazing. Because what teenager is perfect?

There are also a lot of hard-hitting themes in this book that I really was not expecting, I won’t mention any as this is a spoiler-free review, but I’m glad that Winter’s brought in things that happen in real life and didn’t try and sugarcoat anything.

To conclude my review, I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it. I really like the cover, and the plot line is definitely promising. 4/5 stars overall.

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Thank you to Amulet Books for sending me a copy of Odd & True to review in exchange for an honest review.

Odd & True by Cat Winters (Amulet Books, £12.99).

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena

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Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, a new thriller featuring a suspicious accident, a wife who can’t account for herself and unsettling questions that threaten to tear a couple apart.

You come home after a long day at work, excited to have dinner with your beautiful wife.
But when you walk through the door, you quickly realize that she’s not there.
In the kitchen, there is a pot on the stove, and vegetables on the counter, abandoned.
Her cellphone and her purse are still in the house, in the bedroom, exactly where she keeps them.
It looks like she’s left in a blind panic.
You fear the worst, so you call her friends to see if they know where she is.
Then you call the police.
The police tell you that your wife’s been in an accident. They found her in the worst part of town, after she lost control of the car while speeding through the streets. But why would she go to that neighbourhood? And why was she driving so fast? Was she running toward something? Or away from something?
The police think your wife was up to no good.
You refuse to believe it, at first.
Then, as the stories and facts don’t line up, and your wife can’t remember what happened that evening, you start to wonder. You’ve been married for two years and you thought you knew her better than anyone else in the world . . .
. . . but maybe you don’t.

Review:

If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know that Thrillers are one of my favourite genres, especially ones that you can’t figure out the ending to. The Stranger In The House is definitely one of these. No matter how hard I tried, or how many theories I came up with, I just couldn’t predict the ending! As frustrating as this was, it did make the revelation much better, as I was actually shocked. Shari Lapena keeps her readers hooked, I just had to keep reading so I could unravel what happened as quickly as possible.

I did find the main characters a bit irritating, however. There aren’t very many characters, but several of them made me so angry, but perhaps that was Lapena’s intention? Some of the things that the husband, Tom, does are very questionable, and left me thinking… why would you do that in this situation?! You just wouldn’t. Tom and Karen’s marriage also seems to deteriorate when you’d think they’d stick together and support each other. It’s obviously not real life, though, so I was able to let this go and it didn’t really stop me from enjoying the rest of the book.

Overall, I did really enjoy the book despite not connecting with the characters very well, and was genuinely shocked by the ending. I loved the plot and I think the way that Lapena writes is very engaging. I give it four stars out of five.

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I’d like to thank Penguin Random House UK for a copy of The Stranger In The House in exchange for an honest review.

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) Spoiler Free!

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Synopsis:

A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror…

Elena
Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.

Stefan
Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.

Damon
Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.

The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

Review:

The only thing that made me want to read this series was my love for the TV show adaption of it, the synopsis didn’t intrigue me at all, and the only reason the cover did is because the edition I have has the actors from the show on it, which is something I usually hate.

I found the main character, Elena Gilbert, very annoying and unlikable, she was selfish and didn’t seem to care about any of her friends after Stefan Salvatore came to town. I also didn’t like how arrogant she was, and how she acted when she realised the guy she likes might not like her back. I didn’t really find any of the other characters any better either, Caroline, my absolute favourite character in the show, was weak and needed to be saved, and Stefan just annoyed me with how self-pitying he was.

I disliked the plot, too. I won’t go into it as this is a spoiler-free review, but the plot was boring and there was just so many clichés. I did read all four books, but that’s only because I wanted to give it the chance to get better, and in my opinion, it didn’t. I also felt bad for not reading, as my mum brought them for me for a Christmas present and wanted to know what I thought of them, so me finishing the series was very forced.

Now, I’m not saying that just because I didn’t like it nobody else will, that’s not the case at all. Maybe the reason I didn’t like it is because I was comparing it to the show the whole time? This is the only time I have said this about a book, but I do prefer the show so much more. The show is based loosely off of the books, the only similarities I really see are the supernatural aspects, the love triangle, some of the characters and a tiny bit of the plot.

I do want to put emphasis on the fact that this is my opinion, and others may vary. This series just wasn’t for me, unfortunately.

Overall, I give it 1 star.

untitled.png-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – The Second Sister (spoiler free!)

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Synopsis:

It is ten years since Ella’s sister Miranda disappeared without trace, leaving her young baby behind. Chilling new evidence links Miranda to the horrifying Jason Thorne, now in prison for murdering several women. Is it possible that Miranda knew him?

At thirty, Miranda’s age when she vanished, Ella looks uncannily like the sister she idolized. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister’s child and her work as a self-defence expert helping victims.

Haunted by the possibility that Thorne took Miranda, and driven by her nephew’s longing to know about his mother, Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth – no matter how dangerous…

Review:

I love Thrillers, it’s one of my favourite genres. However, it is rather rare that I find one that I can’t put down. In the last year, the only ones like this are Local Girl Missing and The Second Sister.

This psychological Thriller had me hooked from the first few chapters. I was constantly questioning what happened to Miranda, and who might’ve been involved in her disappearance. There are twists that had me holding my breath in anticipation and that genuinely scared me a little, the night after I finished the book I stayed awake for an extra hour or so just thinking about the ending!

I think that Claire Kendal represents the love between two sisters extremely well, and shows how hope can keep you going. I loved the relationship between Ella and her nephew, Luke, and really appreciated how Ella managed to keep the memory of her sister alive for him. She went through everything she does in the plot to get closure for not only herself, but for Luke and her parents, too.

I found Ella very likeable, and there was not really anything that annoyed me about her, which is rare in any book! I loved how driven she was to discover the truth about her sister, despite the risks, and the loyalty she had toward her family. She was an extremely brave and strong character who I couldn’t help but admire, and the way Claire Kendal wrote her was brilliant.

There are some things that I found a bit annoying about the book, but I was able to over look them because I was so intrigued by the plot. I dislike it in a book when nearly all the male characters want the main female, and there was a character or two that knew something about Miranda, and I think that this was made a bit too obvious, it was screaming ‘suspicious person right here!’ It was also quite a slow burn, however, this didn’t stop me from becoming hooked, so it wasn’t really a problem.

Overall, I really did enjoy it, and I recommend it to any Thriller lover that can overlook the few minor problems mentioned above!

Four stars!

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– Books&Belle xx

 

Reviews

Book Review – Local Girl Missing (Spoiler Free!)

 

Synopsis:

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.

 

Review:

“I’ve been running from my past. Now the past has caught up with me.”

I read this book last October, maybe November, but it remains one of my favourite books. I’ve spoken about it on my personal Twitter and my Bookstagram before, so I couldn’t not review it on my new Book Blog! It’s a Mystery and Thriller, two of the genres that I enjoy the most. I brought it in Tesco at around 3pm on a Friday, started reading it straight away, and had finished it by midnight. I could not bring myself to put it down! I’d tell myself, “just one more chapter!” and then something would happen at the end of that chapter, and I’d just have to read on, so I ended up reading it in one sitting.
I have a love-hate relationship with those kinds of books. On one hand, the book is obviously extremely engaging and interesting which is always great, but on the other hand, I get nothing done because I don’t want to put it down! When I think of books like this, Local Girl Missing comes to mind straight away.
The book is written in first person, and alternates between the point of view of Francesca in present time, and Sophie leading up to when she disappeared 18 years ago. I really connected with the characters, especially Sophie who I felt so sympathetic for, and was so shocked by the outcome. The lead character, Francesca, was also a character that I felt I really bonded with, I felt her pain over losing her best friend, and despite her flaws (who doesn’t have flaws?!) I really liked her. This review is spoiler free, so I won’t tell what happens, all I’ll say is that I definitely did NOT see it coming, which is another thing I like about a book. A lot of the time, I’ll be able to predict the ending, so it’s always a nice surprise when I get it wrong!
Overall, Claire Douglas’ Local Girl Missing is a gripping Psychological Thriller that I will most likely re-read sooner or later. I love the way Douglas writes, from the descriptions of places and characters to the fascinating plot. As soon as I’d finished the book, I rushed down stairs to talk to my family about it, despite me being the only one who actually reads in my house, and gushed about how shocking and brilliant the book was. I probably annoyed them quite about with the amount that I went on about it! In my opinion, it is everything anyone would want in a Thriller. I could actually see it being made into a movie, although I’m sure the book would be better. It always is.
Claire Douglas has also written two other books, her debut novel, The Sisters, and her newest book which was published recently, Last Seen Alive. As soon as I get paid, I’m ordering both as I love Douglas’ writing!
I’d definitely recommend Local Girl Missing to anyone who loves a good Mystery/Psychological Thriller.
A very well deserved 5 stars from me!

Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – A Court Of Mist and Fury

This edit isn’t mine, credit goes to the creator! 🙂

Synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
 
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
 
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
 

 

 

Review (beware, spoilers!) :

Now, I loved A Court Of Thorns and Roses, the first book in this series written by Sarah J. Maas, but ACOMAF absolutely blew me away with how wonderful it was.
In the first book, Feyre is obviously with the High Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin. I recognised pretty early on that their relationship was definitely unhealthy due to his control issues, but I still found him tolerable. I didn’t like how he over-protective and controlling he was over Feyre, nor did I like that she was blind to it, but I could still tolerate him.
 
“No, I don’t want you to live somewhere else. I want you here, where I can look after you – where I can come home and know you’re here, painting and safe.”
SOLID PROOF OF TAMLIN BEING AN OVER-PROTECTIVE CONTROL FREAK IN ACOTAR. Yuck.
That is until Tamlin was an idiot and did several things that made me go from finding his character annoying but tolerable to completely hating everything about him. HE LOCKED FEYRE UP! Despite knowing what she went through to save him and his people Under the Mountain, he still locked her up, and went as far betray her by teaming up with the King of Hybern to get her back at the end of the book. Even though she sent the letter telling him she was happy where she was, he still selfishly went against her wishes, believing that he knew better.
Tamlin, in my opinion, just didn’t want Feyre becoming powerful. He wanted her sheltered, the perfect little bride. Something that Feyre Archerson definitely is not, which is why her and Tamlin would’ve never worked, and why her and Rhysand are perfect together. Rhys understands her, respects her and just wants her to be happy. Evidence of this is throughout the whole book. He was going to stand back and watch her, his mate, marry another male because he thought it would make her happy. He only stepped in when he felt her distress and fear. Now, what do you think Tamlin would’ve done had the roles been reversed? I just love them together, and the way that Sarah J. Maas has written Rhysand is brilliant. She’s also written Tamlin very well, despite me hating him, I can see that he is written in a way that is meant to make the reader hate him, so I think she’s great at writing her characters.
Feyre’s character growth is so nice to read. She’s gone from the girl who needed to be sheltered and protected at the beginning of ACOTAR to a strong women in ACOMAF. It’s like when she died at the end of ACOTAR, she was re-born as a new person, someone more independent and willing to fight for what she believes in. When she died, her acceptance of Tamlin’s over-protectiveness and her need to be protected and loved died too, and I love it.
“I’m thinking that I was a lonely, hopeless person, and I might have fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety. And I’m thinking maybe he knew that—maybe not actively, but maybe he wanted to be that person for someone. And maybe that worked for who I was before. Maybe it doesn’t work for who—what I am now.”
It’s because of her character development that she is much better suited to Rhysand. Like I said, he understands her. He understands that she needs to be independent and free. He understands that she is powerful, and with the right training, she could easily protect herself. AND HE ISN’T A SELFISH CONTROL FREAK, like someone we know.
How amazing are the new characters that come with Rhysand, though?! Feyre finally has a circle of people that are genuninely supportive of her and have her back. She lived pretty much all of her life with a family that left her to provide for them and didn’t really understand her, so the fact that she finds a group of people that are good to her really makes me happy.  I loved Lucien in the Spring Court, but I think that he was just so blindly loyal to Tamlin, when he shouldn’t have been. Because Tamlin sucks. Duh.
I also liked how Sarah J. Maas didn’t dive Feyre straight into another relationship with Rhysand like she did with Tamlin. The slow-burn made it much more realistic, because as much as I hate it, Feyre did love Tamlin, so she would’ve needed time to move on from him, and time to overcome what happened Under the Mountain. Which she gets.
“I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken.”
 
I preferred this book to ACOTAR because the plot is so much better. In ACOTAR, the plot almost takes backseat to Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship. We’re so clueless about absolutely everything, and I don’t like it. I do get that it’s supposed to show that Feyre is in the dark, too, but.. no. I just don’t like it. In ACOMAF we actually get to explore their world, rather than sit in Tamlin’s castle, or Under the Mountain. It just once again shows that Feyre is so much better off with Rhys.
Another quote that I love. It shows Feyre FINALLY seeing Tamlin for what he truly is, and realising that she deserves so much more than him. God, Tamlin’s an arse.
If anyone wants to have a chat about the ACOTAR series, feel free to contact me on Instragram (@books.and.belle) or Twitter (@BooksNBelle).
Books&Belle xx