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Book review: Solitaire

Heya! After the ARC reviews, it’s time for one of my favorite series of 2018! My lovely boyfriend gifted me Solitaire and Radio Silence since I was talking about it in the bookstore, because I couldn’t find it in the store. I started Solitaire almost right away and I loved it a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Trigger warning: self harm (in the book, not in the review)

Title: Solitaire (Solitaire #1)

Author: Alice Oseman

Goodreads / Book Depository

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Summary:ย Tori Spring is just a teenager, who goes to school, has friends, goes home, and lives her life. Until Solitaire. Solitaire is a program she doesn’t care about, and she doesn’t want to either. Except they’re continuously trying to grab her attention by doing all kinds of things, some worse than others, some better planned than others. She also doesn’t care about Michael Holden, who suddenly comes into her life out of nowhere. But, as she is trying not to care, everyone around her is doing their best to make sure she does

I must say that I read the reviews on Goodreads and so many of them were negative, and I was honestly shocked. I went into this book knowing nothing, and I liked it so much. I wondered what all the reviews had to say and why they all rated Solitaire so low, and I found out it’s the exact thing that those people didn’t like, as what I adored so much.

Tori is a teenager much like I was. The book starts like any normal day, nothing special is happening, just Tori who lives her life. It was the first few sentences that made me already love it. I like books that start with something special, or with something mysterious that gets explained throughout the book, but I also really liked this book. I’ll write out the first few sentences to explain:

I am aware as I step into the common room that the majority of people here are almost dead, including me. I have been reliably informed that post-Christmas blues are entirely normal and that we should expect to feel somewhat numb after the ‘happiest’ time of the year, but I don’t feel so different now to how I felt on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Day, or on any other day since the Christmas holidays started. I’m back now and it’s another year. Nothing is going to happen.

So yeah, nothing really happens in the beginning, there’s no big plot twist, and it’s refreshing actually.

Tori doesn’t care about most things, which made the book very real for me. It is not specifically mentioned that she is depressed, but to me, it felt like it. The way her life is described is exactly how I felt during the time I was depressed, and I was glad it wasn’t a “oh-I’m-so-depressed-poetic”-book. Because for some people, things like thatย can be very accurate, but to me it was nothing like poetry and beautiful skies but more like emptiness and nothingness and carelessness. Which is exactly this book. It was a bit hard to read it sometimes, because I remembered those times so well.

She does have friends, just.. not ones she cares about a lot. She tries to, but it’s difficult when their lives are so different and when they seem to care about so many things that Tori doesn’t care about. Becky is her seemingly best friend since childhood, but they don’t talk too much. Lucas is another friend from childhood, but he went to the boys-school, so he and Tori haven’t spoken for the past years. He desperately wants the friendship between him and Tori back, but Tori isn’t sure if that’s what she wants.

Charlie, her brother, is one of the other characters I really liked. He and his boyfriend Nick are very cute together, and they both are there for Tori when she needs them. They listen to her ramble, and either give her advice or just let her ramble on. They’re not judgmental at all, which is nice. The fact that he’s openly gay is something I haven’t come across many times before. Most books either have homophobic parents, or there’s trouble at school, but in this book, everything is totally normal, as it should be.

And then there’s Michael Holden, a character that seems weird at first… and stays like that. He meets Tori at the very beginning and he, too, wants a friendship with Tori. However, unlike with Lucas, Tori is absolutely sure she doesn’t want Michael as a friend. She doesn’t care about Michael, not when he tries to be nice, not when he tries to help her, and certainly not when they hang out over the weekend.

“There’s a time and a place for being normal. For most people, normal is their default setting. But for some, like you and me, normal is something we have to bring out, like putting on a suit for a posh dinner.”

In the meantime, Solitaire keeps doing tricks, like playing a song over the school speakers, and no one can turn it off. Or interrupting a music event. The entire school seems to care about Solitaire, who they are, and what they want, but Tori is sure she doesn’t want anything to do with it.

This book is not a love story, it’s a book about friends, friends that could have been and friends that are not any more. It’s about life, and about a girl that’s as sarcastic as they come and she means it. I loved it so much because it’s all very real to me, as I mentioned earlier. Tori says how she feels, and I loved that about her. I’ll definitely read Radio Silence and I hope to buy I Was Born For This as soon as my book-buying-ban is over ๐Ÿ˜‰

ALSO there is a webcomic, Heartstopper, about Nick and Charlie and it’s definitely the cutest ever and it’s here on Tumblr and you should read it! I’m currently waiting till Heartstopper comes out on paper, and it’ll be in three weeks!! yay ๐Ÿ˜€

Did you read this book? Did you like it as much as I did?

Check out all my reviews here!

-Luci


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Book review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

And here she is again, way too late, with lot of excuses that I am not even gonna name any more xD

ANYWHOO I did finish a few books this (oh wait, it’s already May, in that case: past) month.. Making Money (yay Discworld!), American Gods, Shadow and Bone, and of course The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. It was recommended after I’d read American Gods, and since it’s a 40 minute bike ride from my boyfriend’s home to work (and back), I decided on the audiobook version.

Title: The Ocean At The End of The Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman

Goodreads Link / Book Depository

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Summary:ย When a middle-aged man returns to his old home after attending a funeral, he comes by the farm of his old friend, Lettie Hempstock. She lived there with her mother and grandmother, and when the man sits down by the pond, he starts to remember things. The man, who committed suicide in a stolen car, 40 years ago. The new babysitter for him and his sister, who turned out to be even worse than he thought. All the strange things that happened to him when he was just a small boy, and he remembers it all.

I listened to this book as an audiobook, which is really recommended, since it’s read by Neil Gaiman himself. He knows the story best, he knows how to tell it, and it’s absolutely fantastic.

At first, I thought this would be a children’s book, since it’s about a small boy, and a friend at a farm. But soon enough, I discovered that it was a book for adults, too. The way Gaiman talks about the childhood of the boy, the things that happen to him, all through his eyes, but still kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself wondering what would happen, who Lettie Hempstock actually was, and why she called the little pond an ocean.

Gaiman is an excellent writer, the story is beautiful, but also creepy. It’s mesmerizing, and I couldn’t stop reading. It’s a fantasy book, which I’m already a huge fan of, but the way it’s told is so different from anything else I’ve read, I can’t put my finger on it exactly.

If you’re looking for a good book to discover Neil Gaiman with, I’d definitely recommend this one. I read American Gods too (which I’ll review later… hopefully ^^; ), but that book is 600 pages. For me, that was the introduction but if you’d rather start with a short story, this one is perfect.

I definitely plan on reading more of his books, and I’m curious for the book he wrote together with Terry Pratchett: Good Omens. I’ll of course try to update you all on it ๐Ÿ™‚

-Luci


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Book review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles 2)

Hello there! I’ve had a quite busy week, and my internet is acting all crappy so a lot of posts will probably be posted somewhere around this weekend (I hope), when everything’s good again. My drafts won’t save sometimes, images won’t upload, and my posts also fail to publish, so I’m wondering how this will go. However, I read Scarlet (a week ago already), and I absolutely loved it!

Read my review of Cinder here

Title:ย Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Goodreads link: Scarlet

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Summary: Scarlet Benoit’s grand-mรจre has gone missing, and Scarlet is sure she can get her back.She teams up with Wolf, a street fighter who might have more information. However nice he seems, sometimes he acts all weird but Scarlet would do anything to get her grand-mรจre back. Meanwhile, at the other side of the world, Cinder is unraveling another mystery concerning the Lunar queen Levana and the lost princess. When Cinder and Scarlet cross paths, a lot becomes clear. Now, the only thing they have to do is so stay ahead of Queen Levana, who’s attacking all over the kingdom to force Prince Kai to marry her.

Oh man, this book was even better than the first one. Throughout the book I hoped Cinder and Scarlet would meet soon, but when they finally did, the setting made it the most perfect moment of all.

Scarlet could very well be me, and even though she doesn’t make the smartest decisions sometimes, she’s quite the girl. She knows when to push buttons and I loved what she did to get her grand-mรจre.

Wolf was a weird character in the beginning, I didn’t really know what to think of him and he didn’t exactly seem nice either. However, he helped Scarlet and that seemed enough. Keyword:ย seemed. After a while, I began to understand what the whole thing was with Wolf and his moments, and it bothered me a little bit that Scarlet didn’t seem to get it at all… However, they’re cute together!

Cinder got all awesome with her new hand, and the way she handled things. I actually laughed out loud sometimes, when she reacted to something Thorne said when it was completely obvious he didn’t mean it or something.

Thorne is a whole other kind of character, and I loved him right from the beginning. He knew how to deal with Cinder, and he’s funny and I kind of want Cinder and Thorne together..

Another thing is Queen Levana, after reading this book I got really curious for her story, what happened exactly that made her this way?

Overall, this book was amazing and even if you didn’t like Cinder, I’d recommend this one. Unlike a lot of other series, this book is totally different from the first one, mainly because the main characters are completely different!

Have you read this book or series? Tell me, do the other books also get better and better?ย 

-Luci


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T5W: Favorite underrated books

The Top 5 Wednesday is created by gingerreadslainey and hosted by Sam @Thoughts On Tomes. You can find the Goodreads group here.

–Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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It’s not Young Adult, it isn’t New Adult either, it’s the hard truth and I love it. This book is absolutely one of my favorite readsย ever. It’s really sad at times, but the ending made it all well. It’s about the difference between “black” and “white” people in the 60’s, and everything is as it is, until one white woman decides that it isn’t normal. I really recommend you to read it! This is also one of the few books where I loved the movie almost as much as the book (which is a really good thing).

2.ย The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan

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I have no idea if they really are as underrated as I think, but I never hear anyone about them. And they’re awesome, that’s for sure. They remind me a little bit of the Ranger’s Apprentice books, now that I think about it.

3.ย Millennium by Stieg Larsson

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An original Swedish series, but translated (thank God) to English. Amazing series full of action and plottwists. And another series where the movies were as good as the books! If you’re going to watch them, please do pick the Swedish movies and not the American ones… I reviewed this series here if you want to know more about them!

4.ย Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Another one where I’m not entirely sure if it really is that underrated, but nonetheless awesome! It’s a little bit standard YA at times,ย and it’s a lot like the Hunger Games but at the same time, it’s not. It’s a really interesting read if you liked the Hunger Games.

5.ย The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

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Yeah, I know, I also talked about them in last week’s Book Traveling Thursday, but I just love it so much! This series is not necessarily Young Adult (there are 4 books categorized as ย “Young Adult”), but there is a lot of humor in it! And you know what the good thing is? There’s about 7 “series” in this series, and you can read them in a completely random order and still understand them. Besides, these are perfect light reads if you simply like fantasy.

6.ย Maaike en Domenico/Maya und Domenico by Susanne Wittpennig

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Okay, this is actually not fair because this sereis is orignally German and only translated to Dutch. But God, it’s so beautiful, which is why I made it no.6. If you’re Dutch, German, or can read those languages,ย please read this series. It’s so worth it!

I really hope these books were really underrated because otherwise it’d kind of ruin the idea of this post. However, have you read any of these? Have I said already that I recommend you really do so? ๐Ÿ˜›ย Okay, enough joking. Recommend me some underrated books though, I love recommendations, and especially underrated books because that makes the recommendation always more personal ๐Ÿ™‚

-Luci


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Book review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles 1)

I read this book in almost one sitting, because I had to work in between reading ๐Ÿ˜›

Title: Cinder

Author:ย Marissa Meyer

Goodreads link: Cinder

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Summary:ย Cinder is a cyborg, gifted with mechanic skills. She became a cyborg around the age of 11, and she doesn’t remember anything about her life before that.The only thing she knows is that she came from somewhere in Europe and soon after her stepfather adopted her, he died. She now lives with her stepmother, Adri, and stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. She works, but the income goes directly to Adri, and other than that, she is mostly used for fixing things. Peony is the only one who actually likes and talks to Cinder. Luckily, Cinder has her android Iko, who gets her through everything. When one day she comes in contact with Prince Kai, Cinder knows there is a spark between them, but denies it. She is just a cyborg and he is the Prince, about to be emperor. Besides, Prince Kai’s father is currently dying of letumosis, an illness with no cure. When Peony gets infected too, Adri blames Cinder and sends her to the lab of the palace to have her checked. There, they discover a secret about her. A secret that could get her killed.

I’ve read this book before (as I have with many) and I didn’t remember anything of it (as I have with many ๐Ÿ˜› ) so I decided it was time for a reread. And man, what a reread it was. This book was really awesome, even though I remembered the huge plot twist at the end of the book.

Cinder is amazing, and I have lots of respect for her. The way she dealt with things was almost exactly how I’d have reacted in some situations. When Peony got sick, I actually felt my heart break because I knew how this would end.

Prince Kai handled things really well, even after the death of his father. I didn’t agree with his decisions at the end of the book (of course), but other than that, I’m glad he actually kissed her. I actually almost felt sorry for him when Cinder kept denying his invitations for the royal ball, it was sad haha.

Iko is something I’d want to have for myself as well. She seems really sweet and funny, and it would be extremely awesome to have an android helping you with everything and just being with you.

Queen Levana is an interesting person, and as far as I know, there’s a book about her story. If not, I hope some of it is in the other books in this series!

Overall, I really liked this book and I can’t wait to read the second! The characters were really strong and the story kept getting more and more interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you read this book? What did you think?ย 

-Luci


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