Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah Carmack

seven sided spy.jpgGoodreads Synposis:

In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

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Commentary:

Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, I don’t read as much anymore, but I get highly invested in periodic pieces. So, this is a LATE review…I was asked to review this book way back in 2017…like I said…I have been busy with my job and school, I don’t get many opportunities to really take the time and blog. So, here is a short and ranty review.

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Initially, I thought this was going to be an epic spy drama set in the Cold War Era. I agreed to review this book because of the synopsis. The author really sold her pitch. This has been the weirdest book I’ve read in early 2018.

I don’t know how to explain it to you….I didn’t even know what I read. This was definitely a spy drama. It involved government experimenting, and mutations…a lesbian relationship, and hardly any action.

So, the romantic relationships were random..and not well thought out. There was a love/hate relationship between Diana and the Russian Nikola. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the women..nor did I suspect that they had a history with each other. The relationship wasn’t fleshed out. Nor was the other one between the interracial couple.

Seven Sided Spy had far less action…the stakes were high, but it took me a good WHILE to finish this book. This book was not as how I imagined it to be. There were some creative choices that hindered this book from being a 3 star for me. I have no idea who this book is aimed for, what audience? Even to this day, I am still confused about what I read, and can’t understand the rave reviews for this story. The plot is confusing, and the synopsis makes the book seem far more exciting, when that is far from the truth. This book was a choice…

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Final Rating: ⭐⭐

ARC: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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goodreads-synopsis

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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I received an ARC on NetGalley.

This review will contain spoilers!

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So the story starts off with Lane Roanoke. She has a detached personality and can be very cynical. Her mother commits suicide and she is adopted by her grandparents in Kansas. Lane was never close to her mother, and she was relieved when her mother died. Initially, Lane had no clue that she still had family. When she arrives in Kansas, she instantly forms a bond with her cousin Allegra. Lane’s life is transformed. Lane is not used to living in a loving home. Though everything seems perfect in the household, there seems to be a lot of things off with her new family members especially Allegra. Lane never stays as a permanent member of the Roanoke clan and leaves immediately as the summer comes to an end. As the years go by, Lane looses contact with her immediate family. One day when her grandfather calls her about Allegra, Lane knows that she has to return no matter the consequences.

When I first saw the title of the Roanoke Girls, I thought it was going to take place during the Roanoke colony. This is not the case for the Roanoke Girls. As I read the synopsis I was intrigued by the mystery, and decided to give it a go. What I read was dark and this book is not for younger readers. Also, don’t read it if you’re triggered easily by rape and incest.

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As I’ve mentioned, the mystery of Allegra’s murder had me intrigued. But, the author revealed shocking secrets in the beginning chapters…thus making it obvious who was the killer was. The book would have been stronger if the author had revealed the incest and pedophilia secrets till the very end of the story. By the time I was halfway done with the story, I knew where the story was headed. There weren’t that many suspects to pick from.

The main story is told in alternating perspectives between adult Lane and teenage Lane. There are also chapters including the povs of the other fallen Roanoke Girls who have died. I really liked that the other perspectives of the Roanoke Girls were told, though their chapters were short. Other than that, it felt as if Lane had not changed at all in her adult years. Lane’s character stayed consistent throughout the book. Though she became a bit more destructive as an adult.

One thing I can say is that the characters were not likable especially Lane. Lane is distrusting and angry, and resentful all the time. Lane is extremely bitter at how her life played out. Though she didn’t suffer as much as her cousin Allegra did, Lane is very hesitant to change. She still sees herself as destructive due to life events. Honestly, I found it hard to like Lane. She made it difficult to feel sympathy for her due to her actions. Instead of moving on, or at least getting a form of therapy to cope with life, she chooses the destructive path.

Lane could have avoided the pain and trauma of that summer if she had spoken. If she had said something to the authorities, Allegra’s death could have been prevented. But no, Lane chose not to speak to anyone. She felt that there was no person that she could have trusted. In a way, I feel that even Lane played a part in Allegra’s demise.

As for the other characters, I can say the same thing: none of them were likable, except for Cooper. Like Lane, Cooper also had a horrible childhood. Cooper suffered more than Lane, but he chose to better himself and not end up like his abusive father. Cooper became wiser as the years went by and tried several times to get Lane to open up.

When it came to the big revelation, I was not surprised at all. Most of the time, Lane spent her time having sex than looking for clues. When the killer confessed to the murder, it happened instantly. All I can say is that the Roanoke girls suffered from abuse: sexually and mentally. The Roanoke girls had no help from anyone. All the girls suffered a sad fate, which was death. I really despised the grandfather and the grandmother, but more the grandfather. It was such as sad book to read, but there were so many frustrating moments that could have been avoided if characters had helped out.

Despite all of it, the ending was a bit sweeter than I had anticipated.

Book Release: March 7th 2017 by Crown

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Fiction, Romance

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

*I recently started using Amazon Affliates. From now on, I’ll be posting links to each book I review. It will really help out my blog.*

Goodreads Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

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Here is my confession, I read the book because of all the hype it has been getting lately. If you don’t already know, the movie will be coming out early June and the trailers look amazing. I was expecting Me Before You to be as wonderful and amazing according to many 5 star ratings on Goodreads. It didn’t captivate my attention. I put this book down several times.

Will had the perfect life before his accident. He was successful and a risk taker, but everything changed on that fateful rainy day. Lou, on the other hand, is the opposite of Will. She is content with working at a cafe, but when she gets laid off from her job of several years, she is forced to find employment at a job center. Lou eventually lands a job as a caretaker for Will. Initially, Will and Lou don’t get along. Lou despises her job at first, but learns to love it and Will.

Now what I really liked about Me Before You was that it was not the typical romance story. I don’t really read romance books, so going into this book I was expecting lots of romance. That did not happen. Me Before You was really realistic and it had great encouraging themes such as living life to your full potential. These are my two favorite quotes from the book:

You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible

And

“Push yourself. Don’t settle. Wear those stripy legs with pride. And if you insist on settling down with some ridiculous bloke, make sure some of this is squirreled away somewhere. Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury. Knowing I might have given them to you has alleviated something for me.”

It made me wonder about my own life and whether or not I’m living it to my fullest. I really found Lou to be relatable. Lou goes through a transformation throughout the whole book. She learns to change herself for the better and its all thanks to Will, who gave her the extra push. No one encouraged Lou more than Will, not even Patrick (her boyfriend) of seven years. It did take me a while to tolerate Lou, but by the end of the book, I really liked her. I wasn’t a huge fan of Lou’s family either, but I really liked Treena (Lou’s younger sister).

I didn’t hate the book, nor did I particularly love it. Honestly, it took me such a long time to start enjoying the book, and that’s when I reached the halfway point. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, but the book was definitely boring for me. I didn’t feel an attachment with the characters, and in my case, it felt like this book was missing a certain something for me to love it. I feel that the movie will definitely be better than the book, and I will see the movie! Will I read the sequel? No thank you. I was really satisfied with the ending of the book, even though it was bittersweet.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: Book Review

Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Commentary: When I first heard about Carry On getting published, I was a bit worried about it. I was not a big fan of the Simon chapters in Fangirl. For some reason, I thought she was going to write as Gemma T. Leslie (author of the Simon Snow series), but this book is Rainbow Rowell’s take on Simon Snow. I really enjoy reading Rainbow Rowell’s works, but I was hesitant to read Carry On. I waited for reviews of the book and all I can say is that this book is everywhere. Seriously. Almost everyone I follow on Booktube or Goodreads gave Carry On a five out of five. I did enjoy the book, don’t get me wrong, but I felt it a bit lacking. ₍₍ ◟(•ૅ ॄ •ૅ๑)◞ ₎₎

First of all, I enjoyed the romance between Baz and Simon. The romance was absolutely perfect. Simon and Baz really were equally matched. I love the build up of their relationship, but I would have liked it more if there were flashbacks of Baz falling for Simon. Initially, I thought Simon was going to be my favorite character, he is supposed to be the fictional Harry Potter. Simon Snow was extremely angsty and stubborn, he can’t control his power like the others. I did not like him as much as I liked Penelope and Baz. I really loved Penelope!! I enjoyed her parts of the book. I like how supportive she was of Simon’s relationship with Baz and how she didn’t “hate” Agatha just because Simon and Agatha broke up.

Also, I loved the friendship between Simon, Penny, and Baz. Agatha was not really included in the book. She was just there compared to the other characters. I wished she were more involved with her circle of friends, but the breakup made everything awkward for her. She wanted to live her life with nonmagical people. She was the one to get away from everything. Luckily for her, she gets a happy ending. ~(^з^)-☆

The Mage was the most interesting character to me. I knew he was a shady from the moment he was introduced. There was something about him that was off. I do respect the reforms he did for the school such as allowing everyone with magical abilities to attend Watford. It used to be a school for the elite before he became headmaster. Other than that, he is a bit of a maniac. He is obsessed with the prophecy of the greatest mage. He must have been really charismatic for Lucy to stay with him. He also isolated himself and Lucy from society, if that’s not a sign of a madman, then I don’t know what is. He also used Lucy, he wanted their child to become The Chosen One. He also abandoned Simon, and never told him that he was his father. He also made a deal with the vampires to attack Watford. I can’t forget to mention how he made his men raid other wizards. I really did not like the Mage. He did get what he deserved in the end. (ꐦ°᷄д°᷅)

To be honest, I don’t understand why the book was divided into four parts. I found it really unnecessary. Also, the first 180 pages were hard were dragging. I did consider dropping this book, but I didn’t want to fail my November tbr. Everything becomes more exciting once you keep reading. Now, I felt as if I missed out on an experience. I would have loved to read more about Simon Snow’s world. I would have loved if there were more books, and it doesn’t seem that there will be a sequel. I know that there are several points of view in this book, but it will all make sense near the end of the book. The ending was satisfying for me. I really did not expect that ending. Why couldn’t Simon Snow about his parents! That part made me upset. I thought he was going to find out the identity of his parents at least, but that did not happen!! (ꐦ ಠ皿ಠ )

Compared to her other works, I did not enjoy Carry On as much as I enjoyed Fangirl and Eleanor and Park. Even though this book was not for me, I will still recommend it because it had fun moments, and I did like the silly spells as well. The reason why I give this book a 3.5 is because exciting, but it was still missing a certain something. Would I reread this? I don’t think so.  ต( ິᵒ̴̶̷̤ ﻌ ᵒ̴̶̷̤ )ິ ♬

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

My True Love Gave To Me (Anthology): Book Review

Long, Cold Nights Are For Falling In Love

I finished my first book of the year which was “My True Love Gave To Me”, an anthology which was edited by Stephanie Perkins.  My mom got me the UK edition for Christmas! I really wanted to finish the book before my holiday vacation ended, but I ended up working for most of my vacation. At least I got to finish it before class started!
In this book, there are 12 stories by several young adult novels and all of the holidays deal with the holidays.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. I really wish this short story would have been longer. I read it three times and had fun with it. The romance was adorable.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link 🌟. I liked the plot, but I did not like the protagonist. The protagonist was a bit of a brat. It was a bit confusing to read.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena 🌟🌟🌟. It was a cute story. I could relate with Shy (the protagonist), but I did find that the romance was a bit rushed.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. I found this story very memorable, and I liked the plot very much. I really wanted this story to be longer, and I found the ending of the story to be a little sad. Oh forbidden love.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. This short story was the one I was looking most forward to reading because I love Stephanie Perkins writing style. I totally ship Marigold and North, they had a cute romance! Again, I wish it were longer.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan 🌟🌟🌟. This story was the quickest read for me, and what the protagonist was doing for his boyfriend was adorable. It was about keeping childlike wonder alive, like believing in Santa Claus.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black 🌟🌟. This one was darker than the other stories. I liked the fantasy element and the protagonist was likable compared to the other characters.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I liked Sophie Roth, she was awkward and funny. I’m glad that both Sophie and Russell had so much chemistry. I really could connect with Sophie’s character such as her feeling like a foreigner in a crowd of people.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire 🌟🌟🌟. Vaughn was able to redeem himself in the end of the story. I was glad that he realized that he was loved and not hated as he thought. This short story was more about second chances, than his relationship with Gracie.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. This story had to be my favorite and I really loved both Maria and Ben. They were the cutest couple, and I liked their chemistry. Ben was adorable while Maria was feisty, they were definitely a good match. This story made me really happy.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter 🌟🌟🌟. The romance was a bit rushed, but this story kinda reminded me of a lifetime movie. I was not expecting her to be famous at all, what a twist. It was heartwarming that Ethan’s family was open to having Lydia in their lives despite what the fact that she lied to them about being Huda (the Icelandic student).

The Girl Who Woke Up The Dreamer by Laini Taylor 🌟. I liked the magical element, but I had the hardest time reading and understanding the story. I felt that it didn’t match well with the holiday theme like the rest of the stories. It was definitely the most unique out of the bunch. I felt that it was more description than dialogue. The priest of the village was creepy, and the protagonist was okay.

Final Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3.5)