Posted in Book Review

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

 

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Title: The Darkest Lie
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Kensington Books
Pages: 287
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5
I received an ARC from Netgalley via Kensington Books for an honest review.  


Trigger warning: 

Suicide.

The plot:

“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…

My Experience:

Honestly,

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I quite liked it.

It was a good story and there was a real mystery. It was unpredictable and you couldn’t quite place your finger on what was going on. I just love it when a story is telling me something that I want to know. But I don’t know it yet and it’s not telling me until it’s absolutely necessary.

You follow the journey of Cece a young girl who not only has to deal with the fact that her mom committed suicide but also deal with the scandal she left the family with.

I felt myself being swept along with the chase to find the truth behind the events of Cece’s mom. The events of Cece’s mom’s death was so scandalous it seemed almost too ridiculous so this story could have easily had been just too much. But the author knew what they were doing and I would like to give them credit for keeping the story so well-balanced. In the middle, it became a bit too chewy for my taste. Too much talking not enough actions. I felt the characters dialogue starting to fail and just as I was about to give up hope everything changed. I couldn’t put the book down. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the best writing style or the most unusual characters because the story was interesting.

The story had me genuinely curious and I could not have stopped reading. I needed to know what happened in the end and the origin of all the chaos. The ending was done very well. It made me forgive the mistakes I felt myself getting annoyed with earlier on. The ending had me smiling and I would gladly recommend this book to young adult fiction fans.

I think this book is one to look out for and that this can become a possible favourite among young adult thrillers. Prepare for an explosion of chaos, love and heartbreak.

What I did not like:

I will let the book explain itself.

“Sounds a little over-the-top to me. But maybe I’ve never been in love.”

Don’t you just love it when a book has a quote you can use in your review?

Ahem. Where was I. Oh yes, sigh, love…

That’s basically one of the annoyances I had with the book but the romantics might love it. I’m hard to impress when it comes to love what can I say. Chocolates and flowers won’t do for Snow. Nor stick figures asking each other out for pizza.

The other thing was the constant noise in Cece’s ears. I guess she has very sensitive ears hearing the ocean permanently and all that. I know it was used for dramatic effect but I felt like it was a bit overused.

 

Recommendations:

I recommend this book to all of those that are fans of the Young Adult genre. This will give you thrill , heartbreak and just a little bit of love to keep you going.

Rating:

In the end, I felt like I had quite the journey with this book and we part as friends. I give this book 3 and a half jingly snowflakes.

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~ Sincerely Snow
Posted in Book Review, interview, YA

Interview with Author Michael Grant.

Well, this is my first interview that I am posting on my blog. I am very honoured that it is by one of my favourite authors, Michael Grant.

(((Michael Grant)))

 

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I had the chance to ask him a few questions over social media that he was kind enough to answer. I interviewed him about Front Lines (#1 Soldier girl) the first book in his new series. Now if you have not read this book yet, please do make a plan. However, for now, you can find my review for Front Lines here:

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Have no fear for no spoiler is near.

Interview with Michael Grant:

 

In this book there are many scenes of soldiers, men and female, singing army songs. Where did you get the army songs?

Most of the songs I made up. I use some real songs in book #2 (Silver Stars) but most of the poems, songs, etc… are my own inventions.

In one of the scenes you describe a group of people. A group of drunk men and one very sober man. What would you say is the difference between a sober man and a very sober man?

Sober men are far less likely to do something stupid.

One of the characters that stood out for me in this novel is the female Sergeant, Sergeant Mackie.  How did you go about to find the voice and heart of Sergeant Mackie? There was something about her that just made her stand out from almost all of the characters. Did you have somebody you based her character on?

No, I don’t really do character that way, I don’t model on a real-life person. It’s easier to give an adult/older character more depth because you have so much more backstory to draw on, even if all you’re doing is implying a backstory. Younger characters are tougher because there’s just less to work with. An adult character might have been through poverty, depression, child-rearing, work, etc…, whereas a younger character can have plenty of stuff happen, but it is necessarily compressed.

A 16 year-old doesn’t have 16 years of life experience because a lot of that 16 years is childhood. A 32 year-old is only twice as old but has spent a lot more of their life in an aware state beyond infancy.But generally Mackie is a character whom readers are free to define. I think she works because readers can assume or imagine things that are not necessarily shown. This, by the way, is the great upside of writing YA – YA readers have functioning imaginations, so I can count on them to do their part of imagining characters without me dotting every i and crossing every t.

I think that in the end between Rio, Frangie, and Rainy I liked Rainy the most. I loved her attitude and cheek. From the 3 soldiers who did you like the most and why? I understand that this might be impossible to answer so the alternative of this question is: Of these 3 characters who was the hardest for you to get to know to find their voice?

It’s easiest for me to write smart, witty characters, and of the three Rainy is clearly the best-informed, the most self-aware, the wittiest. But that’s just a question of what’s easy. Rio is tougher to write because her motivation is so nebulous. But that’s deliberate because in researching I found again and again soldiers who talked about just feeling ‘swept along’ or of enlisting ‘because everyone else was.’ I wanted to show that, and it was a good starting point for Rio’s evolution as a character. She doesn’t come in with a goal, she discovers her goal.

Frangie is easier to understand in terms of motive. She enlists because she needs the paycheck, which was another classic motivator you see in some first person accounts. But unlike Rio, Frangie has a long-term goal, an overarching goal of becoming a doctor.

If there is one message/lesson that you would like people to take away from this story what would it be?

I never think in terms of morals or lessons or takeaways. Not that in the back of my mind I don’t have conclusions of my own, but I don’t see it as being my place to teach. Again, not that I’m not obviously teaching some history, but I want the conclusions to come from readers, not from me. I am not the guru Michael Grant, I’m just your dancing monkey. I’m much more comfortable in that role. And I trust readers to do their own thinking.

I hoped you guys enjoyed that, I know I did!

~ Sincerely Snow

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Posted in 5 stars, Book Review, War, YA

Front Lines by Michael Grant

 

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Series: Book #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 548
Source: I own the book.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult , War
Rating: 5
I would just like to say a massive thank you to the publisher for
sending me a copy of Front Lines.

The introduction for the book kicked me in the heart with a big army boot. Goosebumps exploded like a swarm of ants over my body. The intense statements of the introduction made me shiver. I knew this was going to be one hell of a ride.

The plot:

1942. World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America.

The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled—the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering. Not one expects to see actual combat. Not one expects to be on the front lines.

Rio, Frangie, and Rainy will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. They will fear and they will rage; they will suffer and they will inflict suffering; they will hate and they will love. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant has created a masterful alternate history of World War II in Front Lines, the first volume in a groundbreaking series.

My experience:

Join the army. They need you but they don’t necessarily want you.

It’s in the age where sexism is manifested in every corner and racism is part of the oxygen. Follow the journey of 3 very strong soldiers: Rainy, Rio, and Frangie.

I will kick this review off by using a quote from Stephen king:

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If there is one book that hid its treasures throughout the entire book, keeping you on edge the entire time, it is this masterpiece.

Every time I had to put the book down I felt like I was missing out. My heart would start to race with guilt if I had to put it down in an intense scene.  I would feel as if I was keeping the characters in an uncomfortable position by leaving them there. And if I could just continue to read than I would be helping them get out of whatever situation they were to be found in. 

Everything I loved about this book:

The dialogue:

I loved the replacements for the swear words. The authenticity of the racial slurs without it seeming over dramatic. One issue I usually have when reading books with racist characters is that the derogatory terms and condescension will be too over the top. This is done to make the reader realize that this character, is in fact, a big ugly racist that you must not like. Not Michael Grant, with the description of a look from one white officer to a black officer you could feel the hatred and history between them. However, whether the character is racist or sexist there might still be something likable about them. That is something that only a true storyteller can do. They are able to create hateful characters  yet leave it up to the reader to decide whether they want to like or dislike the characters.

Background characters are not just the background characters:

During this story, you would expect crowds, workers and maybe a person who hands over the uniforms. You would not however, expect to remember the person that hands over the clothes. Because that person is there to just fill a role right? Wrong! It is a character that is placed there and there will be something you will be able to remember about them. Even if it was just a woman who handed over a uniform. This reminds me of what they say about having only one line in a production and that,that line can make you famous.

 

You root for the characters:

You aren’t just sitting on the sidelines with a poster of your favourite character’s name surrounded by hearts and  a “Follow me on Twitter” slogan. You are running next to them. You are pulling them through the mud. You are willing to carry them through the scorching heat and mosquitos as long as they don’t give up. Their fight becomes your fight. As long as they have the will to keep on fighting, you will be able to keep on fighting. No matter the circumstances, no matter how badly they are treated or underestimated for being mere women in a man’s army. No matter the hell they go through as long as they can keep preserving and surviving you know that you will also be able to keep fighting. You will be able to handle what you are going through and survive the labels or bad treatment.

It gave me hope:

This book reminded me of the inner strength humans possess to prevail and to survive. Sometimes we lose a battle but that doesn’t mean we lose the war. These characters were already in my heart before I was halfway through the book. I will remember them and I will carry their strength with me as reminders that there are people like them fighting everyday but never giving up.

I am waiting very impatiently for the next book in this series. You can bet I will be one of the first in line for a copy.

 

Quotes:

“No smoking, no drinking, no fraternizing with the opposite sex, those are the rules. So naturally we smoke, drink, and fraternize most evenings.”

“Under a chilly sun Rio and Jenou take the air, straining every nerve to ignore the incessant catcalls and lewd entreaties of male soldiers.”

 

What I liked:

I loved how the character I disliked the most became my favourite character by the end of this book.

Only Michael Grant, ladies and gentleman. Only Michael Grant.

 

What I did not like:

If I have to think of one thing it would be of Rio not remembering or not being constantly reminded by the loss her family has suffered. I feel there was a sense of grief missing but maybe I get proven wrong in the next book since Rio is an enigma and completely unpredictable.

 

Recommendations:

I recommend this to everybody.

This is a book that everybody needs to read. It teaches you important lessons without you realising its teaching you important life lessons.

Anybody who loves war stories, this is for you.

Anybody who loves alternate history, this is for you.

Anybody who loves Young Adult this is for you.

Anybody.. this is for you.

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Rating:

5 FUBAR snowflakes.

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*Exclusive interview coming soon*

 

 

~Sincerely Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, mystery, netgalley

ARC Review: How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

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Title: How to Disappear
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pages: 308
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Teens & YA , Abuse
Rating:2.5
Sigh.
The plot:

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

My Experience
I’m going to try and write a review here without spoiling anything. Not that there is much to spoil…
Okay, so I’m going to explain why I did not like this novel but before I do that let me just say that I do believe that this might become a favourite amongst YA fans. It has all the elements to theoretically make this novel the perfect YA thriller. Romance, action, humour and suspense.
However, I Snow, am a massive fan of mystery and thriller and maybe it’s because I’ve read so many great thrillers that this book did not tickle my taste buds. Let us stop diddly-daddling the review will commence now.

So basically it’s about a girl Cat, I mean Nick I mean Nicolette who is running away when a murder is committed in her town and about a guy James, I mean J, I mean Jack.  Who needs to find her soon. My initial interest was that this was going to be a cat and mouse type of plot. The one trying to outsmart the other you know Sherlock VS Moriarty, Scar VS Mufasa. That was not what happened. It was more a Spongebob VS Patrick kind of vibe. Jolly enough character but not the sharpest tools in the shed.

I initially really liked Jack Manx. Jack has always been judged because he has the surname of a man who used to be the biggest criminal around. Jack is not a criminal he just wants to quote poetry especially Robert Frost. His brother drags him into this business when the ones he loves is threatened. That is how this very smart 18-year-old goes on this not so smart adventure.

What I liked in the beginning, was how awkward Jack and Nicolette both were. Here are these two normal teenagers, one who has to disappear and one who has to find the one who has to disappear. I kind of imagine that this is how I would be if for any reason ever I had to go on a mission. Just very awkward and not knowing how or what to do.

I feel that the characters were weak. They didn’t have a real drive in them. At best Nicolette was just confusing. She would have this hell bent attitude on surviving then the first guy who winks at her has her in a puddle of jelly? I don’t like it when characters fall in love immediately. I will refer to this one as a takeaway romance. “Ya want extra cheese with that line?”

At first, it was like walking on a chilly road not knowing what to expect and there was this element of danger which I liked but all too soon the snow melted and the landscape turned out to be a field. The most exciting thing was maybe passing the occasional cow chowing on some grass.

For me, the most interesting and put together character was Liv I mean Oliva.

What I liked:

I liked the different fonts for the two perceptions.

The cover is awesome.

What I did not like:

The obsession with the Robert Frost poem. There is more than one poem in this world!

Recommendations:

I recommend this to fans of the YA genre. If you eat and breath young adult novels then go for it. If you are very critical of character development and romance then maybe give this one a skip.

Rating:

2.5 snowflakes. The ending was a little bit unpredictable so it gets a little extra snowflake.

Overall this was not my favourite book.

 

 

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Posted in Book Review, Snow ramblings, Uncategorized

Yes I know, I’m late.

I know.

I know.

There was a bear and my cave was infiltrated. An elf took me out on a mission to recover some groceries from the frozen mall.

I had some scrolls that were due and time decided to change the numbers around so here I am with empty hands.

 

This was me realizing it’s Wednesday and I don’t have a review.

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You see the problem is, I have so many books on my shelf right now, I’m reading all of them at once. Which means instead of reading one, finishing it and writing a review I’m in the middle of all of them.

However have no fear my snow-folk. Dragons, elves, women and men. Soon you will get reviews from me. Not just one but two! I don’t want to give specific dates here because as you can see my planning is not the best at this point in time. You never know if a bear is going to come into my cave and trap me or some bat comes and steal my lamp. I Snow, have many challenges and distractions in this land of procrastination.

I know you are probably going like this :

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Don’t do it. Snow will be back soon with more reviews and maybe some interviews. You never know.

Have faith in the Snow.

I appreciate all of my readers. Comment any books that I should check out that you have enjoyed recently. Don’t be shy talk to me.

I won’t give you frostbite.

 

~ Sincerely Snow

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, horror, netgalley, Thriller

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

You will be hooked like a fish on a treadmill swimming after some bait as if it has not eaten in days.
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Title: Security
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pages: 241
Source: NetGalley
Genre: 
Rating: 3.5
I received an ARC from Netgalley via Algonquin Books for an honest review.

Plot: 

“Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world–at least those with the means to afford it–will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours, they will be killed off, one by one.”

 

My experience:

One of the most original narrative styles I have seen in a while. It definitely made me more invested in the story to see what was going on in there.

The way the narrator is obsessed with Tessa made me obsessed with Tessa. It made me feel like a stalker and I liked it.

As much as I was fascinated by the narration the story started dragging a bit. I started getting a bit frustrated because of the lack of development. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing all the different reflections and each reflection was in a different light which was fun and funky but at the same time it was the same reflection just being showed in different ways. Nothing interesting was happening. The story starts losing speed and the details it focuses on were unimportant to me.

I was enchanted by the hotel because it was so unique. After a few chapters, I had a clear idea of my surroundings and I rather wanted more of the story then the type of carpet the story was happening on.

However, all these distractions start melting away and action starts pouring as the blood starts dripping, tumble dryers start turning and windows start steaming up.

If you start it and it feels a bit slow don’t give up. From a certain point, you will be so hooked it won’t even make sense. You will be hooked like a fish on a treadmill swimming after some bait as if it has not eaten in days.

Then when you arrive on that last page, you will be speechless…

What I liked:

I don’t know if the Author is an architect but the writing was filled with very creative buildings and very clear descriptions so it made me think that the author has some background with buildings or interior design. I was very impressed by the descriptions.

What I did not like:

Readers be warned as fascinating as the writing style is it is also quite depressing. This is a heavy read with dark themes and thoughts that make you feel as if two hands are coming out of the pages and the hands are trying to suffocate you.

Recommendations:

I recommend this book for adults who love horrors and like their stories serious and filled with terrified screams.

Rating:

I am giving this book 3 and a half snowflakes. A solid chilly horror and an ending I will not forget soon.

 

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 ~ Snow

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Comics & Manga, netgalley

Alice in Wonderland – Special Collector’s Manga

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Author: Jun Abe

Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors

Pages: 96

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels

Rating: 3

If you read my reviews you will notice an odd difference with this one. It might seem as if I was speaking ever so posh or formal during this review. It is because I just finished this lovely manga and whenever I read something that has a classy or posh written style, I acquire that style of speaking myself, for a while…

My love for wonderland and anything slightly wonderland related is quite serious and contagious. So read this review at your own risk.

When I saw this lovely manga winking at me on the shelves of NetGalley I had to take a closer look.

What is it about:

Manga publishing pioneer TOKYOPOP is back … bringing readers Disney Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” a retelling of the film in manga style, as buzz builds for the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” May film release. Hardcover collectible with exclusive bonus features and illustrations from renowned artist Jun Abe! Alice Kingsleigh was a young girl when she visited the magical world of Underland for the first time. Now a teenager, she spots a white rabbit at a garden party and tumbles down a hole after him where she is reunited with her old friends. Alice soon learns it is her destiny to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.

My experience:

It is, as it is stated, based on the first half of Tim Burton’s movie of Alice and Wonderland.

It was a fun quick read since the illustrations are vibrant and familiar. It is based on the style of the movie but at the same time, it pays tribute to the older illustrations of the classic Alice and Wonderland novels. It was also filled with classic Manga expressions which made the characters much more comical and expressive than in the movie.

My favourite drawings were of Chessur Cat. Obviously.

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The white rabbit with the waistcoat was drawn more cuddly and cute. I thought he was just lovely.  I also loved this Manga’s version of Hatter. He had a more glum look that I thought suited him perfectly and almost an element of Dr. Seuss in his eyes.  The white queen was beautiful and she was drawn very petite and pretty.

I am someone who is able to quote Alice and Wonderland so I could immediately spot when a new sentence was entered into the manga but it fitted nicely and I enjoyed the changes made.

What I liked:

There was this one scene where Hatter is just sitting on his head with his legs crossed.  I loved it. How fun would it not be to just be able to randomly go and sit on your head and look at others as if they are the ones that are upside down.

I find the thought quite amusing.

What I did not like:

I did not like that it was only the first half. I thought it was one manga based on the whole movie.

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Recommendations:

All Tim Burton fans and readers who want to move to wonderland this one is for you. An easy light read that gives you a new experience of Wonderland with all the glory of the film.

Rating:

This manga is getting 3 fluttering snowflakes.

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                                                                    / 5

 

 

-Snow