Summer TBR 2019

  1. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje

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2. Educated – Tara Westover 

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3. Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

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4. Saville – David Storey

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5. The Power – Naomi Alderman 

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6. How Fear Works – Frank Furedi 

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Good reads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania

 

 

 

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Constellations – Nick Payne

Synopsis

Suppose that life exists in a multiverse — a set of parallel existences that contain infinitely different futures. The possibilities in our lives are, quite literally, endless. Every possible event that could happen, does happen, in one universe or another. And if two lovers meet — are drawn together in every version of existence — every possible happy ending and heartbreak that could befall them, will.

Marianne, a physicist, and Roland, a beekeeper, meet at a party. They hit it off, and go for a drink. Or perhaps they don’t. They go home together, or maybe they go their separate ways. Perhaps Marianne is engaged to someone else, perhaps Roland is. Maybe she breaks his heart, maybe he breaks hers. Perhaps they come together and their love story can finally take root and grow, or perhaps it will be tragically cut short. Nick Payne’s beautiful play, Constellations, explores how even the smallest change in our lives can dramatically alter the course we take. It is a spellbinding exploration of love, science, quantum theory, and infinite possibility for heartbreak or for hope.

Review

My lecturer recommended this play and it became on of those books you place at the back of your bookcase and forget about. During a recent clear out… I came across this play and decided to give it a go. I deeply regret not reading it sooner!

I have read numerous reviews that focus on the repetition throughout the play as something they disliked and found irritating to read, however without it, the play would not make sense. I loved the idea of having multiple universes and possibilities. The concept that free will may not exist is not something that we often think about therefore it created an interesting twist.

The two characters, Roland and Marianne, are quite a normal couple. They fall in love and fight. They make up and marry. Each time a new chapter of their lives begins we see the situation not only from both perspectives but also with differences in personality. They have an argument throughout the play and in one case it was Marianne in the wrong. In a parallel universe, it is Roland who is in the wrong. The interesting thing was that in each scenario the outcome was either the same or similar.

The dialogue throughout this play carries so much emotion that you cannot help but want to know what happens to both the characters at the very end. I believe this play is like marmite – you either love it or hate it!

Rating -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Only Ever Yours – Evie O’Neilll

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Synopsis 

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .

Goodreads Rating 3.84/5 Stars

Review

A friend of mine recommended this book to me, so I just jumped straight into it without much thought only to go through an extreme emotional roller coaster and heartbreak. Even though this dystopian novel in set in another lifetime, there are many aspects and character traits that relate to our own, which make this novel that much more painful and horrific. 

Freida and Isabel are our two main characters. They are waiting to see whether they will be selected to be wives (companions) and bear sons or whether they will become concubines or chastities. The school teaches them that appearance is the most important thing in the world and that girls that cry or are fat, are worthless.  

Like in many schools across the world (sadly) popularity comes with being the most pretty and skinny girl. Eating disorders are encouraged at the school and the girls are given pills and other medication to make them throw up their food in order to main a ‘perfect weight’. The girls constantly judge each other and themselves which at times was absolutely heartbreaking. There was class ‘comparisons’, where two girls would strip and get into glass tubes so that there classmates could critique them. 

‘Only Ever Yours’ is beautifully written. The plot unfolds when Isabel can no longer live up to what society wants her to be – a skinny mini barbie doll. We watch as her best friend and sister of many years –  Frieda, struggles to deal Isabel’s disobedience and depression.She battles between staying a good friend to Isabel who is rapidly spiralling into oblivion and getting ahead of the game in order to score the perfect husband. 

All of the Eves are created the same, so when you see personality differences between them, it’s refreshing and gives you hope that things are going to get better. Isabel is presented as someone unique from the very start, however we are kept in the dark about why she is so special until the end of the book.  The ending broke my heart and in a way I can say that it was predictable, but it made me incredibly angry. 

Overall, I thought that this book was absolutely incredible! I certainly surprised me and at times I wanted to throw it across the room and cry at how horrible some of characters were, but I’m glad I read it. It is an absolute must read for all teen girls and women, but also for men, because it doesn’t exactly portray them well. It portrays domestic abuse and rape as being a acceptable, which it isn’t. 

Amazing book!!! GO READ IT!!!

Rating  – 5/5vStars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania

One Wish Away (Djinn Empire #1) – Ingrid Seymour

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Synopsis 

Faris is a Djinn with a secret and Marielle the first master to give him hope. Will she be the one to break his curse? There is no telling. All he really knows is she’s ONE WISH AWAY from breaking his heart.

When Marielle was little, she used to believe Grandpa about his wish-granting Djinn. But now that she’s older, her beliefs have changed, and things like lousy ex-boyfriends and alcoholic fathers have become her reality.

Life isn’t done shattering her truths, though, and when Grandpa dies and the Djinn he warned her never to trust shows up at her doorstep, the world becomes a dangerous, magical place she never knew existed. Reeling for her once-normal life, Marielle soon realizes there’s no going back—not when she’s become part of a mortal conflict between two spell-bound Djinn. Faris—her handsome slave. And Zet—his vengeance-hungry brother. They both want something from her. One, her love. The other one, her life.

Now she’s afraid she will die in love.

One Wish Away is a young adult paranormal romance that will appeal to lovers of Hush Hush, Twilight, and the Fallen series.

Review 

**Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review**

This book is due to be released in Feb 2017 and I cannot wait for more people to read it so that I have someone to fangirl with! I had zero expectations heading into this, but the concept sounded interesting and reminded me a little bit of The Assassin’s Curse, which I absolutely adored. 

The plot was captivating from the first 10 pages of the book. There was so much going on alongside the character introductions and world building. The authors writing is beautiful and portrays emotions incredibly well. There were quite a few creepy moments throughout the book that made me feel scared for the main protagonist – Marielle. 

Marielle is a great character. She is very realistic in terms of her emotions. Rather than being portrayed as a typical overdramatic teenage girl, she is presented as an adult who is both allowing herself to grieve and pushing herself past her grief. In lots of YA novels, the authors add in a tragic event, yet they never seem to mention the emotional aftermath that occurs after said event. 

Faris, the jaw-dropping Djinn is the perfect guy. For once, I’ve read a book where the male protagonist isn’t cocky, arrogant and debonair.Faris happens to be polite, kind and realistic… for the lack of a better word. I couldn’t help but fall for his charm. I loved the way the author made him see old fashioned and not a typical 21st-century teen, as it added an edge of mystery to the character. 

The antagonists of the novel were also very well portrayed. If you’ve read some of my previous reviews before, you’ll know that I love novel with positive underlying themes. I personally believe that in our day and age they are very important, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book revolved around the idea of forgiveness. 

I have previously reviewed Keeper by Ingrid Seymour and loved that book! At this point, I think that It is safe to say that I definitely a fan of her writing and look forward to reading more of the novels.

Rating  5/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Vixen’s Fate – Natalie Erin

Review 

**Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**

This book is due to be released in 2017 and is the fourth book in the Creatures of the Land series that I have been reviewing. Therefore there is no synopsis nor a book cover as of yet. That being said, I must say that this series is getting better and better with each book. 

I may be biased since this book focused on my favourite character, Allie, which is why I devoured it. Allie is an incredible character that has so much sass and dimension, that you can’t help but fall in love with her. She is also loyal and kind to those she loves, which combined with her fiery personality make her the most perfect badass heroine. 

I was relieved that this book focused on the characters that I was already familiar with, rather than throwing another 20 characters into the mix. The plot was fast paced and very entertaining. 

I have high hopes for this series, can’t wait to see how it ends, but I also don’t want it to end!

Rating – 4/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

 

Wyntier’s Rise – Natalie Erin

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Synopsis 

The new generation begins…

It has been over a decade since Wyntier kidnapped Kennu and his friends. Nearly sixteen, Kennu and his griffin Allie live within the safety of the Verinian Forest, guarded by dragons and unicorns at all times. Desperate for freedom, Kennu and Allie attempt to be normal teenagers while Allie deals with the repercussions of her powers as a prophetess, and Kennu an ever worsening, terminal illness. Yet Wynter is on the move, and he will stop at nothing to obtain power, targeting the only ones who stand in his way…Kennu’s family.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Kennu’s cousin Soran deals with a string of strange disappearances. The once-democratic government in the city of Nesting’s Haven has transformed into a dictatorship, his university changed from a school of magic into a brainwashing facility.

No one who stands against the new regime is allowed to live. Teenagers build new friendships, battle bullies and fall in love as the world collapses around them into an all-out war. But how can a bunch of kids stop the most ruthless villain the Lands have ever known? Is it really worth losing everything to stand up for what you believe?

A story of grief, hope, and faith, Wyntier’s Rise is a young adult epic fantasy full of witches, vampires, shifters, and fae. Readers will stay up all night to complete Natalie Erin’s newest edition to the Creatures of the Lands series.

Goodreads Rating – 4.29/5 Stars 

Review 

**Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**

This is the third book of the Creatures of the Land series and I must say that even though this series started poorly, it seems to be getting better with each book. This book has more character development and I feel like I can finally start relating to the characters… and telling them apart. 

I was relieved that there wasn’t an abundance of new characters introduced and that the ones that were didn’t play huge roles, except Angel. All of the awkward and choppy plot lines of the individual characters are starting to make sense as the authors have stopped chucking information at their readers and started writing a story of how they all intertwine in each others lives. 

The romances seem less rushed and awkward. Ionan seems to be moving on from Vera but slowly, which is nice since she deserves a high level of respect. Ionan happens to be my favourite character from the very first book, whereas all of the other annoyed me. The constant family drama in this book was strange and felt out of tune at times. On the other hand I never liked Kia and Keota so I didn’t care at all about what happened to them. 

I enjoyed this book because it was fast paced and entertaining. It focused on the new generation, which meant new characters. The authors writing has gotten a little bit better with each book, so the new chracters had real personalities that actually made me want to care about what happened to them. 

Lastly, I think that the title doesn’t quite fit the book, since 75% of it was about the family drama and how all of their friends got involved. Wyntier’s rise to power occurred within 10 pages at the end. Overall it was a good book and I look forward to reading the next 3 books in the series. 

Rating 4/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

These Broken Stars – Aimee Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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Synopsis – 

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Goodreads Ratings – 3.94/5 Stars 

Review – 

This book is like the Titanic set in space. Two star-crossed lovers, a wealthy and powerful young women that falls in love with a poor commoner. However, in this book, everything begins with a tragedy and goes on to focus on survival. There are however still many events that occur throughout the book that strongly reminded me of the Titanic. 

The chapters move between being Tarver’s POV & Lilac’s POV which sets us up with the idea that these two will be connected in some way through the entire novel.  Lilac LaRoux is a wealthy and powerful young woman and Tarver Merendsen is the youngest war hero of the galaxy. They are introduced to each at first in an awkward manner which initially throws us off course. It takes them a long time to form a good relationship that it realistic, which is lacking in so many YA novels nowadays. It was so refreshing to see two people get to know each other at a realistic pace, first becoming friends and then developing romantic feelings for one another. 

 Lilac and Tarver are both stubborn and condescending but they are both able to show compassion, even if they sometimes struggle with it. They come from different backgrounds, have different skills and different goals, however, due to the tough circumstances and human nature, they develop an understanding of each other. We are presented with two very strong but not unrealistic characters, that towards the end of the book are able to put their differences aside and merge into one. 

The plot was incredibly interesting and had me turning the pages at a rapid pace. I did get slightly confused at times but that was just because some of the events were so unique and out of the blue that it took me a minute to wrap my head around it.  

Aside from having characterized POVs, the start of each chapter began with an extract from an interview with Tarver that took place at the end of the book. It kept giving little clues as to what would happen in the upcoming chapter, as well remind me that Tarver and Lilac had survived and somehow returned to their civilization. 

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

 

Zenith ( The Androma Saga) – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

29569157 Synopsis

There is darkness sweeping across the stars. Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Goodreads Rating – 3.72/5 Stars

Review 
I didn’t have any expectations heading into this. I didn’t even read the blurb since it was written by Sasha and that seemed a good enough reason to read this. Right from the start, I found the plot confusing and it didn’t get much clearer as I read on. It may sound bad, but it felt like was a reading a well-written fanfiction rather than an original novel.  It was only 62 pages so it was obvious from the start that it would end on a cliffhanger and that there wouldn’t be room for character development and a lot of world building but somehow the authors managed to jam as much detail into 62 pages as possible. 

Going on from what I said about this being more fanfiction that fiction, the authors did create some unique aspects, however, they just made the book childish and irritating.  I mean it’s annoying when people say shiitake instead of shit, but at least that’s better than  Fick as a replacement for Fuck. But it really disrupted the flow of the story and it just didn’t make any sense. With YA novels you either swear properly or you don’t. That will all depend on the target audience and the plot that the authors have in mind. 

Androma, the main protagonist, was supposed to be a badass pirate that floats through space causing havoc and destruction. Yet again we are met by a little girl with a big mouth but not much else. Her nickname is ‘The Bloody Baroness’ which just reminds me of Harry Potter, as does not the name Androma… just saying. My point is that Androma (Andi) doesn’t seem like a badass character, just someone who pretends to be badass. 

The plot was fairly interesting and once Sasha and Lindsay produce the full novel I will definitely read it. This has a lot of potential and I hope Sasha and Lindsay start coming up with something more original. 

Rating – 3/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Unwind – Neal Shusterman

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Synopsis 

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Goodreads Rating – 4.19/5 Stars 

Review 

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a spine-chilling novel about a parallel universe where parents of a child between the ages of 13 and 18, can have their child’s organs harvested or ‘unwound’. You’re teen harboring too much teen angst and aggression? No problem! Why don’t you send him over to us and take him apart and sell his organs…

An aspect of this novel that seems to be not far from our own reality are the laws against abortion. However, a parent can leave their child on someone’s doorstep and if they are not caught, the person that finds the child is obliged to keep it. Finders – Keepers, whether you want it or not. 

As you’ve read in the synopsis, the reasons for parents unwinding their children varies from being tired of behavioral problems, being unwanted, religious reasons or pure selfishness. Aside from our main protagonists, there was a boy whose parents died, so his aunt became his guardian and decided to have him unwound so that she could have his inheritance.

There were times in when I was reading this book and it completely broke my heart. The children are portrayed as being strong at times, but we also get to see the true fear that one would experience in such a situation. One thing that I foud unusual was the lack of anger the kids had towards their parents. They blamed the government for having this program, not their own parents for getting rid of them. 

The plot was fast paced and entertain throughout the whole book. The characters were really well developed as they each came from different backgrounds and had individual clear cut personas. It was a great book to read because it makes you think and it actually makes you feel scared for the characters. I was under the illusion that most of the characters were 16 or 17 years old but at the end of the book I found out that Lev, one of the main protagonists was 13, which made him even stronger as a character. 

Lastly… and I always seem to leave this to the last point because I try to note down the positives before stating the negatives. The romance was so out of the blue. There was no lead-up to it, even though it was obvious that it would happen, I couldn’t care less about it. The characters barely knew each other and didn’t interact all that much. Hopefully, it will get better as the series progresses. 

Overall, this was a good book and I would definitely recommend it! 

Rating – 3.5/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Forgive Me – Original Poem


She sits alone, her head in the clouds

Tired, weary and lost to the world.

A ghost in the flesh, A child in the dark.

She does not cry, does not speak,

Bright as daylight and dark as night,

A little girl wrapped in shrouds.

Adults cry fateful tears,

wiping sorrow off their cheeks.

A mother wails and blames herself,

A father’s strength slowly crumbles.

Guilt spreads and covers the earth,

Blood, blood, blood – it spreads,

Upon this fateful grave she smears.

That night she felt no anger,

She had released her tortured soul.

Mother screamed, father choked,

Don’t go, I’m here, I’m here…

Time ticked by, sirens wailed,

Her heart had stopped…

Did you see her or look right past?

Was it cruelty or blatant ignorance?

Should I help or should I go?

Questions, questions, useless things,

Denial eats and tortures them.

Looks in eyes, oh so dark,

Mind unable to conform,

Turns away,

Shakes head,

Am so sorry,

Please Forgive Me.