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3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Nest’ by Terry Goodkind

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review in November last year, but I’ve only just got to reading it! Despite being on a short break from blogging, any books I am sent to review I will be posting reviews of as and when I get to reading them. I was excited to read Nest because the concept sounded great, and I wanted to start the year off with an exciting thriller! I had read good and bad reviews, so I just decided I would push them away and make what I wanted out of it.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Nest’ by Terry Goodkind

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

My Review

Nest is a thriller novel, bordering on horror, set in Chicago. The book follows Kate Bishop after the murder of her brother, when she finds out she has a special ability to identify a killer by looking into their eyes. The story takes the reader on a journey through how she comes to terms with this ability, and with this, discovers the evil lurking everywhere around her, impossible to escape. She meets Jack Raines, and author specialising in helping people with Kate’s particular ability in identifying evil and helping the world understand evil in a way they never thought about it before. This book will keep you up at night, even hours after you have closed the book.

There was so much more to this book than I was expecting, yet I still have mixed emotions about it. There was so many good parts that made the book inexplicably thrilling, but other times when the writing was not as good, and the detail went into unnecessary depth. The events in the book were in no way predictable; there was a lot I didn’t see coming, but also parts of the book that didn’t really need to be there, especially not to the extent that they were, to aid the understand of the overall book. The ending was certainly climactic, almost ending on a cliffhanger that makes me think there should be something more to come. Not necessarily in the form of a full book, but a novella could be appropriate to tie things up a bit. The pacing was unusual, I think, because of the very in depth descriptions. There were extremely tense and fast paced thrilling points, which could be followed by some dull explanations that in the end could have been condensed down into half the amount of pages they took. Don’t get me wrong, there were many thrilling points that really had me hooked, but other parts of the book that let the overall suspense of the novel down a little.

 

There was plenty of character development in Nest, with plenty of characters to follow. There were also several character surprises! My favourite character was probably AJ, despite following Kate through the entire book, and really feeling her character, AJ had a real likeable quality to her character. Jack’s character was extremely interesting and the way his character was built up was amazing, so credit to Goodkind for character development! The storyline was a little bit far fetched, even for a thriller, but the characters remained feeling very real to me as I read the book.

I was definitely kept guessing, especially after the major plot point about half way through the book that completely through me off and had me thinking what an earth could happen now! I don’t think I could pick out a favourite part of the book, because while the book was thrilling and somewhat suspenseful, there were points when the writing was a bit haphazard, and also some extremely graphic detailing that planted some horrifying images in my mind that I unfortunately won’t be forgetting soon enough. It’s all very well writing and/or reading a thriller, but sometimes descriptions can be taken a bit too far for the readers liking, especially when not pre-warned! I was closes to crying a certain points for varying reasons, mostly shock and horror.

Lastly, one quality that did strike me as unusual for a thriller is how much I learned about things from it. Usually a thriller is focused on a  particular case that is then hopefully solved in the end, but this book gave so much more in the way people look at the world and what people know about the lurking in their surroundings. It opened my eyes to some things that I never considered and gave me things to think about as I read.

I would recommend reading Nest, not highly, but if you are looking for a thriller and don’t mind some graphic scenes then this might be for you. I would urge you to battle through the parts that drag on because it is worth it in the end, but that’s one of the only thing that brought this book rating down for me.

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

Barnes and Noble

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Hesitation Wounds’ by Amy Koppelman

Amy’s assistant got in touch with me through my blog to see if I wanted to receive Hesitation Wounds in exchange for an honest review, and of course, I said yes! The description captured me, and it was quite a short read, so I didn’t mind accepting it into my ever expanding lake of ARCs. This book was an odd one though, I’m not really sure how to feel about it compared to what I was expecting…

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Hesitation Wounds’ by Amy Koppelman

The acclaimed author of I Smile Back, Amy Koppelman is a novelist of astonishing power, with a sly, dark voice, at once fearless and poetic. In Koppelman’s new novel, Dr. Susanna Seliger is a renowned psychiatrist who specializes in treatment-resistant depression. The most difficult cases come through her door, and Susa is always ready to discuss treatment options, medication, and symptom management but draws the line at engaging with feelings. A strict adherence to protocol keeps her from falling apart.

But her past is made present by one patient, Jim, whose struggles tear open Susa’s hastily stitched up wounds, revealing her latent feeling that she could have helped the people closest to her, especially her adored, cool, talented graffiti-artist brother. Spectacularly original, gorgeously unsettling, HESITATION WOUNDS is a novel that will sink deep and remain—like a persistent scar or a dangerous glow-in-the-dark memory.

My Review

 

Hesitation Wounds is a contemporary novel that tackles mental health issues through the narrative of Susa talking to her brother, who died from committing suicide (from what I understand). Set in America, Hesitation Wounds follows Susa, a psychiatrist specialising in treatment resistant depression, who meets Jim, a patient who takes her straight back to memories of her brother, Dan. The whole book is based on present and past happenings, but all is spoken in the present tense. The past events are told as Susa is talking to Dan, but is cleverly written as if Susa is talking to the reader. Being almost a collection of stories from the past intertwined with elements from the present, there is never nothing happening, which made the book quite fast paced. To be honest, the ending wasn’t highly climactic, in fact, I felt like there could have been some change in pace and have something drastic happen at the end to build the excitement a bit.

 

 

It is difficult to discuss characters, as there are very few who count towards the main story. We have Susa who is the narrator, and Dan, but he is only there in spirit; therefore it is difficult to real get to know his character. Mai becomes an important part of Susa’s life about half way through the book, and she is quite a sweet character, but could maybe do with some more development to add to her likability. The realistic nature of the story made the characters, especially Susa, seem a lot more real than some other books.

To be honest, there wasn’t really a lot to guess throughout the book, because everything that was happening was being narrated to us as stories that had already happened. Tis made it difficult to take guesses, as the book is essentially a collection of stories from the past with snippets of the present. My favourite part of the book were definitely when we got that insight into when Dan was still alive and him and Susa and their friends used to have their little adventures and whatnot, because it felt like it was in the past and we had been transported, even though it was being told in the present, which was a clever writing techniques employ. Despite the fact that the book is written as if it was the reader that Susa was talking to, I didn’t feel a lot of emotional connection to anything that happened throughout the book.

 

This is a difficult book to recommend, because I feel like you would need to enjoy a very specific type of storytelling style to be able to enjoy this book. If you like reading a linear story with a set beginning, middle and end with strong characters, then I don’t suggest you this. If, however, you like to be able to read something slightly off chronology and has strong writing and storytelling aspects, then it is quite possible you will enjoy this. Hesitation Wounds is a quick read of anyone who is looking for something that is not too heavy but still has plenty of content.

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publishers on NetGalley. I was a bit skeptical at first, but knew that I should read it once the request had been approved. I must admit I was quite surprised by what the storyline turned out to be, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve ever read…

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor

9-year-old Milo suffers from retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing, and he will eventually go blind. But for now, he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don’t. When Milo’s beloved 92-year-old gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo begins to notice things amiss at the home. The grown-ups won’t listen when he tries to tell them something’s wrong so with just Tripi, the nursing home’s cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time meets Wonder, What Milo Saw is an emotional and moving novel about one exceptional little boy. Milo sees the world in a very special way and it will be impossible for you not to fall in love with him, savour his story and share it with everyone you know.

My Review

 

What Milo Saw is contemporary fiction, more aimed at young adults but could possibly be enjoyed at an older age as well. It tackles a lot of issues throughout the storyline, including disability, financial struggle, living as a refugee, tackling old age, and many more. Set in Slipton, a town I came to believe to not be far from London, I enjoyed the fact I was reading a book set in my home country (I have a thing for books set in England!) The events are very logically laid out, and even though it is written in third person, the story comes from different characters perspectives in a way. The whole story was fairly predictable, any good reader would have easily guessed how it would turn out, so it wasn’t  a particularly climactic ending. Despite this, the plot took a steady pace, and all the threads added up.

 

 

I enjoyed Tripi’s character the most, being a refugee from Syria in a completely unknown environment, his characterisation was just as I expected it to be. His character was able to show readers that there are refugees who do have good intentions and his story definitely tackles those issues within it. The other characters were well developed and because the storyline was so realistic it made them seem more alive than they might have been in a science fiction novel.

My favourite part of the book was the ending, when everything was tied up in a neat little package, even though there was the predictability element, it’s always quite a nice feeling to see everything and everyone come together. I found the scenes in the nursing home to be written the best, mainly because I was able to fully picture the scenes in my head, and also put the issues into perspective. The end of the book did make me cry, as a scene close to the end did touch me quite personally. There were some parts I felt that were trying to be humorous but were not as funny as they may have wanted to be.

In the end, the book wasn’t entirely bad and a waste of time like some I’ve read, but I wouldn’t say it’s up there with my favourites. If you enjoy reading very real storylines that look into social issues through characterisation and story telling then I would recommend you look into reading it, but if you’re not too bothered, you may be able to bypass this one on your shelf.

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

Categories
3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Eleanor and Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

I had heard quite a lot of good things about this book and the reputation of the author, Rainbow Rowell, and I saw this on display in the library and thought I would borrow it and see what it was like. Although I did enjoy this book to an extent, I think the hype made me have higher expectations of it…

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

My Review

Eleanor and Park is a YA novel set in the past, which is something I automatically found different, as most current YA novels are set in the present. Apart from that, this a typical American high school setting, telling a boy meets girl love story. The plot line was fairly predictable, as right at the beginning the reader is told that the couple eventually break up, but we are puzzled as to why, but as the story unfolds, I found it became quite obvious. Because of this, the ending was not very climactic. Despite this, the plot was fast paced and logical, with a very sweet storyline that spread across 20 or so chapters.

The character development was fairly good, although not the best I have seen in young adult novels. Eleanor and Park were the most developed characters, although I found the representation of the feminine figures in both of their lives (being their mums) quite interesting, as it was almost reflected in their children. I felt like the character’s situations could have been very real, which therefore made the characters seem more life like than they would have been if the storyline was very abstract.

My favourite part of the book was close to the end when Park went against his family (kind of) to help Eleanor and drive her across the country, which was very nicely written, as it was the part I found really communicated their love for one another, especially Park’s caring instincts for Eleanor. The scenes on the bus I also found were very well written, as there is little speech between them, and could sometimes be tense, but the emotions of both Eleanor and Park were communicated very effectively. I’m not sure whether I was expecting to cry or laugh, but I did neither o those things, in fact, apart from some scenes that made me say ‘awww’ (such as the bus scenes) and others that made me cringe, I felt like I was quite detached from the emotion in the other parts of the book, possibly due to the lack of emotion from other characters.

I would recommend this book to young adults to read, as it is quite a cute little love story, it was maybe just not what I was expecting. Fans of John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ will find the love story quite intriguing and possibly similar to that of Hazel and Augustus, although who’s to compare couples across YA novels!

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

Categories
3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Outspoken’ by Lora Richardson

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. I had just started to receive requests in my inbox after a stagnant period, and I was a bit unsure whether or not to accept this or not in the beginning. After reading over the descriptions a few times, I decided it was about time I read another YA novel. I felt from the description that I may be able to relate to the main character of the story, so I accepted the novel.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Outspoken’ by Lora Richardson

Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she’s told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she’s determined to change from the spineless person she’s always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice. On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny’s plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?

My Review

Outspoken is a YA novel set in America which follows the story of Penny, who travels across the states to try and start a new life whilst looking after her Grandpa who has fast developing dementia. She wants to try and become a more headstrong woman who can learn how to say no, and not agreed to everything. When Penny starts to meet new people, she stumbles across Archer, who later becomes the love interest of the book with a sticky past. Although having a slightly more interesting concept, this book followed the typical YA descriptors, with the protagonist on a journey to find herself and having her path cut by a love interest, so it was quite predictable, although some aspects were less so, leaving me hanging on to find out more about the character’s pasts. The ending wasn’t very climactic, because of the predictability of the plot line, but it was still a fast paced book which kept me interested enough. All in all, it was a cute little love story.

I found Archer to be the most developed character in terms of having a fuller background and more comprehensive past compared to Penny, but I felt like, as a person, I could connect more to Penny than I could to any of the other characters. Out of all of the character’s in the book, because of the development behind him, Archer probably felt the most real to me, especially when put next to characters like Marissa, Gwen and Mike, who all seemed like they could have had slightly more characterisation.

My favourite part of the book was when Penny talked to her parents towards the end of the book, about her plans and aspirations for the future, because her parents were so understanding, even though they knew they would miss her very much. I think I enjoyed this part the most because of being away from my family at university at the moment, it hit me quite close to home.

That scene in particular was written particularly well, but the rest of the writing seemed to be quite average, still good enough to read, but there wasn’t anything particularly special about it.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but maybe to teens slightly younger than myself (as I am now approaching 20 next year!), so maybe about 14-15 year olds. It’s difficult, because Penny is roughly around my age, yet I felt that the writing and story line didn’t reflect that as well as it could have done.

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

Categories
3.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ by John Green and David Levithan

When I first read the ‘top three’ John Green books (being Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns and, of course, The Fault In Our Stars) I was compelled to go out and buy the other books he had written. I tried to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson about a year ago and I really couldn’t get into it. Whether it was because I knew there were other books that were waiting for me to read them, or if I just wasn’t into that genre at the time. This time, I did manage to finish and it wasn’t actually as bad as I originally thought.

For the purpose of this review, and having two characters named Will Grayson, John Green’s Will is written with a capital -W and David Levithan’s with a lowercase -w as written in the book.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ by John Green and David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.

My Review

I’ve never really picked up a book of this genre, if you could even pin point it to a genre. It was a YA novel, set at high school, with a bit of comedy, a bit of music, a bit of mental health issues; everything I feel a YA novel should have really. The book is split, each chapter being written by the point of view of a different Will Grayson. One Will is friends with Jane Turner and Tiny Cooper; the school’s (and quite possibly the state’s) most elaborately gay teen with a contradictory name… he is by no means Tiny! The other will doesn’t have a wide selection of friends, and those who are can be unreliable, like Maura. To begin with, the events in the book took a while to get to grips with, because there were two people with the same name, I got a bit confused! As the book went on, my brain processed this a lot easier and I knew who each of the characters were and who they were friends with, what they were doing and the different circumstances they were in. Some parts of the book were quite predictable, but the ending was very well hidden from the reader I would be surprised if anyone could have guessed what Will was planning for the show. There were ups and downs in the book where it got exciting, but it was mostly a very straightforward. There weren’t a lot of stand-out events.

I think Jane was a really likeable character, and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Will flower, which was one part of the book that was done very well. Also, who doesn’t like Tiny Cooper?! His character, besides Will and will, was very prominent in the story, almost like he could have been the main character!

Apart the amazingly weird coincidence that you should meet someone with the exact name as you in the most unlikely place, this book is a very standard high-school YA novel, with all of the defining features, which made it feel quite real to me. My favourite part of the book was the scene outside the meeting spot of the two Will Grayson’s, when everything happens: the two Will’s have just met, Tiny meets will, Jane and Will hit it off, Maura calls will to tell him what has been going on and, although the scene was busy, it felt very alive. I did laugh out loud a lot during this book, which is a contrast with other John Green books! I haven’t read and Levithan before this book, but I do plan to read more to see what other things he has written are like. The humour was just what I enjoy reading, not too rude, but not too childish either.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to people who are fans of John Green’s more popular works, as it does have a completely different vibe, and with Levithan I am unsure because I don’t have anything to compare it to. Fans of light-hearted YA novels will love this, and especially those with a sense of humour. It was a great summer read for my two week holiday!

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)