Wednesday, 21 March 2018

LOOK FOR ME BY LISA GARDNER

Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis:
The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

My Review:
The past two years I have had the privilege of being opened to the world of psychological thriller fiction with the beautifully terrifying writing of Lisa Gardner and her books Right Behind You and Find Her.

Detective D.D. Warren has teamed up with badass survivor Flora Dane for a riveting new investigation into the life of a missing teenage girl. Like in any book written by one of your favourite authors, there is always something about their writing that just hooks you in immediately. I started reading Gardner’s D.D. Warren series on her seventh book into the series, yet it read like a standalone. I was baffled, I felt this guilty urge to go and read all of her other books before reading Find Her, but I didn’t need to. Every book she writes, whether it’s the Detective D.D. Warren series or her Quincy & Rainie series, she always writes in a way where they can be read as standalone adventures. Yes, there are many references to past stories, but it doesn’t leave you confused or feel like you are missing a part of the story.

Gardner certainly knows how to tell a story well and something often seen in her books is multiple perspectives, whether it be from different characters or different moments in time such as past tense reflections. However, in Look For Me, readers are enlightened into the mind of young Roxy Baez through her series of class essays entitled “What is the Perfect Family?”. In these essays, Roxy illustrates for the reader what it was like from the inside of her family, how she became a mother to her siblings and their experiences in a foster home system.

Look For Me is a story of mistakes, revenge, forgiveness and the true meaning of what it is to be a family. There are two really strong themes that Gardner focuses on in Look For Me, survival in a world of social media and how far one may go to stop the toxic cycle that continues to haunt many characters. Survival becomes a large part of Roxy’s part in the novel, whether it be in the foster home, out on the streets or in her family house with an alcoholic mother. In the years following Flora Dane’s escape from Jacob Ness, she becomes a vigilante as such where she starts up a support group for other survivors of kidnappings, predatory attacks or mass shootings. Roxy joins this group through a mutual friend’s recommendation and she learns what to pack if running away, what defence tactics work best and how to escape unscathed.

This new addition to Gardner’s D.D. Warren series isn’t as gruesome or cutthroat as her other books like Find Her but it still can be quite overwhelming as there is a lot going on in D.D. and Flora’s lives outside of the investigation. It certainly brings a large element of reality to the plate with the police procedures, the failure of the foster system and the irreplaceable damage that abuse can do to a family.

Lisa Gardner is a truly fantastic crime author and I highly recommend her books to anyone wanting to dive into crime fiction. If you enjoy books where you feel like you are constantly on the edge of your seat, her book Right Behind You is the book for you! However, if you are more of the grisly, gripping and gruesome, Find Her is one that will have you clawing for air as you turn the final pages.


Think Lovely Thoughts xo

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017: WHAT A YEAR!

As 2017 comes to a close, it's time to reflect on my favourite and least favourite books, characters I fell in love with and ones I despised, and reminisce on the wonderful worlds I visited.

1.    NUMBER OF BOOKS READ?
I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 25 books read in 2017
That’s 3 years in a row that I've completed my challenges now.

2.    NUMBER OF PAGES READ?
I read a total of 6705 pages.

3.    GENRE YOU READ THE MOST FROM?
Majority of the books I read in 2017 were contemporary books, but I also read a mix of romance and thriller too.

4.    BEST BOOK OF 2017?
Hands down the best and the first book I read in 2017, without a doubt goes to Lisa Gardner's Right Behind You

I couldn't get enough of Lisa Gardner's new release after reading both the ARC and finished copy. It kept me on the edge of my seat in suspense the whole time, flipping through the pages as I anxiously took in more of this psychological thriller and also feared "gas stations" a lot after finishing it. But that's how you know it's a fantastic book! Highly recommend it to all!

Check out my review here

5.    BEST SERIES STARTED IN 2017?
I finally picked up the ever-loved To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and it has the most tabs I've ever put in a book - including several on one page! I couldn't get enough of the adorable, mushy romance, the beautiful clichés and nuances between Lara, her family and the irresistible boys in her life. I can hardly wait to read the rest of this beautiful series!


6.    FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR YOU DISCOVERED IN 2017?
Now whilst I've read a lot of great books this year by authors I'd never read anything of, the title of my favourite author I came across in 2017 goes to the wonderfully talented, down-to-earth-as-all-heck, beautiful heart-wrenching debut author of The Color Project, SIERRA ABRAMS. 

Sierra's writing is unlike anything I've ever read. She draws on relatable life experiences, the emotions felt through music and those little moments that we all dream about to pull together to create a truly beautiful book.

Click here to read my extensive, gif filled review!

7.    BOOK YOU WERE UNABLE TO PUT DOWN?
Fake Fiancée by Ilsa Madden-Mills, a captivating romance novel about a star quarterback and an art student who just happen to fall into literally the cheesiest romantic situation possible: a fake engagement.

8.  MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER OF 2017?
Sara Smythe from Fiona Davis' The Address. A compelling tale about New York in the 1880s, how women were perceived by society (their work lives, role in society and hierarchy) and a chance encounter that could be more risky than Sara thought it to be.

9. FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK YOU READ IN 2017? 
a)  "If love is like a possession, maybe my letters are like my exorcisms" - To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

b)  "I'm a hopeless romantic. Any book with a love story in it is more likely to grab my attention." - The Color Project by Sierra Abrams


10. TOP 7 MOST ANTICIPATED 2018 RELEASES?
Obsido by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
The Witch’s Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr
The Controversial Princess by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Look For Me by Lisa Gardner


And there you have it! I hope you all had a fabulous year of reading in 2017 and are as excited as I am for all the amazing releases and hours of reading to come in 2018! Happy New Year, bookworms!


Think Lovely Thoughts xo

Sunday, 24 September 2017

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN

 
Rating: 5 super gooey romantic sparkly stars

Synopsis:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. 

My Review:



Oh my gosssssssshhhhhhhhh. Where do I even begin to describe my love for this adorable mushy perfect little cupcake of a book? I am still reeling from all the feels I don’t even know how to put my feelings into a comprehensible sentence! This book was utterly fabulous and I couldn’t get enough of the fluffy romantic, cutesy adventurous mushy romantic ish in this beautiful book.
I tabbed this book 16 times, and I’ll proudly admit that I tabbed one page 3 times because that’s how ah-freaking-mazing this story is!
Be sure to note the following pictures to understand all the feels I went through:



Ok, ok I need to stop fangirling and actually get on with this review...

After constantly having recommendations for this book thrown at me left, right and center, I finally gave in and decided to read the first instalment of Lara Jean Song’s love letters.
And it completely exceeded my expectations, no wonder it’s being adapted into a film 
– and yes, I am F R E A K I N G    O U T  about that!



I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before in one day because it’s just one of those books that I couldn’t for the life of me put it down. It kept me hooked and I kept telling myself “one more chapter and then I’ll go buy food” ... yeah, I bought that food about 3 hours later. But that’s just how good Jenny Han’s writing is!!

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was such a perfect book and one I’ll definitely be re-reading in the future. Jenny Han’s writing is beautiful, easy to read and follow the storyline, yet it’s still so wonderful and emotionally complex. The characters were cute, sweet and funny, and don’t even get me started on my new-found love for Peter *sigh*



Alright, let me give you a little run down on my thoughts of each of the characters because I have a lot of feels that need to be shared:

Margot: She was the only character that slightly annoyed me throughout the book, but she had her reasons for the choices she made. Although she wasn’t in the book as much as other characters, I loved how in the end everything came together and this helped to really flesh out why I had a few little problems with her.

Josh: Oh, sweet innocent Josh. He was a beautiful guy with a heart of gold but I could not for the world ship him with Lara Jean. Yes, he was uber cute at times but then he would hit a swing and be hella cold shoulder towards Lara Jean. But he was a great addition to the storyline and Lara Jean’s life.

Peter: Drop dead beautiful boy with a bad side, I loved him so freaking much! The ever popular ‘bad boy’ of the school but he wasn’t who they painted him to be. He was nothing like that, he was sweet, considerate and a real charmer. If I could, I would read about him all day – P.S. Jenny if you’re reading this, please write a novella about Peter!

The Dad: He was super sweet and all I wanted to do was hug him. He had so much love for his daughters and trying to tackle the role of being both a dad/mum – major respect. One of my favourite scenes is the cooking scene where the food is super salty, it was absolutely hilarious and so relatable! The family dynamic was written beautifully and such a massive part of the story.

Kitty: Adorable cinnamon bun Kitty, I love her so so much! By far one of my favourite characters in the whole story. I did think she acted a little old for her age at times, but to be fair that’s just her. I adored her relationship with her family, Josh and eventually Peter. It was beautiful to watch.

I loved the multi-racial aspect of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is so refreshing as it’s not often seen in many stories. But I loved seeing the cultural features throughout the book.

Another part within Jenny’s book was her inclusion of Harry Potter references! Like yasss Jenny! You absolute queen! Thank you for adding this to the story, it made for one of the utmost cutest scenes ever! And let’s not forget to mention the Peter Parker costume. This book is A M A Z I N G, that’s all I’ll say.

The ending was brilliant, how the wall built between Lara Jean and Margot was broken down, not only for them but for me too. All the tension I had towards Margot dissipated and I really understood her decisions.


Aaand of course, in all author fashion, Jenny leaves us on a cliff-hanger to then continue on with the second and third instalments in Lara Jean’s love stories!


I urge every single one of you to read this book! It was super sweet, hilarious and truly heart-warming. Go pick up To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before from your local bookstore, library or wherever you get your reading fix! It’s shot straight to my favourites list as I’m sure it will for you too!


Think Lovely Thoughts xo

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