Review: The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

The Boy Who Loved RainBook Details:

Author: Gerard Kelly
Genre: Adult Contemporary
PublisherLion Fiction
Pages: 320
Published: January 2015
Goodreads Rating: 4.08
I received this book in return for an honest review as part of a book tour for the novel. 

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Blurb:

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.

David Dryden, pastor of a high-profile church in London, is admired for his emphasis on the Christian family.

But all is not well in his own family. He and his wife, Fiona, have been glossing over his son Colom’s erratic behavior. Then, when a commitment to die is discovered in Colom’s room after the suicide of a school friend, David finds himself out of his depth–and Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees.

A wonderful, intelligent, and searching novel about the toxic nature of secrets, and the possibility of starting again.

My Thoughts:

The Boy Who Loved Rain is one of those books that creeps up on you and hooks you without even realizing it is happening. Admittedly, the first leg of the book doesn’t grab hold of your attention quite like the last 2/3 of the story, but it is definitely worth the slow start once you are in the heart of the story.

This is one of those novels I find hard reviewing because I don’t want to give anything away – it is much better if you, like I did, go into this story completely blind.

The story is about family, decisions, secrets, and discovery; it definitely isn’t a book you want to take lightly.

You feel so much frustration at the characters and the plot as you are reading because you, as a reader, may find it difficult to understand the choices of certain characters…especially the father, David. You are frustrated because you know there is more of the story to be told (especially at the beginning) and you aren’t getting it. This is why once things start moving about a third of the way into the novel and secrets begin to unveil themselves you can’t stop reading.

The book as an ongoing theme of rain running throughout the story; each chapter begins with a quote about rain and I think each quote certainly helps to relate the theme of the certain chapter. It’s a clever way of weaving the title and the theme through the book.

The imagery the book creates is amazing, Gerard Kelly made everything sound so beautiful and real. I certainly want to make a trip to Portivy now; it sounds lovely. And as a Canadian, it is nice to see the country represented in the book, it is not something you see too often with non-Canadian authors so it was refreshing to see!

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys books about family and just anyone who is looking for a very engaging read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think many others would too.

My Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Gerard Kelly

Gerard Kelly is a writer, preacher-poet, mac lover, coffee drinker and twitturgist. He and his wife Chrissie have lived and worked in the UK, France and the Netherlands and are popular speakers at conferences in Europe. In 1995 they founded Cafe-net, the European missions project that became The Bless Network in 2004. In 2009 they wrote ‘Intimate with the Ultimate’: a book on prayer and spirituality drawn from their many years of teaching and leadership across Europe. They currently live in Basse Normandy, France, where Bless are establishing a missional community.

– via Lion Hudson PLC

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Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Book Details:
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Pages: 480
Released: May 1st 2014
Goodreads Rating: 4.05

Goodreads summary:
A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.
Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.
How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

My Thoughts:
This book. I honestly don’t know what more I can say about this book other than it is definitely one of the best books I have read this year so far.

I’m not going to give anything away in this review because I think the best way to go into More Than This is without a lot of knowledge about what to expect. I only went into the book having read the blurb on the back and with recommendations from friends – whose judgements I trust – saying the book was fantastic.

I didn’t put this book down. I couldn’t. I was so entranced by this story and the characters’ lives that I had to find out what was going to happen; I needed to know the truth.

You can definitely say I was obsessed with this story and when it was finished I can honestly say that I wanted more! I wanted to know what happened next, I wanted to know more than this (badumtis).

It’s beautiful, thought provoking, funny at times, scary in others; it is the whole package and then some. Like John Green said, “Just read it.”

As I previously mentioned, I don’t want to give anything away, just know that I am officially on the Patrick Ness fan-wagon and I could not be more excited to read more of his work.

EVERYONE READ THIS, OKAY?

My Rating:
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. It has definitely been added to my go-to recommendations pile because I think everyone would enjoy this whether or not you like sci-fi or novels in the YA category.

Favourite Quotes:
“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”

“Know yourself and go in swinging.”

“You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know.”

“Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”

“We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we’d go crazy.”

 

Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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Book Details:
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 541 c.
Released: February 5th 2013 (10th Anniversary Edition)
Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Goodreads summary:
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.

Continue reading

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

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Book Details:
Author: David Levithan & John Green
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Dutton Children’s
Pages: 304 c.
Released: April 6th 2009
Goodreads Rating: 3.96

Goodreads summary:
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

My Thoughts:
To be perfectly honest with you all when I first started reading this book I didn’t think I was going to like it. I was probably about 50-100 pages in and I wasn’t really feeling it, and then something happened and before I knew it the book was over. It’s like the characters and the story finally won me over and by the time I got to the end I didn’t was the story to finish.

I didn’t like Will Grayson at first (the first one we read). He was so set in his mind about things and very stubborn about doing anything that didn’t fall within his set of personal rules. Later on when he finally starts to open himself to a more Tiny type of thinking (stop worrying so much what other people think, date the girl etc.) I liked him so much more. When Will Grayson no. 1 and Tiny Cooper have their little…well big heart to heart – nothing involving Tiny could be considered little – in the dugout I felt my heart grow two sizes.

I enjoyed reading the second Will Grayson as well. I really felt horrible for him when he found out his secret online love ended up being his friend – I don’t even want to begin to imagine how much being catfished hurts. Seeing the growth in himself over the period of his story was beautiful – from denying his sexuality at the beginning to being able to come out to his mother and the rest of the school it’s all about the little steps towards a better, more accepting life.

But let’s be read here…even though the book is called Will Grayson, Will Grayson the story is about Tiny Cooper and I’m perfectly fine with that. I love Tiny. So much. I also envy him a little and his ability to so easily wear his heart on his sleeve. Sure you are more susceptible to being hurt but how do you live without living on the edge a bit. When I grow up I wouldn’t mind being a bit more like Tiny Cooper. And I think that is what this story is about; both Will Graysons feel the same way by the end of the book in one way or another.

One thing that annoyed me in the book was the lack of grammar from Will Grayson no. 2. I understand why it needed to be done, but it made me cringe every time I was reading it.

I don’t even know if any of this made sense, but I just had a lot of feelings about this book and I hope I managed to get my point across.

My Rating: 

On Goodreads I gave this a 5 because you can’t do half stars, but my rating is 4.5 out of 5. EVERYONE GO READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T.

Favourite Quotes:

“Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.”

“You like someone who can’t like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot. ”

“When things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It’s because a little piece gets lost – the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.”

“this is why we call people exes, I guess – because the paths that cross in the middle end up separating at the end. it’s too easy to see an X as a cross-out. it’s not, because there’s no way to cross out something like that. the X is a diagram of two paths.”

“maybe tonight you’re scared of falling, and maybe there’s somebody here or somewhere else you’re thinking about, worrying over, fretting over, trying to figure out if you want to fall, or how and when you’re gonna land, and i gotta tell you, friends, to stop thinking about the landing, because it’s all about falling.”

“i will admit there’s a certain degree of giving a fuck that goes into not giving a fuck. by saying you don’t care if the world falls apart, in some small way you’re saying you want it to stay together, on your terms.”

“That’s what the voices in your head are for, to get you through the silent parts.”

…it might have been easier to just put the whole damn book here.

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book Details:
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 433 c.
Released: Sept. 10, 2013
Goodreads Rating: 4.2

Goodreads Summary:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review: 

I really, really enjoyed this book. There was a lot in it that I completely related to, and I think that is what made me feel for Cath a lot. Rowell has a way of creating these intensely real characters that people can relate to; if it is not the main character, it will be one of the secondary characters. You become invested in everyone’s story and start getting frustrated when you see things that should be right in front of the character’s eyes (*cough* LEVI *cough*).

While I did love Cath (mostly because we are pretty similar people) she wasn’t my favourite in the story – that honour goes to Cath’s roommate Reagan (and Levi who I will talk about a little later). Reagan was great and exactly what Cath needed in her life. As someone who clams up when put out of their comfort zone I can tell you how important it is to find someone to pull you out and make you comfortable. Reagan was really direct about it, not giving Cath any other option. Not to mention Reagan was hilarious. Totally my favourite character.

I really didn’t like Wren. She annoyed me. Maybe because her attempts to break away from her sister and become ‘one of the college kids’ was so obviously desperate or it could be because I didn’t relate to her all that much. I never wanted to leave the fandom life- much like Cath – so I wasn’t in sync with Wren’s brainwaves. I just found her character to be really annoying (Cath was annoying too, just not in the same way).

There were only two things that I wasn’t too thrilled about (sort of…you’ll see what I mean).

The first one is Levi. Now don’t get me wrong – I LOVE this character. He’s so sweet and amazing and just an all around great guy…I just couldn’t buy it. Maybe because I’ve never met anyone like that or I’m just a crazy cynic, but his character wasn’t believable to me. Trust me, I wanted him to be believable because, like I said, I loved him and everything he was about (plus he worked at Starbucks – hello free coffee), but I think he was maybe too perfect. Doesn’t change the fact that he is on the “best fictional boyfriend” list, though.

The second thing, and this is actually something that I wasn’t a fan of: the fanfiction.

I love my a good fanfiction. Sometimes I put off reading actual novels to read multiple novel length fanfictions (happens more often than I’d care to admit) and the quality of the fanfiction in Fangirl was not good. I have definitely read better fanfics online, and for someone who is supposed to be the best, the messiah of Baz/Simon fics it just wasn’t good enough.

Overall though I did really enjoy this novel. It was a quick read that held my attention the whole time for so many different reasons. Wanting to know what happened with Cath’s writing class, with Nick, with her sister, her dad, how her relationships with Levi and Reagan were going to grow – there were so many things to look forward to. While I don’t think it’s a book I would read over and over again, I think that anyone who is living the same lifestyle as Cath (or even Wren) should read this book. Big ups to Rowell for writing about a group of people that doesn’t really like being in the spotlight, and doing it really well.

My Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Review: Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

I was originally going to review each of these books individually but then I realised that I didn’t really care for them enough to warrant individual reviews. Also I read them all within a week, so it’s almost like they were one giant book anyway. I should add that I did read all the books before the movie came out, but I was aware of casting which could (absolutely did) alter how I felt about certain characters (*cough* Theo James *cough*).

Overall I can easily say that I liked the Divergent trilogy. I didn’t love it, but I definitely enjoyed my time reading it…for the most part (more on this later).

The story was fun, there was a badass female character, a super handsome lead who is, uh, sometimes really cool, and REALLY GREAT SECONDARY CHARACTERS.

Let’s begin, shall we:

Divergent

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

Out of the three novels Divergent is definitely my favourite. The story was engaging, there was great action, and compelling characters. It had all the characteristics that make a successful YA novel.

The one thing that bugged me was the age of the character Tris versus the way she thought and acted throughout the book. It just didn’t add up, and I know they they generally don’t but sometimes you don’t notice it (The Hunger Games) and I noticed in this (just like I most definitely noticed in City of Bones). I think it takes a little believability away from the main character, but not enough that you aren’t rooting for her to succeed.

The love story wasn’t too over done either, very predictable, but not over done. I really did like Four a lot – his actual name (Tobias *shudder with hate*) and story was a also extremely predictable, but I just kept picturing Theo James and honestly didn’t care.

Other than that I really did enjoy Divergent and was definitely looking forward to finishing the rest of the story ASAP when I finished it…which I did.

I give Divergent 4 out of 5 stars.

Insurgent 

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful.
Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I was honestly neither here nor there with this book. I flew through it and enjoyed certain aspects of it (URIAH AND CHRISTINA FTW) but just…meh.

It is probably the one book that I remember least because it, in all honesty, wasn’t very memorable; it was there to bridge the gap between Divergent and Allegiant.

The one thing I was always hyper aware of with these books was how close together all the action takes place. There is literally no time for anyone to breath let alone heal all these wounds they seem to be getting. A tad unrealistic, but it is a fiction book after all.

Thinking back on this book it is sad how little I actually remember and what I do remember is that I love the secondary characters so much more than Tris and ‘Tobias.’

Speaking of ‘Tobias’ am I the only one who prefers Four over Tobias. Four is strong and mysterious and Tobias is a whiny little shit. GO BACK TO BEING FOUR!

Insurgent gets 3 out of 5 stars because I remember enjoying it…but I don’t remember anything else.

Allegiant 

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

And now we arrive to the shit show that is Allegiant. I apologise if you liked the book, but I also question your sanity a little bit.

Let’s start off with the first thing that really grinds my gears about this book: switching perspectives. In the long run I fully understand why it needed to happen, but it just wasn’t good. I would be reading Tobias and thinking it was Tris. This happened constantly.

Veronica Roth doesn’t seem to have the male voice down at all because I was never picturing Tobias (I really hate that name so much…no wonder he changed it to Four). Maybe she had been writing as Tris for so long that she couldn’t differentiate? I have no idea but it did not work – it made me hate Tobias more than I think we were supposed to.

And then there is Tris…oh Tris, how you annoyed me by the end of this series. Okay guys..major spoilers coming up about this one over here so if you haven’t read the series yet LEAVE NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE.

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Is everyone gone? Okay.

I was happy when Tris died. It was the only way the story could have ended without it being a cop out. I’m a crier when I read books, and I can honestly say that I didn’t shed a single tear reading anything about her death. She obviously couldn’t let her brother walk to his death, the Abnegation in her was 100% not going to let that happen.

I did, however, shed a few tears when Uriah went. He is hands down my favourite character in the book and I was rooting for hard for him to survive…but that never ends up working. He was funny, likeable, and just a breath of fresh air.

Overall I would have to give Allegiant 3 out of 5 stars as well because even though most of it was really not good the ending made up for it a little bit.

Let me know what you thought of the series; did you agree with me, disagree? Comment below of hit me up on Twitter and we can chat!

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