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: How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer

blogthingMy Thoughts: 

How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé  is a book about three college friends and how their lives grow apart and find each other again after college. I found that the moral of the story was that life may not always end up how you seem, but if you keep the people who love you around it will always be a good time.

The three protagonists are all completely different people – a science major, music major, and a business major – but their friendship is something that is unbreakable. What I loved about the book was that even though they drifted apart over time their true friendship came out when they all reunited after 18 years without seeing each other.

This is the first time in a while where I can honestly say I didn’t have a least favourite story line – all three girls (Annie, Audrey, and Maddie) all had compelling storylines that intrigued me and I always wanted to know more.

I did have a few issues with the formatting of the book; I didn’t like that you only got a little of each character’s lives every couple of years – it certainly left me with a lot of questions that I desperately wanted answers to right away. It just made it seem almost jumpy, especially when things are being referred to before they fill you in on what was missed. It is something you have to get used to, but I just would have preferred more! A lot of the time I just wasn’t ready to let the chapter to end when it did.

One cool thing about this book was that it included recipes at the end of most chapters. As someone who doesn’t cook I liked that they were there, but I personally won’t try the recipes. On the other hand, for people who read this book and love to cook it will give them some great recipes to try out (if anyone wants to make me the chocolate soufflé I wouldn’t say no).

All in all, I did enjoy reading this book; it was fun, emotional, and a great book about friendship and growing up. I just wish I got to know more about their lives!

My Rating: 

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Favourite Quote: 

“Human  nature  is  complex,  Audrey.  If we only study the easy parts, the safe beauty and the accepted wisdom, and avoid the complex, ugly interpretations and the challenges to accepted boundaries of good and evil, we fail to try to live up to our divine potential.”  

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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My Thoughts:

*Because this is a second book there may be spoilers*

Sometimes with series they peak with the first novel; not with this series. It is hard to even put into words how much I enjoyed the second novel in the Throne of Glass series. It was the perfect combination of familiarity and newness that it dragged you even further into the world of Celaena Sardothien.

There is more kicking ass, character and world building, love, heartbreak, magic and just about everything you could hope in a second book. My heart and mind were literally pulled from one extreme to the next over and over.

I don’t want to give anything away, but it is safe to say that you grow to love the characters even more in this second book…and you may or may not (depending on which male you prefer in the series) be overcome with emotions with a certain pairing and their storyline.

If you are looking into reading this series I suggest you pick up the first book (Throne of Glass) immediately so you can get to Crown of Midnight and then Heir of Fire (review to come).

This series, the story, and its characters has won over my heart and has taken its place on my top book shelf of favourites. I NEED MORE NOW!

My Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars. I loved it and can’t recommend this series enough. If you want to read about a strong, complex, and just an all around great main female character this is the book for you. But even if that isn’t what you were looking for you should read it because I say so.

Favourite Quotes: 

“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”

“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.”

“The best lies were always mixed with truth.”

“Some things you hear with your ears. Others, you hear with your heart.”

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Book Details:
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 404
Published: August 2nd 2012
Goodreads Rating: 4.17

Blurb:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My Thoughts: 
You know that moment when you start a series and there comes a point where you realise you care more about the characters and what is going to happen  than your own life? Yeah, that’s what happened here.

I honestly haven’t read too much fantasy – Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings aside – so I was a little worried I wasn’t going to get into this one despite the amazing reviews I had seen and been told, but boy was I wrong. I, very quickly, became invested in the characters lives; I wanted to understand them, get to know them better, see love and happiness for them, and just see what the heck was going to happen with their story lines.

Celaena Sardothien is a complete badass who still cares for shoes and clothes; she is such a great female character and I think all girls should get to know her. I wanted to be her and I wanted to be her best friend.

Second to Celaena my favourite character is Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. I love him. So much. His character development and thought process throughout the novel was so interesting. So many feelings…but those will be looked at further in my Crown of Midnight review.

The Crown Prince (Dorian) and the Princess of Eyllwe (Nehemia) were also fantastic and engaging characters.

Basically, all the characters in the series are fantastic which is always something I look for in books, but especially in series.

There is no pure good in this story – though I think it is fair to say that the bad guys are pretty bad. All the characters have these amazing layers you can’t wait to dive into.

This novel is very clearly a set up novel that will allow the world and the story to grow as the series continues (as we will look at in future reviews).

Only one thing stood out to me as a negative; I found that there was a lot of repetition of titles. There is only so many times I need to hear that Celaean is Ardalan’s Assassin. Repeated way too many times.

Overall, the book was so great – a world set up book, but amazing nonetheless.

My Rating: 
4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good fantasy series that has an extremely strong female lead.

Favourite Quotes:
“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book Details:
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Phoenix
Pages: 466
Published: January 3rd 2013 (first edition: 2012)
Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Blurb:
Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

My Thoughts:
Much like with More Than Thisthis review is going to be completely spoiler free; simply because it is worth it going into Gone Girl completely blind.

I’ll admit, I have this problem where I like to read ahead – not the last page per say…though that is what it is most of the time, but even just flipping through the pages until something catches my eye that makes me want to either read what is happening or slap the book shut to avoid insane spoilers. That being said, I went into this book blind, but I definitely wasn’t blind all the way through.

The one thing that everyone talks about with this book is  the huge twists and turns of the plot, and the ending – some people love it and other hate it. I was..indifferent. I didn’t think it was as shocking as everyone said it was, but it was really intriguing and worked perfectly with the characters involved in this story. I personally thought it was the natural progression of the characters. This, of course, may have been a result of my previously mentioned reading ahead problem…but sh.

I can say with 100% certainty that I much hated almost all the main characters in this book, with a few exceptions of course (Go). They were just so messed up, but they were entertaining. I flew through the book without even realising it after a slow start.

There was quite a bit of humour that was intertwined in the plot, and I always appreciate a good joke of any kind. I think with the subject matter there needed to be some lighter moments that made you laugh out loud – which I did on a few occasions.

The book was, for me, over-hyped. I was expecting a lot more than what I got, but I still enjoyed it and I think as long as you go into this book not expecting it to be “the book to rule them all” it will be enjoyable to you too.

If you are looking for a psychological thriller/mystery this is definitely the book for you.

I also watched the movie so look out for a adaptation report coming later this week!

My Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars. It was good, but I was expecting more. It also took me a bit to get into it – it definitely picked up though.

Favourite (non spoiler) Quotes:
“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.”

“Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.”

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.”

“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.”

 

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.”

 

Audiobook First Impression: City of Bones

Book Details:
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Ari Graynor
Released: March 27th 2007
Goodreads Rating: 4.12
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Goodreads Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Quick Review:
If you have seen my books I couldn’t finish post you will know that when I first tried reading the City of Bones by Cassandra Clare I had to stop because I, for the life of me, could not get through the book. That being said, I really didn’t want to NOT finish it because I knew it had such a big following and I just wanted to be part of another YA phenomenon to fill the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games void in my heart. So I decided to switch to the audiobook format and just power through it whenever I got the opportunity. I did end up finishing the book (finally) but my thoughts when I started reading to when I finished listening did not change. I really, really, really disliked this book. Like…really, really, really.

I hated Clary, I hated Jace, the villains were shite, nothing made sense; I could honestly go on and on about what I didn’t like about the book (don’t even get me started on the 2 hours of my life wasted on the movie), but I’ll mention a few (emphasis on few) things I did enjoy.

I liked Simon and I didn’t mind Alec and Isabelle…oh, and I didn’t mind Magnus Bane too much either, but other than those few characters I really didn’t like anything else. A lot of the characters were already very familiar to me (hmm I wonder why)…

But yeah, I didn’t like the book and the only reason why I would continue the series is because I have heard that it gets better…and I have the box set from when it was at Costco (best book bargains, by the way).

Audiobook First Impression:
As mentioned previously, this was my first experience with audiobooks. I was excited to try something new, especially since I commute a lot and sometimes reading an actual book just doesn’t work out. The convenience of listening instead of reading proved positive when I would walk to meet friends or go to the gym and then while at the gym. But while the convenience of not having to actually read the book was high, it did nothing for me.

I found that I wasn’t fully immersing myself in the story like I would when reading a book, and I was forgetting parts of the plot. A lot of the time I actually found myself zoning out and not picking up anything at all…on a plane I actually fell asleep while listening and didn’t bother going back. That, of course, also has to do with my lack of enthusiasm for the story (I really could not care any less).

The narrator was also an issue for me. I was not fond of the voice and found it overly annoying at times and I think it made me dislike Clary even more than I already did.

This was definitely not a good first impression of audiobooks, but I don’t think I’m going to completely give up just yet…I might just wait awhile before I try again. I would definitely have to work on not tuning out the voices and trying to actually retain information from the story, but maybe if the book and narrator were better I wouldn’t have such a difficult time.

If you have any audiobook recommendations let me know in the comments below or on twitter @throughpgs. I really want to try again, but I think I need to find the right one.