Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

I finally read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and just in time for the new Netflix tv show based on the book.

It’s such a heartbreaking story, about a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her and she threw it away.

I’ve seen that some readers have left low reviews saying that Hannah let small things get her down, that she died for nothing.

But they weren’t small things. Hannah’s suicide – it was such a waste. But that’s how depression works. Insidious. How it creeps up on you and you don’t notice until it’s too late. How your life feels hopeless. If you’re not strong enough, can’t will yourself out of it, it can drown you. And when you’re drowning, you’re unable to call for help, unable to accept it when it’s given.

She got to a point where she lost any self-respect for herself. She didn’t have the willpower or the courage to do the right thing. That, more than anything, drowned her.

Why is it so hard to do the right thing? For people to be considerate? This book didn’t just portray Hannah’s decisions but the other kids involved in her life who were selfish and who used others to benefit themselves. How many of us can say we would have done the right thing in her shoes? It’s easy to say it, but harder to live it when you see the injustice and cruelty happening around you. Do we really know what a person is truly going through?

The one I felt the most for, was Clay. It’s the people left behind who are the ones who hurt the worst.

Jay Asher wrote a story which emphasized real issues that are happening in our high schools, issues like bullying, peer pressure, sexual abuse, stalking, rape. High school should be a safe place and instead, it’s a minefield. How many kids end up drowning under those problems? How many are like Hannah? Who don’t have anyone to talk to, someone who listens to them? Who are misunderstood? Who feel invisible or who are crushed down by other people?

Thirteen Reasons Why was a well-written story. Maybe it can sensitize others into thinking of the consequences of their actions and give them the courage to do the right thing.

S.R. McKade

Review – The Host by Stephenie Meyer

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Synopsis: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Genre: Young Adult Sci-fi, Romance, Dystopian

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I finally got around to reading The Host. I watched the movie when it came out and loved it. I told myself I definitely had to read the book. But you know how it goes with TBR (To-Be-Read) lists – you keep adding books with big, greedy eyes on little time to read but you just can’t help yourself. And voilà, that’s how you know you’re a bookworm. I recently re-watched the movie and loved it all over again. I decided I better read the book this time.

So I started reading it and I got hooked in. So much so, that I was up till 2 a.m. reading. I found it enthralling. Stephanie Meyer did a great job in writing a sci-fi story that was interesting, emotional and fun. Her imagination is a marvel. The way she wrote about those lives Wanderer lived in the other worlds—I could picture them.

Her writing was a joy to read. The emotions practically jumped out of the page. Poignant, emotional, well-written and fantastic story-telling. Five stars and straight into my favorites and to-read-again pile.

I’m so glad I watched the movie before reading the book. This way I got to enjoy BOTH the movie AND the book.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Soundless by Richelle Mead

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From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore. For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation. But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon. Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever….

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
Describing conversations through sign language, depicting a silence that speaks more than a thousand words, making emotions resonate through it – can be a tough job for an author. But Richelle Mead managed it with an excellence that left me in awe of her writing.

As a reader, her writing made it easy for me to visualize Fei’s world, the harshness of her life and the lives of the villagers, the crippling decisions and choices all of them have to face.

Amidst this world of silence, the emotions of these people came through loud and clear. How they couldn’t even allow themselves hopes and dreams – vital elements that we can’t do without. Their fears and despair, pain and sorrow, Li Wei and Fei’s courage and strength of character, their sacrifice, their love and duty, jumped off the page.

The story came alive for me, and that’s a must-have quality for a great book.

Soundless has an interesting plot-line and excellent writing, to the point where the flow of words was a joy to read. I enjoyed this book very much.

For a first-time stand-alone, Richelle Mead did an outstanding job. Added to that, awesome cover! Highly recommended.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review: The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower #7) by Stephen King

The seventh and final installment of Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga is perhaps the most anticipated book in the author's long career. King began this epic tale about the last gunslinger in the world more than 20 years ago; now he draws its suspenseful story to a close, snapping together the last pieces of his action puzzle and drawing Roland Deschain ever closer to his ultimate goal.

The seventh and final installment of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower saga is perhaps the most anticipated book in the author’s long career. King began this epic tale about the last gunslinger in the world more than 20 years ago; now he draws its suspenseful story to a close, snapping together the last pieces of his action puzzle and drawing Roland Deschain ever closer to his ultimate goal.

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

It’s the end of an era, the end of a long-fought battle to reach the Dark Tower. A long journey of loss and pain, joy and tragedy, love and hate.

I can’t believe it’s over. Or maybe it’s not.

The ending left me in shock and disbelief. I still can’t quite grasp that Roland’s quest ended like that. My heart broke for him, for he always was my favorite, he and Jake and Oy. It’s so not fair.
At the same time, a little voice inside me says it couldn’t have ended any other way. That it was Roland’s fate, his curse, his damnation.

I did love Susannah’s ending. Stephen King did an awesome job there. He also did a great job in projecting an uncertainty and tension of whether Roland would make it to the Dark Tower, if he would really be the one to reach it. It wasn’t until almost the end chapters that you knew for sure who would make it to the Dark Tower.

The Red King was kind of funny in his insanity and made me laugh. Patrick was a delightful addition to the group. And Oy, ah sweet, brave Oy.
I found the last Dark Tower book tragic but very powerful. The ending, the knowledge of Roland’s fate broke my heart.

Review – Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King

Roland of Gilead and his fellow pilgrims determine to reach the Dark Tower, but their quest is rife with confrontation, conflict and sacrifice - from a vast computer system which bargains in riddles to Roland's old enemy Walter and the wizard's glass.

Roland of Gilead and his fellow pilgrims determine to reach the Dark Tower, but their quest is rife with confrontation, conflict and sacrifice – from a vast computer system which bargains in riddles to Roland’s old enemy Walter and the wizard’s glass.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

“Bird and Bear and Hare and Fish,
Give my love her fondest wish.”

Such a sweet rhyme, yet, so heartbreaking at the same time. I think, for as long as I live, I will always remember this rhyme.

As Roland told his story, I forgot that Eddie, Suzannah, Jake and Oy were there.
There were only Roland, his father, his mates Alain and Cuthbert, the people of Mejis. And his Susan.

The past turned into the present.
Intellectually, I knew that the people Roland talked about were long dead but as he told his story, they came alive for me. I could see the young Roland, so young and innocent.

The showdown at the start with Roland, Alain, Cuthbert and the coffin hunters – that was so cool and brilliant! Man, what strategy, what suspense, what excitement! They were magnificent. That was one of my favorite parts of the story.

At the end, Roland’s deepest grief became mine and I had to put the book away for a little while so I could mourn, too, as he did. Some people stay with you, in your heart, forever.

What stands out most to me in this latest volume, through every revelation – just how hard Roland’s life is, what an ordeal his quest for the Dark Tower is. But what is a quest, if not fraught with pitfalls? To carry the burden of all that pain and heartbreak and not crumble under it. To keep going day after day with what he went through. I wished I had superpowers so I could jump in the book and take it all away for him, make it all better.

Hats off to Mr. King for yet another compelling book. Now onto book 5 – the Dark Tower looms ever closer.

Review – The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) by Stephen King

Roland, the Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares- as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted mirror of our very own. With him are those he has drawn to this world, street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah. Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who he is and what is driving him.

Roland, the Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares- as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted mirror of our very own. With him are those he has drawn to this world, street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah. Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who he is and what is driving him.


Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

The Dark Tower looms ever closer and yet even further. The world has moved on and things that should be illogical and impossible, are just the opposite.

I loved this third volume especially because I got to see Jake again. He and Roland have always been my favorites. Eddie and Susannah are awesome, too. It’s endearing to see how their characters are changing, becoming stronger. Oh, yes – Jake, Eddie and Susannah are as much gunslingers as Roland is.

I enjoyed the deeper glimpses in each of their characters, how I got to know them better, how their minds work, what they feel, how each of them relate to Roland. And of course, can’t forget the loyal Oy. Oh, I want a billy-bumbler, too!!

The volumes that follow just keep sinking their hooks deeper in me. I’m so deeply entrenched in The Dark Tower that it has become my quest, too, my obsession as much as Roland’s and I badly need to reach it, till the very end.

Review – The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

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The Second Volume in the Epic Dark Tower Series… The Drawing of the Three While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland is drawn through a mysterious door that brings him into contemporary America. Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies. Once again, Stephen King has masterfully interwoven dark, evocative fantasy and icy realism.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

The first book – The Gunslinger – was just a sort of preview of what’s to come – if a book as long as each volume is could be called a preview, lol. The second book details how Roland draws the two necessary elements for his quest into his world.

The lobstrosities always did freak me out a bit. The first time I read this book I was younger and when I’d go to the beach I’d check if there weren’t any lobstrosities coming out to get me. To think those things came out of someone’s imagination. In a world where things on paper’d come alive, those things would definitely top my creep-me-out list.

But I digress. I enjoyed this second volume very much, even more than the first and I got hooked deeper in Roland’s quest. His two companions are total unexpected surprises but as Roland says, each one’s a gunslinger in his/her own right.

And of course, Mr. King’s strategies and action-packed scenes are so totally cool! I loved everything about this second volume, especially the very satisfying climax.

In the first book, Roland’s choice disappointed me but this time he was my hero once again, with how he set things right.

Highly recommended.

 

 


Review – The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

Book I In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake. This new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King, with new story material, in addition to a new introduction and foreword. It also includes four full-color illustrations in the hardcover and trade paperback formats.
Synopsis:    Book I
In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.
This new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King, with new story material, in addition to a new introduction and foreword. It also includes four full-color illustrations in the hardcover and trade paperback formats.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 4 of 5 Stars

When I first started on the Dark Tower series some ten years ago, I had to stop at book 3 or 4 because back then, book 5 to 7 weren’t available where I lived and it was so hard to find the books I was looking for. Having an E-reader changed my life for the best – I could finally find the books I wanted – no, needed. I can’t count the number of books I’ve read since I got my Kindle. Here’s to hoping I finally make it to book 7 of the Dark Tower series.

Review
Every time I think of the Gunslinger, the image of Clint Eastwood from one of my favorite movies “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” pops into my mind. Oh, how I had my heart set on the rugged and dashing cowboy!

So that’s how Roland of Gilead, the gunslinger, looks like to me. He and Jake are the two characters who totally stole my heart from the very first moment I ‘met’ them. I can’t help but empathize with both of them.

Stephen King tells a gripping, mysterious tale of a gunslinger who relentlessly pursues a man in black in a quest to find The Dark Tower. We don’t know what The Dark Tower is or why Roland is seeking it. I found the man in black totally bonkers and absolutely spooky. *shudder* (Way to go, Mr. King.)

The first book’s like an appetizer, just giving you a tantalizing taste of all the delicacies to come. I was a willing follower of the Gunslinger throughout his journey and the tough choices he faced.

The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5, was because Roland’s biggest choice made me unhappy but I understood why he had to do it.

Stephen King’s always been an amazing story-teller, but his Dark Tower series? They’re an absolute MUST-READ!

 

 

Review – Heart Shaped Rock by Laura Roppe

21902780Genre: Young Adult

Review: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: 16 May 2014

This book hooked me in so deeply I read it in one sitting. It was so captivating, I couldn’t bear to pull away from it. The author’s writing is witty, funny, and thoughtful.

Heart Shaped Rock is about a young girl — a young woman really, because anyone who’s dealt with grief knows that it forces you to grow up fast — and how she deals with the heartbreaking loss of her mother to cancer at such a tender age, how she fights to hold the grief at bay, to try to feel normal again. To not miss her mother so much that she feels lost without her. To heal.

It’s about how a teenager’s life can be fraught with pitfalls and as complicated as an adult’s. I felt for Shaynee and I could relate to her and her family, picking up the pieces of their lives after her mother’s death. The cute and sweet little brother, the father who’s lost without the love of his life and wondering how to keep going on, how to be there for his two children.

One of the most emotional and deeply heartfelt books I’ve ever read. Not to mention, the songs were awesome and are now currently gracing my mp3 player. The author wrote amazing lyrics. I absolutely loved the songs ‘Cobalt Blue’ and ‘Heart Shaped Rock’. I enjoyed all the characters in this story, how the author made them so vivid, so real. I loved Dean, how charismatic and caring he was.

And the emotion, oh it just jumped out of each page! I laughed and I cried and I felt. You know how when you listen to a good song and it affects you so deeply that goosebumps break out on your skin, or you cry from feeling so much? That’s what Heart Shaped Rock is – one long heartfelt song. This book is for everyone who has been through the loss of someone special and who knows how hard the road to healing can be – some days you’re okay and others you just lapse again. For anyone who appreciates a story with emotion so well-portrayed, it seems to leap out of the page. Kudos to the author for creating such an amazing story.

Highly Recommended.

Review – Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

7818683Genre: Young Adult

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

An absolutely terrific, well-written story. I loved it. The title and cover hooked me first, I remember thinking – “Awesome cover. And what a clever title!”

Being a teenager can be hard, trying to fit in, finding your own place in this world, figuring out WHO you really are. Added to that emotional turmoil – your deafness and you have to work twice as hard, fight even more to make people ‘see’ you, who you are and not be defined by your inability to hear.

Being deaf makes you more and not less. This book shows how Piper learns what really matters and figures out who she is, how to make sense of the world around her, find her place in it and realize her own self-worth. That she can be the amazing person she is to have the courage to stand up for her friends and to know how to grab on to love when she finally sees it was right there for her all along.

I loved everything about this book, not to mention how the author added little plot twists that kept you guessing. Amazing plot-line and excellent writing.