Sunday, 30 November 2014

Oh DEAR | November Reviews

Okay, so you know the way in my first Oh DEAR post I said I was aiming to read 4 books by the end of November? Yeah...well...I kinda maybe didn't actually reach my goal. In fact I only achieved half of it ('Oh DEAR' indeed, you're probably thinking). I was just so busy with everything and I have mocks starting next week so I've been studying a lot and haven't had very much free time. And even when I did have free time, I was absolutely exhausted. But at least I do have two reviews to give you now and it just means the books I didn't get to read in October/November, I'll be reading over December and January.

'The Glimpse' by Claire Merle

Plot in a nutshell from Goodreads: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and found it very gripping right from the start. After getting about a quarter of the way through it, I found it very difficult to put down. However I should warn you that it's not a light-hearted, happy love story. It's a book which deals with many deep themes such as mental illness, abduction, death, and deceitful families.

I really like how Merle wrote the book almost like a mystery, leaving little clues as she went along. Other parts of the book were so unpredictable that I had to read over them again to make sure my eyes weren't making things up!

I liked Ana, the protagonist. She is a strong, independent young woman and I admire how she will give up anything for what she believes in. However, she did annoy me a bit at times because of some decisions she made and I was sitting there thinking, "Why?!"

I found Ana's dad to be a really interesting character. There were times during the book when I hated him but then something happens (which I won't say because it'll spoil it for you) which made me think he really does love Ana and just has a strange way of showing it. So I still don't really know what to think of him.

In terms of the love story woven into the book, I found Jasper to be a bit bland. It was almost as if the idea of him was better than the reality. I definitely prefer the other boy, who I won't name (VOLDEMORT?!). I found it quite shocking so I don't want to give it away for anyone.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was action-packed, fast-paced and included everything that, in my opinion, makes a good book. I can't wait to read the sequel, 'The Fall'.

My Rating: 5/5 ☺

'How To Love' by Katie Cotugno

Plot in a nutshell from Goodreads
Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind. 

Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

My thoughts: I began this book with a bit of suspicion. I thought it would be about an 18-year-old girl holding a grudge against the boy who got her pregnant 2 years earlier. Talk about judging a book by it's cover (or first few pages in this case, I guess...). A few pages in, however, I realised I was wrong and it was so much more than that.

I really love the way Cotugno took the story of Reena at 16 years old and then again 2 years later when her life had completely changed, drawing parallels between each of the time periods in her life.

I loved character of Reena and found that I had quite a lot in common with her, like her desire to travel and see the world, her timidness and I even have a friend whom Allie reminded me a lot of. I found I could relate to Reena in so many ways and I really liked that. Although, there were parts that I was thinking 'you silly girl' for some of the decisions she made because I definitely wouldn't have done the same, but I guess it's because she's so young in love and isn't thinking.

I didn't like Sawyer at the beginning because of the fact that he'd left Reena pregnant, and I wanted Reena to stay with Aaron. However, as the story progressed I grew to like Sawyer and I was happy the way the book ended.

The only thing I found about the book was there were times at the end of, for example, a 'Before' chapter and I wanted to skip right through the following 'After' chapter to find what was going to happen in the next 'Before' chapter, if you get me... I would fly through the following 'After' just for the sake of getting it read. But I guess that's just Cotugno building up the suspension.

Overall, I just loved how realistic and human this book is. I loved how the characters were portrayed and how the story progressed. I know the summary of the book gives a lot about it away but there is so much more to the book than just Reena and Sawyer - friendship and family are two other major themes in the book. It's quite a light and easy read, so if you like this type of book, I would definitely recommend it!

My Rating: 4/5 ☺

Since I only got 2 of the 4 books read that I was hoping to, I will carry the other 2 on to read throughout December and January. So the 4 books I aim (key word being aim, haha) to have read by the end of January are:

  • 'The Maze Runner' by James Dashner
  • 'Eleanor and Park' by Rainbow Rowell
  • 'Girl Online' by Zoe Sugg
  • 'Lola and the Boy Next Door' by Stephanie Perkins

If you have read any of the books mentioned in this post, I would love to know what you thought of them! Or if you have any recommendations for books to read after the four above, I would love to hear them :)

- Caoimhe x

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