Category Archives: standalone

[Review] A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

Book Title:                     A Monster Calls (Standalone)
Author:                            
Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Number of pages:    
215

Synopsis:

TA Monster Calls - Patrick Ness (Cover)he monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

(re: Goodreads @ A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

– If you are interested in this book in any capacity, skip all reviews and just delve into it (the copy with the artwork specifically)
– The writing is simple and powerful; don’t be fooled at this being advertised as kid-lit
– Unless you’re a robot, you will likely feel all the emotions tied to the stages of loss and grief

a-monster-calls-patrick-ness-scorecard-600x300

Initial Thoughts

No, I do not think that I am on a Ness binge (but damn is he rising up the ranks in favesies).

But let’s get onto the more important issue: why is the plain-text version of this book more expensive than the one with art? At least, I’m pretty sure it’s like a buck more for zero art. Now why would anyone want to buy that?

In truth, I don’t want this review to go into thorough detail like I usually do with most books. This is something that I can’t be bothered to ramble about (even if I know I won’t be able to shut up once I start) because I am in the firm belief that the less hype and the less you’re in contact with this book, the better position you are to fully enjoy it. But continuity calls for some analysis, I guess, and maybe I’ll find some clarity on how I feel about this book (because I honestly don’t know).

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.

Continue reading [Review] A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

[Review] Nearly Gone – Elle Cosimano

Book Title:                  Nearly Gone (Standalone)
Author:                         Elle Cosimano
Number of pages:  388

Synopsis:

nearlygone_coverBones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

(re: Goodreads @ Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

– Riddles and clues galore to be solved involving a large pool of suspects — to me, it reads like a mix between The Zodiac Killer and Criminal Minds
– Narrative pacing is on-point with it’s focused genre and will keep you questioning till the very end with various twists
– Underdeveloped characters; protagonist has book-smarts but lacks the alternative and often leads to making bad decisions
– There’s a paranormal element involving empathy which isn’t fully explored to it’s potential and is easily glossed over
– Romance is a love-square and also involves reformed bad boys, jealousy, and friend-zoning

Initial Thoughts:

I had some pretty high expectations with this read being in line with all them crime/mystery/suspense shows I watch on the daily. It’s not nearly as good as I thought it could have been but it wasn’t horrendous if one overlooks some key aspects. Being a murder-mystery centric, sometimes you just have to take that skepticism hat off—or at least lower your inquisitive mind a bit to actually not be particular picky.

Disclaimer: There may be spoilers inherent to this review from this point onward.

Continue reading [Review] Nearly Gone – Elle Cosimano

[Review] What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn

Book Title:                   What We Hide (Standalone)  
Author:                          Marthe Jocelyn
Number of pages:  288

Synopsis:

What We Hide - Marthe Jocelyn (Cover)Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny’s chance to finally stand out, so accidentally, on purpose, she tells a lie. But in the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has something to hide. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke both pretend they don’t. Brenda won’t tell what happened with the school doctor. Nico wants to hide his mother’s memoir. Percy keeps his famous dad a secret. Oona lies to everyone. Penelope lies only to herself.

 (re: Goodreads @ What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

– Follows 8 POVs, changing tenses, and told in varying narrative styles (i.e. letters, screenplays, prose-fiction)
– Timeframe set during the 1960-70s, themes involve: lies and betrayal, LGBT, social status, sexuality (not crude though), bullying; all relevant to the average teenager
– Ensemble-driven rather than fully developing specific characters; some of which are more/less developed than others
– Individuals have their reasons for what they do in order to remain relevant. By remaining stagnant, the possibility of growth and revelation diminishes, and characters face the same challenges in a constant cycle.

Initial Thoughts:

England? Check.
Boarding school? Check.
I think we both know where my thoughts are going. Not.

This is going to be one perplexing review because I’ve never had to critique something like this before. Maybe it was the various perspectives which threw me off (eight distinct voices in total) or maybe it was the sheer nonlinearity of the plot—or at least how it felt like when reading What We Hide—that makes it difficult to assess. At first, I was going to scrutinize each character…but I’m still not quite sure how I truly feel about this book since I enjoyed what I think it set out to achieve but it wasn’t extremely captivating or game-changing.

Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of What We Hide through NetGalley for an honest review. I extend my thanks to Tundra Books at Random House of Canada Limited for providing me the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: There may be spoilers inherent to this review from this point onward.

Continue reading [Review] What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn