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Book Review: Stargazer by Sunniva Dee

I’m Luna, and I’ve been in the Twilight Zone since I moved in with my sister and her boyfriend.
I sense their secrets in every corner of the house.

Gabriel is eerily beautiful, and his personality disturbingly perfect, while Gaia’s inexplicable PTSD and mood swings bounce her between bliss and despair.

Until Gabriel’s brothers pay a visit.

Cassiel…
He’s the night to his brother’s day. He’s sex personified and the devil in one hell of a stunning package. It’s been years since I last saw him, but this man makes me burn. He hooks me with his touch. Enthralls me with those oddly simmering eyes. He pierces my soul with his knowing smirks, and I am losing myself in him.

Ka…
With pearlescent hair and spring green eyes, he crashes into my world. I thought this crazy, beautiful man could mend my bleeding heart. Make things recognizable again—normal. Instead he pulls me from the embers and feeds me to the open fire.

College life. Is this what everyone goes trough?

My Review

Stargazer is an exciting new Paranormal Romance and can be read as a stand-alone. However, even though is not necessary to read Shattering Halos first, I feel that it does give you a better understanding of Gaia, Gabriel and Cassiel….

Stargazer follows the story of Luna. Luna is an outsider looking in. She has no idea the truth about who or what Gabriel and Cassiel really are. She has her suspicions and knows that there is something different about them, but could never imagine what they truly are. 

Everything seems to be going along fine until Gabriel and Cassiel’s brother, Ka shows up. Soon Luna will find herself caught between two men. Luna will be left to learn a very important lesson. And that lesson is that things and people are not always what they seem. Will Luna make the right decision before it’s too late??

One of the things that I loved about this book was that it was told from multiple points of view. Yes, sometimes, it can be confusing. But when it’s done right, it adds so much to the story. I loved getting a look inside Cassiel’s head. I finally understand why he behaved the way that he did and how hard he tried to fight the things that he was feeling.

Ka was another one that was very interesting. In the whole battle of good vs evil, I enjoyed seeing him submerged into the human world and hard it was to adjust to things. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with his character.

As far as Gaia and Gabriel, I really just enjoyed being around them again. Their love for one another is so strong. After everything that they endured from Shattering Halos, it was so good to see how their life was after.

And last but not least, Luna. She was so stubborn and frustrated me at times. I wanted to yell at her and tell her to choose who I wanted her to be with. In the end though, she listened to me 😉

Stargazer was a very enjoyable read for me. It was a little bumpy in the beginning, but the pacing quickly improved. I really enjoyed the paranormal aspects of the story and of course, the multiple points of view. Stargazer was sexy, full of angst and romance and of course what would a paranormal be without a little action!

I think that Stargazer had the perfect ending. Everything wrapped up pretty nicely. However, I won’t object to another visit into this world…..

*An ARC copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

*Teaser Credit: Via Author’s FB Page

Book Review – Love Letters to the Dead By Ava Dellaira

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As an adult, I’ve never read anything even slightly related to the YA genre. Generally it’s not really my thing. But when I was browsing new releases this book caught my eye…and I thought now was as good as a time as any to give it a whirl.

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

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The whole book is broken up into Laurel’s letters to the dead rather than chapters. It’s an interesting way to narrate a story. Within these letters we get telling of events and also insight into Laurels feelings and thoughts. It’s a fine line to tread with this style, between making sure the writing doesn’t stray too far from being a letter and also being able to tell the story and keep up the pace. Mostly I feel the author does a really good job of balancing the two. I did especially enjoy how often Laurel would relate what was going on in her world to what happened to the respective celebrity she was writing about at the time. Especially poignant were some of the letters to Kurt Cobain where she discusses him leaving his daughter and his reasons and how she feels as a daughter who’s been left.

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There are plenty of topics covered here that today’s teenagers/tweens could identify with. Apart from the focus on grief, there is everything from wagging and trying to fit in, to underage drinking and a (quite uncomfortable) sexual undercurrent in parts. The author really does seem to ‘get’ teenage angst. And this book is most certainly angsty, obviously because of the story for a start it needs to be angsty, but there is also a certain type of angst that comes alone with being a teen and you definitely get a decent dose of this here. Laurel spends pretty much the whole book breaking my heart. No thirteen year old deserves even a fraction of what life has thrown at her. So many times she makes me want to throw my overprotective mother coat over her and just hug her forever. I am a mother of two very young boys and while reading Laurel talking about how she would do anything to have a relationship with her older sister I am mindful of the sibling dynamic that maybe as adult we forget about all too quickly. How a younger sibling can idolize the older one. How the dynamic of siblings can change when one hits adolescence, how the younger one would do anything to get to spend time with them like they did when they were kids, but ultimately how they’re too young to really see the teenage life for what it is.

I’m most certainly not a teenager, I can only recall what life was like as a teen and imagine how it would be these days for these kids. I imagine though that this book does quite a good job of covering topics that are applicable to this age group, as well as having the plotline that would keep them reading. As my first YA read I don’t think I could’ve picked a better book. It really had me thinking (and still does) and I’m not even the target audience! I was surprised and impressed that people like Kurt Cobain and bands like Guns n Roses still get mentioned in today’s teenage culture? Is this actually a thing? I hope so, because in my opinion they are timeless and in some ways it makes this story more relatable to oldies like me!

I don’t know if I’ll read another YA for a while. Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, because I really did, but because that was quite a lot of teenage drama to digest for a non-teenager. It made me a bit sad when I realized that through the book I was thinking more like a parent than a teen! So it really illustrated that I have most certainly moved past this demographic, no matter (Much to my horror) how immature I feel! If you like the YA genre then definitely give this a whirl, it’s a really well thought out and well executed read. Tough, but good.

Love Letters to the Dead

By Ava Dellaira

Book Review – Maybe Someday by Colleeen Hoover

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There are a ton of Colleen Hoover fans out there. I think they even have a special name for their fandom but I can’t remember it right now. Hoovers? No, that doesn’t sound right does it. That’s the name of a vacuum cleaner. I’m not a Hoover (heh heh) but I do absolutely enjoy her books. I have read a few of them and always find them solidly enjoyable.

It all starts when Sydney Blakes has a REALLY bad day. She finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend and roommate and loses it at work. Consequently, she losses her boyfriend, best friend, job and home all in the same day. Rough. Ridge Lawson, her musical genius of a neighbour takes her in and lets her stay while she sorts herself out. Ridge is a great guy, with, what comes across as a pretty intense hero complex. Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together (not a metaphor – they actually do) and eventually they find themselves getting closer. HOWEVER…Ridge has a girlfriend. A lovely, sweet, beautiful girlfriend. Ridge loves Maggie and he has no intention of ever leaving her. So things get rough, angsty and complicated. Of course. 

“Hey, heart are you listening? You and I are officially at war.”

“Desire is easy to fight. Especially when the only weapon desire possesses is attraction. It’s not so easy when you’re trying to win a war against the heart.”

The thing that stood out for me most about Maybe Someday is the soundtrack! That’s right, the book has a soundtrack. My husband thought this was really odd. He said “It’s not a movie!” (he’s clearly not a book lover) but I actually found that it really worked. They are all original songs performed by Griffin Peterson. They. Are. Awesome. In fact, after I finished the book I bought the whole soundtrack from itunes and I’m listening to right now as I write this. I’ll probably listen to it over and over again until I’m sick of it. That’s how I roll. 

I don’t have too much more to say about this story because I don’t want to ruin it. There’s something major going on with Ridge but I feel like giving it away might ruin the surprise. Nobody likes a spoiler! I really did enjoy Maybe Someday but it didn’t completely blow me away. Possibly because I had just read Reclaiming the Sand before picking this up? It would be hard for any book to follow that. At times it felt to me like it was more Maggie and Ridges story than Sydney and Ridges. But I did enjoy that side of it. It gave you a good idea of how everyone was feeling and how hopeless the situation really is. It really was nobody’s fault. 

Overall an enjoyable story. If you pick it up you really need to listen to the soundtrack along with it. Seriously, it takes the whole thing to the next level. Notable songs for me were Living a Lie, A Little Bit More, Maybe Someday, Trouble and Let it Begin. Sooo…pretty much the whole soundtrack. 

“I…will never…regret you.”

 

 

 

Book Review – Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters

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Wow, that was intense. 

This is a story about a boy with serious mental health issues and the girl that loves him. Before I started reading this I said that if the story was done right it could be amazing but if not it could be really, really bad. Luckily, this was done right. 

Maggie May Young is a 17 year old girl. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with life, and love, and really hasn’t walked on the wild side, at all. She does as she’s told and is pretty much the perfect daughter. Enter Clayton Reed. Clayton has issues. Those who are meant to love him and care for him most in the world have severely let this kid down and as a result, he’s a 17 year old boy with bi-polar and Borderline Personality Disorder. Hes cutting, a drug addict, and on and off meds to try to control his manic episodes. 

I was really glad this story was told from Maggie’s point of view. I read The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes a couple of years ago and the main protagonist of that story had severe depression. For me, that book was almost impossible to read. I found it really hard to keep reading, like I was trapped in the characters head. It was almost claustrophobia inducing. Don’t get me wrong, Find You in the Dark was still intense, but you never felt trapped by the characters issues. 

As you can imagine teenage angst combined with mental health problems made for a massive clusterf-ck of problems. Your first love as a teenager is always crazy, isn’t it? There are so many feelings. So imagine those feelings combined with actual serious real life problems.

“Your first love is supposed to be beautiful, right? And maybe it still is. I don’t know.”

This pretty much sums up the story. Maggie and Clay want so badly to be “normal” but it’s just never going to happen. As the reader, you know this and you really feel for them. They are hoping their love will cure all. Maggie is in denial. There’s a incredibly grown up (for a 17 year old) part of her that knows she can’t save Clay. That this won’t end well. That he needs professional help and that their relationship is not healthy. But she’s so wrapped up in him she loses herself and her common sense. Not uncommon for teenagers in love.

“And if he went into the dark again, this time I would be there to find him – to follow him. Because I thought, perhaps quite immaturely, that my love would help him. Maybe our love could do even more than just help – maybe it could heal him. Fix him. Fix everything”

“I thought about Clay whispering how much he loved me and how he wanted to be with me forever. And I, in my naive, young adult mind, thought that it would happen. That, of course, Clay and I could overcome anything and we would follow each other off into the sunset.”

This book was so angsty that at times I actually had a sore stomach from it, so if you’re going to read it, be prepared for that. However the writing is beautiful and the story is believable. I don’t have any personal experience with mental health issues but the author had clearly done her research and you could really feel the characters’ pain and their struggle.

“I am so tired of being this way. I just want it to stop. I want to be a guy you aren’t afraid to be around”

There wasn’t a cliff-hanger at the end of this book as such. You could leave the story where it is but there is a second book called Light in the Shadows that will provide closure for many fans. Especially if you like a HEA. 

This was a beautiful and emotional read that will definitely stick with you long after you have finished it. 

“‘This is forever, Maggie. I would follow you into hell if I had to.’ His breath tickled my skin. He kissed my temple. ‘You are all I want for the rest of my life'”