June Reviews

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly 4.5 Stars – While middle grade isn’t the sort of thing I normally read I have been trying to branch out more. I picked it up mainly because it features a deaf main character and it is written by a sign language interpreter so the representation is going to be accurate. We are introduced to Iris who is named after a whale that beached on the day she was born and it was a connection she shared with her grandparents since they are both deaf. Iris has a hearing parent in her father and she also goes to a hearing school which causes some issues since she needs an interpreter there but he is funny and Iris goes out of her way to make him laugh throughout the day. Iris also likes to fix radios despite not being able to hear as it presents a challenge to her and she is good at it, however, the recent death of her grandfather and the moving of her grandmother into a retirement home has shattered the connection that Iris thought she has to the world and she is struggling.

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June Wrap Up

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly – Iris was born deaf, but she’s never let that define her; after all, it’s the only life she’s ever known. And until recently she wasn’t even very lonely, because her grandparents are both deaf, too. But Grandpa has just died and Grandma’s not the same without him. The only place Iris really feels at home anymore is in her electronics workshop where she loves taking apart antique radios. Then, during a science lesson about sound waves, Iris finds out about a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. The lonely whale awakens something in Iris. She’s determined to show him that someone in the world knows he’s there. Iris works on a foolproof plan to help the whale but she soon realises that that is not enough: Iris wants to find the whale herself. One stolen credit card, two cruise ship tickets, and the adventure of a lifetime later, Iris and the whale each break through isolation to help one another be truly heard in ways that neither had ever expected.

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Gallant by V. E. Schwab

Book Review

Title: Gallant by V. E. Schwab

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dark

Rating: 3.75 Stars

The opening to Gallant was interesting as it setting seems to be in a more historical period, we are introduced to Olivia Prior who has been living at the Merilance School for girls since she was two years old. Her mother seems to have left her there because of a mental illness which Olivia learns about through her mother’s journal and that her father died before she was born, Olivia is also mute making her life at the home difficult but at 14 she has learnt to live with her situation. However, there are a few strange things about her like the fact she can see ghouls and even in extreme pain has never uttered anything louder than a gasp despite wanting to on many occasions. One day a letter is sent to the school from Olivia’s uncle, Arthur requesting that she return home to Gallant but her mother’s journal warned her against the place but she is overjoyed at finally having somewhere to belong that she doesn’t really think about it. We also get a brief introduction to the Master of the House was from the synopsis I gather lives in an alternate version of Gallant and is looking for a way through and this might have been where her mother disappeared to but I can’t wait to find out.

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Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman

Book Review

Title: Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 5 Stars

I attempted to read this book a while ago but I wasn’t in the right mood for it but now I’ve getting back into horrors and thrillers I decided to pick it up. The opening to Swipe Right for Murder was interesting as we are introduced to Aidan who is meeting up with some friends after going to a hospital appointment. After having tea with Jackson and Tatiana, Aidan heads back to his room and looks for a hook up in the hotel and finds a boy from school but this meeting is a disaster so he goes looking for another one and finds Benoit. Benoit seems to want something from Aidan but he isn’t sure what, after the sex, food and sleep Aidan awakes to find Benoit dead in the bed. On Benoit’s phone he finds pictures of himself obviously taken from a distance and a sniper sight sweeping around the room. Aidan hides but then Benoit’s phone rings and he makes the idiotic mistake of answering it and I can only put this down to shock but it really sets the tone of the novel.

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Hide by Kiersten White

Book Review

Title: Hide by Kiersten White

Genre: Young Adult, Horror

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I recently finished Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos and Hide sounds like a similar kind of book so I decided to pick it up and give it a go since I adored Go Hunt Me. The opening to Hide was very interesting as we learn a lot of disturbing things early on. We learn about an amusement park where a five year old girl was murdered and even though an employee was arrested for the murder a shoe belonging to a child was found near a part of the park which had been closed off to the public since it opened in the 50’s. The second disturbing things is that our protagonist, Mack’s while family was murdered by her father and the only reason she is alive is because she hid the entire time. Mack is offered the chance to compete in a hide and seek competition for a large sum of money if she wins and after meeting her competitors she feels she had a good chance at winning. This is giving me similar vibes to the movie, Would You Rather? which had a similar premise. From the introductions of the 14 people competing many are either wannabe celebrities or down and out celebrities but there are a few like Mack. There’s a veteran named Ava wearing two sets of tags, one belonging to her and one belonging to someone else and a boy named LeGrande who is nervous and seems to be scared of women who might be Mack’s biggest competition.

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Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos – MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Book Review

Title: Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos

Genre: Young Adult, Horror

Synopsis:

For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets, this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.

Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.

She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.

But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.

Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history—just as they get the film’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.

Content warnings: Some discussion of sexual harassments and abuse, death, violence, gore

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One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Book Review

Title: One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health

Rating: 4 Stars

I have read Going Over by Beth Kephart in the past and really enjoyed it so I finally decided to pick up One Thing Stolen but I wasn’t overly impressed with the opening section of the novel. We are introduced to Nadia who is spending time in Florence with her family but she has recently a need to steal things which she is desperately trying to keep hidden. Until one day she witnesses a young boy stealing some important items for a church and decides to chase him but she is the only person who saw the boy and believes that she is going crazy for a moment. Nadia seems to have been close to her father in the past but that bond seems really strained right now because of the secrets she is keeping from him. While I did appreciate what Kephart was trying to do with her writing style it seemed very disjointed to me and made the reading experience a little off-putting but I am going to continue for now just to see where it goes.

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The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

Book Review

Title: The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Mental Health

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Having read both The Midnight Library and The Humans by Matt Haig I was eager to check out his non-fiction work which seems to be more polarising that his fiction and I was recommended The Comfort Book over How to Stop Time so I picked it up. The Comfort Book falls somewhere between a self help guide and a look into mental health from someone who has experienced it first hand and is able to give advice on the situation, however, I didn’t like that it seemed to push talking and talking therapy when it isn’t a one size fits all situation. The Comfort Book is also extremely short under 300 pages and read a lot quicker than that, I believe I read it in just under 2 hours which is impressive for me considering it is non-fiction which I actively avoid reading unless I have to.

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A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quartet Book 1) by Madeline L’Engle

Book Review

Title: A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quartet Book 1) by Madeline L’Engle

Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 3.75 Stars

I remember there being a lot of hype surrounding this book around the adaption came out years ago so I don’t know why it has taken me so long to pick it up but I finally am. The opening of A Wrinkle in Time introduces to Meg and the rest of the Murray family including the twins, Sandy and Dennys, Charles Wallace and their mother. Their father seems to be away for a long time to the point where Meg as the oldest believes he is either not coming back or he is dead. There is also something strange about the family and this becomes apparent when we meet Charles Wallace for the first time. Despite his young age he seems to be highly intelligent like his parents and almost has the ability to read the minds of others. During a bad storm the family except for the twins meet an elderly neighbour who was out in the storm and before she leaves their home she mentions to their mother that the tesseract does exist and their mother is shocked by this although they don’t understand what this means yet.

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Only We Know by Simon Packham

Book Review

Title: Only We Know by Simon Packham

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama

Rating: 5 Stars

The opening to Only We Know was interesting as we are introduced to Lauren who for some reason has had to move home and school to St. Thomas’ with her sister, Tilda and her parents. From what I can gather either something happened to Lauren or Lauren did something that is forcing her to repeat the last year of school and she has panic attacks about people finding out about this event. On her first day of school she is understandably nervous but we don’t know the full reasons behind this but it must have been serious since her new school is keeping the exact details hidden on a need to know basis in order to protect Lauren and give her the best experience they can. There also seems to be a very strained relationship between Lauren and Tilda which Lauren is sad about since they used to be very close when they were younger and she wants to repair the relationship but doesn’t know how. Lauren is also under a lot of pressure to keep her head down but also create a good experience at this new school but in the age of the internet it won’t be long until someone finds out and I am excited to see how Lauren deals with it.

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