Book Review

Book Review: Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

Book Review: Clown in a Cornfield by Adam CesareClown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 25th August 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.

Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.

I requested Clown in a Cornfield partly because I’m getting more and more into horror lately and I thought this sounded like something I’d enjoy, and partly because it sounds like the title of an Animal Ark book (does anyone remember those?). I’m sad to say that I didn’t like Clown in a Cornfield as much as I was hoping to, as I felt it lacked a lot of substance.

I think Clown in a Cornfield would have been better as a graphic novel, a comic, or even a movie. I felt like the author cut a lot of corners while writing this one, in that the descriptions and character connections were lacking and the book mostly just focused on the action. Don’t get me wrong, I love action filled plots, but I also have to care about the characters who are being murdered by a killer clown, ya know?

I have to say that some parts of the book were delightfully gory and tense, but that didn’t make up for the fact that I just didn’t connect with most of the book. I’m a bit disappointed!

Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’LearyThe Switch Release Date: 18th August 2020
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena's tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it's time they swapped places...

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen's romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn't as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

I absolutely adored The Flatshare when I read it last year, and Beth O’Leary shot to the top of my “to buy next” list so I could explore what else she has to offer. I nabbed this one when I saw it up on Netgalley as an audiobook, and I think I definitely made the right choice.

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Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth AcevedoClap When You Land Release Date: 5th May 2020
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people...

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance - and Papi's secrets - the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi's death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

I’m posting this review with the caveat that I tend to not enjoy novels written in verse. I knew this when I requested a copy of Clap When You Land for review, but I thought I would love it because I’ve read both of Acevedo’s other books and I thought I was used to the writing style.

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Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory PowerBurn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Burn Our Bodies Down is the second book I’ve read by Rory Power, and I’m really wondering if she is maybe just not the author for me. Wilder Girls was enticing but the ending just left me a bit dissatisfied because I was expecting more, and Burn Our Bodies down had such potential to discuss a tense mother-daughter relationship but instead it was a slow burn story that, again, ended kind of strangely?

Also, this author has a real thing for plants.

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Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. KuangThe Dragon Republic by R F Kuang
Series: The Poppy War #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Borrowed, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.</br></br>

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.</br></br>

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. I put off reading The Dragon Republic for almost a year. A YEAR. I adored The Poppy War and after THAT. ENDING. I knew I had to be in the right headspace for the sequel. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I finally though screw it, and picked The Dragon Republic up and never looked back.

Rin is still going through a lot of crap. After the way The Poppy War ended, I wasn’t too sure what to think or expect of her character. She did some awful things, and I think it takes a very talented writer to pull off a character in such a way that Kuang did. Honestly, Rin’s character development (or, sometimes, lack thereof) is done wonderously and it makes so much sense. She has grown in lots of ways, but in others she’s still the same ol’ Rin, leaving lots of room for her to continue to grow and work on her sh*t in the final book in the trilogy.

I do have a bone to pick with Kuang, though, because she completely destroyed my ship. Like, blew it out of the harbour. I’m mad and angry and super sad. And yet I’m still clinging onto the fact that it might resurface somewhat in the third book. PLEASE GIVE ME THIS.

In all seriousness, the only issue I have with this series so far is that Rin has, like, no female friends. All her close friends are guys, and she often shuts out female characters and looks down on them and belittles them. I really hope that this is addressed and tackled in the third book, as I think it’s the only downfall of the series for me. I don’t want to read about a badass main character if they don’t have any badass female friends! GIVE ME FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS, DAMMIT.

Read the book. That is all I wish to say on the matter.