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Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda BérubéHere There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 6th August 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets

Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.

In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.

Then Deirdre disappears.

And when something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming she's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

I am so incredibly disappointed by Here There Are Monsters. I was expecting an atmospheric, creepy story about sisterhood, but the book fell short.

I think my main issue was the inability to connect to the writing style. It just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what exactly it was that didn’t click with me, but I think that perhaps the writing was too basic. It was very much “This character did this and then they did this, and then they yelled this at another character”. There wasn’t much to connect me with the characters because there was little emotion.

Additionally, the characters were freakin’ annoying. I wanted a nice story about two sisters, one trying to find the other, but really Skye was just complaining about not wanting to watch Dierdre all the time, and Dierdre was complaining about Skye no longer being interested in her fantasy world. It was dull, annoying, and there was no sisterly love there, which is something that I desperately wanted by the end.

I don’t have much more to say about Here There Are Monsters. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to be bored to tears from watching people bicker for 300 pages.

Flutter by Gina Linko

Flutter by Gina LinkoFlutter by Gina Linko
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 23rd October 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

All Emery Land wants is to be like any other 17-year-old—to go to school, hang out with her friends, and just be normal. But for as long as she can remember, she’s suffered from seizures. And in recent years they’ve consumed her life. To Emery they’re much more than seizures, she calls them loops—moments when she travels through wormholes back and forth in time and to a mysterious town. The loops are taking their toll on her physically. So she practically lives in the hospital where her scientist father and an ever-growing team of doctors monitor her every move. They’re extremely interested in the data they collect when Emery seizes. It appears that she’s tapping into parts of the brain typically left untouched by normal human beings.

Escaping from the hospital, Emery travels to Esperanza, the town from her loops on the upper peninsula of Michigan, where she meets Asher Clarke. Ash’s life is governed by his single-minded pursuit of performing good Samaritan acts to atone for the death of a loved one. His journey is very much entwined with Emery’s loops.

Drawn together they must unravel their complicated connection before it’s too late.

I don’t really have much to say about Flutter but I did say I would review it (six years ago) so here I am. Basically, it’s a really bad book. It was written in the (fairly) early days on YA, and you can tell. The plot is incredibly basic, and there is far too much focus on the romance for a science fiction book. I was promised a book about time travel, and instead I got some romance drama with a bit of paranormal thrown in. It was boring. I didn’t like it.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Rebel Heart by Moira YoungRebel Heart by Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #2
Genre: Dystopia
Release Date: 30th October 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

Rebel Heart was a massive disappointment of a book. I remember loving Blood Red Road when I read it, and I have been eagerly anticipating reading the sequel, even though it took me forever to get to it. But I almost wish I’d never tried to read it.

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The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane AckermanThe Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 17th September 2007
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Zookeeper’s Wife, but it certainly wasn’t this. I knew from reading a couple of reviews that this was a non-fiction account, but I wasn’t expecting the author to add so many fictionalised scenes and moments. It made for a very strange mixture.

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The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb

The Calculus of Change by Jessie HilbThe Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 27th February 2018
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one's own skin.

Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom's faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden's brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.

I don’t really have too much to say about this book because it failed to draw me in, which meant I ended up skimming most of it. My biggest issue with the book was that there was no draw for me. I just didn’t connect with the writing style, and I had no interest in the characters or the plot because of that.

I also didn’t like the way the student/teacher relationship was dealt with in this book. The teacher wasn’t punished or fired or anything for what he did, in fact it was completely brushed over. I didn’t like that there were no repercussions for his actions.

Obviously, I don’t recommend picking this one up.