Alyssa’s Reviews – A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (FC)

“One said that literature was more important than human life so what was the problem if a few people had died in the pursuit of excellence?” – pg. 358, ALTTS

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

A few months ago, I found out that John Boyne was publishing a new literary fiction novel about a story stealer (among other things). And while I had not read John’s recent novel, I had loved “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” when I was younger, so I was eager to pick up the novel and start reading it. Fortunately, I received a finished copy of the book from Penguin Random House Canada, which was unbelievably amazing!

NOTE: Some of this review may be sort of spoiler-y, as you don’t meet many of the main characters until the second section of the novel. I would encourage you not to read much about this book until after you have read it, as I feel that this story reads better when you do not know much about it. So, comeback and read my review when you have finished the book!

img_0145

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

The new novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart’s Invisible Furies , a seductive Highsmithian psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame.
Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for success. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent – but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.
Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.
Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall…

WOW. This story was shockingly beautiful. Although this book was 400 pages long, it read extremely quickly. I find that many times when I read books, I glance at the page number while reading every so often, but while reading this novel that rarely happened. I also enjoyed how it was written kind of as an anthology that came together in the end. Each part of the book was narrated by a different person and had a different focus on a certain point/event in Maurice’s life. I enjoyed that his POV was not written until the last part of the novel, as it was easier to see how people saw him and how he viewed himself.

Throughout this story, I felt very connected to all of the characters. While most of the main characters are only present throughout one part of the story, John did a great job developing them within a limited space in the novel. I felt that I had read a lot about the characters and understood them, even if they were only a large part of 100 pages of the novel. I appreciated John’s writing style especially when it came to the characters, because we weren’t introduced to them all at the beginning of the novel, but rather learned and read about them during every few 100 pages.

During the first part of the novel (and carried through the story a bit), there was a large realistic historical fiction aspect, which I greatly enjoyed. From reading just the synopsis, I did not know that there would be a focus on WWII. When I was younger, I loved reading books about the holocaust and WWII, although I haven’t read much historical fiction throughout the past five years (a.k.a. when I started my blog). Reading about this aspect made me want to read more historical fiction novels, so I hope to pick up a few sporadically throughout the year!

One of my favourite things to read about is publishing/writing/authors in a fictional book. Since the main character, Maurice, was a story stealer and a well-acclaimed author, this meant that the book had a strong focus on the publishing industry and writing novels. I have always thought about working in publishing, so I really enjoyed reading the small conversations between Maurice and his publisher and editor, as well as seeing exactly how he brought the stolen stories to life.

The one and only thing I did not love about this book was that I found many of the events very predictable, and there was not a shocking plot twist at any point during the book (the ending did not shock me, but it did slightly surprise me). I understand that this book is not supposed to be full of shocks and 180° plot twists as it was a literary fiction book and not a thriller, but I feel like I would have enjoyed it even more if there was a spike of surprise in the novel.

Overall, I loved this book and gave it 4.75/5 stars.

Thanks again to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a finished copy of this novel! It was superb!

Have any of you read this novel yet? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Looker by Laura Sims (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

As I featured last month in my “In My Mailbox: Winter 2019 Edition“, “Winter Vacation Reading Plans“, and “December 2018 Wrap-Up“, I recently read “Looker” by Laura Sims. The cover definitely drew me to this book, and I was really excited to read a 2019 thriller release. However, this book definitely did not meet my expectations.

IMG_8460

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me.
In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.
When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.

I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoyed this book. Was it the worst book I’ve ever read? No. But I did not like it.

One of my biggest complaints I have relating to this book is not actually about the book itself, but rather the way it’s being marketed and publicized. This book is NOT a thriller. There are no unbelievable plot twists, and no thrilling aspects to it. To be honest, I found the plot line quite dry and flat, therefore it was no way a “thrilling” book. I would categorize this book as a suspense novel, as I found it to be very suspenseful and hard to put down. The writing was very fast paced, and since this book is quite short, I was able to read it in one sitting. And to me, that would make this book a suspense novel, rather than a thriller. Had I known this before going into the book, I most likely would not have requested it in the first place.

Another thing I didn’t enjoy was the characters. The narrator, for example, was hard to understand. I was confused as to whether she was written to be a likeable character or not, or whether we were supposed to feel sorry for her or not. I am not the type of reader that dislikes a character that is “bad” or “mean”, especially if they were intentionally written that way. However, this character was just confusing to me. She didn’t really have one personality type, but rather showed that she was sensitive, carefree, and independent, while also seeming like nothing bothered her and was very needy during certain parts of the novel. Along with the narrator, I also found that none of the characters had any substance or went through any development, which I found very disappointing.

Along with the characters, I found the plot line very confusing. There was no set opening, conflict, climax, or solution. It seemed like everything just “happened”, and there was no real order in all of the chaos that existed in this story. The ending was also very random and out of the blue. I feel like there was a better way to end this story, especially because it didn’t really wrap anything up. But then again, how could it when there was no real conflict in this story? *sigh*

Perhaps my favourite thing in this novel (and the reason I am giving it more than one star) was the writing style. Most of the time, whenever I read a debut novel, it is easy to tell that the person who wrote the book is a new author. Whether they may it make take them twenty words to describe one object in the protagonists house, or make the story hard to follow, normally their are obvious indications. However, I really enjoyed the way this book was written. I thought the narrators thoughts were written concisely and to the point. It was also less than 200 pages, which made it a very easy read.

Lastly, I wanted to include my short Goodreads review of this book, as I believe it sums up my initial thoughts just after finishing this book perfectly…

I finished this book and still have no clue as to what it’s about. Is she obsessed with her neighbour? Is she obsessed with her cat? Is she mad at her ex (what happened between them anyways?)? What is happening between her and that student of hers? This book was too confusing and had no plot line whatsoever. I’m giving it two stars because I couldn’t put it down… so take that for what it’s worth. Also, the writing was very good for a debut novel.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped and gave it two out of five stars.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

While the first book I read this year was quite… awful… I was very excited to pick up a unique #OwnVoices contemporary set in a high school! Even though books set in high school are not usually my first pick, I was still thrilled when I received an unsolicited ARC of “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Phillipe in a beautiful package sent to my by the lovely Ashley from Harper Collins Canada/HCC Frenzy! Whenever HCC Frenzy is “pushing” a new book, I always know that it is going to be good. And let me tell you, this one did not disappoint!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.
Yet, against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris. Be it loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. He even starts playing actual hockey with these Texans.
But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.

WOW! What a great high school set contemporary to kick off 2019 with (technically this is my second book of 2019, but I’d prefer to forget the first one…)!

This was (obviously) a very character driven novel. And while Norris was made to be an unlikeable character, there was something about him that really appealed to me. I absolutely adored all of his witty and “smart-ass” comments. Norris was a very relatable and flawed teenage character, which appealed to me as I am a teenager myself. I thought that Norris developed quite a bit throughout the story, especially with the help of his friends, who were constantly bringing him back to reality after saying stupid things. Personally, I would have loved for this book to have been written as a first-person narrative instead of a third-person narrative, as I believe I would have enjoyed reading from Norris’s voice just a tad more than a narrator. However, that did not have a big impact on my overall enjoyment and reading experience.

Since this was a character driven book, there were quite a few side characters that were introduced and featured throughout this story. Sometimes I find it hard to differentiate between a variety of characters, since they can all be written with a very similar voice. However, all of the characters in this novel were written about very differently, which was great to read. I loved all of the side characters in this novel, as they each brought important characteristics/perspectives into this story. I especially enjoyed reading scenes that featured Norris’s parents. Although they were divorced, I enjoyed the way they were written. Both parent loved Norris in different ways, and didn’t let their divorce get in the way of raising Norris. Norris’s mom was one of my favourite characters in this story, as she had a great relationship with Norris and didn’t talk down to him.

Austin, Texas was a very unique setting for this story. I don’t think I have ever read a YA book set in Texas, so I was very interested to see how the setting would impact the story. Sadly, Norris only visited a small handful of places in this novel. Therefore, I would have loved to have visited different landmarks/locally popular places in this story.

One of my favourite parts of the novel was the theme of Hockey. I am a HUGE sports fan, and while Hockey is not #1 on my list (Baseball will forever be my favourite), I always love when there is a sizeable sports related theme in YA books. Since Norris is Canadian, he (stereotypically) loved Hockey, and that was very relevant in the book, even though he  lived in Texas. It was a small piece of him that he brought took from Canada to his new home, and he ended up making quite a few unexpected friends from it!

This book explored a variety of important themes that are very relevant to todays day and age. Some of the themes/issues I expected to pop up in this story since the main character is a black French Canadian living in Texas, while some of the other talked about issues I was not expecting. I appreciated how Ben did not dwell on these problems, but added them sporadically throughout the story in order to further develop Norris’s character. I thought that they were all important to talk about, especially since this was a YA novel featuring a wide cast of characters.

I really enjoyed and appreciated the ending of this novel. While it wasn’t a “happily ever after” (like I had expected it to be), I felt that it was left off on the right note. Books like these don’t always need a complete conclusion, and I thought that Ben took advantage of that and used the “open-ending” concept perfectly.

Much to my surprise, this is actually Ben Philippe’s debut novel! He did a fantastic job writing it and I look forward to reading his future novels.

Overall, I gave it a 4.25/5 stars! To read all of my thoughts while reading this book, click here.

Thanks again to Harper Collins Canada/HCC Frenzy for sending this novel my way. I am so glad that I read it!

That is all for my first review of 2019! I hope you are all having a wonderful start to the new year. Have you read this book yet or are planning on doing so? Let me know in the comments!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Watching You by Lisa Jewell (eARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

As I have mentioned several times throughout this month, my current absolute favourite genre has been Mystery/Thrillers. I was approved for an eARC of “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell from Simon & Schuster Canada via NetGalley last month, and I thought this would be the perfect book to pick up as I was in the perfect mood for this interesting domestic/neighbourhood based mystery/thriller. For those of you who don’t know, Lisa Jewell is a highly acclaimed adult mystery/thriller author, and has put out fifteen other highly rated books before coming out with Watching You. Watching You by Lisa Jewell is being released in stores TODAY!

38355282-3

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.
One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

The synopsis may seem a little confusing and hard to follow, but I promise once you start reading it, it is very easy to follow. Lisa Jewell does a great job of writing very descriptive details about her characters and their back stories, so it is easy to differentiate between who is who and how they are connected to the main storyline. Therefore, the plot is very character driven and is based all of the opinions and assumptions surrounding Tom Fitzwilliam and who he really is. I love reading domestic thrillers or thrillers where all the people involved live on the same street or very close to one another, which was exactly what this book entailed. The ebb and flow of the book and all of the minor events going on in each individual characters lives was written exceptionally well, especially since they are also somehow connected to Mr. Fitzwilliam and his mysterious story.

One of my favourite parts of this book is the mystery aspect. The beginning of the book opens with a detective finding/recording a piece of evidence from a crime scene. We don’t know what the crime scene is about – other than the fact that it is an apparent murder, we only know that she has found some sort of a red tassle that appears to have fallen off of a shoe. Slowly, readers learn more and more about the incident and who/what may have been involved. We don’t really find out the main piece of information until the end, which is also when the characters are finding out about it . I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, rather than telling us what exactly happened at the very beginning, and then telling the entire background of the story after the first chapter when we basically already know how the book is going to end. The best part was that the assumed muderer and victim were always changing throughout the story, as different characters had different motives/incidents, which could have resulted in them murdering different characters they communicated with throughout the story.

The twists in this book were unexpected, but made a lot of sense when starting to put the puzzle pieces together. A lot of big clues/foreshadowing was revealed throughout the book, but it wasn’t until the end when it started to fit together and make sense. There was no stone left unturned, and Lisa figured out how to make every single aspect of the crime scene/story relevant until the very end.

As I said before, the setting was absolutely perfect for this story. The fact that everybody is always watching one another could only have been accomplished by making the characters live very close to one another. I love neighbourhood stories as everyone is familiar with one another, but there are still so many things the neighbours don’t know about each other. It’s kind of like they are familiar strangers.

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5/5 stars was because for me it was quite a slow read. I tend to read ebooks/eARCs within a day or two, but this one took me about five days to get through. I found a lot of the description and dialogue unnecessary, as not all of the events in this novel helped to advance the plot, but rather made it seem a bit slower and dragged.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4/5 stars. I hope to pick up another Lisa Jewell book sometime in the near future!

Thanks again to Simon & Schuster Canada for the eARC!

Have you read a Lisa Jewell book or are interested in picking this one up? Let me know in the comments, I love chatting with all of you!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis (eARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

If you read my October Wrap-Up, you know that I read “The Leading Edge of Now” by Marci Lyn Curtis during the middle of October, thanks to NetGalley! It is out in bookstores everywhere, and I am so excited to share my review with you today!

41441512

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor. Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?

I found myself reading the acknowledgments when this book was done. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to continue reading a book that badly in my entire life. This story is tragic. A combination of new and old love, as well as new and old tragedy. Rape is not something I typically read about, and it is not something I ever gravitate towards to as a reader, especially when choosing books to request and review. However, something drew me to this book when I found it on NetGalley, and I don’t think I’ve read a better contemporary novel in my life.

All of the characters in this book seem so real. They were written exquisitely, and I connected with them in an instant. All of the characters went through a fantastic amount of development throughout this story, which made them that much better. Grace had already gone through so much in her short life. When we find out about the horrible truth regarding her rape, it sends her and her closest family members and friends in a state of shock. Even though she had already gone through so much, she showed a lot of strength in this novel, and I truly admired her for it. Owen and Janna were the closest people she had in her life, besides her uncle, Rusty. They played such a huge role in this novel, and I enjoyed their characters more than you can imagine. Owen and Grace’s relationship was very different than any other relationship I have read in YA. They never officially got back together in this story, but I think that made the story that much better. They didn’t need to be together, even though they still felt a very deep connection with one another. While I didn’t like Grace’s real family (Rusty, Faith, Eleanor) at the beginning, by the end of the book I grew to love them and what they had done for Grace. She was finally part of a family, and finally found her home. 

The plot in this book is very tough and can be triggering. While there was not a very graphic rape scene written in this book, it is mentioned very frequently, since it is the main point in this story. Marci talks about Grace’s story very clearly, and makes sure not to say anything than can be translated in the wrong way. Writing stories about rape and/or anything similar to it, must be very difficult for authors to do without much backlash, but since Marci shared that she based some of this book off of her own life, she knew how to execute it and what people would want to read. I cannot imagine going through a story even the slightest bit similar to this. To all of you that have gone through something similar, I am so sorry and if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you.

If you have gone through a tramatic experience, click here or call 1(800)-656-4673 today. You are NOT alone.

Thank you for reading my review of “The Leading Edge of Now”. This is such a great story about such a sad topic, and I encourage you all to read it. I rated it 5/5 stars.

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I have been in a slight reading hiatus, as I have had a ton of midterms projects/tests that have all been due over the last week and a half. While I started “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan on November 1, I finished it just yesterday on November 11. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it (believe me… I DID!), but I was just too busy to find much time to sit down and read. Thankfully, I spent a few hours reading the majority of this book yesterday evening! If you haven’t head of “Girls of Paper and Fire” and are active on either BookTube, Bookstagram, or the Book Blogosphere, you must have been living under a rock! I have heard SO MUCH HYPE around this book, so I went into it with high expectations.

IMG_7903

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


Even though I haven’t read much fantasy in the past few years, I have been craving it lately, and this book surely satisfied that! While it didn’t live up to my highest expectations, I still ended up really enjoying it. In my opinion, there were two things that stood out to me. One, the characters, and two, the depth and complexity of the world building.

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book. Lei, Wren, Chenna, Aoki, the twins, and even Blue, were some of the best characters I have read about in a fantasy novel in quite some time, and I loved reading about them/their conversations with Lei. At first I thought that the amount of characters would be confusing and hard to keep track of, but Natasha wrote them very well and made it easy for readers to understand which character was which based on their characteristics/attributes. I would have loved to have read more about Lei’s parents and her past with her Mother. I feel like that would have made the book a lot more interesting, but I understand why her family members weren’t as involved as I would have liked, since that would have undermined the storyline of keeping them safe by Lei being a “Paper Girl”. Lei was a really great character and narrator to read her perspective from. She was not hypnotized by the title of being a “Paper Girl” and did not conform to the “Paper Girl” norms. While I really loved the characters, I thought there was a slight lack of character development for all characters expect Lei, Wren, and Aoki. They all seemed to stick to the name line throughout the whole novel, and I would have loved for a few more of them to develop.

The world building and imagery related to the setting was written so beautifully. I was blown away by the writing in this book and the descriptions of the different settings. The visuals that were provided for the authentic and traditional clothing they wore were also written very well, and made it easy for readers to understand. I really enjoyed reading about events that took place inside the “Women’s Court”, since that acted like their home and safe space away from the king and the outside world. I would have enjoyed reading more about the palace/kingdom that the “Women’s Court” was in, since I think we would have learned more history about how the kingdom once was, versus how it is now.

The overall concept of this book was not like anything I have ever read before. The short synopsis barely gave anything away, which was crucial for the flow of the real story. Unfortunately, I watched a detailed non-spoiler book review right before I read this book, which spoiled me on some of the themes that were in this book that I was not expecting. However, that did not spoil my overall enjoyment while reading the book, and I was still surprised by some of the events that occurred near the ending.

The main thing I really didn’t enjoy in this book was the plot twists. I found a lot of them very predictable, and non of them shocked me as much as I was hoping. I think there was a lot of unnecessary foreshadowing in this book, that allowed me to predict things that should have come out in surprise. That being said, the final plot twist written in the epilogue of the book shocked the ___ out of me, and made me that much more excited for the sequel.

I typically like to rate books that are firsts in a series by whether I enjoyed them or not, and whether or not I would want to continue the series. After reading and completing “Girls of Paper and Fire”, I definitely want to continue reading this series and am anticipating the next book!

Overall, I really enjoyed “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan and gave it 4/5 stars.

Thanks to Hatchette Book Group for sending me an ARC!


Thank you for reading my review of “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan! To read my initial thoughts while reading the book, click here. Have you read this book yet? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to read your thoughts!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Other Earth by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller (ARC)

“It was all just a matter of time before something like this happened. I told you before – the future is going to be bleak as hell. People get so excited that we have all this fun new technology. They never sit back and consider how dangerous it might be. We’re just a bunch of monkeys playing with a box of matches.” – Other Earth, pg. 39

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Happy book release day to “Other Earth” by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller! In my last post, I reviewed “Other World” (the first book in this series), you can read my review by clicking here! In short: I absolutely loved and DEVOURED it! I was really happy to have recieved an ARC of “Other Earth” (thanks to Penguin Random House) so I didn’t have to wait for the sequel.

img_7483

NOTE: This is the second book in the “Last Reality” series written by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Since this is a sequel, I may (unintentionally) spoil parts of the first book. If you haven’t read it, I would HIGHLY recommend it! You can read my review for the first book in this series, titled “Otherworld” here!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Simon saved his best friend, Kat, from the clutches of the Company and their high-tech VR gaming experience, Otherworld. But it was at a steep price. Now he, Kat, and their friend Busara are on the run. They know too much. About the Company’s dark secrets. About the real-life consequences of playing Otherworld. And about Kat’s stepfather’s involvement in everything. The group is headed to New Mexico to find Simon’s old roommate, who is a tech genius and possibly the only person who can help them reveal the truth about the Company before it’s too late and the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy is erased . . . forever.
Imagine a future in which you can leave reality behind and give in to your greatest desires. That future is now. And the future is terrifying.

If you would have told me that I would not be rating this book 5/5 stars before I read the last 30 pages, I would not have believed you. I LOVED this book, even more than the last one. That being said, I absolutely HATED the ending. While I understand that since this is a series, there can really be no final conclusion, I still was expecting a lot more from the ending. I found it incredibly confusing (which may have been the point – I’m not so sure). It left me unhappy, and honestly kind of turned me away from finishing the series (still undecided on continuing with it or not).

I still loved reading from Simon’s perspective about his thoughts and the other events going on with the other characters. While Kat was still a very important part of this story, the introduction of Elvis (no, not that one), and the new found relevance of Busara’s character, made the book feel like it had a better social dynamic. Rather than in the previous one, where Simon was quite independent. I wish Busara’s dad had a much bigger role in this story. Since he was essentially the original creator, I would have loved to have read more about the process of coming up with the idea for this world, and his overall opinions on the Company itself. One of my favourite parts of this book had to do with the dynamic between Simon and his mother. I felt like there was a lack of family at the beginning of this book, so when Simon’s mother appeared, I was so happy to read about it. She played a small but mighty role in this story, and to see the trust she had in Simon was incredible. It made me love her character that much more!

In this continuation of “Otherworld”, there was a much better balance of Simon’s time between the Otherworld and his time on earth. Since the four main characters could not go into Otherworld all together, they relied on each other to dive into the world to accomplish their goals, and then report back to them to see how they could continue there journey of ultimately taking down the Company. They were also a lot of scenes in the real world that were very important to the events in the Otherworld, so I enjoyed reading about the person that was behind the avatar.

Like in the previous book, I found this one very fast paced and entertaining. None of the events dragged on, and each event was related to the next. However, I did not enjoy the writing style as much as I did in the first one. By the end of the book, it almost seemed like it was a middle grade novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, minus the confusing ending. I gave it 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads!

Thanks again to Penguin Random House for the ARC!


Thanks for reading my review of “Other Earth” by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller. To read my initial thoughts while I was reading the book, click here (scroll down to “Reading Progress”.

Good Night Book Owls!