30 October 2015

When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: September 3, 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: YA, Thriller
Format: Physical review copy
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 262

Rating: ★★★/5

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If you can't trust yourself, then who can you trust?

When Ella wakes up one Monday morning, she discovers that she is not herself and that her life is not her own.

She looks different, her friends are no longer her friends and her existence has been erased from the internet. Ella worries she has gone mad - especially as nobody else thinks that anything weird has happened. What has gone wrong with her life? How can Ella piece it all together?

A tense and dark psychological thriller full of unexpected twists and turns about the random events and decisions that make us who we are.

I'm going to keep this on the shorter side since I don't have that much to say about the book. 

When I Was Me is told by Ella, our main character. She is 17-years-old and her life is not what it seems. The line that sums up the entire book is; you have memories of things that haven't happened, but no memory of the things that have?. That's basically what the whole book is about.

When I Was Me starts with a prologue which, just like every other prologue, confused me. And then the first chapter begins with; Something isn't right. I didn't like the way I was confused by the prologue, because it wasn't 'good' confused it was 'bored and I have no idea what's going on'-confused
I was expecting a lot of mystery and a lot of confusion since the book is about a girl having 'memories of things that haven't happened and no memory of things that have' but I was just bored to be honest. I went into this thinking it would keep me hooked until I turned the last page but I didn't find it at all hard to put down.
Often I find the main characters frustrating in YA literature but I was quite indifferent to Ella.
So, to summarize; I was bored and indifferent throughout the majority of the book.

After reading the synopsis I think I was expecting something along the lines of Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington - a book I read and absolutely loved last year. That one is actually about a girl who has to lives. She wakes up, live her life, goes to sleep, wakes up and lives her other life throughout the book. It's so interesting and I wish When I Was Me had more in common with Between the Lives but I can't say they have anything at all.

SPOILER The theory is that Ella's subconsciousness has somehow landed in an alternate universe and I was quite exited about that in the beginning as it is quite interesting and NEW, BUT I quickly found it bland, I guess, and I wish the story had taken another turn instead - I have no idea where to though! SPOILER

As always a little non-spoilery comment on the ending; it surprised me and it was probably my favorite part of the entire book. I found it nerve-wracking and thought-provoking and just plain exciting. I also love how there's more endings than one! Yes, there is and it's definitely my absolute favorite part of the book. To say I was surprised is an understatement.

I had expected a tense and dark psychological thriller but that was not what I received. I didn't connect with the main character, I didn't find the story intriguing or interesting and it really didn't want to keep me reading. All the things I usually love about psychological thrillers were missing in When I Was Me. The ending was pretty good though, as you can probably tell from my excitement above, but other than that, not so much.
If you decide to read the book I seriosuly hope you enjoy it more than I did!

26 October 2015

Omega by Lizzy Ford

Series: Omega #1
Publication date: October 26, 2015
Publisher: Self published
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: The author in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 436

Rating: ★★★★★/5

Goodreads ⎜Amazon ⎜Book Depository

In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.

 However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

 For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

 Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.

 One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

If you didn't read that long synopsis (I know I sometimes don't) then here's a very short summary from the author of what Omega is about: Along the lines of Hunger Games / Divergent with a dystopian society led by the human elite and overseen by the Greek gods, who are helping to surprise humanity. And she says it isn't like Percy Jackson and it really isn't because I loved this and I didn't like the Percy Jackson series.

Before we begin I want to say that some things are going to be a bit vague, I want you to be surprised in the book and I want you to discover everything for yourself! I will do my best not to spoil you!

Basically we have humans and gods and then in between we have an elite of humans who help the gods. Instead of watching passively or just staying out of the human's lives the gods have decided that they want to interfere and with the help of The Oracle of Delphi they walk back and forth between Olympus and Earth. Of course people aren't okay with the gods interference so wars happen and they want to go back to the old ways where gods and humans lived separate lives.

Omega is told from multiple perspectives but mostly from Alessandra's point of view. Alessandra never known the truth about her life so when her world falls apart we learn everything with her, it feels so natural and I liked that way of telling the story.

Omega is about Alessandra, she is 18 years old and have been protected from the world her entire life. She's been trained to survive by her guardian; Herakles. So she can survive any situation and she can fight! Alessandra is such a badass character and you can help liking her.
She's never known the truth about her life so when her world falls apart we learn everything with her, it feels so natural and I liked that way of telling the story.
Alessandra is a great main character, I really enjoyed getting to know her and relive her forgotten past, it was so intriguing and if I'd had the time I would probably have read it in a single sitting.
This story is filled to the brim with characters! We have Niko and Theodocia, Herakles, Lantos, Adonis/Mismatch, The Silent Queen, Mrs. Nettles and a bunch of others and every single one of them are an important part of the story. Whether you realize it or not in the beginning every one has their specific role and I feel like Lizzy really took her time with this book. Everything is so thought through and every thing fits together and make sense - which doesn't always happen in epic stories with a bunch of different story lines.

I have to be honest here... Going in to this book I had no idea what it was about other than it had something to do with Greek myths or Greek gods, I thought I'd read the synopsis but I hadn't. I really liked that I didn't really know what it was about, it's an epic tale but I feel like it was more epic for me since I didn't know anything beforehand. So, if you haven't read the synopsis yet, don't! You get so many more surprises!
Omega surprised me the entire way through, there was not a single dull moment and I was not the least irritated by Alessandra.
Opposed to any other book I've read where Greek gods or myths is part of the story it's a big part of the story and there aren't really myths in Omega but I really loved that. I think the Greek part of the story are going to be more prominent in the next two books but in this it's just The Oracle of Delphi and the gods

As in any other book there's a love interest and I loved every part of the romance, even though it's not always that romantic.. I smiled every time the two of them were together and even though it's one of my favorite parts of the entire story it doesn't take over. In some books I've found that the romance take over the entire story - even though it isn't surposed to be about romance and in Omega the romance is just a romance, it's a great romance but it's just an extra thing in the book and I really appreciate that! Alessandra's story is definitely the main story.

A thing that excites me beyond what's normal is the fact that there's grotesques in this one - grotesques are a gargoyle who can transform into a human. I've read the first two books in The Dispossessed series and that's mainly because there's grotesques in them! It's a little detail but it means so much to me!

I ended up giving Omega 5 stars! I really loved it because it's so epic and wonderful. I'm quite sad that I have to wait a year for the next book and then a year more for the last.. But it's worth it!

Lizzy has also written an Omega beginnings series which consists of short stories about some of the characters in Omega so you can get to know them a bit better. I think you can read them both before and after reading Omega if you're wondering. I've only read Alessandra which is the first story in the series and I really liked it! The whole entire Omega beginnings series are free on amazon!

19 October 2015

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Ebury Press
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 402

Rating: ★★★★★/5

Goodreads ⎜Amazon Book Depository


What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love? What would you write?

Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as Vincent locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients, detailing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and posts them after their death.


That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time, to give her patient one final chance of redemption...

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

We Are All Made of Stars follows 3 characters; Hope, Hugh and Stella and between each chapter there's a letter from someone else.


Characters
Stella is our main character, her husband came home wounded from Afghanistan a year or so ago and they've slowly been falling apart. Stella has such a sad story and I just wanted to cry all the time - especially when she talks about their past - how they met and such - you could just feel the happiness but then you go back to 'real time' again and they're not even talking. It seriously killed me.

Hope is 21, has cystic fibrosis and loves books! Her hobby is reading and designing book covers - it's so cool! She has basically given up since she knows her life aren't going to be that long and you can just feel the depression every time she's the narrator. In comes her best friend Ben and life gets better. I loved reading the story from Hope's point of view and I loved getting to know Ben!

Lastly we have Hugh, he's quite the loner but after trying to help his neighbor's kids he gets rewarded and his lone life isn't that lonely anymore. Reading his story was quite depressing in the beginning but as you go along you can't help but smile and be quite happy for him.

Even though Stella is the main character I prefer Hope! I loved every part from her point of view, nothing was dragging, nothing was too sad and I just wanted to be as brave as her and have her 'job' as a book cover designer! Both Stella and Hugh are great narrators and each of the three have their own voice but Hope is just my favorite, I could see some of myself in her and I really enjoyed her story!


The Story
I loved every part of the story! Stella writes these letters for dying folks, she listen to their stories and when they're gone she post the letter to whomever it's intended for. Even though she helps people and tries to get their life in order before they're gone she juggling with problems at home. I just admire her for focusing on other people instead of wallowing in sadness.

Hope is definitely giving up in the beginning but she starts wanting to live and that progression was so heartwarming. The way Hope's part is written is just to my liking, she snarky, sarcastic and really funny. I laughed a lot during Hope's parts and I wish I could meet her in real life!

Even though I enjoyed Hugh's part it's probably my least favourite, in the end it was way better than the beginning but I still prefer Stella's og Hope's over his. Sorry.
It's not that his story is bad it's just not nearly as good as Hope's inspiring story or Stella's heartbreaking one. It is quite cute in the end though.


On another note
I loved the way this story is structured with the letter between each chapter, some of the letters I love, some surprised me and some just made me feel all the feels! None of the letters where boring and I just feel like they're perfect for the story and they just add something truly special to the story! 

I love Rowan Coleman's writing style! There where so many times that things where phrased so beautifully or cleverly and it's just beautiful all in all. I loved reading it and I loved that each of the characters have their distinct voice! 
It's also full of beautiful quotes and life lessons all the way through - I love it when that happens!

I decided to give We Are All Made of Stars 5 berries, it's an uplifting story but it's also quite sad, it made me feel all the feels and I felt so satisfied with the ending so I have to give it the highest rating! Every loose end is taken care of in the end and you can't really ask for more than a great ending to this beautiful story!