The Mother-in-Law Cure by Farha Z. Hasan

Name & Author: The Mother-in-Law Cure by Farha Z. Hasan

Publisher: Createspace (Self published)

Release Date: September 8th 2013

Genres: Fiction, Adult, Contemporary

Summary: 

The Mother-in-Law Cure is a modern day fairy tale that chronicles the rise of the book’s central character, Humara from orphan to power matriarch in an affluent family. Humara’s influence spans generations and continents, but things are seldom as they appear. Humara’s prosperity is not simply good fortune but stems from something dark and sinister – as those who encounter her quickly begin to realize. It seems that nothing can stand in Humara’s way as she pulls the strings of those around her, until she meets the unlikeliest of nemesis. Another young orphan whose status in the household is little more than a servant will be the instrument of Humara’s demise. The Mother-in-Law Cure is an urban fantasy that takes you from Pakistan to the Middle East and back to the United States.
-Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I have always been fascinated by different cultures and countries. And when the author Farha Z. Hasan contacted me and asked if I wanted to read her book set around a Pakistan family I immediately said yes.

The book revolves around two women, daughter- and mother in law, Miriam and Humara, and how they both go from being poor orphans in Pakistan to be married into a good family in the USA.

There are few characters in the book, but you really feel something about them all. And for some the feeling in the beginning changes as you read more. I really liked and loved Miriam and Adnan. Miriam is a sweet girl, who unfortunately married into a ‘bad’ family. Adnan is a happy-go-lucky man who has no worry in the world.
I really disliked Humara in the beginning, she treats Miriam badly and unfairly. But as you got more backstory about her, your feeling softens a little.

The book is beautifully written. I really enjoyed the writing style. In the summary it says that the book is a modern fairy tale. I found it very cleaver to use fairy tale names and very well known sentences from fairy tales as chapter names. I got most of them as I was reading and some of them I hadn’t heard about before. In my opinion this book isn’t a fairy tale, it doesn’t really have the happy ending.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. I felt like Miriam changed into Humara in the end. She was supposed to be a nice and a likable girl, but she turned out to be just as manipulated as her mother in law.

This is a great book to read if you like different cultures. It isn’t a typical book I would pic up, but I really enjoyed it.

4/5 stars!

Diljá

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Name & Author: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release Date: June 11th 2011

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal

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Summary:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.  

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. -Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Do want a book that makes you want to sleep with the lights on? A book with pictures that make you not want to sleep at all? This book is different from anything that I have read before. It is very creative and unique.

As for many books I’ve been reading lately I wan’t sure about this one when I started. I had tried to read it before, but never really got into the story line. I didn’t really get into the story line this time either but I pushed through. The book didn’t really captivate me and I didn’t connect with any of the characters but I really liked this book despite all those things.

One of my favorite thing about the book is the vintage photography. The photos made the story come alive and they really did help in the beginning when you meet all the characters at once. I don’t think that I would have finished the book if it weren’t for the pictures. They are the scary factor in the book and they are definitely not for children!

All in all the book was good and a fun read, but as in all books there is something that you like and dislike. I really liked the peculiar characters and all the stories of them. There were few things that I disliked about the book. Mainly it was the romance between Jacob and Emma, one of the peculiar children. Jacob is sixteen but I always read him as a child, 11 or 12 years old, and that just made things weird.

I would recommend this book to people who want to read something different and I am definitely going to be reading the sequel, Hollow City, soon. I also recommend to read the graphic novel version of this book.

4/5 stars!

 

 

Diljá

Find Me by Romily Bernard

Name & Author: Find Me by Romily Bernard

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: September 23rd 2013

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

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Summary:

A girl is dead…
A killer’s closing in…
And two little words are the only clue…
“Find Me”.

These are the words that Wick Tate finds in Tessa Wayne’s diary. And now Tessa has been found … dead. Does someone out there really expect Wick to uncover the truth about her death?

An expert computer hacker, Wick has the skills for the job, but with the threat of her ex-con dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around and new foster parents to keep happy, getting involved with a murder case is the last thing she wants to do. Until her little sister, Lily, is the next target. 

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker-girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare. And now she’s going to find this killer, no matter what it takes. Because it just got personal.  -Goodreads

 

My Thoughts:

I was not sure about this book when I started reading it. It has very mixed reviews and it didn’t capture me at first. The thing that sucked me in was the fact that I needed to know what would happen to Wick.

The main character, Wick Tate, lives with her little sister, Lily, with a new foster family. Wick is a hard headed girl with a dark past (with a drug dealer, criminal mastermind father on the loose). While Wick doesn’t trust anyone or lets anyone in, Lily believes in the good in everyone and is very trusting.

The storyline is little slow in the beginning but once you get past that you can’t put the book down.

The book is very well written, very well thought out. It makes you think about when you are alone in the world and you see dark things in every corner who can you really trust? Can you trust the parental figure or the policeman?

There was one character that I really liked and the effect he had on Wick – Griff. Wick needed someone who wouldn’t use her or give up on her.

I really liked this book. It leaves you hanging and is full of plot twists.

4/5 stars!

 

Diljá

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Name & Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishers)

Release Date: January 1st 2012

Genres: YA, Dystopian

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Summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. -Goodreads

My Thoughts:

When you think of Cinderella you immodestly think of a princess in a blue dress and prince charming. What if that princess was really a cyborg?

I have never been a fan of fairy tale retelling, but for some reason I really liked this one. It has many elements from the Cinderella fairy tale; the orphaned girl, the evil step mom, prince charming, the ‘shoe’ (a foot in the book) and the pumpkin wagon (a car in the book).

The main character is Cinder. She is the best mechanic in New Beijing. The only different thing about her is that she is a cyborg. She is a really strong characters and doesn’t let anything pull her completely down. She is a very likable character and I felt connected to her through out the book.

The world building is good. It’s futuristic but real. There is an epidemic – a plague. I found it weird that there could be portscreens and other futuristic technical stuff and they couldn’t make an antidote for the plague. There are cyborgs and androids. Cyborgs are part human and treated very badly by most people.

Like the fairy tale Cinder has some characters that readers hate. I usually feel like the word ‘hate’ to be a really strong word but it’s the right word to use for some characters. The evil step mom and the Lunar Queen.

The book is well written and fast paced. I really liked it but it was predictable at parts.

4/5 stars!

Diljá

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

 

Name & Author: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Release Date: September 3rd 2013

Genres: YA/Paranormal

 
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Summary:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black. -Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is the first Holly Black book I have read since I read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was younger. The book is based on a short story by Holly Black with the same name from The Eternal Kiss. This is a really good book. Holly Black takes on most of modern time problems with a paranormal twist. One of these things are types of relationship. In the book there is all kinds of relationships, straight, gay, bi, which aren’t in many YA or fantasy books.

The world building in the book is very realistic. The story takes place in normal time US where there are closed towns for vampires, Coldtowns. When you enter one you rarely get out. Vampirism has been an epidemic in the US and is spreading through out the world. Once somebody is bitten they can go Cold, it takes 48 hours to know for sure. After that you can turn into a vampire by feeding or restrain from feeding for 88 days and return to normal.

The main protagonist is Tana. She wakes up after a party and discovers that everyone is dead. Her ex-boyfriend in chained to a bed and a vampire is chained to a wall next to him. Even after this crazy wake up she saves them both when more vampires come. The only problem is that she was bitten in the progress. After that they get on the road to the next Coldtown.

Tana is a really strong character and has gone through more than most people her age. After she gets bitten she has to wait the 48 hours to know is she will go Cold. Even if that happens she has decided that she is not going to become a vampire. Her mother was bitten and went Cold. In her blood thirst state she attacked Tana and bit her. Losing her mother to vampirism and her father to depression, Tana has to take care of her little sister and her home. That responsibility has made a huge impact on how she deals with coming events.

There is one character, Gavriel (the vampire Tana saved at the party), who grew on me through out the story. Going from the tough, bad boy vampire to a caring and loving one. In the end of the book he stays with Tana in a cell while she goes through the 88 days of recovering from the Cold.

In the story there is a vampire celebrity, Lucien Moreau, who has his own TV show. You get to see him through Tana’s and her sister’s, Pearl’s, eyes. First he is the person who everybody wants to be or be friend to. But he evolves into a superficial and self observed vampire. This made me think of how we view real life TV celebrities. What part of their life do we see? How are they off camera?

The book is very well written. It is little bit slow at parts but there is a lot to take in. It’s a new take on vampire stories that everyone should give a chance.

4.5/5 stars!

Diljá

November 2013 Wrap-Up

 

This is my very late November 2013 Wrap-Up. This month was rather different from normal reading month. I read seven books and two plays. I don’t usually read plays, but the two I read this month were surprisingly good.

The books I read in November:

once a witchonyxtímaþjófurinnFrigidUncle VanyaOpalgaldraattachmentsCarrier of the mark

 

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough: YA/Fantasy. Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin’s magic never showed up.  I did not like this book. 2/5 stars. There will not be a review for this one.

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout: YA/Paranormal. Book 2 in the Lux–Series. I really enjoyed this one. 4/5 stars. Review to come.

Tímaþjófurinn (The Thief of Time) by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir: Fiction. I read this one for Uni. I didn’t like the writing style or the plot. 1/5 stars. There will not be a review for this book.

Frigid by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout): YA/Contemporary Romance. For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie.But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? I really liked this book. 4.5/5 stars. Review to come.

Uncle Vanya by Anton Checkov: Play/Classic. I read this play for Uni. I quite liked it. 4/5 stars. There will not be a review for this one.

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout: YA/Paranormal. Book 3 in the Lux–Series. This one was good. 4/5 stars. Review to come.

Galdra–Loftur by Jóhann Sigurjónsson: Play. This play is based on a Icelandic folk tale about a boy who experiments with magic. I also read this play for Uni. It was really good and I would like to see this on stage. 4/5 stars. There will not be a review for this one.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: Fiction/Romance. “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ” When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. This book was amazing. 5/5 stars. Review to come.

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon: YA/Fantasy. When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs. This one was good. 4/5 stars. Review to come.

 

Diljá

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

 

Name & Author: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: November 15th 2011

Genres: YA, Dystopian

 

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Summary:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
shatter me
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. -Goodreads

 

My Thoughts:

Shatter Me is the first installment in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. The first two books, Shatter Me and Unravel Me, are out. The third book, Ignite Me, will be published on February 4th 2014. There are also two novellas in this series, Destroy Me and Fracture Me. I have only read the first one and I can’t wait to read the rest.

The story revolves around Juliette. In the beginning of the book she is broken. She has been locked away for some time without any human contact. That has made her just a shell of her former self.
One day a boy, Adam, is locked away with her. Gradually she starts to speak and opens up little by little. Later she finds out that she can touch him without killing him.

In the beginning Juliette views herself as a monster. She won’t look in a mirror and finds it hard to believe it when she is called pretty or beautiful. During all the things that happen in the book she learns slowly to love herself.

Through out the book Juliette grows. She goes from the empty girl to a strong woman. A big part of this development is Adam, who has been in love with her for many years. They went to school together and watched each other from afar.
The romance is well written and it isn’t instant love. Their feelings have been building up for years.

There were some parts of the book that seemed unlikely to me. I find it hard to believe that it took only three years for the Reestablishment to take over and rule everything. I also find Warner (the villain) too young to rule everything. He is 19 years old. If he had only been few years older he would have seemed more likely to be in the situation that he is in.

Shatter Me is a fast paced book full of action. Tahereh Mafi brings a new writing style into the YA world. There are lot of crossed out words and repeated words in the text. They are all part of Juliette’s thought process. On the book cover it is: My Touch is Lethal. My Touch is Power.
I read this book as an ebook and at first I thought my copy was damaged, words were repeated and crossed out. In my opinion this is a good change from other books but it is too much used. And it seems weird when you don’t know that it is supposed to be that way. Other than that Shatter Me is a great book. If you haven’t checked it out you should.

 

4/5 stars!

 

Diljá

Joyland by Stephen King

 

Name & Author: Joyland by Stephen King

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Release Date: June 4th 2013

Genres: Fiction, Mystery/Crime, Horror

 
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Summary:

joyland

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has neverpreviously been published. -Goodreads

 

 

My Thoughts:

This isn’t a typical Stephen King novel. The book doesn’t have the horror factor and isn’t over 800 pages long. But like his other books this one is beautifully written and Stephen King really has the gift of telling stories and keeping the reader reading on.

I think that many readers picked this book up expecting something completely different, I did. I was expecting a horror story, then a crime thriller (it is at parts) but the book is really a coming of age story.

Devin Jones is a 21 year old University student who gets a job at an amusement park after his girlfriend dumped him. There he hears the story of Linda Gray. Four years previously she was murdered and left in the Haunted – House  Ride at Joyland, the amusement part Devin works at. Devin gets fascinated by the story and often wonders what really happened to Linda Gray.

Most of the story is about Devin’s life, his ex-girlfriend and his work. During his stay at the amusement park he grows up. He saves a child’s life during one of his 15 minutes shift as Howie the Happy Hound and meets lot of really grate people.

It isn’t until the end that the reader gets to know what happened to Linda Gray, who murdered her.

This book was a surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

4/5 stars!

Diljá

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

Name & Author: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Release Date: October 22nd 1999

Genres: YA, Fiction

 
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Summary:

speak

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country. -Goodreads

 

 

My Thoughts:

I bought this book from Amazon in March and read it about two months ago in September so I think this review is long overdue.

This book is very realistic and Melinda deals with her problem in a very realistic way. It is a story about a rape and depression and how to continue with life. Because how realistic and down to earth the book is I think Melinda’s story is very relatable. Not only for rape victims but also for people who have gone through bullying and depression.

In my opinion Melinda is very brave. Even though she doesn’t tell anyone what happened or explains why her school work is going down rapidly or why she has changed so much, she tries to continue with her life. She is withdrawn from everything but at the same time she is snarky and sarcastic.

The book is well written and uniquely set up. I loved the little details like Melinda’s grades after each ‘Marking Period’.
I think that everybody should give this book a go. It gets you thinking about how other people see you, but mostly how you see yourself.

 

4/5 star!

 

Diljá