Little Fires Everywhere

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Genres: Contemporary

Length: 384 pages | 4158 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publishing Date: September 12th, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Shaker Heights is supposed to be the perfect neighbourhood. Everything is planned and everyone tries hard to contribute to the standards.
But Mia and Pearl’s arrival to the neighbourhood will deeply affect the lives of those they come in contact with. Elena Richardson in particular will make sure that mysterious Mia will not upset the carefully constructed utopia.

Review:

Little Fires Everywhere was a very engaging read. I always wanted to know what came next to each of the characters.

In this sort of Stepford-wifey neighbourhood, our characters try hard to live up to the standards they truly believe in, and our Elena Richardson in particular makes sure she helps the less fortunate and raises her children to do so. Issues of race, sexuality, teen discoveries and much more are addressed through a miscellany of characters. There are a handful of main ones and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. Indeed, I was quite a fan of the writing and development of characters.

The writing is quite unique. We are presented with different perspectives and what would have happened had a character known something. Situations that are approached earlier will be revisited under a different point of view. And this allows the reader to truly get in the shoes of each of the characters and actually commiserate even with the less deserving ones. The fact is everyone has their motives to act how they do and each has their own way of thinking and belief of what is right. The question is what are they willing to do to defend that.

This was very enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher. Edelweiss and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Sep 10th to Sep 24th, 2017
GR Review

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All Our Wrong Todays

Title: All Our Wrong Todays

Author: Elan Mastai

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 384 pages | 4012 Kindle locations

Source: Edelweiss

Publisher: Dutton Books

Publishing Date: Feb 7th, 2017

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Tom lives in a world quite close to what we pictured the future would be like back in the 50s. Technology is so advanced that Tom’s father actually manages to build a time machine. Tom travels back in time to witness the moment where the future began but things get so messy that when he goes back to 2016 it’s no longer his world. It’s the world as we know it. Can Tom go back and fix what he did wrong? Can he fix the past so that his world can exist again?

Review:

I had a really good time reading this. I found it refreshing that the narrator was an ordinary guy who screws up a lot and throughout the book has normal reactions, he doesn’t just turn into this amazing hero just because he is the main character of a book and needs to show evolution. So in such a bizarre scenario I actually found Tom Barren quite normal. And his sense of humour contributed quite positively to the character.

The other thing I loved about the book was the pace. You don’t just get backstory dumped, the story flows and you are there every step of the way, and there are twists quite early on, as early as a quarter into the book, if I remember correctly. Everything attests to the character of Tom and his evolution, and will sooner or later be picked back up, but at the same time you are being entertained, not just reading lengthy descriptions but actually watching stuff happen.

There isn’t much hard sci-fi until later in the book and I found the semi-explanations satisfying because, again, Tom is a normal dude, he is not supposed to know how all this works.

Towards the end I gradually lost interest both because of the hard sci-fi, Tom’s decision that it was not possible to save his world, he didn’t even try and I still don’t get why and things just got really complicated, not sure if I buy into all of it but… It still wrapped up nicely. The writing got a bit gushy for my taste but it does make sense and I was pleased.

All Our Wrong Todays is quite a ride, but a good one. There is humour, failure, different ways to deal with failure, so a lot of personal growth involved, and I have to say I got emotionally involved with the story to the point where I truly cared about what happened to the characters. At the same time it is a thought-provoking book, in more ways than one. I wish I had highlighted some passages because they would make some really nifty quotes.
You should definitely pick it up.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jul 23rd to Jul 29th, 2017
GR Review

The Marsh King’s Daughter

Title: The Marsh King’s Daughter

Author: Karen Dionne

Genres: Mystery | Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 3194 Kindle locations

Source: Edelweiss

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publishing Date: June 13th, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Helena grew up in the marsh, not knowing that her father had abducted her mother.
She has managed to make a life for her in the outside world but now her father has escaped prison. She is the only one who truly knows what he is capable of and hence the only one who can stop him. But at what cost?

Review:

Blimey, this was not an easy book! It is extremely psychologically charged and even though I had to suspend disbelief a couple of times, like when Helena mentions she taught herself to read when she was 3 or when she knows how to count out of the blue – and I definitely don’t understand how Stephen could be married to her and not want to know where all the stuff that must have been clearly wrong with his wife came from, the fact is the author managed an amazing balance between making this character interesting while not imbuing her with knowledge she was not supposed to have acquired due to her isolation.

The book starts with an account of a normal day in Helena’s life. She has her jam and jelly home business, a loyal dog and most importantly a beautiful family. Who don’t have the slightest idea of her past. All that is jeopardised when her father breaks out of jail because she knows he will be coming for her.

The narrative is interspersed with snippets of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale and I loved how it related to Helena’s own story. In her account she goes back and forward between her time growing up and her current predicament. The pace succeeds at keeping the reader interested in knowing what comes next on both timelines, especially since Helena makes sure to include both her views as her child and as an emancipated adult.

For me, the novel brings the whole unlikeable character think to a whole new level. I tried to sympathise with Helena but it was not easy to read all the awful things she thought, particularly of her mother, even as an adult. Sometimes she said she understood her actions while others it seemed clear she didn’t. However, this came around more nicely towards the end so I came to terms with her. Overall I find this an extremely well developed character and there was so much that could have gone wrong.

Still, at times Helena sounded so conceited and I especially did not get why she would underestimate her father, like she really expected to best him, just because she won a game – whose rules her father had made. This lack of humility is present throughout the narrative and it was difficult to accept. However, even the things I did not like made sense and she is after all her father’s daughter.

I highly recommend this book but be prepared for some heavy stuff.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 29th to May 1st, 2017
GR Review

Lady Killers

Title: Lady Killers: A Compendium

Author: Tori Telfer

Genres: Biography | Non-fiction | True Crime

Length: 336 pages | 5772 Kindle locations

Source: Edelweiss

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publishing Date: October 10th 2017

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

A compendium of the tales of 14 female serial killers.

Review:

I am still mulling over why I didn’t enjoy this more. A book about female serial killers is surely innovative and I am a sucker for the twisted human mind. After so much fiction about this topic, I was thrilled to begin a non-fiction, realistic account.

The writing is engaging and witty and the author brings the right amount of humour to balance the wickedness in those pages.

However, that said humour, paired with the fact that none of the women portrayed were contemporary, bought an air of myth to the narrative that did not help prove the author’s point – that women could be just as wicked as men -, because it felt that there wasn’t much substantial proof behind it. The events in these women’s stories were studied long after the acts, and there were plenty of rumours as well. So, I don’t know, I guess my main issue is that it did not feel very ‘real’ to me.

The one story that chilled me the most was the most current one, the Giggling Grannie. I could definitely picture such a character and it chilled me to the bone – even more than reading about women who poisoned men or children in the dark ages or a couple of centuries after.

Also, constantly reading about poison grew tiresome and at some point I struggled to keep reading. I began to wonder if I would ever finish the book.

All in all, Lady Killers was an interesting read, but I would have enjoyed it more had the cases been more contemporary.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 1st to Apr 7th, 2017
GR Review

Discovering Edelweiss #2

My goodness, I am such a noob.

After well over half an hour with Amazon support, I realised (on my own by the way) that the reason why I was not able to receive Edelweiss files was because I had not added their address to approved emails on my Amazon account.

I had done this when I joined Netgalley of course but that was in 2014, I think.
The guys from Edelweiss replied in the meantime with the same information. Apparently they even had a guide for it and somehow I managed to miss it. I think it would be useful to have a link saying something like ‘Having trouble receiving the e-galleys?’ linking to that guide, I can’t be the only one having this issue… Right? O.o

Anyway, I hope this information helps someone out there!

Also, I received confirmation for a book I was really looking forward to but was rejected on Netgalley, so it’s already worth it for me!

Happy days! :D

I wish you all a lovely Wednesday :)

My First Edelweiss Approval

Oh wow I am so excited!

I was actually wondering if I would ever get an approval. The fact that I might get one less than a week after signing up was far from my thoughts.

I have to admit I squealed when I saw this in my email:

I have heard so many good things about this book, so I am extra excited about it.

*does happy dance*

Now I just need to figure out how to get it in my Kindle because it says the file is sent but it’s not working :(
I have issues with Netgalley’s protected files as well so fingers crossed it will work…

*does some more happy dance*

Have you read this book?
In your experience, does Edelweiss usually send protected files or also regular mobi versions?

Discovering Edelweiss

Well, now I have done it. I finally signed up to Edelweiss. Because that is just what I need, more places to get awesome books from, right??

For some reason I thought I could not sign up because I am from Portugal but I guess that only drastically decreases my chances of actually grabbing the books I want to read so I figured, why not give it a try?

It seems that it is migrating from Edelweiss ‘classic’ to Edelweiss+, at https://www.edelweiss.plus
I never tried the old version but I can imagine this is more user-friendly than the previous.

At first I struggled with it but the help articles were very useful.
However, there are still several features I don’t know what they are for.
I still don’t get why, when I am trying to do a search, I don’t immediately get the option to only view titles available for request. I have to filter first by publisher or publishing date or format or whatnot.
So I am a bit confused about the site’s purpose. Obviously we get to request review copies, but what else is there to it?

Alas, I added some of my previous reviews and requested several titles – only 10, not bad huh?? I am really trying here.
I didn’t find many of the titles I got from Netgalley, though. I wonder what the criteria is to putting a book up.

Also, does it have a feedback rate like Netgalley? What exactly to the publishers use as criteria for accepting a request?

Do you use this site? I would love your opinion of it and any info/tips about it, really.

I have seen a Friend option there, I guess that means you could add me?

Looking forward to your comments!