Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiBlurb

Things happen when people touch Juliette. Strange things. Bad things. Dead things.

No one knows why her touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, without love, she’s finally discovering her strength – and maybe even a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

My Perspective

This is the fourteenth book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi from Lynette at Lynette Noni. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

Shatter Me is the first book in the Shatter Me series. It is about a seventeen year old girl named Juliette who possesses a very unique trait – if you touch her you will die. After a terrible accident occurs involving Juliette, she is abandoned by her parents, shunned by society and locked up in an asylum. However someone has their eye on her.

I really wanted to love this novel. Its style was so unique and the beginning captured me instantly. It didn’t hold me though and I’m actually quite disappointed with how the rest of the story panned out. A lot of people have trouble with this book because of the writing style (the use of purple prose) however that was not my qualm at all. I couldn’t stomach the romantic aspect to it. I found it so ridiculous and immature and boring. It completely took away from the dystopian part of it. It was filled with so much, well basically sexual content, albeit PG, which is NOT how the book is marketed.

Juliette is really easy to like and root for. Despite how she’s been treated, she’s not bitter, she still wants to do good. She’s brave and stubborn. She’s also not perfect, which makes her easier to relate to. She lacks self confidence (no wonder) and finds it hard to believe she’s not a monster. Adam, is of course, practically perfect. Strong. Sexy. Inherently good. What every teenage girl dreams of. It would have been nice if he had some imperfections to actually make him realistic.

The writing style was really intriguing. I’ve never come across purple prose before and i really enjoyed the style – some of the descriptions were fantastic. I did find that it petered off though, which was disappointing.

The dystopian premise was interesting however not super unique with the saturation of dystopian novels on the market at the moment. However Juliette and her predicament was definitely unique and really gave it a fresh twist. I really wish that this story hadn’t become so bogged down in kissing scenes.

There are two more novels in the series however I probably won’t read them. I can understand how teenage girls would probably love this book however if you like a bit more depth to your stories, I would probably look elsewhere. This book could have been so great and I’m really sad that it’s not.

Overall I can only really recommend this book to those into reading YA dystopian novels that mainly revolve around kissing scenes…


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertBlurb

It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

My Perspective

Eat, Pray, Love follows Elizabeth Gilbert as she takes a year off travelling to Italy, India and Indonesia in her search for self discovery.

I didn’t realise this was actually a non fiction memoir. To be honest I thought she was a pretty lucky individual to have the means to be able to do what she did.

I mostly liked Elizabeth however I did find her also slightly annoying. I can’t put my finger on why, just that she aggravated me a bit.

The book is in three sections: Eat (Italy), Pray (India), Love (Indonesia). I enjoyed reading the first section (Eat – Italy) as it sets the story and involves lots of yummy food! I wasn’t such a fan of the second section (Pray – India) as I found that it was more like a Yoga textbook than her actual experience with Yoga. Obviously you have to have some explanation so that the reader understands however I found it was too much, which means I was a bit bored throughout that section. If I wanted to understand Yoga that much then I’d research it properly rather than reading someone’s non fiction memoir. I mostly enjoyed the third section (Love – Indonesia) however I found it went from being super spiritual to an almost teenage romance. I had a bit of a hard time reconciling the two.

Overall though it was an interesting read and certainly has the potential to make you reflect on your own life. I would probably recommend it.


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafonBlurb

It is 1945 and Barcelona is enduring the long aftermath of civil war when Daniel Sempere’s bookseller father decides his son is old enough to visit the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There Daniel must ‘adopt’ a single book, promising to care for it and keep it alive always. His choice falls on The Shadow of the Wind.

Bewitched, he embarks on an epic quest to find the truth about Julian Carax, the book’s mysterious author. Soon Daniel is consumed by strange discoveries about love and obsession, art and life, and how they become entangled within the shadow world of books.

My Perspective

The Shadow of the Wind is about how Daniel as a ten year old boy, is taken to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his Father and where he finds a novel by Julian Carax, The Shadow of the Wind. He soon discovers that the book is quite sought after, especially by a faceless man who smells of burnt paper. As a young man, he decides to find out more about Julian Carax however the more he digs, the deeper the mystery and the more trouble he finds himself in.

This book was recommended by one of my customers.

The story was really quite fascinating and unusual. It was written quite differently too – it didn’t flow smoothly, it was quite stilted. However I found this really worked in with the theme and mood of the book, which was a bit dark and mysterious.

I liked Daniel. He was slightly frustrating at times however he was young and naive. The other characters were well written and rich in depth.

The story really made you want to discover Barcelona. There were some great descriptions throughout and a lot of the writing was rich and colourful.

The book had plenty of mystery and intrigue however there were some parts where I was slightly confused. I also predicted some of the major mysteries, which I was slightly disappointed that I saw them coming. There was a lot of others that I didn’t though so it did keep me on my toes.

The book was really interesting and kept me turning the pages.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction with a gothic feel to it.


The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonBlurb

1961: On a sweltering summer’s day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can’t wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.

2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds – Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy – who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined.

My Perspective

The Secret Keeper is mainly about Dorothy “Dolly” Smitham’s life and how nearing the end of it, Dolly’s eldest daughter Laurel, starts digging into the past to find out her mother’s secrets of the life she led before she was married – specifically how the event Laurel witnessed as a teenager came to be.

The Secret Keeper was written in true Kate Morton style – a complex family saga spanning over a couple of generations with plenty of drama, mystery and twists and turns.

I really did not like Dolly. More so from before she was married than after. She was so selfish and so self absorbed. It took so much tragedy for her to realise how much she truly had. I really liked Laurel. I felt like you couldn’t help but be drawn to her. Jimmy was such a sweetheart with such a good heart and I really hated the way Dolly treated him and that he let her! Vivien was such an interesting character with many layers and I couldn’t help but like her.

The story was quite long and about half way through I thought it was about to come to a head and the story was going to be finished. Obviously it didn’t and instead there was a bit of a dead spot and I couldn’t fathom that there was still a whole other half to the story. However it did pick up again and after a bit even more pieces to the puzzle became clear.

There were so many twists and turns in the book that quite a few times I felt a bit lost. It was very interesting though and really kept me guessing. I was able to figure out a few of the minor mysteries however the major one had me completely fooled until the very end. It’s such an in depth book that really once you’ve finished reading it, you need to start at the very beginning and read it all over again and you’d probably still miss some things!

Overall I quite enjoyed the story and I found it hard to put down. I wish I could have loved the story however as I didn’t like Dolly’s character, that put a blemish on it for me. I would definitely recommend if you like a dramatic family saga.


The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. MoraisBlurb

Abbas Haji is the proud owner of a modest family restaurant in Mumbai. But when tragedy strikes, Abbas propels his boisterous family into a picaresque journey across Europe, finally settling in the remote French village of Lumiere, where he establishes an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai.

Much to the horror of their neighbour, a famous chef named Madame Mallory, the Indian establishment opposite her own begins to garner a following. Little does she know that the young Hassan, son of Abbas, has discovered French cuisine and has vowed to become a great French chef. Hassan is a natural whose talents far outweigh Mme. Mallory, but the tough old Frenchwoman will not brook defeat.

Thus ensues an entertaining culinary war pitting Hassan’s Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Mme. Mallory, leading the young Hassan to greatness and his true destiny.

This vivid, hilarious and charming novel – about how just a small distance of a hundred feet can represent the gulf between different cultures, different people, their tastes and their destinies – is simply bursting with eccentric characters, delicious flavours and high emotion.

My Perspective

Having watched the movie when it came out last year, i was familiar with the story line of The Hundred-Foot Journey. However much to my surprise, the movie is actually quite different to the book so i actually had no idea what was going to happen next. I think i preferred the book because comparing the two now, the movie is very “Hollywood” whether the book is unpredictable and even a bit melancholy.

I really liked Hassan. As a young boy and teenager he was really quite endearing. As he grew older i admired his humility. He was smart, talented, respectful and you could really get inside his head. I loved his family and the way they were described – so colourful and full of life. Madame Mallory was a force of a character and you couldn’t help but like her even though she could be so frosty. I really liked the comparison between the French and the Indian – in terms of culture, people and cuisine. And how Hassan became the product of those two colliding.

The writing was so descriptive and i loved how even the non-food descriptions were compared to food! It was hard to read this book without getting hungry.

The book was really well written, drawing you into Hassan’s world. The author really made you feel like you were a part of it with the use of different senses to set the scenes. It was a really interesting premise – really quite fresh. I really enjoyed how everything wasn’t spelled out to you either. There was a lot of subtlety.

Overall i really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, especially to those who like stories that involve descriptions of food! It was a really rich story, so colourful and vibrant.


Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered by A. G. HowardBlurb

Alyssa Gardner hears the thoughts of plants and animals. She hides her delusions for now, but she knows her fate: she will end up like her mother, in an institution. Madness has run in her family ever since her great-great-great-grandmother Alice Liddell told Lewis Carroll her strange dreams, inspiring his classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

But perhaps she’s not mad.  And perhaps Carroll’s stories aren’t as whimsical as they first seem.

To break the curse of insanity, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole and right the wrongs of Wonderland, a place full of strange beings with dark agendas. Alyssa brings her real-world crush – the protective Jeb – with her, but once her journey begins, she’s torn between his solidity and the enchanting, dangerous magic of Morpheus, her guide to Wonderland.

But no one in Wonderland is who they seem to be – not even Alyssa herself…

My Perspective

This is the thirteenth book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about Splintered by A. G. Howard from Bradley at The Recommenders. You can read his thoughts on the book here.

Splintered is about Alyssa, a descendant of Alice Liddell, the famed Alice of Alice in Wonderland. All the women in Alyssa’s family have suffered from mental illness – mental illness that always manifests as something to do with Alice in Wonderland. However are all the women actually mad? Alyssa starts to wonder when she starts hearing and seeing things for herself. Then she falls down the rabbit hole and enters Wonderland for herself, validating that it is in fact, real. However the Lewis Carroll version is much nicer than the real one…

I quite enjoyed this book. It was a great twist on a classic story. The author really made sure that it flowed seamlessly with the original Alice in Wonderland story. It also made you think twice about the original story and what was real.

Alyssa was easy to like although I did find her a bit childish at some points throughout the book. Jeb was also easy to like however a bit too over protective. Despite Morpheous’ nature, I actually really liked him.

As a said, the story was well written and interesting. I also enjoyed the underlying steam punk theme to the whole thing. It was also really descriptive – the language was extremely visual.

The only thing that I wasn’t so fond of was the romantic content and love triangle. It was a bit too unrealistic and over the top and I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit throughout those parts.

Overall though I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it if you like twists on classic stories.


Where The Heart Is by Annie Groves

Where The Heart Is by Annie GrovesBlurb

The country is going forward together – but will the Campions?

Three years into the war and the country is facing its darkest days. Victory has never seemed so far away. The changes that war has brought are affecting everyone, not least the Campion family.

Eldest son Luke is fighting on the African Front. Emily is harbouring romantic thoughts about Wilhelm, the German POW. Bella still pines for her forbidden love. The war effort has steered twins Lou and Sasha on different paths, but has it driven a wedge between them?

The Campions, along with the rest of the nation, must face their fears and endure their darkest hour. All of their tomorrows depend on it.

My Perspective

This is the twelfth and last (finally!) book i chose to read from my post Third Lot – And It’s A Lot

Where The Heart is follows the Campion family three years into WWII and how it is affecting each one of them including cousin Bella, ex-billetee Katie, aunt Francine, Con and Emily.

Although it was a bit soppy in places, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting and well written and the many storylines of each person kept you on your toes. As I’ve mentioned before, I really like books with multiple main characters.

I liked most of the characters except I was annoyed at both Luke and Sasha for their attitudes – especially Sasha. She seemed like a selfish brat.

There were many love stories throughout, which at times I found myself rolling my eyes at. The way the men were portrayed was a bit…I’m not sure how to describe it. Over the top? Overall though it wasn’t too bad.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to those who like romance and/or historical fiction.

NOTE: I didn’t realise that this book was the fourth in a series so it probably would have been better to start at the beginning! However I still enjoyed it and wasn’t really confused by anything so I suppose you could read it as a stand alone book.