Mini Reviews (just because I’m lazy)

Welcome to another edition of Mini Reviews! I’ve recently discovered the marvellous world of sharing more than one review in a single post, which I love because a) no one has time to read 1k+ word reviews, b) my blogging schedule is slower than my rate of reading, and c) it’s more productive to write multiple reviews at once. So I hope you enjoy!

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

33837404

‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?


 

I haven’t cried that much since that traumatic scene in Prison Break that left me sobbing for twenty minutes. Wow. I loved One when I read it, but Moonrise was even more spectacular than I thought it was going to be. I went into this novel completely blind, not knowing a singe thing about it, and I was not prepared for the heartbreak I’d have to endure. Moonrise wasn’t an easy read, but it was a necessary and powerful one. I utterly adored it.

I ended up reading Moonrise in one sitting both because of how compelling it was, but also because it was so short. As it’s written in free verse, Moonrise’s format is different from most other YA novels in the market — but if you like the way Moonrise is written, I highly recommend you check out Ellen Hopkins’s novels. While I loved Moonrise, I also felt like some of the characters were underdeveloped just because of how short a time we had to know them. Although I felt for the situation from the very beginning, it took a little longer for me to empathise with the protagonist because sometimes the writing style felt a little disconnected due to how it’s read.

Ultimately, Moonrise was a short and emotional read that left me wanting to investigate more YA novels written in free verse. The subject matter is confronting and controversial, and I love the way Sarah Crossan tackled the issues of the death penalty with such sensitivity and candour. This was definitely not the book I expected to be reading before I started it, but I’m so glad I picked it up. If you’re looking for a touching and heart-wrenching novel that’s a bit different from the rest, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Moonrise.

Rating:

4 Stars

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz

328603551777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.


I wanted to love this book. I really did. I’m a massive fan of Hamilton, so much so that I spent three weeks trying to perfect the rap in Guns and Ships (before reluctantly giving up because I just can’t move my mouth that fast) and I’ve read the massive Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the musical. What I hoped from Alex & Eliza was a sweet and somewhat historically accurate dramatisation of the love and the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. Instead, what this book turned out to be was a dull history lesson with a predictable ending.

It’s probably my own fault for being so obsessed with Hamilton that I could probably teach American History classes — as long as that history took place between around 1770 and 1810 — and knowing everything about everything, because the info dumping just felt like revising for a test to me. It was all stuff that I already knew from reading Alexander Hamilton’s biography, and even if I hadn’t read it, there was just so much info-dumping. Perhaps it would have been better going into this book knowing nothing about Hamilton or Hamilton the Musical, but I wouldn’t know.

I also wasn’t that keen on the romance between Alex and Eliza — I always preferred Anjelica, to be honest. Perhaps I was distracted by all the information about the 1700s and already knowing what was going to happen to get to know these reimagined versions of the characters I already loved. And it’s probably my own fault for not being aware that there’s a second book coming out next year, so I honestly thought this book was going to end with Alex’s death. My bad. I think it actually ended with my death because it was so boring. Hello, I’m now a ghost. If you’re a Hamilton fan, go for it, but it’s not the be-all and end-of of Hamilton content. Just go relisten to the musical.

Rating:

2-stars

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

34076952Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

 


I think I would have appreciated this book if I’d actually read the books that Leigh Bardugo had written about the Grishaverse, but it was still very enjoyable nonetheless. These fairytales weren’t like anything I had been expecting — they were dark and twisted and delightfully creepy. I’ve only read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, but it was in these fairytales that I realised just how much of a talented writer Leigh really is. These pieces were so short, but they still managed to be unbelievably captivating and stunningly written. I just absolutely devoured these stories and I was left wanting more. I definitely think it’s time for me to jump into the Grishaverse.

The illustrations throughout were also absolutely spectacular, and they made this book the gorgeous masterpiece it is. This book is just so aesthetically pleasing and something that you’ll want on your shelf. I do think my reading experience would have been improved slightly if I’d read other novels from the Grishaverse beforehand, but I enjoyed this collection of short stories nonetheless! Definitely a must-read for fans of Six of Crows or Shadow & Bone.

Rating:

4 Stars

Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Breaking by Danielle Rollins

35597489Charlotte doesn’t fit in with her two best friends, or with anyone else at The Underhill Preparatory Institute, her cut-throat school for the rich and gifted. But when those best friends die suddenly, Charlotte doesn’t know where to turn.

Were they keeping secrets? Could Charlotte be the reason they did it? Because Charlotte has a secret of her own, and now she must decide how much she will risk to discover the truth.

In venomous, page-turning style, Danielle Rollins keeps readers on the edge of their seats with this haunting thriller full of pretty people and ugly secrets.


 

This book was strange, and not really the good kind. I read the author’s previous novel, Burning, and i really enjoyed that. However, Breaking was something I want to forget ever reading. We’ve all read paranormal / sci-fi / thrillers set at a boarding school, and the story just felt unoriginal to me. The characters felt two-dimensional to me most of the time, and I couldn’t care less about their motivations or what they were trying to achieve. All I could care about was finally reaching the end of this book so that I could finally move on.

The thing I hated most about Breaking was the flippant way in which it discussed suicide. It’s definitely glamorised by the protagonist in her internal monologue, which can be quite triggering for some, and the school did absolutely nothing in the aid of the students affected. I felt that this was such an important and sensitive issue that shouldn’t have been glazed over like that, and I was very disappointed by the lack of depth and the casual manner in which the author wrote about this. I understand it was the catalyst for everything else in the novel, but it just didn’t feel well-written or realistic at all.

All in all, this is a forgettable novel that I would be quite happy never to have mentioned ever again. The characters felt shallow, the most important aspects of the novel were underdeveloped and felt glazed over, and this was just a haphazard mishmash of paranormal, sci-fi and thriller that left me supremely unimpressed. If you’re looking for a good book, I advise you to steer clear of this one. It’s not worth your time.

Rating:

1 Star

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Let's Talk

Do you prefer shorter reviews, or my longer ones? Do you write mini reviews? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What did you think of them? Let’s chat in the comments!

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Graphics used in header sourced from Zzorna ArtWinged Graphics and OpiaDesigns.

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16 thoughts on “Mini Reviews (just because I’m lazy)

  1. Oh gosh, I’m SO excited for THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS. Fairy tales are some of my favorite things in the entire world…so I’m positive I’ll love this one. I adore Leigh Bardugo’s world, too. I would absolutely LOVE to write something like that for one of my own fantasy worlds—even if it’s only for fun. 🙂

  2. The Language of Thorns is the only book I have on my TBR and I loved your review. If it is based in the Grishverse then it definitely is a must read for me cuz I loved both the series based in the Grishaverse. Im currently reading Wonder Woman : Warbringer and half way through I like it okayish!

  3. Yes! I love mini reviews! I’m not sure why, but I’m way more inclined to read them. Probably because for longer reviews, if I haven’t read the book, I feel really left out, but the short ones seem more enticing. I don’t know, but they get a definite vote from me 🙂 I haven’t read any of these books, not sure any of them catch my fancy but I liked reading your thoughts on them.

  4. I am so pressed for time these days and I think I should do what you do with reviews — write mini ones! I mean, they are great and succinct and sometimes it’s a good change up to the longer ones. Great reviews, too! I am about to start on The Language of Thorns soon. I flipped through the pages and the illustrations are GORGEOUS! ❤

    • Exactly! It takes ages to write long reviews, and I feel that mini reviews convey your thoughts just as well a lot of the time, if not more because of how succinct they are. Ooh I hope you adore THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS! It’s absolutely stunning 😍

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