Monday, 13 May 2019

That Night by Cyn Balog || Review

Some things are better left buried.

This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by the publisher, via Netgalley. My thanks to both Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire. 

Name: That Night 
Author: Cyn Balog
Rating: 4 Stars
Pages: 320
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire
Published: June 4th 2019

^Please note: This is a trigger warning for suicide

A year ago, Declan killed himself in his family's shed with a gun. And Hailey's life fell apart. Her love, her forever, gone. No explanation, no hint, no nothing. Declan was the light of her life, the happiest person she knew and then he was gone. After spending time in an institution and several reckless activities later, the one year anniversary of his death is coming up and something isn't right. When Hailey is given a box of Declan's things, including a mysterious photograph with "This ends now," written on it, the fog in Hailey's memory starts to clear. Growing suspicious about the circumstances of Declan's death, she turns to her best friend and Declan's stepbrother, Kane, who appears to know more than he's letting on. What is everyone hiding from her, and does she want to know? 

Deciding that she does, Hailey's fog starts to lift and she finds herself uncovering the truth about Declan, his death and even herself. 

MY DUDES. I love a good mystery book, a what happened, a whodunnit, I LOVE THEM. So when I read the blurb of this book on Netgalley, I was immediately like "I need to read this book." And I wasn't disappointed. Drawn in by the opening chapter, I found myself wanting to know more about Declan and why he did commit suicide. The character building in this book was a breath of fresh air. I have recently read a book with two dimensional characters and this book was quite literally the opposite. The characters in this book had so much depth and so much potential, and a lot of it was lived up too. I liked who I was supposed to like, I hated who I was supposed to hate, the lines got blurred, I loved everyone, I hated everyone. I loved it. 

The story is split into flashbacks before Declan kills himself and the memories that Tina has before this event, and then the days following the one year anniversary where the fog is starting to lift. Declan is presented as a saint, but I loved the whole "Some saints don't get their atonement" conversation with Nina. Nina was a character I wish we got more of in this book as I think she had a lot of potential. 

Reading this book, I found myself really buying what the author was selling for the most part. The only thing I didn't really like about this book was the lack of parental input. I would've wanted to see more of the relationships with the parents being developed further, whether that be Declan and Kane's parents or Hailey's own. I wanted to gather their input of the situation at hand and whether they suspected something further went into Declan's death than a simple, unexplained suicide. 

Overall I would really recommend this book for fans of mystery, YA and contemporary books as I think it's a good read, it has a good plot and it's easy to follow. 

As always hit me up on my socials: 

Instagram: @conniedalt
Twitter: @connie_dalt
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Saturday, 11 May 2019

When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey || Review

"You're a billion pieces, building and unbuilding, stacking and unstacking, hinging and unhinging, pushing, pulling, leaning, standing, falling, all to create something bigger than you." 

This book was kindly sent to me for review, via Netgalley, by SOURCEBOOKS Fire. Many thanks to both!

Name: When the Light Went Out 
Author: Bridget Morrissey
Rating: 3.5 Stars 
Pages: 320
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire
Published: June 1st 2019

Marley Bricket was the light of their friendship group, she kept everybody on their toes with their annual scavenger hunt called the Adventure, her stories and she made small town life bearable. Everybody knew they, Marley and her friends. When the Adventure comes around, they all get more than they bargained for. A gun that wasn't supposed to be loaded. An accidental shooting. Marley Bricket, dead. 

Five years later, her friends all get together after her memorial, the first one with them all together, for one last adventure. But will finishing what Marley started years ago raise more questions than answers and make everyone fall back into the spiral of grief and loss? 

I wanted to love this book. I really really did. 

And I didn't hate it. 

The writing was great, I really enjoyed the alternating point of view between the day that Marley died, and the days of the Adventure. It flowed well. But the present day point of view almost made parts of the throwback chapters redundant, it answered your questions too early I feel, which potentially made the book drag along a little. The ending was suspected. It made it hard to read and follow the flow. But the author really does have a lovely way with words, there were so many sections of this book I found myself taking note of and highlighting along the way because they encapsulate the process of grief so well. 

Grief is a really difficult topic to write about, especially grief from bereavement. How do you put loss in to words? Morrissey does it very well and the sections that spoke on grief were poignant and raw. They sat with you through the story and you can really feel what the main characters are expressing. 

That being said however, one reason this book isn't rated higher is the main characters. Ollie and Nick were the youngest two of the group and the two that were there when Marley died, Nick pulled the trigger and Ollie watched as Marley was killed by a gun that wasn't supposed to be loaded. That type of trauma is bound to mess anyone up, especially eleven year olds. But something about Ollie didn't sit well with me, I found her character reckless for the sake of being reckless and her unhealthy obsession with Marley was kind of unsettling in places. Particularly when she dresses as Marley to go to her memorial every year. That in particular made me feel a little weird. Ollie's voice is the narrator in this book, she's followed by the spirit of Marley, this presence of Marley was nice but I felt like it could have been developed further. 

I wanted a bit more from that aspect of the book. 

Now looking at Nick, he was a good character. But in terms of him and Ollie and their budding romance, it didn't seem like it was something that was for the best. It seemed too predictable and too cliche for the book, and in my opinion, Ollie forgave him way too fast for not talking to her in five years. 

Something that was unprecedented from this book were the conversations about mental health and whether Marley knew the gun was loaded when she told Nick to pull the trigger. It was a conversation that fit well into the story and made it even more harrowing than before. 

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars, this book didn't fully hit the mark with me, but it was also a good read. I wouldn't call it a favourite but I don't hate it.

As always hit me up on my socials: 

Instagram: @conniedalt
Twitter: @connie_dalt
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Friday, 22 March 2019

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta || Review

"Sometimes lost is where you need to be for a while."

This book was kindly sent to me for review, via Netgalley, by Candlewick Press. Many thanks to both!

Name: The Lost Coast
Author: Amy Rose Capetta
Rating: 5 Stars 
Pages: 352
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: May 14th 2019

The Lost Coast follows the journey of six LGBTQIA+ witches navigating through Tempest, California, they are searching. Searching for themselves, for their friend, for the one they love. They Grays have lost one of their own, Imogen, although there physically has lost herself. Her personality, her spark, her magic, just gone, and The Grays need the help of Michigan newcomer, Danny, who while she was looking for something new, the Grays were looking for her. 

However, Danny doesn't know where to help because she believes her only power is kissing girls and making small town people uncomfortable. 

They must come together to figure out what happened to Imogen, piece together the bits of the story that don't make sense, they have to solve why they keep finding bodies, and how the story of a ghost from the previous century connects. This is a story of finding friendship in unexpected people, love in unexpected places and best of all, MAGIC. 

I didn't know what to expect from this book, and I know I say that a lot, but I genuinely didn't. I find some stories containing LGBTQIA+ characters can usually fall into being a cliche, where their identification label is their sole character trait, but this book wasn't that at all. This book explored sexuality and gender identities in such a nice way, where the characters were more than just who they decided they wanted to kiss or what they were attracted too. It was integrated as an important part of these characters and their journeys but I liked that the author didn't use it as the only thing about these characters, for example, Leila is fiesty, she has heartache and she's real, Rush is quiet and intelligent, musically literate and has sythesthia (another thing I'd never really seen a YA author tackle.) 

My favourite character was Danny. Danny was super interesting, and she was a lot more complex than I first thought. I felt like she was so kind, sure she was looking for a new life and she was looking for new friends, but what The Grays were asking her to do was a lot, and she did it. She knew that Rush and Imogen were a thing, and despite falling for Rush, she was still determined to help them out in finding Imogen. 

The writing style of this book drew me in straight away. I love trees. I love being in the forest, I love being surrounded by trees, so straight off the bat, the ethereal description of being surrounded by Redwood trees made me really happy. It really made for a magical setting and it set up how beautiful the region of the Lost Coast must be. I think Amy Rose Capetta has a really beautiful writing style, it flows really well and the layout of the book and the alternating points of view didn't affect the flow of the story in the slightest. I think the story had enough twists and turns to keep the reader fully immersed and I read this book in one sitting. 

Overall Rating: 5 Stars. I think this story fills a gap that is missing in YA Witch Lit, it covers a ground that I feel some authors are afraid to cover/haven't covered in a good way and if it sounds like a book you'd be interested in, I would recommend you pick it up! 

As always hit me up on my socials: 

Instagram: @conniedalt
Twitter: @connie_dalt

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Carrie by Stephen King || Review

“People don't get better, they just get smarter. When you get smarter you don't stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it.” 

Name: Carrie
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Pages: 248
Publisher: Hodder
Year Published: Originally 1974 
Movie Adaption?: Yes (1976, 1999, 2002, 2013)

Carrie White has a power, a power that terrifies her religiously devout christian mother. A power that scares her sometimes. This power is something that will change her life forever. If being abused at home by her mother isn't enough,  Carrie is known for being the weird one in school, ridiculed and bullied relentlessly by those more popular than herself in school, especially after experiencing her first period in the open in school. It's following this she is asked to the prom by one of the most popular boys in school, and a horrific prank is carried out that leads to Carrie getting revenge on the town that shafted her as the weird girl. 

This book wasn't what I expected. Stephen King is known for straight up horror, I read It last year and it chilled me right to my core. I found myself looking around corners when I was reading that one, but this book just made me sad. It's something that I found myself aching for Carrie at times because really, she didn't stand a chance. She was never going to come out of this positively, I knew bits of the plot before I read the book but I didn't know how extreme the situations were. 

Starting with her mother, her mother was literally the most hateful person in the whole book for me. She continuously took her own trauma out on Carrie and yes, Carrie's telekinesis power is terrifying and to those of a religious opinion, may seem demonic, that was still her child. Her child that had to stay in a closet and pray to God, a child who wasn't so much as allowed a pillow to sleep on, or wasn't told what her period was and was told it came from sin. Her mother had zero likeable qualities and I'm a little shocked by how Carrie put up with the abusive behaviour for such a long a time.

Secondly, her school life was awful too. The only likeable people from the school were Sue and Tommy and it's so sad that they ultimately got dragged into this whole thing, even though Sue did play a part in the initial bullying act, her intentions weren't malice towards the end of the book. It's sad that Carrie didn't get the ultimate support she needed. Something about Carrie and her life really stirred and empathy within me and it has something to be said about what some teenagers experience within a school environment. Now, I'm not saying that the average teenager will go and explode a town, but I am saying that it should be noted that you never know when somebody has had enough.

Stephen King's writing is great, and I'm glad that I'm finally getting to read the books of his that I own, but I would not peg this book as a horror book. I'd say it's more a psychological book, with paranormal-esque influences. 

As always hit me up on my socials, what did you think of this book?

Instagram: @conniedalt
Twitter: @connie_dalt
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Monday, 18 March 2019

Budapest || Travel

Budapest 2019
In February 2019, I was lucky to get to spend four amazing days in Budapest, Hungary with two of my closest friends, and it really was a great time. We did a lot in just four days, here are some of my personal highlights:

The Budapest Baths

The Budapest Baths (we went to Szechenyi) were the only thing I think I actually knew about Budapest before I went, thermal baths are something that I've always wanted to go to, especially after going to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland a few years ago, I wanted to see what a man made one was like and if it compared. I left feeling so rejuvenated and overall, it was a really great experience. For £15, you got access to a number of pools, thermal, medicinal, plunge pools, jet pools, lazy rivers, honestly loads of stuff. My personal favourites were the steam saunas, which immediately helped me see a marked improvement on my skin! 

In the Baths

Budapest Castle and Fisherman's Bastion

Budapest Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion was also a highlight of this trip as it provided some amazing cityscape views of the Pest side of the river, and the architecture of the buildings were truly amazing. We got a bus up, which was included as part of a three day travel pass we purchased from one of the bus stops for less than £10 and it helped us get across the city cheaply!

Fisherman's Bastion

The view from Buda Castle

More views from the castle

Ruin Bars

Something that I found really cool and quirky about Budapest is the presence of ruin bars. Ruin Bars are bars that have been set up in abandoned buildings and are filled with mish-mashs of unmatching furniture, graffiti from visiting patrons, nik-naks and bits and pieces that create a unique dynamic within them. We went to one called Szimpla and it seemed like the type of place you could explore for weeks and never truly see everything that it had to offer. 

Inside one of the rooms of Szimpla

Food and Drink

Food wise, Budapest is probably one of the best cities I've been too, it's filled with lovely, budget friendly restaurants selling Hungarian classics such as goulash, up to McDonalds. It has something for everyone. My personal favourite was a chain called Hummus Bar, which sells, you guessed it, Hummus. It was delicious! We also stumbled across a basement tea house, that had over 100 selections of teas and it cost less than £3 per tea pot. This place was lovely and I'm so sad that I don't recall the name, if I find it, I'll let you all know, but it was filled with cushions and comfy seats and people sitting and relaxing and talking. I got a chakra tea, and it really was such a lovely environment. 

We did so much in Budapest that I could really just talk for days about how lovely the city was, but if you've ever been to Budapest, let me know what you got up, and if you'd go back!

As always, hit me up via my socials!

Instagram: @conniedalt
Twitter: @connie_dalt

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Monday, 21 January 2019

Sometimes, We Need A Break...|| Life Update & Revival


I have to admit, it's a little weird being back here. It's been over a year...nearly two since I last signed on to this blog, and a lot has happened since 2017. The reason I stopped posting here was simply because...well, I wasn't reading. And reading is kind of vital for a book blog.

I hit a massive bout of low energy. I had no motivation, no interest in reading. It made me sad, of course it did, reading had been something that I had loved doing my whole life, and there I was at 19 giving up on my favourite passtime, just because I couldn't be bothered. This blog became a hidden relic of my shame, something I never mentioned to people in case they questioned me about it.

But enough is enough. 

2019 is going to be my year. I know everyone says that every year, but I mean it. This year will be my year. I've read two books this year already, which is more than I read in 2017 as a whole I'm pretty sure, and I'm going to start blogging again. 

So if you're still around, or if you're new, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Connie, a former avid reader, a student and an all round busy person. I love travelling and have been lucky enough to see a lot of the world, (and I will be sharing my adventures on here as well) and this year I'm going to read. I will be posting reviews of books twice a week if my school work permits, and I'll update you guys when I have a regular schedule. I love talking and interacting with fellow readers and you can find me at the following URLs:

Twitter: @connie_dalt
Instagram: @conniedalt 

Peace n stuff, 

Connie x 
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

2017 Blogging Resolutions || Goals

I know I'm late, but happy new year! I also know there has been nothing but radio silence from this blog, but that is coming to an end! The start of 2017 has already been manic and busy, in a good way! I've been working my butt off at my part time blog and I finally started to redecorate my room! 

However, this has meant that I haven't done a lot of reading, but I have some amazing reviews in the pipeline and they will be up with a more regular schedule that I'll post next week! 

However, again, a new year has started (24 days ago!) and that has meant the beginning of some new years resolutions: 

  • Support only cruelty free makeup and beauty brands in 2017; This has been a long time coming and how I'll be doing this is by taking part in #projectpan this year, which is really an instagram movement but I will be doing updates on product empties every so often on my blog! 
  • Take better care of myself and my diet; I'm awful at eating right, I tend to eat too much crisps and not drink enough water but this year I will change that, so far, with exam stress, that hasn't been going to well but it won't be an instant result!
  • REDUCE MY TBR!!!! 
  • BLOG MORE!!; This is an important one, I feel like I have a good thing going here and I'd hate to ruin it by my own procrastination, so therefore, I'm going to do at least two posts a week, starting next week. 
Again, sorry for the radio silence, but QOTD: What are your 2017 resolutions? 
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