Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last reviews of 2014 / Book Review

Can't believe the year is almost over, and I almost forget to share my last reviews of the year, 2014 you've been an amazing year for read, and I could finish 52 books, so before you end, let us share these reviews, starting with the book that I completely dislike and then with the ones that I enjoyed and totally loved!

Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
Rating «

Haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel ASYLUM. Perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Featuring real found photographs from vintage carnivals, SANCTUM is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity. Dan, Abby, and Jordan were traumatised by the summer they shared at New Hampshire College, the former site of the Brookline asylum. They want to move on, but someone is determined to keep the terror alive by sending them anonymous photos of an old-time carnival. Forsaking plans to never to go back, the teens return during a weekend for prospective students, and realise that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus...As Dan and his friends visit abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town, they realise that Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than they ever imagined.

First let me clarify this, I totally loved Asylum, as you can read on my review here, the problem with Asylum and now Sanctum as you may see, starts with the "for fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" since the theme of the book has nothing to do with it. 
While Asylum had me reading non-stop, I couldn't wait for Sanctum to be over, in fact I almost quit the book, because it was one boring event after the other. I'm not sure why, but I would prefer to think that Asylum is a stand alone book, instead of a trilogy or whatever is going to be because certainly I'm quitting here to this story.
Predictable, boring and seriously, it lost the vibe of book one.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Rating ««««

It had to end sometime, but Mara Dyer had no idea it would end like this. She wants to believe there's more to the lies she's been told and she doesn't stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance, but with loyalties betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer's story. Retribution has arrived.

Dear Lord, I waited for this book so long, that when I finally started to read it I was like "This is going to be a major disappointment". In reality, OMG!, it was good, and I mean it, really good, it was darker, and of course I felt like everything happened here, still the mystery of the previous books was present, and I couldn't put it down. 
I must confess that at first I was a little annoyed by the references to other books, like the Harry Potter books, I found myself rolling my eyes to this once, and then I thought "wait, why this is bothering me, I do references of Harry Potter all the time, that's what people who loves HP talks, so why it bothers me?". The moment I realize this, I totally enjoyed the book, much more. I wish the end would be more darker since the whole book was, still, totally recommend it.

The next books all were 5 stars in my rating, and I'm talking of them in the order I read them, not in the order I liked the most, because honestly I loved all!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Rating «««««

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question: How can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?"

This book, seriously guys, it really broke my heart, I was crying, literally crying at the last chapter that it was almost impossible for me to read, I had to stop, calm down a little bit and tried to keep reading. The story, the setting, Agnes story and what really happened during this book, it was beautiful, even in its sadness.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Rating «««««

Foolish love appears to be a Roux family birthright. And for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is an ominous thing to inherit. In her quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to join her peers, Ava ventures into the wider world. But it is a dangerous world for a naive girl - a world which may view her as girl or angel. On the night of the summer solstice celebration, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava's journey and her family's saga reaches a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

At the beginning of the story, I couldn't help to compare the writing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I even went that far to call this book a poor copy in his style. Bad Dulce, so so wrong. Then for some reason I decided to give it another chance and don't do what I dislike the most (compare books), so I kept reading. Thank Goodness for that because i would be missing a beautiful, precious book that i'm going to treasure as long as I live. The story, the characters, the crudeness and rudeness, everything was a perfect combination, magical and heartbreaking. 

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating «««««

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.

I bought this book at the beginning of the year, curious how you start the year, and then something happen, you forget about it, and focus on other things, then, one day, a day not bad or good, just a simple day, in which you were maybe kind of boring, you turn on the TV and boom, the movie is starting, and you feel a connection with the main character for some reason, so you remember the book, and that same afternoon, you start reading it.
This book is not for all people, but it's for those who like me, needed to read these words, because in some way, you understand what Elizabeth is talking about, because you've been there. No, I'm not married, or divorced, no, i'm not going to quit my job and spend a year in Italy, India and Indonesia, (wish I could afford a simple trip to Orlando!), but for finding what you want, you don't need to move to other continent, or maybe you do. In my case, Elizabeth words got me, because I've been feeling bored, lost, in a job that maybe is not for me, that i need because I have obligations, but not because I love it. So maybe, I need to change it, maybe I need to focus and believe that things happen for a reason, maybe i need to be more patience. 
So, maybe this book is for you, maybe not, but maybe you should just give it a try.

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Rating «««««

A wonderfully warm and heartfelt debut from a stunning new talent. Everyone needs a guardian angel! Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry. Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other's sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other. Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry's death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He's left her a bundle of notes, one for each of the months after his death, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed 'PS, I Love You'. As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing--and being braver than ever before. Life is for living, she realises--but it always helps if there's an angel watching over you.

I'm not going to talk about the movie, because to be honest, the movie made me mad in some ways, so I prefer to focus on this beautiful, gorgeous book. 
This book remembered me how life could change in an instant, how important is to remember those who we love how precious and dear they are to us. While I was reading the notes that Gerry left for Holly, his effort to accomplish this simple, yet amazing task, all the love he put on it because he was in pain, he was suffering and still...and still he made the perfect gift to the person he loved the most.
Hug your friends, tell your parents, your partner, your pet, how much you love them always!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Rating «««««

A Christmas Carol has had an enduring influence on the way we think about the traditions of Christmas ever since it was first published in December 1843. Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, has been adapted into countless film and stage versions and is today the most famous and loved of all Christmas tales.

I can't tell you how many times I see the movie (and I have the version of 1951 i think), I read this book two or three years ago for Christmas and promised myself to read the book or see the movie every single Christmas. We all know the story, we all know how this grumpy man is visited by ghosts and then he changed for good, he learns how important is Christmas, and how noble and kind he became. So this book is a celebration of all the beauty and important of the season, and surely must be read every single year before Christmas, to keep in mind what really is important.

As you may know, I'm affiliate to The Book Depository, so I got a small percentage from every purchase you make through my links, if you want to support my bookshelf project by buying any of these books, please use the links down below.

Hope you have a great new year, don't forget to make your resolutions!

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