Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

7812659Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 4.5/5

My review: First of all, I must say that I didn’t plan on reading this book and haven’t read the plot summary before starting it (which I encourage you to do too), I just started it because I liked the cover and Nicholas Sparks’ writing (as I’ve read a couple of his books already). I was surprised because the book turned out to be so good.

The story follows mysterious 20- something Katie who suddenly arrives in Southport and rents a tiny cottage  at the end of  a gravel lane. She gets a waitress job in a nearby restaurant for which she’s thankful for as she had no money to even buy some food after paying for the rent. However, she keeps avoiding people and when someone tries to talk to her she gets so startled. [ You get so curious to learn what brought her to Southport.] But you can’t avoid people forever and soon she makes friends with her only neighbor Jo, who brings some light into Katie’s life with her overflowing positiveness. Then she also meets widowed Alex, owner of the nearby store and she quickly becomes friends with his children and him and her life starts getting so much better, she can’t quite believe it, when suddenly the life she left behind starts haunting her. The reader learns about her tragic story.

After you read 100 hundred pages, the book genre switches from romance to suspense. It was a good combination actually. I simply flied through the last 100 pages as the story’s got me so thrilled. And I was glad to see how the story ended, though I wish there were more details to the ending. [ I can even name what I also wanted to see in the end of this story, but if I write it, the book will be spoiled for you.]

Overall, it was a quick nice read, but at same time it touched some serious issues.  Nicholas Sparks has a talent for capturing the bond between parents and children, women and men; for capturing friendships and this summer-feeling in his novels!

 

How to find more time for reading

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

How to find more time for reading?

We all are busy studying and working, so we can’t always find time to read the book we want. Here are some advices for you if you want to get more books read.

  1. Write down daily goals

This way you won’t forget about doing everything you planned to. + I read in Brian Tracy’s “Time Management” book that making to-do lists saves you  2 extra hours every day.

  1. Make a list of books you want to read each month

Though, this doesn’t usually work with me, because I’m a mood reader. In my case, Goodreads helps me to discover new books, or I just scroll through my “want-to-read” Goodreads shelf and choose the book which looks most appropriate for my mood at that time.

  1. Turn off the internet on your phone while reading

Because it may distract you from reading.

  1. Challenge yourself to read a certain amount of pages at a time.
  2. Take part in read-a-longs

So that you’ll have to make sure to read certain pages by the time of discussion

**

Hope you found this information useful. Is there any advice for reading more you can add?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published September 10th 2013

young adult, romance, contemporary

My rating: 4/ 5

GR plot summary: A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My review: I can actually describe this book in one word – cute.

So, Cath is the example of an introverted teen (at least in the beginning). Like, at first she gets annoyed why everyone in college is so friendly, then she complains why no one smiles/talks to her, so no logic here, you see? That’s why I didn’t like Cath for the first 200 pages haha. Then she changes (Thanks, Levi and Reagan!).

I liked seeing how Cath & Wren’s (they are twins) relationship progresses. I have a sister as well, and of course sometimes we fight. Through this book I got a better look at the situation.

However, it took me about 3 weeks to finish this book as for me it was boring at times and things were taking slow pace.

What I didn’t like: (some spoilers here)

  1. Nick suddenly became the bad guy. At first the reader gets introduced to nice, clever boy, and then…it feels like the author thought “oh, I don’t need him anymore in my story. Let’s get rid of him and make him the bad guy”. Of course I don’t respect what he did to Cath, BUT that came out of blue.
  2. Cath likes Nick, Cath likes Nick… AND THEN Cath likes Levi – the switch was so quick.
  3. There is no information about the progression of Cath & Laura’s (Laura is Cath’s mother) relationship. Or may be there wasn’t any progression at all. Though I wish there was.

Still, this coming of age novel deals with some family and college issues. If you have enjoyed reading other Rainbow Rowell’s books &/ in the mood for a light read, I recommend it to you.

Add it on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Leave This Song Behind by John Meyer

26702564Leave This Song Behind: Teen Poetry At Its Best  by John Meyer

Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Hci

My rating: 1/5 (it is the second time I rate the book 1/ 5)

Goodreads plot summary: It’s been 10 years since the last book in the “Teen Ink” series” Written in the Dirt “was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. “Leave This Song Behind” features the best poetry submitted by those writers to “Teen Ink” over the last five years. The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. “Teen Ink” editors took a deep look into each poem’s strengths then divided “Leave This Song Behind” into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.

Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!

 

My review: So boring. I just scanned the poems because none of them got my attention.

This book features poems from different contemporary writers. Most of the poems are written in “slam” mode. If you have read Colleen Hoover’s “Slammed” you know what “slams” are like, but in her book the “slams” were more interesting and touching.

The poems featured in “Leave This Song Behind” had no purpose or meaning. In addition they were written using 3rd grade words. Here is the excerpt of one poem, so you can see: “Today when you came home you were too tired to notice you were stil wearing your name tag on your T-Shirt from work…”. WHERE IS THE BEAUTY OF POETRY HERE?

P.S. The only thing I liked about this book is its cover.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

“ He returned to the bridge over the Arno, where he gave an oath- perhaps oath differs from the rest in that it cannot be ignored, but in the certain time fulfilled. And that time has come.”

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier5604250

My Rating: 5/ 5

Goodreads plot summary:  

I threw the piece of paper on the fire. She saw it burn …Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries – and there he dies suddenly. In almost no time at all, the new widow – Philip’s cousin Rachel – turns up in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious woman like a moth to the flame. And yet …might she have had a hand in Ambrose’s death?

 

My review: I liked this book SO much! The plot summary is intriguing itself, isn’t it?

“My Cousin Rachel” is written in gothic style, and the atmosphere of the book reminds me of “Jane Eyre” or “Rebecca”. Through, I have to tell you the first 100 pages got me a little bit bored, because I expected it’d be more action-packed, but it was not. However, after the first 100 pages the story has got me SO interested and intrigued!

You can see from the plot summary that before meeting Rachel, Philip is convinced she is the one responsible for Ambrose’s death, and he wants to make sure she gets punished. But in reality, she is nothing he imagined she would be; In reality, Rachel is smart, fragile woman, whose words and tears are so sincere, Philip feels sorry for her and asks her to stay in the estate for a while. They spend much time together talking, Philip starts wondering how could he think so low of her, as he is totally drawn to this mysterious woman. Let’s be precise, he falls in love – from this moment I constantly wanted to slap him on the cheek and tell: “Wake up, Philip. Don’t be so stupid! Get back to the normal, reasonable YOU! How can you believe this? Don’t be so naive, Philip, please!”. He crazily loves her, and nearly loses his mind!                           You have to read other for yourself and see.

I’m not a book re-reader, but I’ll definitely reread “My Cousin Rachel” when I grow up, as this book is VERY VERY GOOD and it teaches you a lot. Again, Daphne Du Maurier is the queen of suspense!

 

P.S. I still liked Philip because he is always honest. In the end he proved he is smart too.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

26154406“The Passenger” by Lisa Lutz

304 pages Published March 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster
I was given an e-copy of this book by Simon & Schuster in exchange for a honest review.

 

My Rating: 1/ 5  ( Actually, I’ve never given a book one star before )

Goodreads Plot Summary: From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

My review: In the beginning the book was kind of thrilling, but then things got SO boring! I actually just scanned the last 220 pages.

What I didn’t like the most about the book – is the cruelness of main heroines. Moreover, the plot wasn’t thought over as every time the heroines were put into difficult situation, they magically got out of it immediately (felt like the author decided not to bother about making the story exciting).

After reading the synopsis I was thrilled to start it, but, really, the book synopsis is far more interesting than the book itself haha.

Lisa Lutz, I don’t want to get you offended.

 

Eddy Sins by Ellis Madroy

27884097Eddy Sins by Ellis Madroy

My rating: 3.4/ 5

Goodreads plot summary: Dead is not the end of the road, but the beginning of a calamity. Everybody is in pain and need to fill that whole Enrique’s departure left behind, except Eddy, who seems not to be bothered by the absence of his brother and is obsessed in buying a car. His peace is only perturbed by a dream in which there’s a woman chasing him; a woman who’s dressed in red, the colour of his sins.

My review: Before starting this story I looked up the definition of “eddy sins”. “Eddy sins” mean that everything you do comes straight back at you; like if you help people, people will help you back and the other way around.

This story is only 15-pages long so there is not much to write.

The main character of the book was Eddy – ill-mannered young man, who did absolutely terrible things. And we see how he got punished for it. You see, the book was moral. But, what I didn’t like about the story is the harsh language.

My opinion is that the story was okay, I’d probably have given less stars to the book if not the good writing style.

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.indd“The bravery is in moving forward, no matter what”

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Published March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

My rating: 5 /5

Goodreads plot summary: Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most

 

My review: This book is crazy; which is probably why I loved it so much. It kept me thrilled the whole time and I finished the last 150 pages in one sitting. This is the 5th book from Lauren Oliver I’ve read and I can’t tell which of her books I love the most, because all of them are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

So, let’s start…

The story is told in 3rd person, one chapter about Heather, another about Dodge. While scanning the table of contents, I was sure Heather & Dodge are going to be lovers, but no, they were just Panic participants. What is Panic? Panic is the dangerous game teens play at the end of the school year. And it is fierce. Panic consists of 5 rounds and with each of them the amount of players narrows. Oh, actually, I forgot to mention that the winner gets 60000$ (every student paid a few dollars into the pot throughout the academic year); despite this fact not everyone plays for money – Heather plays because of the sudden rage and Dodge plays for revenge. See how far they can go & how many secrets will be unraveled.

“This was the true fear – that you could never know other people, not completely”

In both “Before I Fall” & “Panic”, writer shows us how cruel teens can be. Like, I’m still shocked, but one of the rounds in Panic included “Russian Roulette”.

Furthermore, “Panic” contains a lovely romance (but not between Heather and Dodge, like I mentioned before).

“My point is, when you love someone, when you care for someone, you have to do it through the good and the bad. Not just when you are happy and it’s easy. “

In conclusion, I’d like to say that Lauren Oliver never ceases to amaze me. Her books are a big source of inspiration for me.

Have you read anything by Lauren Oliver? What is your favorite book of hers?

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

5526Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Published October 30th 2006 by Warner Books

My rating: 4.4 /5

Goodreads plot summary: An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart.

But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. Sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.

Dear John, the letter read… and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

My review: This is my second Nicholas Sparks’ book (the first was “The Last Song”, which I liked a lot). “Dear John” was so good and I absolutely enjoyed it… except the way it ended left me disappointed…

Okay, so the beginning of the story was very beautiful, I liked seeing how army changed John, how relationship with Savannah helped him to understand his father and how he and Savannah fell in love. Oh, Savannah is the cutest – I liked her young-self so much, the way she talked, and how she saw good in almost everything and everyone, but when we face her again in 6 years, she’s become absolutely different woman. (it strikes how much people change during a certain period of time)

September 11th played main role for the heroes; if not the attack, John would have come home and Savannah would not have fallen in love with the other man.

I watched the movie based on this book after finishing it, and the movie is completely different from the book, I liked the movie a lot! This is one of those rare times when the movie is better than a book.

*this part contains spoilers*

I wish the story ended in a different way, so it gave hope for people who are going through a similar situation. This book was not moving. Through, what John did was right for the others; it was not fair towards himself, and I think he should have fought for his love and happiness.

The Evolution Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

13643567The Evolution Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer#2)

Published October 23rd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

My Rating: 4.5 /5

Goodreads plot summary: The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in the New York Times bestselling sequel to the thrilling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.She can’t. She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren’t. She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She’s wrong. In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

My review: This book is amazing. You think you know what’s going to happen the next minute, but you actually don’t. What I liked the most is that every detail is important – the story is so tangled and there are so many plot twists, you start wonder how could the author tie all of this up. Plus, the book is pretty creepy – I like (a lot) when the story makes you shiver,- and it deals with some important juvenile issues, that’s why I think teenagers and their parents will find this book good.

Also, I’d like to mention that “The Evolution Of Mara Dyer” was so much better than “The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer”. Can’t wait to see how the story continues!

Book description by me:  Mara is a teen, and she suffered an incident last year where her best friends died. Something weird is happening to her, like she has got blood-letters on her bedroom wall in the morning, video-types from the asylum-incident under her pillow, but her parents think she did all of this herself, so do the doctors and they define her as a psycho and put into clinic, luckily there is Noah – he is Mara’s boyfriend and he’s got incredible ability to heal himself & other people, and he helps Mara to get through all of this.