Review: The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen

The Unpredictability of Being Human

This is the book from my book haul earlier this year that I was annoyed about because it turned out I already owned a proof copy of it yet went out and bought another copy in the store. However it did look good so I was immediately drawn to it.

The book is told from the point of view of Malin who knows she can’t fix the big stuff in her life like her Dad’s yelling, her brothers lie and her Mum falling apart. But at least she makes friends with Hanna to help her out. Because life is getting complicated – learning how to kiss, what to wear to prom, and what to do when you upset the prettiest, meanest girl in school. It’s tough fitting in when you’re different. But what if it’s the world that’s weird, not you?

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This book broke my streak of not wanting to read new books. You know where you go through that phase of not being able to get into a new story, you’d rather read ones you’ve already read that are comfortable ‘cos you already know the characters and the outcome? I was going through that but forced myself to pick up this book and give it a read because I’m sick of buying new books and not reading them. I was hooked almost immediately.

I think the best thing about this book is Malin herself. There doesn’t really seem to be a firm plot because if I sat down to tell somebody what it’s about I would kind of struggle. It’s more about Malin herself and how she struggles to cope with what are sometimes relatively mundane things but sometimes she finds herself with bigger issues that are more complicated. Malin is autistic but this is never said outright in the book and as another reviewer pointed out although this is great representation the fact that her autism is never diagnosed or mentioned is quite irritating as some people may just misinterpret her as immature or clueless. Although of course this could be part of the point as girls are not diagnosed as much as boys are and it’s mentioned a few times that her Father is in denial about Malin needing support. However, having read some reviews it’s clear that some people definitely don’t understand Malin’s character at all.

The book is set in Norway which felt like a breath of fresh air because generally the only settings for YA books sold in England are either set in England or America. I’ve read the odd book set in Australia but other than that nowhere else really.

Although the book didn’t have much of a solid plot I still ended up really enjoying it. It’s quite emotional and can be quite frustrating when the mean girls are clearly plotting against Malin but she doesn’t know enough about social cues to see this. Similarly her interactions with Hanna were interesting and I wish their friendship had been as solid as the blurb had made it out to be.

Overall I did really enjoy this book and was disappointed when I finished it. It had a similar vibe to ‘Silence is Goldfish’ because I feel like I really connected with the main character and they felt more like a friend than a character. I would definitely recommend this one!

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April Book Haul

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I really like watching book hauls on YouTube and since I don’t have a decent camera or the confidence to sit down in front of one I decided write a blog post instead. This haul isn’t technically for the whole of April because I was super broke for the majority of April but I did head straight to Waterstones on pay day and spent way too much money on books so that I could write a haul post. Here’s hoping I actually read these books instead of hoarding them for months and never opening them.

I Let Him Go by Denise Fergus

I Let Him Go

This book caught my eye a couple of months ago because I spotted a hardback copy in ASDA. I nearly bought it there and then but decided not to because of the price. I finally got it on pay day and started reading it that same night.

‘I Let Him Go’ is written by James Bulger’s Mother and is honestly heartbreaking. For those who don’t know who James Bulger is, he was a two year-old child who was led away from his Mother by two children who tortured and killed him. The book is about his life before his murder, what it was like afterwards and honestly it’s a difficult read. I started reading it as I was babysitting two children for a friend and I just… It’s really difficult, honestly. I’m not gonna go on about it because it doesn’t feel entirely appropriate but yeah, I’m most of the way through it and although it is difficult it’s definitely a book I recommend.

Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman

Your Turn to Die

After reading ‘Lying about Last Summer’ and ‘See How They Lie’ by Sue Wallman I’ve decided that I’m officially a fan of her work. So when I found this book in the store I decided to give it a read.

The blurb says that this book is about Leah who goes to stay with her cousins Ivy and Poppy, and their family friend Jakob once a year and she looks forward to going back. However this year they meet new girl Tatum and discover a body of a teenage girl was discovered in the garden, a secret kept for 60 years.

I’ll be honest, I’m looking forward to reading it because I trust that Sue will have thought of an amazing reveal and probably a plot twist but the thought of family friend Jakob did make me feel a bit apprehensive. I’m a bit worried it’s going to be a romance thing and Leah and Jakob are going to get together. I know I sound like a sad old lady when I go on about the romance thing but like… I just wanna read a book about girls kicking ass without having to read about them boasting about their relatively average boyfriends. Romance in YA novels is just everywhere I look and honestly I’m a bit sick of it.

But like I said, I trust Sue Wallman so even if there is some dreaded romance I’m sure it won’t put me off too much!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

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I actually bought this book towards the start of April from ASDA because ASDA do generally stock cheap paperbacks and it caught my eye. After reading the blurb I decided to give it a go. I started reading it a few weeks ago and it drew me in but unfortunately I haven’t picked it back up since then.

To summarise the blurb, ‘The Girlfriend’ is about Laura who has a son named Daniel who meets a girl named Cherry and Laura suspects she’s not all she seems. Basically.

I am enjoying it but the characters are so bloody posh that it’s a little off-putting. To be fair I’m pretty sure the fact they’re so rich is important to the plot but it’s still a bit annoying. Also Laura seems a bit obsessed with Daniel but like, I think that’s probably part of the plot too. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading it!

Trouble Makers by Catherine Barter

Trouble Makers

I feel like I did get to a point where I was snatching up books because Waterstones have a ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ offer and I figured if I was getting one I might as well get two. To be honest I can’t really seem to tell much about what the book is about from the blurb but it sounded interesting so I went for it. I read a few pages and it didn’t put me off so I decided to buy it. It’s got a sticker on it saying it won a ‘Children’s Book Prize 2018’ for ‘Older Fiction Shortlist’ so must be good! I’ll check it out.

The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen

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I feel like I’ve heard of this book but I can’t think where from… (Edit: I’ve just figured out why. I already owned a copy and it’s sat on my shelf. Story of my life.) Either way the cover caught my eye so I decided to give the blurb a read. This is another one where I’m not really 100% sure what it’s about but I’m going to read it and find out! I think I read a few pages from this one too and it’s been described as a ‘beautiful, funny and honest coming-of-age story that never pretends life is perfect’. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get tarnished with some boring, hetero romance to be honest. But I’ll definitely give it a go!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

I’ve just Googled this and seen they’re turning it into a movie! I haven’t even read the book yet and I’m excited.

This is the one I’m most looking forward to reading. It’s about a girl named Starr who is drawn to activism after watching her unarmed friend get shot down by a police officer. I’m really looking forward to reading it, it has a ‘Winner’ sticker on it for the ‘Children’s Book Prize 2018’ so I bet it’s good. I’ll definitely be posting a review of it once I’m finished.

So there we go, that’s my book haul for April! I might upload reviews of some of these books, we’ll wait and see! If I buy as many or more books in May (and it’s possible) I’ll do another book haul!

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed

I actually picked up the sequel to this book ‘Perfect ‘in ASDA because it caught my eye. The moment I realised it was a sequel I put it back down and found ‘Flawed’ on a different shelf. I read the blurb and it sounded fairly interesting. Read the first page and it didn’t put me off. So I bought it. It was top of my ‘to be read’ list and for some reason I was really reluctant to start reading it? I was really worried I wouldn’t like it and that it’d be dull even though the idea sounded really good.

The story is about Celestine North who lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter, she’s well-liked by her friends and teachers, and she’s dating perfect Art Crevan – son of Judge Crevan. She stays out of trouble. Until an impulsive decision where she breaks a rule and now faces life-changing consequences. She could be imprisoned, she could be branded, she could be found flawed. Will Celestine back down or could she change everything?

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As I said, I was reluctant to start it… But once I started I really got into it! The book doesn’t waste any time and we’re pulled straight into the action and we quickly learn more about the world Celestine lives in, where you can’t do anything wrong in case you’re branded as ‘flawed’.  To be honest Celestine was a bit annoying to begin with but I grew to like her. I couldn’t stand her boyfriend Art though right from the beginning.

This paragraph contains slight spoilers so beware! One thing that slightly annoys me is that Celestine is so desperate not to be branded flawed yet she still did what she did? She was too afraid to talk to her friend because her Mother had been branded flawed yet ten minutes later she’s doing something that gets her branded flawed herself? And her sister didn’t say anything because she was too afraid yet she’d been dead cheeky to Judge Crevan just the night before? I understand it had to happen to get the story moving but it just seemed really out of character?

Other than that though, I really did enjoy it. It was so much better than I expected it to be and I got sucked into Celestine’s world. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I wasn’t even sad to find out there was a sequel. In my previous review of ‘Songs about a Girl’ I criticised it for setting up a sequel instead of being a standalone book. Now I’m a bit of a hypocrite because ‘Flawed’ did the exact same thing except I didn’t mind at all.

Overall, I really do recommend this book because I thought it was brilliant. Go and give it a read!

Review: Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

Songs About A Girl by Chris Russell

I found out about this book through a Booktuber I’ve been watching for a while. She praised the book highly and it sounded interesting so I bought myself a cheap copy from Amazon.

The story is about Charlie Bloom who’s an ordinary girl who never wanted to be ‘with the band’. She’s happiest out of sight, unnoticed. But then she’s asked to take backstage photographs for popular band ‘Fire & Lights’ and she can’t pass up the chance. Soon Charlie finds herself caught up in drama between the group’s front man Gabriel West and his band mate Olly Samson. And soon Charlie discovers a hidden meaning behind their lyrics that could change her life…

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It starts off well. Charlie’s an okay character to read about and the story’s relatively interesting. I’ll admit it had me hooked. Slight spoiler alert but Charlie discovers that the lyrics in their songs are lyrics her Mother wrote down in a notebook years ago and she tries to find out how this can be when everyone knows that Gabriel writes his own songs. I wanted to find out too and it was enough to keep me hooked throughout the book.

Although it didn’t annoy me too much while I was reading it, upon reflection the love triangle was really annoying. Olly went to Charlie’s school so he knew her and invited her to take photos because he knew how good of a photographer she was. Upon meeting the band Gabriel decides he has a crush on her and so does Olly, and so the love triangle begins.

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As I said, I wasn’t particularly annoyed whilst reading it but upon reflection it’s just a bit stupid. Gabriel had known the girl for all of five minutes before having a crush on her. And it seems stupid that Olly waited until after school when he was in a famous band to go back and decide he had a crush on a random girl from the year below him who he’d only spoken to once. He might’ve liked her photographs but that’s not enough of a reason to have a crush on someone. Tim Burton makes some good films but I don’t have a crush on him. Also I understand there was some unresolved beef between Gabriel and Olly before Charlie showed up but really? They had to argue and fight every twenty seconds over some girl neither of them barely knew?

I’m just about learning to tolerate romance in books but the one thing I can’t stand is a stupid, pointless love triangle.

To be honest, I still think I really could’ve enjoyed this if it had been a standalone novel; I was a bit annoyed to get to the end and find it had been deliberately left unresolved to set up a sequel. We find out the truth about the song’s lyrics, the only reason we need a sequel is to keep reading about some stupid love triangle which was not what I had signed up for. Sure it was interesting but I don’t want to read a whole other book about Olly and Gabriel’s tantrums. No thank you.

Overall I don’t know what to think about this book, I enjoyed it while I was reading it but it’s not a book I’m likely to return to or recommend to a friend. And I won’t be buying the sequel.

Review: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Silence is Goldfish

I can’t really remember what drew me to buy this book. I do remember I was shopping for a birthday present for my best friend and ended up buying myself this book… I think the title caught my eye, the blurb sounded interesting and after having a quick read of the first page I thought I’d be able to get into it quite easily. Turns out I was right.

‘Silence is Goldfish’ is told from the point of view of Tess who has just found out some pretty shocking news. She didn’t mean to become mute, it just kind of happened. But discovering your Dad isn’t your real father is a pretty big deal. Tess decides to find out the truth of her identity but she uncovers a secret that could ruin multiple lives… But how can she ask for help when she’s forgotten how to use her voice?

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My friend read the blurb of the book and said “Really, she stops talking just because she found out her Dad wasn’t her real Dad? Really?” All I will say is that it’s much more than that and I really feel awful for Tess, I can see why she didn’t want to talk. The blurb doesn’t do the book justice; you need to give it a go to understand what I mean.

I loved Tess so much. One of the reviews on the front of the book says ‘like a book and best friend all in one’ and that’s what it felt like. It felt like I really knew Tess, like she was my friend and a real person. I felt everything she felt and she’d fill my thoughts when I wasn’t reading. I’ve never had that with any other book before. I was really sad to finish it; it felt like I’d lost a friend.

The one person I can’t stand and will never be able to stand is Jack, Tess’ ‘Dad’. I feel like there was a kind of redemption ark at the end but I really can’t stand him and some of the decisions he made. I can forgive what made Tess hate him but there were so many little things he did that made me hate him so much and if I were Tess then I don’t think I’d have been able to forgive him.

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Do you know who was great though? Mr Goldfish. Because Tess can’t speak out loud she starts having conversations with a goldfish torch that she’s named Mr Goldfish who gives her general life advice and is there for her. This is really sad but I actually checked on Amazon and eBay to see if they had a torch like Mr Goldfish. They didn’t have any and I was absolutely gutted! I’m going to keep an eye out for one.

I really can’t put into words how much I loved this book and how much I recommend it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while and I can’t wait to read more of Annabel Pitcher’s work. If you find a copy of it then buy it, you honestly won’t regret it!

Review: The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

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I think at this point it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Cat Clarke. There isn’t a book she’s published yet that I haven’t enjoyed and ‘The Pants Project’ is no exception. Told from the point of view of Liv (not Olivia) it’s a story about a transgender boy who thinks it’s unfair that he has to wear a skirt to school just because he was born as a girl. He starts a campaign to change the rule but can he face the bullying that comes from mean girl Jade and her friends?

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One of my favourite things about Cat’s books is the diversity of characters. In her previous book the main character’s Dad was bi-sexual and in this book Liv has two Moms. It’s just so interesting to read about something different that’s not white heterosexual people all the time. Also, Cat is absolutely brilliant at writing realistic romance – something there wasn’t any of in this book! It was perfect! Thank you Cat! (For those who don’t regularly read my reviews, I can’t stand romance in books nine times out of ten)

It was a really easy book to get into. It’s aimed at a younger audience but it didn’t stop me enjoying it. It’s a relatively simple plot but there’s still a little twist that I wasn’t expecting – I guessed something completely different and it was a nice surprise. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for any of you though!

All the characters are loveable, Liv is so awesome. My favourite character has to be Enzo though; I’d love a brother like that. I didn’t like Maisie, I have no sympathy whatsoever and I’m glad Liv didn’t either. I couldn’t stand Jade but that was clearly what Cat intended.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough, as usual my review hasn’t done it justice but it’s truly brilliant! Please trust me and go and purchase a copy, it’s an amazing book and definitely worth a read.

Review: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley

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So I was really late to get into Five Night’s at Freddy’s… It was only recently after the release of Sister Location that I started to get interested in the storyline, even though I can’t actually play the games myself (if you want to see an attempt then click here to see me and my friend playing it [x]). So I was googling theories and a few of them were referencing this book so I decided to read it to get a bit of context.

The basic story is that ten years after the horrific murders at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, Charlie, whose father owned the restaurant and her childhood friends reunite on the anniversary and find themselves at the old pizza place which has been locked up and abandoned for years. After they discover a way inside, they realise that things are not as they used to be. The four adult-sized animatronic mascots that once entertained them have changed. They now have a dark secret… And a murderous agenda.

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I was really looking forward to reading this and it started off well. There’s enough going on to keep you intrigued and the characters aren’t that dislikeable. Then by the time I was halfway through the book it started to go downhill. I can’t say I wasn’t interested anymore but I wasn’t particularly getting any enjoyment from it. I finished the whole thing quite quickly because I wanted to find out what was going on but I feel like I haven’t particularly learnt a lot from it to be honest.

For me, I think the problem was that there wasn’t enough focus on the animatronics. They don’t even start moving around until you’re about three quarters of your way into the story. The emphasis is on Charlie and her friends and I suppose there’s no problem with that but it was boring unless they were at Charlie’s house, Freddy Fazbear’s or the original restaurant. From the description I assumed they went to Fazbear’s and then suddenly they were locked in there fighting to survive against the animatronics. That’s what we got for about a chapter.

Also, I don’t understand when this book is set in terms of the game? So surely the game must take place before this, when Charlie’s Dad is still alive right? So why are the suits possessed? To be honest I’ve never seen the first game completed the whole way through so maybe I need to see that to understand but I couldn’t figure out when it was supposed to be set, there was never any reference to them hiring a night guard to keep an eye on the place. Even the control room that the characters hid out in didn’t sound anything like the ones from the game even though you could recognise every other room?

To be honest though I think it was better than you would expect a Five Nights at Freddy’s story to be but it still wasn’t brilliant. It’s not particularly scary and it doesn’t really add much (as far as I’m aware but maybe I’m just an idiot) but I did find it interesting so I guess I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the games. If you didn’t like the games then I definitely wouldn’t bother with the book.