Tujunga: Book Review

Tujunga by Carlos Alvarado

Tujunga by Carlos Alvarado is a romantic, Sci-Fi novel that intertwines government conspiracy with romantic tragedy. This novel is constantly surprising and enticing you as its completely original concept and complex characters create a beautifully clever story. You’ll follow two timelines that intricately weave between one another despite being 30 years apart right unlit the last page. You’ll find yourself gripped by the words on the page, unable to put this book down, and in awe of Alvarado’s artistry.

Find my full book review for Tujunga here!

15 Books People Lie About Reading

The stories that everyone knows, but not everyone has read. Next time someone tells you they have read one of these, maybe it is time to call their bluff…

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Portrayed by so many actors and actresses in film and on television, it is likely that you have seen some adaptation of this famous book. Many will refer to their ideal boyfriend as ‘Mr Darcy’, although those that have read the novel might disagree with this idea as Darcy is very far from the perfect boyfriend.

1984 by George Orwell

Most will know this is a dystopian novel, unsurprisingly set in 1984, however, fewer people will know that Orwell’s book popularized the use of many common phrases such as Big Brother, 2+2=5 and Room 101.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Heathcliff and Cathy – a romance so ill-fitted and chaotic that it often becomes a point of reference. But did you know Heathcliff digs up Cathy’s dead body, did you?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So many have claimed to have read this tale but could not describe and explain the ending, of which there are two! So classically British, some may pretend to have read this book, you could say it was a Brtish expectation…

Catch-22 By Joseph Heller

It seems everyone knows the name but no one truly knows the story. This novel enlightens you on the extremities of sanity and the ludicrous nature of war. This book should be read to appreciate the beautiful and intricate craft that would otherwise be ignored.

The Lord of the Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien

Although most people could recite the story of the Lord of the Rings, it is unlikely that these people have read the books. Unfortunately, nowadays we are more likely to watch the film franchise than sit and read books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Everyone I have ever met knows the story of Frankenstein. A quick trick to spot the book-reading-fakers is when they call the Monster ‘Frankenstein’, when we all know it is Doctor Frankenstein and his monster.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles By Thomas Hardy

Many will believe they know how the plot goes in this book, however, once they are asked a question they find themselves unable to answer. The unfortunate life of Tess is something that deserves to be read and not simply watched.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

One of the most talked-about books in recent years, many people will know what the book’s subject matter is. What people do not know are the details of this dystopian novel found only in its pages.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

The tale that every child has heard, in some form, is one that many have never actually read. Although most of us could describe the exact happenings of this book, almost none of us can claim to have truly read it.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Dispute many students being forced to read this book in Secondary school, it is unlikely that these teenagers actually read the famous novel. With most of the classes looking to SparkNotes chapter summaries – to help them pretend they had read the Teacher’s homework – almost none have read and appreciated the genius of this novel.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We have all watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of J. Gatsby, pining after the beautiful Daisy. We may even be able to quotes lines from the book that appear in the movie. But, in reality, there are a select few that have picked up Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

All for one, and one for all, right? Many may know this line but have never even touched a copy of The Three Musketeers, let alone one written in French. The loyalty of these three men should be noted by all.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

A Victorian classic that had been adapted so many times that it is understandable when people pretend to have read it. What these people don’t realise is what they are missing out on. There may not be a musical in the book, but there are so many details that go unnoticed.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman or Robert Downing Jr. and Jude Law. It is likely that you have seen one of these or any of the other adaptions. These short stories are world-renowned, timeless and a nation favourite, so why is it that people have not sat down to read them?

With an increase in the book-to-film or series adaptions, it is becoming more common for people to skip reading the original books. By doing this, these people are missing out of the nuances of the writer’s craft – something that many directors fail to encompass on screen.

Conversations with Friends: Book Review

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Disclaimer: Below are some affiliate links and if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission at no additional cost to yourself.

This book is a fantastic and eye-opening take on modern relationships. It explored the complex realities and difficulties that come with the workings of society and relationships in the modern era. What is so intriguing about this book is that you do not, necessarily, rout for the protagonist but see the world from her eyes. As the story progresses you may find yourself developing some of Frances’s opinions or recognising some of yourself in her.

Buy Conversations with Friends here!

Rooney creates an environment of aesthetics as she lingers on certain details, colours or movements. Although the novel possesses a sardonic humour and tone, and fatal realism, it is indulgent in experiences. Both the writer and the characters appear to be experience-driven, acting on impulse and emotion to lead them towards their next action.

The story is narrated by Frances, a student in Dublin who performs poetry with her best friend, and ex-girlfriend, Bobbi. The pair meet Melissa and her husband Nick, forming strange, intimate and conflicting relations. The girls enter a new world of lavish lifestyles and intricate people. Single acts begin to form cracks in relationships and with drastic consequences at each turn, this book will draw you in deeper. This book is far from the stereotypical novels with a two-dimensional female protagonist as it depicts the depth, conflict and richness in a modern female character that we have all been longing for.

When the unexpected happens you will find yourself unable to put the book down, continuing to turn the page. This incredibly engaging novel may conflict socially excepted thought at times but you may even find yourself deeply considering the processes behind it and contemplating what you would have never considered before.

A book you may not expect but certainly one you need. Conversations with Friends is a modern masterpiece of daily life: the pain, the love and the conflicts with yourself and others.

Red Queen Series: Book Review

Red Queen Series By Victoria Aveyard

This fantasy-adventure includes all that you could want in a great story: a complex protagonist, and unlikely antagonist, weaponised powers, secret plots, organisations and ‘love’. This book is a gripping page-turner filled with intriguing story arcs, twists and cliff-hangers – you won’t be able to put it down!

The Series Includes:

Cruel Crown (prequel)

Red Queen

Glass sword

King’s cage

War storm

The books follow Mare Barrow, in a world where those with silver blood have incredible powers and are apart of the aristocracy; whereas those who are red-blooded are suffering in poverty, without powers to protect themselves. The country has been at war for years with young red-blooded men being sent to die, while silvers indulge in their lavish lifestyles, taking part in banquets and competitions for the hand of the heir to the Kingdom of Norta, Cal. No wonder the rebellious Scarlet Guard arise to fight for equality.

As Mare finds out her best friend is about to be conscripted she plans to steal from a fortunate Silver, however things begin to go terribly wrong. After misfortune strikes the Barrow family once more, Mare turns to mindless theft and in a strange course of events, finds herself with a new job at the King’s residence. It is here, during Queenstrial, the competition for Cal’s hand, that Mare displays unseen power that she was completely unaware of. With powers that threaten the absolutism of the Silvers, Mare is forced to play apart in an elaborate cover up.

As feelings develop and the rebellion brews outside the walls, Mare becomes conflicted between who and what is right for the country and for her. With love, betrayal and incomparable power, will Mare Barrow chose her Silver power, or her Red blood, or both?

Loves this series? Try this book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Book Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

child levitating stiffly over a dirt path

This series is a spectacular mix of fantasy, mystery and adventure. Providing hope to children that they too could be peculiar in a world of fantastical wonders, this book must be on the must-read list. Riggs created this wondrous novel around a set of strange old photographs that he had collected and pieced together, much like the protagonist of this story, in order to discover something fascinating.

Image result for miss peregrine's home for peculiar children photos

The story follows Jacob Portman, an American boy, who was once intrigued by his grandfather’s unbelievable tales of peculiars and man-eating monsters. After beginning to doubt his grandfather as he has grown older Jacob can barely believe what he witnesses one night. Jacob discovers his grandfather attacked in the woods and something unearthly catches his eye. His grandfather’s last words lead Jacob to Wales to uncover the inexplicable and meet the some strange – or peculiar – people.

As all begins to make sense in the most bizarre ways Jacob discovers more about his grandfather, reality and himself. In this book, the meanings of power, loyalty and time travel are redefined as this story explores a world that could quite possibly exist but may be undiscovered.

Read this book series if you want to read about adventure, impossibilities, time travel and indulge your wonder.

If you liked this book, why not read this one?

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls: Book Review

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Disclaimer: Below are some affiliate links and if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission at no additional cost to yourself.

Two best friends – June and Delia – are the type that of friends that share everything and know everything about each other: no exceptions. One defining moment leads to the friendship falling to pieces in seconds and neither speaks to the other for a year. After all this time it is found that Delia has committed suicide and June is in complete shock. How could she not have noticed the signs? Maybe because there weren’t any… June begins to investigate her ex-best friend’s suicide as she cannot comprehend how it happened. As inconsistencies begin to reveal themselves June wonders: what if Delia didn’t commit suicide but was murdered?

Buy this book at a great price here!

This book is filled with mystery, love and conflict, detailing the extents a friend would go to for another. With twists and turns throughout this book, it is impossible to put down and the moment you believe everything might be solved another shocking detail is uncovered.

This gripping story has an underlying truth that Weingarten addresses extraordinarily well on the topic of suicide. The gut-wrenching reality is portrayed through various characters clearly, with their pain and confusion expressed alongside. The author does not solely focus on the victim or those left behind when addressing this issue but represents all their rational, and irrational, feelings and thoughts that occur in reality.

Read this book to gain perspective, compassion and a thirst for the truth when all seems lost. Upon first impression, this book may appear to be something it is not. However, this story is, in fact, one of confusion, mystery and possible murder.

If you loved this book try this one!

The Light Between Oceans: Book Review

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

This novel details a beautiful and gripping story of love, life and the destruction of deception. Stedman’s novel encompasses all the elements of an intricately crafted novel as a captivating love story faces severe, heart-wrenching events before being given a supposed ‘gift from God’. As the boundaries between oceans are unclear, so are the lines between right and wrong in this story: what is right for one person, with the best intentions, may be the complete opposite for another.

A man returning from the frontline after the First World War, Tom Sherbourne, wants to spend some time away from the rest of the world and indulge solitude, so he becomes the lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock, a small Island off of Australia. Before Tom departs the mainland, he encounters Isabel – a girl unlike any other. While Tom is away on the island, the two begin a correspondence and eventually marry, moving Isabel to the island. Here, the couple lives happily, but misfortune follows when Isabel suffers a series of miscarriages. As Isabel starts to fall to darkness, a light shines in the form of a dingy that washes up on the shore.

Tom and Isabel are presented with an opportunity that, if taken, could provide a vast amount of joy, but possible agony elsewhere. At this moment a single choice could determine the outcome of three lives, yet when morality is subjective, how can Tom determine if his actions do more harm than good?

What is amazing about this book is that it explores the power of the conscience and the concepts of morality. You will find yourself asking: what would I have done? Could I live with myself? Is immorality moralised by love? This is a novel that gets in your heart and your head, providing you with a perspective that will never leave you; truly a book that you will carry within you forever.

Are you looking for another book of love, conflict and a little bit of magic? Have a look at this review!

My Swordhand is Singing: Book Review

My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick

Have you ever craved a book with a murder mystery and the undead that doesn’t involve the embarrassment of Edward Cullen or the dramatics of Count Dracula? Well, My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick is just that. Thankfully it is a tale told as a thriller rather than a love story, with vampire traits that have historical foundation and believability.

Sedgwick’s novel is inspired by Eastern European folklore and incorporates these details faultlessly throughout the book. With inspiration from vampire folklore, there is an increased sense of truth as these were tales that real people believed, rather than ideas that are exaggerated to the point of comedic disappointment.

This story follows a boy named Peter, in the 17th century, who works as a woodcutter with his father, living in the forest. In the harshness and chill of winter, things begin to take a darkening turn as the dead rise, villagers disappear and Peter’s father Tomas continues to surround himself with secrets. As impossibilities become possible and secrets reveal themselves the question of true good and evil is asked: can good really conquer evil?

A tale that draws you in and chills your heart as you sit on the edge of suspense, is a tale worth losing yourself in. My Swordhand is Singing is a spectacular thriller and a definite must-read for those wanting more than underdeveloped vampire plots.

If a thriller or mystery novel is what you are looking for, take a peek at my book reviews: The Winter Ghosts and The Night Circus

The Santa Klaus Murder: Book Review

The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay

An Agatha Christie-esque story of murder, mystery and family suspicions showing that the gossip of one could influence the fate of others in an instant. This book is filled with police investigations and arising allegations towards ‘loved’ ones as the traits of selfishness and self-service take control.

Although this book has a Christmassy setting it should not be confined to that time of year. A murderous Santa? A scheming relative? Or a jealous acquaintance? The murderer remains unclear throughout the investigation until the very end keeping you guessing and on your guard with every character. Even in the moments when you believe you almost know who it could be, the author remains you of your own nagging doubt.

Encounter the Melbury family as they come together, at Flaxmere, around Christmas time and reluctantly indulgence their father’s extravagant ‘Santa Klaus’, who will bring Christmas cheer to a cheerless household. Each relative is only present to further their favour with Sir Osmond or to please him at least. But when Sir Osmond is shot, alone in his study, the house is thrown into chaos as family turns on family and innocence seems irrelevant. With so many people in the house, each with a plausible motive but also a valid alibi, it proves difficult to find the criminal among the masses.

The Santa Klaus Murder is the perfect book for you if you are looking to read something captivating but not too long, and ready to question the morals of the characters and yourself. It is true: no one can be trusted, not friends, not spouses, not even siblings, when their futures are on the line.

Check out my previous book review about The Winter Ghosts here!

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The Winter Ghosts: Book Review.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Disclaimer: Below are some affiliate links and if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission at no additional cost to yourself. 

The Winter Ghosts is a surreal novel based on the short story The Cave written by Kate Mosse earlier in the same year. The Winter Ghosts explores French medieval history and myths of landscape in Southwestern France. The protagonist Freddie Watson, grieving the loss of his brother to the First World War and recovering from influenza, decides to escape to Ariège. In the Occitanie region of France where the last Cathars were destroyed in mass execution, Mosse creates the perfect environment of mystery, eerie landscape and history. It is here that a blizzard sends Freddie off the road and leave him wandering through the woods; the elements against him.

Lost in the wilderness, Freddie eventually discovers a peculiar village that seems behind in time where he finds a boarding house to stay in. Upon arriving in the village he is told of an annual feast. It is at this feast that Freddie meets the enchanting Fabrissa with whom he talks of love, pain and the consequences of war all evening. And what is Freddie to do when she disappears?

The persecution of Catharism by the Catholic Church is key to this tale as the village in which Freddie stays in is said to have been destroyed along with the Cathar faith 700 years before his arrival in 1928. As the story progresses, you will ask yourself what is really going on in this small village. There is something just not quite right…

Who are these people in this strange town? What kind of village is this? Where did Fabrissa disappear to and will Freddie find her again? Reading The Winter Ghosts is an absolute must to experience a world of love, emotion and mystery uncovered. You can read it here, definitely worth a buy.

Have you seen my last post? See it here —> The Night Circus: Book Review