Review: Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

AcheAche by Eliza Henry-Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Ache’ by Eliza Henry Jones was a harrowing novel following a truly Australian protagonist which had me moody and tearing up soon after I had finished it. I would recommend it to all who are in the mood for a tear-jerker and for those who like to delve deep into traumatic pasts, childhood, relationships, and the human psyche.
I was very wary of picking this novel up as it goes completely against the normal genre that I pick up, i.e. romances, sci-fi, fantasy and general just really, really happy and uplifting novels. I go by the motto: why choose to enjoy a depressing novel which will leave you groveling on the floor as you pick your shattered soul back up when you can read a happy, uplifting novel which makes your day brighter. This novel was everything that I expected it to be: sad, depressing, even more sad, followed by even more depressing, trauma, psychological stuff, havoc, families, children, grief, Australia, lost love, heartache, and just plain old love.
The novel did pick up on some interesting aspects and raised questions on the experiences of those who have lived through hard times/events. I was surprised by some of the thoughts the main character had, especially those into her past and the future she decided to lead. I was also intrigued by the query into heroism and what it means to be a hero which encompassed the entire plot of the novel. Perhaps heroes are people who have been pushed by their surrounding circumstances to the extreme and chose to act – even live – despite the odds…albeit are left with scars and wounds not only physical but emotional as well. These so called ‘heroes’ are also extremely subjective and are not heroic to some people. They are in fact, villains in their eyes.
The characters were incredibly deep and thoughtfully constructed…however not to my taste. They are people, yet people who seemed too archetypical in some instances. They were normal Australians torn apart by the environment around them, their families and their personal flaws. I just could not fall in love with any of them. The protagonist, Annie, had nothing that I could say I loved or liked. I admired her strength and the ultimate resolution she found…but she just didn’t do it for me as a character. She barely leaped out of the page for me.
The plot itself was incredibly slow at times, and then lost momentum entirely at others. It was almost like reading a diary where every day just gets more bland and slow and even boring at others.
And the state in which I was left when I finally finished the novel… Let us just say there was a lot of tissues and music therapy involved. Maybe it’s my sensitivity, but I will never ever venture near this book again… For my peace and health of mind.
Congratulations to Eliza Henry Jones on the publication of her new novel, ‘Ache’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Tunes: Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Tunes: Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Tunes: Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Tunes: This Is What You Came For – Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Tunes: Dancing On My Own – Calum Scott

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Review: The Shadow Cipher (York, #1) by Laura Ruby

The Shadow Cipher (York, #1)The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘The Shadow Cipher’ was a wonderfully written novel which I thought had great potential but seemed to lack just a little bit of something which would really give it that “umph” and rocket the 4 star rating to 5.
The initial opening of the novel was just FANTASTIC. We had a strong female character who really knew how to defend herself against anything and everything. She seemed smart, witty, tough, resilient, intelligent, beautiful and simply amazing. Everything you could ever wish from a protagonist. In one word: Femme Fatale. And she was just mesmerizingly mysterious. I love enigmatic characters simply because there is SO much to find out about them. They keep the plot going and the reader – me – hooked. Alas, this character was NOT who this novel was meant to follow the perspective of. A great tragedy in my opinion, since she would have made even the pickiest reader interested.
The rest of the characters themselves were slightly lacking. They were just your average, stereotypical, archetypical characters who were spiced up with different nationalities and the fact that the two lead characters were twins. Seriously, the use of twins to make a novel exciting is a little outdated and in need of reconsideration. If twins are REALLY what you need to convey the story to all of its glory, then twins are a great choice. However, the novel seemed to be riding a lot of its merit on the fact that there were twins. And I am a twin. Which obviously makes me love anything twinish.
The pace was well set, however the novel lost its interest around the middle part of the plot. All these characters seemed to be running around doing something and it was just not gripping enough. I wanted more action, more ingenuity. It seemed like our bright and brilliant children couldn’t seem to show that off as well as they ought to have. The rest of the characters were in need of something to make them more interesting. I have to admit, some were most decidedly BIZARE – like the angsty/raging/goth/scary little girl who rode around everywhere on a tricycle with a small, rodent like pet hybrid.
I loved the idea explored in the novel, and it seemed absolutely enchanting on reading the blurb. I love all novels that explore intellect, wisdom and genius however it takes a lot to execute one. The ending did make up for it, however I wanted something just a little bit bigger.
World-building was great. I loved this mix of Victorian-England and New York. Absolutely enchanting and would make me spend my entire days within it. Plus the automaton that filled the pages were enchanting – they made me want to take them apart, learn how to build them and put them back together again.
This would make an amazing read for ages 10-14.
Congratulations to Laura Ruby on publishing a promising start to a new series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

WindfallWindfall by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Windfall’ by the lovely Jennifer E. Smith was a gorgeous tale of sweeping romance and an enormous amount of luck. 
Winning the lottery is no small feat, winning at the lottery of love is perhaps even bigger. I felt like this novel just had little something which made it completely irresistible and absolutely un-put-downable. Winning the lottery, let alone the big jackpot, is a fantasy which a lot of people harbour and it becomes so much more relevant when it could be just the thing which pulls you out of the bad luck the universe had dealt you. 
There was something about the story that gripped you and wouldn’t let you go from the very first page. It extended its claws of words and latched on to you so tightly that moving away from it would literally become painful. 
I spent my entire reading experience wishing for some alone time JUST so I could read the book. 
FOUR hundred and SIXTEEN pages of writing was not enough. 
When I finished it… I agonised over the fact that I had too much time and that I finished it too early. Because I wanted more. And as sadistic as this sounds, I wanted the exquisite torture of reading to last just a little bit longer. 
To satisfy my literary cravings I had to go back and reread the final chapter. And then rinse and repeat. I promise on pen and paper that I reread the last chapter at LEAST four times. This novel seemed absolutely determined to make the finale equal to – or even better! – than the entire novel. There was this cliffhanger that STRONGLY alluded to the ending that I wanted but WOULD NOT put it into words. And I wanted it in words, signed and stamped so I could make a contract out of it. Argh! It was as if the one thing I so much wanted was JUST THERE but CENTIMETRES out of reach. However, upon reflection, I do have to admit that this is also what made the ending to horribly good. 
If you want something that’s sweet, light-hearted yet beautiful and captivating I’d highly recommend ‘Windfall’.
On to characters:
Alone, I felt like each needed a little but more of that unnameable quality which would rocket my opinion of them. Most seemed slightly generic and I felt like I didn’t really know any of them truly well. Their fears and flaws were expressed but in a somewhat rose-tinted and sweetened version. I wanted a little bit more darkness. Something that would make me weep/cry at their pain as I would share it with them. 
Altogether… Now that is a completely different story. I’ve met one of the best ensemble of characters which MOVED the story to where it is now.
Additional note: ‘Windfall’ was subtlety and intricately sexually diverse. Not only was there the normal heterosexual relationship,  it also included homosexuality. 
There were a couple of cliches such as the forbidden best-friend romance and the stereotypical popular bad boy, yet this didn’t draw from the novel. Ultimately, this was an exploration of LUCK and FORTUNE. And that is what mattered. 
Congratulations to Jennifer E. Smith on the publication of her CHARMING novel! Can’t wait to read more of you!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Tunes: Classic – MKTO

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉

Tunes: Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie

Tunes is a weekly Tuesday post on TwinReads featuring my favourite/most-listened-to track on Spotify.

If you enjoyed this week’s track then give it a like! I’m always open to song suggestions so leave a comment. 😉