The Privileged by Carrie Aarons

This book is a really gorgeous young adult romance, fairytale story of love and war between the high class. It is also a perfect summer read and one that will make you hold on to it and read until the end.

Sure there are the usual cliches, cute romance parts that will make you ask for more.  Girl meets boy, boy needs some revenge and they fall for eachother. I never doubted the plot, though I kept reading because this book is good! The writing style is pretty and it has a flow, with beautiful background descriptions and high emotions to topple you over.

Give it a go and enjoy it as a delightful summer romance read. Many thanks to “Give me Books Promotions” for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Nest by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney

I am so extremely glad I finally got to read this book. After only a few pages in, I got fully immersed in the complexity and family drama revolving around the shared inheritance and around the character of Leo.

This is largely about choosing among different paths, for many of the characters portrayed in The Nest. I find it brilliant how the author managed to seemlessly hover between good and bad sides of the characters. Really each one of them has done something hidden or lied about and that just comes to show the intricacy of the human mind and its actions.

All characters without exception are beautifully realized, really up to the secondary characters. Some might even mirror challenges one has actually encoutered in real life, coupled with identity crises and personal victories.

Naturally, the Nest is actually everything that the Plumb family ultimately represents, a mix and match of “aviary” disturbia, commonly found individually, yet artistically set up together as an unhappy whole.

This one is definitely a must read, if you are into family dramas and wicked controversies. It is a novel beautifully written, with a flow of actions and feelings.

The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg

The brilliant idea behind this novel took me fully unprepared for the feeling of amazingness that engulfed me upon finishing it. I fullheartedly recommend this book to everyone interested in Russian culture (!?), dystopia and mysticism — a beautiful combination!

My most favorite element of this novel was the world created by Holmberg through the character of Slava, the mysticist. There is a huge chunk of reality interspersed with bits of supernatural, barely visible to any other characters but Matrona and Jaska. I will not retell here the story, as you can find yhe synopsis on Goodreads.

My favorite character is Matrona, for her boldness and determination. It is amazing that she could muster the courage to make a change, despite all the magic and warnings that it might not be appreciated by all the villagers once the safe world they had known for 20 years was taken away from them. The paradox here: should one be content with an easy and comfortable life while being completely manipulated OR rather have free will to achieve their dreams through the harsh reality of life?

The dolls gave me creeps at times and I was almost angry with Matrona for not having the patience and enough self-control learn all the ropes from Slava before rebelling against his creation. I found the dolls a fantastic element, the author fully managing to portray their role and eventually to unravel the rules of Slava’s magic.

I absolutely got engrossed by Feodor and was so content with the answer given to him by Matrona in the end. He deserved nothing, such a low person. Surely his character was needed to balance the good with the bad, the magic with what was real. It proves at the same time how people can choose to be manipulated if that means they should not struggle, nor struggle much for their daily bread.

The Fifth Doll is a gem of a book, a lovely mix of dystopia and fantasy, blended with delicious bits of Russian culture and traditions. I fully recommend this book. I am so glad and thankful I had the chance to read an advance copy, courtesy of the author and Netgalley.

Nothing is predictable by Adalina Mae

A beautiful, yet heartbreaking novel about the power of forgiveness and carrying the demons of a difficult childhood her whole life. Zara is a really strong woman and even though the book was a bit cliche for my taste, I enjoyed the bits of wisdom and researched adventures of this American-Lebanese. The book is rather unputdownable, possible to be read in one go, a great summer read with lots to ponder upon. Give it a go if you stumble upon it, you might find the lovely Zara irresistible.

I joined the Author’s of Instagram Summer Giveaway Hop on Instagram and won this novel, many thanks to Adalina and looking forward to her next book.

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Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

“I am overflowing like coffee leaking from a paper cup. I wonder, shall I make myself smaller? Do I have enough space on Earth to make myself less?”

This book is magical in a literary sense, poetically combining curiosity about people and the self. What I absolutely loved about it is that really whatever happens in the book is or could be irrelevant. The transformation of the characters is the focus here, a journey of the self, meandering through the jungle if feelings, imagination and sensations of the surrounding spaces.

Oh how I loved this book, what a fresh perspective this gives to actually breathing in the style and the plot, to riding a wave of jellyfish and not giving a rat about getting stung. Being bold in an seriously simplistic way, loving with all might, being baffled and not understanding thingsthat happen for a reason. Sofia’s life is her analysis of self, a beautifully contorted version of an amalgam, of what means to become and to express the transformation through actions.

Please read this book, you might be surprised and grateful for the effect it can have on you.

Buddwing by Evan Hunter

This book was constantly toying with my patience and trust that the main character Sam Buddwing would find sooner than later some tangible clues as per his identity. I was really drawn into this book from the very beginning, only to be repeatedly disappointed by the style of writing, by the author refusing to give in a few pertinent clues in the first quarter of the book.

Don’t get me wrong, Evan Hunter has a marvelous writing style. In this book, however, th plot is thus constructed as if to baffle and frustrate the reader. At least this is how I felt for a whole week, while refusing to read anything else but this book, only to become (let’s put it bluntly) bored out of my wits, which does not happen .. if ever. My mood might have had a lot to do with it too.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book, in exchange for an honest review. I will give another chance to Evan Hunter though and read one more book by him.

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The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

An psychological rollercoaster of emotions

This book can mess up your days emotionally, dragging you deep into its plot, making you feel so much in such a short time. I became somehow very connected to the characters, mainly due to the effortless writing style, the complex yet intriguing depiction of the events. Only to get this crazy twist at 85% into the book, which defies all concepts.

Liz Fenton’s book is addictive and unputdownable, an amazing contemporary thriller that you need to read this summer, it is well worth it and it is the perfect summer read.

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Lexicon by Max Barry

I loved everything about this book, the suspense, the plot, the insanely good twists and the linguistics theme.

The characters are complex due to multiple hidden personalities, until they somehow reveal their inner selves. Max Barry is simply a genius and artist at conjuring a believably realistic world, there is a lot of sense into the bots and pieces of correspondence and news.

I highly recommend this book to those passionate about new worlds with a dystopian feeling, about mindmastering and psycholoically mind-boggling events

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

A deliciously twisted thriller, maybe one of the best I’ve read this year. I found it even better than The Couple Next Door and I cannot recommend Shari Lapena enough now. Her books are perfect summer reads too if you are looking for great compelling thrillers.

The writing style is more polished in this novel, making it addictive, simply unputdownable. I had trouble focusing on the daily chores with a toddler while reading this one. Luckily it is also a quick read and with the ending somewhat gratifying in the end.

Some of the characters are so multi-faceted that it spins the mind. Sure, I expected Karen to have secrets, just not as deep as it turns out in the end. Hence the deliciousness of the book so to say. Mind-twisting plans that were realised in favor of this powerful woman, leading at the same time to moral questions of all kind. So if she were really a battered woman it would all have made so much sense morally. Yet, there is a wow factor in her real secret that boggles the mind. It made me wonder how people and situations can surprise and trick others.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I am so glad I have asked for this one on Netgalley. Watch out for the publication date, coming up soon in July.

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