The Merciless by Danielle Vega

I knew I had to read this book when I saw the cover. It’s gorgeous and it fits the book perfectly. It screams Mean Girls + The Exorcist, which is exactly what this book is like.

This book was not that well written, but I still loved it. The story is simple: the new girl joins the clique of the popular girls who decide to perform an exorcism on another girl. The exorcism gets out of control. What’s not to love here? I love books about girls being freaky, crazy and scary. I should mention, it’s also a very gory book, cause these girls sure know how to torture.

With that being said, The Merciless had some problems. The characters were not well developed and I thought that the plot was not paced well. What’s written on the back cover spoils half of the book. The first half is also a bit too stretched, while in the second half everything happens too fast. The culmination happens in the final pages and then the book ends abruptly.  Even though it’s a good book, it had a potential to be much better.

I think the sequel will be coming out in 2016 and I am not sure how I feel about it. I am definitely going to read it, but I feel that this book would be better as it is now, because if the story is continued, the shocking moments in the first book lose their intensity. But then again, I am just assuming and I can be very wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Gutshot by Amelia Gray

This short story collection made me doubt my intelligence. I was prepared to love it, because it has amazing reviews. And yet, I just didn’t get it. I don’t understand what’s so good about this book.

Most of the stories are nonsensical. I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, but in this book it was. Some of the stories were very gory and I don’t mind that, except the gore was just slightly disgusting, not scary, or shocking, or funny.

Another thing I didn’t like was that the stories were very short. I don’t have anything against very short stories when I read them unconnected to each other. But in a collection, the order of the stories is important. Getting into the flow of a story only to have it end abruptly and repeat that every two minutes is very tiring.

However, there was one story I really liked. I think it was “Thank you”. It was surreal and strangely hilarious. It’s about a woman and her friend who basically try to “outthank” each other.  (yeah, outthank is not a word)

So, am I really dumb for not understanding the appeal of this book? 🙂

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

I remember reading as a child and being completely enchanted by books. Sometimes I wasn’t able to put down the book I was reading so I spent the day with my face buried in a book while doing my daily activities. I still read a lot, I still love books, but I’ve been missing that sense of magic that books bring. But two days ago I started reading Cuckoo Song, a book which brought that feeling back.

Cuckoo Song is about a girl call Triss. She’s just had an accident after which she has trouble remembering things from the past. All of her memories are hazy, almost as if they belong to another person. I don’t want to say much else, because I am afraid of spoiling this amazing book.

I liked how the book’s tone switched from creepy to sad and as the plot reached it’s culmination it got very tense.  I was hoping the heroine would be able to succeed while thinking that it’s almost impossible to do that and I couldn’t sleep because I just had to find out what would happen

Also a question I’ve been asking myself: Is this a children’s book? I really have no idea. If I knew little children who like to read I’d make them read it. And they would probably get very scared. Muahahahahaha!

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

My brain was buzzing from thinking about books. I was obsessing over which new books should I get and I was making a list of books I need to read ASAP (this list included 18 books!). I was afraid that I’d go crazy and start grabbing strangers on the street and shaking them until they give me a good book recommendation.

So I took a deep breath and told myself: “Okay Pickle, take it easy. The next few days you’ll be on a reading fast.” And I did it. But of course, my reading fast didn’t mean I completely gave up on books. I just read something fun and tried to read it slowly. And Bridget Jones’s Diary was the perfect book for that.

I’ve seen the movie and I love it, but I love the book even more. It’s hilarious. The whole time I was reading it I was like: “Damn Bridget, how can you be so stupid?”. I love her attempts at being an adult in which she fails all the time, even though she is one. I love her silly remarks. I love her even sillier mom. I love to hear what Shazzer has to say about how horrible men are, while Jude and Tom obsess over their relationships.

This book is not a great work of art, but I don’t think it’s trashy chick lit either. It’s a great comedy novel and it can make almost anyone laugh.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Since everyone has already said everything that can possibly be said about this book, I’ll keep this short. I was very surprised, because The Girl on the Train was named ‘This year’s Gone Girl’. I should mention, I’ve read only half of Gone Girl and only seen the movie, but I’ve read all the other books by Gillian Flynn and I couldn’t find many similarities.

The Girl on the Train had a faster pace, but also much less tension. The mystery was not that gripping and the reveal not very shocking. Nevertheless, I still liked it, although it’s not one of my favorites.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Nora is a 37-year-old teacher in an elementary school. She is single and lives a very lonely life, lacking any love or passion. She gives up any hope of being an artist, which has been her aim in life when she was younger. But then she gets a new student, Reza Shahid and she meets his parents Sirena and Skandar. She falls in love with the whole family, loving each member in a different way.

I really liked this book. The first thing that gripped me was the way Nora is given her own voice. Nora is not a character used as a tool for the author to communicate with the reader, she’s powerfully brought to life, with all of her strengths and faults. The other characters feel very alive too and I started to develop conflicted emotions for almost all of them. At some points, I found the book a bit stretched and expected something to pick up the pace, but it was not a big problem, because it never got dull.

This book poses many important questions about our existence and about love and art and to a certain extent, the author gives us her opinion about the answers, but she also leaves us enough space to make our own judgement.

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

I am very, very excited about finally getting to read All The Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket. I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events (from now on referred to as ASOUE). Snicket’s quirky humor and his original style of storytelling are something you don’t get to read every day. I also have high hopes for this series because is shorter. In ASOUE the repetition in the first few books got a bit old and I was happy when the action picked up again in the middle of the series. But there won’t be space for this because All The Wrong Questions has only four books.

The first book is good. But that’s the only thing I can say. It’s not great, but it’s not a letdown either. I just felt like it was a bit too simple. I know that’s Snicket’s style, starting his books as simple and even a bit cliche, and in the end they are something new completely, and I know I should keep in mind that this is a children’s book, but I still expected more. But I’ll still won’t give up on this series.

Now about the book. It’s about Lemony Snicket as an apprentice for a member of a secret organization (though fans of ASOUE probably know which one) and he has to solve a mystery about a stolen item. As usual, adults are very dumb and don’t listen to the children, so a simple mystery gets much more complicated than it should have been.

Funniest moment for me was probably the surname of the sub-librarian. It’s Qwerty. Hilarious!

 

Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous

The title of this book is a great description of the plot. A clash of civilizations over an elevator is exactly what this book is about. It’s also a murder mystery, which was the thing that got me interested about me.

The worst tenant of a building is murdered and the police assumes it’s Amadeo, the building’s favorite tenant who committed the murder, because he’s nowhere to be found. So the police ask the tenants to give statements about Amadeo. And that’s where the fun begins. It seems like none of them is worried by the murder, instead they’d rather talk about who’s peeing in the elevator, who’s an immigrant, who has had abortions, who kidnapped a dog and many of the other things that bother them. By the end of the book it seems like Amadeo is the only sane person in the whole building.

This is a very short book, but the comedic situations will make you laugh for a long time.

Pointe by Brady Colbert

This book is many things in one: it’s a book about race, about ballet, kidnapping, rape, anorexia… But I think it handles all of these issues very well. Some of them may be in the spotlight more than the others, but nothing seems forced. All of these parts of the main character’s life are connected with each other in the most natural way possible.

Mostly though, this book is about a girl in denial. She denies her past traumas, she denies her problems in the present, she denies her anorexia. I’ve read many reviews by people who say that they didn’t like the book because the main character is unlikable, but I disagree. Sure, she makes the wrong decisions over and over again, but it’s not annoying. It’s a very truthful representation of a girl who has a very wrong image of herself. This is what makes her repeat the same mistakes. She doesn’t know how to love her self, because she wasn’t loved in the way she deserved.

Even though I thought this would be a thriller with some ballet weaved in, it’s so much more. It’s a very honest and realistic book about the suffering of a teenage girl.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Since I am bored and I have nothing better to do, I will review another book, even though it’s been a while since I read it and no one is reading this and no one probably will.

If there is anything I love in a book, it’s characters that are neither good or bad, who do morally ambiguous actions, or even despicable, but understandable things. Another thing I love in books is bad girls.

And Tiny Pretty Things has both. It’s set in a highly competitive ballet school, where the dancer would do ANYTHING to get the part they want. The story is told through the eyes of three very different girls: old-money queen bee Bette, the anorexic child of a single mom June (or E-Jun, her Korean name) and new girl Gigi.

Gigi goes to the school and unlike the others she’s sweet and friendly, but she feels left out, because the world of ballet isn’t exactly a place free of racism. So when the casting results for The Nutcracker are announced, everyone is shocked to see that Gigi got the part. And that’s when some of the other jealous ballerinas start to bully her and nasty things happen.

I really really liked Bette. She does some horrible things and she’s bitter and mean, but I understand her. I’d probably be worse if I was in her place. And June, you sneaky, sly girl. She’s one of those dangerous creatures, seemingly meek and weak, but damn, the anger she carries inside her.

Warning: You won’t be able to put this book down. It’s full of drama and back-stabbing and ballet and complex, ambitious girls and who doesn’t like that?

Can’t wait for the sequel!