Book Review Roundup #2

Warning – you will need snacks (multiple), a drink and I recommend you stretch as well because today’s post is BIG. You’d think that splitting these posts to 5-6 books each would make them shorter; I’m also including the blurb to save you guys a google search.

No one talks about how tricky it is to review books WITHOUT SPOLINING THEM. I did my best to keep each review short and to the point, so if you’re interested – keep reading.

If you want to have a read of the first installment of this series, click on the link here.

Let’s go!

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

An incredibly long but wonderful read. It’s told in the P.O.V of death which I love. It’s also set in Nazi Germany (a setting I gravitate too frequently). While it is super long, it is filled with short chapters which makes the book feel easier to get through. The narrator does give the reader a lot of spoilers before backtracking to explain how they occurred; I did find this quite interesting.

I would call the first half a slow burn before things pick up quickly but I found myself engaged throughout the entire book and wanting to know what happens. In regards to the setting of this book, you get both the perspective of the Jews and Germans during this time period. I can see why this book is an absolute classic and it remains on myself as a read I will return to. This gets a 4/5!

The Memories that make us – Vanessa Carnevale

`If you had your time over, would you fall in love with the same person? Would you live the same life twice?’ After a car accident, Gracie loses all the memories that define her and is forced to examine the person she has become. Addictive and heartfelt reading from a new Australian voice. Gracie Ashcroft is supposed to marry Blake Beaumont in three months’ time. The trouble is, she doesn’t know who he is… After an accident leaves Gracie with severe amnesia, she’s forced to decide: live a life that is made up of other people’s memories of who she was, or start a new life on her own. Leaving her fiance Blake behind, she moves to the country where she takes on the task of reviving her family’s abandoned flower farm.

While attempting to restart a business with an uncertain future, she tries to come to terms with the grief of losing a mother she can’t remember and a fiance she so badly wants to fall in love with again. What she doesn’t count on is developing a deep connection with Flynn, a local vet. Worst of all is having to confront the fact that she might lose either chance at love. Forced to examine the person she has become, Gracie confronts the question: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?

At first, it was a slow start but it’s so adorably ‘lovey-dovey’ in a non-cheesy way. You definitely get hit in the feels with this read. You get so invested in the main character’s story that you feel the character’s butterflies. I clung to every page and kept wanting to know what would happen! I love the reference to flowers and the outdoors, whether it’s plowing the field or cold early morning runs. This book had a killer twist which even I didn’t guess. I’m that annoying person that will constantly hypothesize the twist until I figure it out and ruin it for myself. I cannot say enough good things about this story, few books get me teary-eyed but this came close. I give this a 5/5 that’s how much I loved it.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

With Dracula, Bram Stoker established the ground rules for virtually all vampire fiction. When Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to do business with the noble Count Dracula, he endangers all that he loves, for Dracula is one of the Undead who feasts on the blood of his helpless victims. To thwart Dracula’s evil designs, Jonathan and his friends must embark on an unholy adventure beyond their worst nightmares.

Simply put, I didn’t like this book. In fact, I procrastinated a lot and dragged out reading this. I had to rip the band-aid off and push through just so I could get it over with. The plot dragged on. There was a lot of rambling about nature and emotions; the story felt like it was going at a slug pace. The whole build-up to the intense moments of the plot was rushed in a page and a half. I didn’t like how the whole build-up only leads to a rushed climax.

There were parts of the book that had that “spooky” vibe to it, that part I enjoyed. However, I was very happy once I finished this book. While classic genres aren’t my go-to, I’ve read some that I’ve enjoyed – this wasn’t one of them. I don’t recommend you put yourself through this one. This gets a 1/5.

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.  My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years.

The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean, and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

After the previous book not being very ideal, I needed an easy read with lots of cuteness. This one was perfect. I flew through this book, it took me just over a day. It was lovey-dovey and super cute. I did think it would be a little juvenile; it isn’t written in a sophisticated way BUT I was going for an easy cute read and this was it. I freaking loved it and watched the movie several times afterward. Your heart hurts from the feelings overload. I highly recommend this book. Even if you are into complex books, this one is still so enjoyable! Definitely a 5/5 for this one – such a sweet story.

Truly madly guilty – Liane Moriarty

What if they hadn’t gone? That’s the question Clementine can’t stop asking herself. It was just a backyard barbeque. They didn’t know their hosts that well. They were friends of friends. They could so easily have said no.
But she and her husband Sam said yes, and now they can never change what they did and didn’t do that beautiful winter’s day.
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One yapping dog. It’s a normal weekend in the suburbs. What could possibly go wrong? 
Once again Liane Moriarty uses her unique, razor-sharp observational skills to sift through the emerging fault lines of seemingly happy families.
It was just an ordinary Sunday afternoon…

This book was a so-so kind of read, didn’t keep me engaged and the plotline was kind of boring. It was interesting to have multiple points of view, a jump between past and present, and the characters were all so vastly different. There’s a psychology element to the characters – meaning they have complex personalities and interesting childhoods – that was the only interesting part to me. Even the “twist” at the end which is what the plot builds up to didn’t leave me overly shocked. Although the author is quite popular, her books aren’t my cup of tea. Not one on my recommendation list. This one gets a 2/5

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

This book is definitely not your typical young-love romance, I feel like there’s a level of detachment with it in regards to emotion express. If there’s a point to the story I’d say it would have to do with how communicating one’s emotions is quite difficult and the power of it. It’s quite realistic I will give it that, no fairy-tale, cutesy, rainbows and butterflies wash over the relationship that plays out here. It has 18 lengthy chapters but the overall book isn’t long or a difficult read. Each chapter is followed by a passage of time, at least a few months so the entire story plays out over the course of a few years. I enjoyed the novel but I wouldn’t call it a favorite by any means.. I’d give it a 2.8/5

The Secret Runners of New York – Matthew Reilly

THE COMING END When Skye Rogers and her twin brother Red move to Manhattan, rumours of a coming global apocalypse are building. But this does not stop the young elite of New York from partying without a care. CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? And then suddenly Skye is invited to join an exclusive gang known as the Secret Runners of New York. But this is no ordinary clique – they have access to an underground portal that can transport them into the future. 
And what Skye discovers in the future is horrifying. RUN! AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
As society crumbles, Skye and Red race to figure out how to use their knowledge to survive the impending annihilation, they soon discover that the chaotic end of the world is perfect time for revenge…

I knew I’d love this book very early has a dystopian/apocalypse theme and time travel – what more could you want? The story keeps you engaged, turning every page in anticipation and slightly anxious (dystopian worlds always stress me out). You get a glimpse of the present and future as well which is seriously creepy in the context of this book. This book was absolutely fantastic! It was filled with so much suspense, anticipation, and intensity and was to the point. I almost found it a bit much to read at night (but I’m a total wimp and get scared easily!) This one definitely gets a 5/5!

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe’s new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

This was not a usual choice for me but it was a book I half-read at university and was interested in at the time. Historical fiction is a genre I find myself liking quite a bit and the Holocaust and American Slavery are my main preferences in the category of historical fiction. It’s definitely a dark story as it focuses on slavery and ghosts. As the reader, you feel torn in regards to how to condemn the actions of the main character when you think about the situation she was placed in. It’s definitely tricky to read as it jumps from present to past with no warning, at times I did find it to drag on but I overall enjoyed it but I know it won’t be a reread or one that will go on my recommendation list. I give it a 2.5/5

Paper towns – John Green

Quentin Jacobsen – Q to his friends – is eighteen and has always loved the edgy Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children‚ they’d discovered a dead body together. Now at high school‚ Q’s nerdy while, Margo is uber-cool. One night‚ Q is basking in the predictable boringness of his life when Margo‚ dressed as a ninja‚ persuades him to partake in several hours of mayhem. Then she vanishes. While her family shrugs off this latest disappearance‚ Q follows Margo’s string of elaborate clues – including a poem about death. Q’s friends‚ Radar‚ Ben and Lacey‚ help with the search‚ and a post turns up on a website: Margo will be in a certain location for the next 24 hours only. The race is on! After an epic drive through the night‚ they catch up with Margo‚ and Q learns first-hand that the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are

Seeing as I had watched the movie before reading the book – that does reduce one’s enjoyment because they know what’s going to happen. John green books are always easy to follow along with and they are written beautifully. The chapters are fairly short (minus the last one) and overall I like the way the story plays out, it’s not cheesy and predictable. It’s filled with awesome quotes and I just found myself flying through it. If you haven’t watched the movie, I recommend reading it as the story is quite beautiful. I would give this one a 3/5

That wraps up this extremely long post. See I told you guys you would need snacks! Thanks for sticking around to read this post. Have you read any of the books I mentioned today? What books do you recommend I check out? I’m always looking for interesting reads. I love you guys and I’ll see you around next time. x B

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  1. Jenna

    October 30, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Dracula is such a good classic – it is one of my favs! 🙂
    Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      October 30, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      It was the one book I didn’t like 🙁 Not because of the storyline but the way it was told … just too dragged out. I did like parts of it.

  2. Danielle Beautyblog

    November 1, 2020 at 11:02 am

    I tried to read Dracula when i was at school and had to give up haha

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog 

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      November 6, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      I’m pretty good with sticking with a book but this one seriously tested me haha

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      November 11, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      They are! Watch this space because more installments are to come! x

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