January 2021 Mini Reviews

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
(Beautiful Broken Things #1)
Published: 11th February 2016 by Macmillan
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I had heard great things about Bernard, and I was a fan of one of her later books, A Quiet Kind of Thunder, though I can't remember much about it. I went into this not knowing anything about it, but it quickly became clear that it deals with a lot of important issues for teenagers to grapple with. I won't go into them, but I will say that even though the premise of the book is that Caddy, the protagonist has never had a 'Big Life Moment', I did find it quite hard to believe that she could have lived such a sheltered life that she could be so shocked by everything that occurs. I do think it was well-written, and could be relatable to a lot of people, because of what it covers. I don't think the character of Suzanne got as much attention as she deserved, so I'm happy that the sequel focuses on her. However, I'm not sure if I will be picking it up.
3 stars

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon
Published: 7th January 2021 by Penguin
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I was really excited for this book; the premise sounded interesting and I do enjoy inter-familial generational dramas. Unfortunately, it ended up falling a bit flat for me. It read very slowly, and I don't always necessarily mind that, but I found it hard to motivate myself to continue reading at times. I liked the dual timeline and perspectives switching from Durga and Mary, her grandmother. I also liked that it was set in Malaysia, as it's a country I don't know much about. Both women deal with an important loss, and it was interesting to see just how intertwined their lives were, despite being completely different people in their personalities. I personally connected more to the character of Mary, a grumpy old woman, so I don't know what that says about me! There were aspects of the book I didn't care for, like Durga and Tom's relationship, and I also think that the big reveal at the end didn't really work for me. Overall, a bit disappointing.
3 stars

The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
(The Ravens #1)
Published: 5th January 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I was really excited to read this, because as a university student I feel like there aren't enough good college/university-set stories, or maybe I just haven't read them! I particularly enjoyed the Southern setting of this book, with its massive campus and strong Greek life, because it is so different from British universities but so fun to read about. Saying that, The Ravens certainly put a spin on typical sorority life, which I enjoyed, as I also did with the whole tarot element and them being witches in general. I think having it tied into a sorority really helped place the importance of the book on sisterhood, while any romances took more of a background role, which is refreshing to see. The drama of the story wasn't entirely groundbreaking, and the antagonists were somewhat predictable, but I honestly didn't mind because the book was so enjoyable to read! I will definitely be reading the sequel as soon as I can get my hands on it.  4 stars

Shipped by Angie Hockman
Published: 19th January 2021 by Headline
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

This was a really strong debut novel! I had seen this on a lot of people's most anticipated romance lists for 2021, so I was excited to give it a go, and on the whole it didn't disappoint. I've never read anything set in the travel industry before, but it seemed like the perfect setting to provide some much-needed escapism content, which is exactly what Shipped gave me. I liked the mix between the typical office job and all the work dynamics, and then the refreshing backdrop of the Galapagos Islands. Hockman's writing allowed me to breeze through the book - I couldn't put it down! I really liked the fact that there was more to the story than just the rivals-turned-lovers trope, and the conservation element was great in allowing for Henley's character to grow and really come into her own by the end of the book. I did find Graeme a bit too good to be true, and possibly written to be the perfect guy who was never anything but amazingly supportive, but that could just be me being cynical. Overall, really enjoyable.
4 stars

Published: 7th January 2021 by Macmillan
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

The premise of this book intrigued me, as I am always interested in stories about family secrets. Burn Our Bodies Down was certainly focused on family, and I understand that Margot's mother was meant to be portrayed as secretive, but I felt that their relationship was potentially overly fractured, and so their eventual reunion seemed a bit unrealistic. Although her younger self plays a big part in the book, Margot's mother actually as a mother is barely explored. The book reads like a novel about cults, which makes sense and yet is also interesting in that Margot's grandmother is such a towering solo force of nature. The whole mystery surrounding the girl who dies in the fire, and particularly the constant denial of knowledge from Margot's grandmother was frustrating more than it built any tension. I did appreciate the strong female presence in the book, but I think Power tries to incorporate too many different things into it, and unfortunately it ends up falling a bit flat for me.
3 stars


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