ARC Book Review: Mary Rose

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Synopsis:

Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Rose into a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Adaptive Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel is out today, exclusively at Barnes & Noble.*

Mary Rose isn’t the kind of book I typically read. It was weird and strange and mysterious, and I was so intrigued I just had to keep reading until the end. Mary Rose is a mystery wrapped up in the shell of woman. She’s beautiful, but there’s clearly something off about her. Her boyfriend, Simon, however, doesn’t mind that at all. In fact, it seems to make him more infatuated with her.

When Simon and Mary Rose take a trip to her childhood home in England, Simon learns that Mary Rose disappeared for 33 days when she was child, on an island in Scotland. There was no explanation for her disappearance or how she suddenly reappeared, seemingly fine. For some reason, Mary’s parents were content with not knowing, and though they took her to psychologists over the years, eventually they just resigned themselves to the fact that they’d never really know.

Still, Mary Rose clearly had issues. Even though she couldn’t remember what happened to her on that island, she had nightmares and drew very strange drawings all the time. What I loved about this novel is that this story toes the line of realism and fantasy. I wasn’t sure if Mary Rose was taken to some magical land for the 33 days or if a regular human person had taken her. I also wasn’t sure if the island was this really scary place or if it just became that because of all the stories people told about it.

As I kept reading, just like Simon, I needed to know what happened to Mary Rose. Why was she the way she was? Was she even a real person or something else entirely? And was there a reason why Simon, and seemingly all the men around her, were attracted to Mary Rose, or was that just a coincidence? All these questions are what made the book fun for me, because I was intrigued by the mystery and I felt thoroughly satisfied by the answers given at the end.

My biggest frustration with the novel was definitely the characters. While I could understand why Simon was interested in learning what happened to Mary Rose, I honestly couldn’t understand why he stuck by her side for so long or didn’t get her help. Maybe love is just blind, but the things Mary did would make me run for the hills or at least offer up an ultimatum, that she either needed to see a doctor or the relationship was over.

I also just couldn’t sympathize with Mary Rose, but I’m not sure I was supposed to. The novel is told in close third person, switching between Simon and Mary. Mary was definitely going through a hard time, but the way she handled a lot of things bothered me. Really, I just wanted this woman to see a therapist throughout the entirety of the novel and it bothered me that the only explanation for why she didn’t was because she went before and that didn’t work out for strange reasons. Still, I understand this was also a plot device so I can forgive the author for this, but it did bother me.

Overall, I recommend this novel if you’re into mysteries and a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. There’s a short essay in the back that explains the history of Mary Rose, which I found very interesting since I took an Alfred Hitchcock class in college, and I could definitely see why this story would’ve interested him. It was also interesting to see how this story started as a play and then the screenplay written for Hitchcock to now this book. I liked the changes Geoffrey Girard made and I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed this novel if it was told in the original way.

Therefore, read the book if you like mysteries and questions about the supernatural. If you’re not into that kind of thing, I’d say skip this one. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is enjoyable.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I probably won’t read it again, but it’s perfect for Halloween.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“Better to know the blow that was coming at you than let it catch you unawares.”

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David Levithan, Elizabeth Eulberg, & More Are In Town (YA Book Events 10/16-10/22)

After last week’s full week of festivities, this week has slowed down quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t great events to check out this week. Here’s the full schedule.

Monday, October 16

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Glaser will be sharing her novel Far From the Tree, which is a National Book Award finalist this year. Eulberg (Just Another Girl) will be joining her on the panel. Free event.

Young, Queer, and Lit at The Strand (7-8 p.m.)

Join David Levithan, Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos, Billy Merrell, and more as they discuss their process of writing books for the YA genre. Free event.

Tuesday, October 17

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Join Stephanie and R.J. as they celebrate the release of their latest novel, Applewhites Coast to Coast. Free event.


Do you live in NYC or NYC-adjacent? Follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date on all the bookish events happening around the city!

ARC Book Review: All the Crooked Saints

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Synopsis:

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book at Brooklyn Book Festival. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel is released today.*

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that although I really enjoyed The Raven Cycle series, I wasn’t all that enthralled with the plot, because it didn’t make any sense to me. Thus, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this new book by Maggie Stiefvater. It didn’t help that the book quickly came under fire for it’s representation of Mexican Americans after it was first announced. Despite all these things, I ended up really enjoying this novel.

The story is told in the third person, with the same kind of magical realism voice that I loved in the The Raven Cycle books, and looks at a Mexican American family, the Sorias, living in Bicho Raro, Colarado in the 1960s. The Sorias have been done throughout generations to be saints that can give people miracles, which help them overcome the darkness inside of them. Although this novel is definitely about the Sorias as a whole and the pilgrims that travel to get their miracles, it’s really about the three young Soria cousins: Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin.

Daniel is the current Saint of Bicho Raro and it’s his job to give the pilgrims their miracles, but because this is a Stiefvater book the miracle isn’t something simple. Instead there’s two parts to the miracle. First, Daniel brings out the darkness in the pilgrim, which can manifest into pretty much anything, and then it’s the pilgrim’s job to figure out how to get rid of their darkness. Until they do that, the pilgrims don’t leave Bicho Raro and the Sorias don’t kick them out because they believe a pilgrim might find success later and return the favor. Also, the Sorias don’t engage with the pilgrims because they believe they can “catch” a pilgrim’s darkness.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this story. I liked how they each handled miracles and how it affected their perspective on the world around them. Additionally, I was actually interested in all of their histories. This story gave me The Sun is Also a Star vibes, because it gives the background for almost every character. It was also interesting seeing this divide between the Sorias and the pilgrims, since they all lived in the same place, but at times it felt like they were in two very different worlds. I also enjoyed the little bits of romance in this story as well. They were subtle and cute and I would’ve loved more, but the amount given was sufficent.

Lastly, in terms of the representation of Mexican Americans, since I’m not Mexican I can’t speak for how a Mexican person will feel about it. I thought it was well done, though I’m confused as to why Stiefvater named the town Bicho Raro when that means weirdo in Spanish. Perhaps because this story is a bit weird? Who knows? Besides that though, I thought the characters were well thought out and not stereotypical. Therefore, I highly recommend picking up this book today and giving it a read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Always take blame for your own actions but never take blame for someone else’s.”

Other Reviews
Paper Fury
Bang Bang Book Blog
Pure Imagination

The Vlog Brothers Are in NYC (YA Book Events 10/9-10/15)

The turtles are going down this week. John Green’s latest novel, Turtles All the Way Down will (finally!) release this week and he’ll be in New York City to jump off his tour. It’s been five years since he last released a book so if you can see him this time around you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Green isn’t the only author in town this week, though. Check out the full list of events below!

Monday, October 9

John & Hank Green at Symphony Space (12 & 4 p.m.)

In a special preview event for Turtles All the Way Down, John and Hank Green (also known as the Vlog Brothers) will be doing two small talking events at Symphony Space. Tickets are $15.

Tuesday, October 10

The Town Hall with The Strand: Turtles All the Way Down Tour (7 p.m.)

John Green and special guest Hank Green celebrate the release of John’s newest novel, Turtles All the Way Down. This event is SOLD OUT.

Friday, October 13

An Evening with Sherman Alexie at Symphony Space (7 p.m.)

Join Sherman Alexie and moderator Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) as they celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Tickets are $17; $14 for members of Symphony Space.

Sunday, October 15

Thalia Kids’ Book Club: The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell at Symphony Space (1 p.m.)

Join Cressida Cowell and Claire Legrand (Foxheart) for an afternoon of conversation, art, fun activities, and a reading from The Wizards of Once by Tony Award nominee Emily Skeggs (Fun Home). Tickets are $17; $14 for members.

Teen Panel for The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke at Books of Wonder (4-6 p.m.)

Meet author Katherine Locke as she discusses her new book The Girl with the Red Balloon in conversation with fellow author Lindsay Smith (Dream Strider). Free event.


Do you live in NYC or NYC-adjacent? Follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date on all the bookish events happening around the city!

Book Review: Kill the Boy Band

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Synopsis:

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him-his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make-or break-the people we call “celebrities.”

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve had this novel in my possession for a while now but I didn’t actually get around to reading it until I downloaded the audio book in prep for a job interview. If you enjoy audio books, I highly recommend this one. Though I didn’t totally love this story, the narration along with the interesting British accents definitely made this book funny and enjoyable for me.

The novel is told in the point of view of the main character who’s name I can’t recall and think that’s indicative of how very rarely it was said. Or, how interested I was in her as a character. Checking Goodreads, someone says her name is Lydia. That doesn’t sound totally right to me, but again, I’m really not sure, but let’s just go with it. So Lydia, along with her so-called friends, Erin, Isabel, and Apple, have this brilliant idea to get a room at the hotel their favorite band, The Ruperts, is staying at so they have a better chance of meeting them.

The Ruperts were obviously a parody of One Direction. Literally each guy in the band is named Rupert and they all auditioned for this fake reality competition show called So You Think the British Don’t Have Talent? and were then pushed into being a group solely because they all had the same name. Each of the girls have their own favorite in the band, as is typically the case when it comes to boy bands.

There’s Rupert P., the worst member of the band who auditioned by juggling; he’s Apple’s favorite. Rupert L. can’t tell time; he’s Isabel’s fave. Rupert X. is the bad boy; Erin was aligned with him. And then the narrator (Lydia?) was in love with Rupert K., who if I had to make a 1D comparison here, I’d say he’s the Harry of the group.

The four girls’ plan was already a bit crazy, but this book was all about poking fun at fandom culture and how absurd it’s gotten. So, naturally, as the story moves forward, the girls’ situation gets more and more complicated, and it begins with Apple kidnapping Rupert P. It pretty much goes downhill from there.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was hard to get into at first because I can’t remember a time when I was ever obsessed with a celebrity at the level at which these girls are. However, I know there are people who very much feel this way about certain celebs so thinking about that I found the book funny and an interesting commentary on fan girls. I also liked that while the author poked fun at the whole world of fandom, she also gave fangirls the credit they deserve. Call them crazy, but 1D would’ve never blown up the way they did if it wasn’t for all their “crazy” fans.

The way the author played on that singular power that fangirls have was very interesting in this novel and I liked it a lot. I think my biggest issue was that I found the characters to be annoying most of the time. Like I said, I couldn’t really relate to them so I automatically felt like a lot of what they were doing was ridiculous and so clearly a bad idea that I was like, “How did you let it get this far?”

In the end, I think Kill the Boy Band is a fun and silly read but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“The joy you find as a teen, however frivolous and dumb, is pure and meaningful.”

Other Reviews
Raving Schadenfreudian Book Reviews
Book Spoils
The YA Kitten

It’s Time For New York Comic Con! (YA Book Events 10/2-10/8)

*Updated October 4*

This weekend is New York Comic Con, which means a lot of your favorite YA authors are in town. Check out the full list of this week’s events below and click here to see the full list of literary guests attending NYCC.

Monday, October 2

Let’s Talk About Diversity at 53rd Street Library (5:30 p.m.)

Booktalk with Rhoda Belleza (Empress of a Thousand Skies) and Ashley Woodfolk (The Beauty That Remains). Free event.

Meet Peter Lerangis at Books of Wonder-Uptown (6-8 p.m.)

Join Lerangis as he celebrates the launch of his newest novel and series, Max Tilt: Fire the Depths. Free event.

Tuesday, October 3

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Glaser will be celebrating the launch of her debut novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. Free event.

Wednesday, October 4

Elites of Eden Event at Barnes & Noble Tribeca (5 p.m.)

Snag a photo with YouTuber Joey Graceffa’s as he celebrates his newest book, Elites of Eden, the second in his Children of Eden series. You must purchase a book at the store that day in order to attend this event.

Thursday, October 5

25 Years of Fears: Goosebumps with R.L. Stine at New York Comic Con (3-4 p.m.)

Stine is celebrating 25 years of his popular Goosebump series with fans. Tickets are $10.

Talitha Bateman & Sarah Weeks at AOL Build (4-4:30 p.m.)

Based on the novel written by Sarah Weeks, comes the film So B. It, which follows the story of Heidi DeMuth (Talitha Bateman). Meet the star and author and hear them discuss the film and book. Free event. Get a ticket by clicking the link above.

I Am Alfonso Jones Book Launch at Poets House (6 p.m.)

Meet Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings, the creators of the new YA graphic novel, I Am Alfonso Jones. RSVP by emailing kwelijournal.org. Limited seating available; free event.

Meet Zack Loran Clark & Nick Eliopulos at Books of Wonder-Uptown (6-8 p.m.)

Debut authors Clark and Eliopulos are celebrating the release of their novel, The Adventurers Guild. Free event.

Friday, October 6

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Join MC Atwood as she shares her new novel, The Devils You Know. Cecily von Ziegesar (Dark Horses) and Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) will also be attending. Free event.

Unicorn Power! (Lumberjanes Series #1) Event at Barnes and Noble Tribeca (6:30 p.m.)

Joine Mariko Tamaki and Brooklyn Allen for a discussion, Q&A, and crafting hour.

Saturday, October 7

Rainbow Rowell in Conversation at New York Comic Con (1-3 p.m.)

Rowell will discuss her book Carry On with BuzzFeed’s Alanna Bennett. General admission tickets are $15.

Meet Jodi Kendall at Books of Wonder-Uptown (2-4 p.m.)

Kendall will presenting her newest novel, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. Free event.

In Conversation With the Creators of I Am Alfonso Jones at The Langston Hughes House (6:30 p.m.)

Join I Am Alfonso Jones creators Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings for an in-depth conversation about their new YA graphic novel.

10 Books I Did Not Finish (DNF) (Guest Post)

*This is a guest post written by Kattiah RichardsonIf you would like to do a guest post for To Borrow or Buy, please email me at toborroworbuy@gmail.com*

Hello Bookdragons and Bibliophiles….Wait, this isn’t my blog…. Ah! I am super ecstatic to be writing a guest blog post for one blogger I have read before I even made mine. *gasps and fangirls* When this opportunity arose, I jumped onto it let me tell you. Zakiya is so kind and sweet, and if y’all haven’t followed her yet, do so now. Anyway, my top 10 book DNFs.

When a book lover hears “DNF,” some gasp and scream at the horror of those letters, while others shrug it off because it’s a part of the reading experience. If you don’t agree with the second kind of reader, let me tell you one of my greatest pieces of advice: Life’s too short to struggle through a book you hate just so you don’t have to put it down. There are too many good books in the world to read one that is not your type of book. This thinking brought me to my blog post today…

1. Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

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This book just did not do it for me at all. I found the characters irritating, the story familiar, the pacing slow, and there was a love triangle I was just not here for. I know many people love this series and as much as it is disheartening to say and hear, I will be getting rid of it and have no plans to read this in the future.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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Ah, this book…. I couldn’t handle it. I was not a fan of the characters or the writing. I think I might have tried to pick it up again if it were not for James Dashner’s writing. I did not enjoy his writing for reasons still unknown to myself. I am willing to possibly try this again, but only if my life depended on it. It doesn’t, so I won’t be picking this up again any time soon.

3. The Finisher by David Baldacci

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I could not stand this book. I got to page 57 (I still have my bookmark in it for some reason) and I could not deal with the author’s writing, style, or word choice. Also, the characters seemed flat and one dimensional. The premise was not my cup of tea. Overall, younger Kattiah could not pick a book correctly.

4. How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

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If you know anything about me, you know I love contemporaries as long as they are developed well and not a morally wrong concept. My mistake picking this up. I knew the friend would be attracted to her best friend’s ex, but as the story progressed, it didn’t stop. I thought it would be a situation where she would explain herself and swear off boys or whatever, not sneak behind her best friend’s back like a coward. Why would you do that?

5. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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This book. I can’t.  First of all, the writing is terrible. Secondly, the characters are terrible to each other. I had to force myself to read this book. Not good. .000001/10 recommended. Enough said.

6. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

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The Fifth Wave, book one in this series, was great! I really loved it. Then I got this one, started it, and wanted to cry. It was terrible. It definitely has a case of middle book syndrome. I couldn’t even finish it even though the last book was supposedly epic. I’m sad the relationship between me and this book did not work out, but you live, let go, and learn!

7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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I tried really hard (twice) to read this book, but I could not do it. It was worse that any word to describe bad. Times ten. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book, If I Stay, but I thought the sequel might be worthwhile. Haha, no. The characters changed. It was much moodier. It was terrible. DNF!

8. I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

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This was my first DNF book and so I cannot remember, specifically, why I stopping reading, but I do remember not clicking with the main character.

9. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

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Not. A. Fan. To be honest, I did not really give it a shot, but I just didn’t like it. It seemed too millennial for me. Some love it, I did not.

Book Ten: Hoot Carl Hiaasen

10. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

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Ah, don’t shoot me! I know this is a beloved book by many and that it clearly won an award. I, however, did not like it. At. All. I thought the writing was bad and the beginning didn’t suck me in like I had hoped. I am sorry to say, but this book is not a personal favorite.

If you are still reading then you have been here through all of my minor hate on these books, but these are my personal opinions as we are all entitled to our own. PLEASE follow this blog and like this if you liked it and if you want to see more of my writing head over to my blog here! You can also follow Zakiya’s bookstagram here and mine here! Thank you so much for reading. Bye!!


Do you live in NYC or NYC-adjacent? Follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date on all the bookish events happening around the city!