Comparing ‘Echo Boy’ by Matt Haig

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How did I get it?:
A copy was provided from Random House. Many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

Audrey’s father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo – but he’s not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he’s determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

Click on the image to get to Luna's blog!

Click on the image to get to Luna’s blog!

Thoughts:

Thoughts before you started reading Echo Boy?

CHRISSI: My first Matt Haig book… excited!!! I also thought it sounded really interesting.

LUNA: Matt Haig, Matt Haig, Matt Haig! Essentially I just danced around my living room with happiness; I’ve read a couple of Matt Haig’s book and know how awesome his writing is.

What did you think of Audrey and Daniel?

CHRISSI: Echo Boy is full of some well-developed characters who I found incredibly intriguing. It’s particularly interesting to read from Audrey and Daniel’s point of view. I really liked both characters. It took me a bit longer to warm to Audrey, but I did think she was an incredibly intelligent, thoughtful narrator. I loved Daniel straight away.

LUNA: I loved them both, particularly Daniel who stole my heart from the moment he appeared. I kept forgetting that the story only takes place over a short space of time but the connection between the Audrey and Daniel is so convincing.

Best bit?

CHRISSI: I have to say the best bit about Echo Boy, aside from the fast-paced, interesting story, is simply Matt Haig’s writing. I found it incredibly engaging and at many points, I re-read sentences because I thought they were beautiful and I could relate them. It’s a story full of love, loss, hope and what it is to be human.

LUNA: Apart from the writing (which of course if wonderful) it’s the emotions that Echo Boy bring forth that really stuck with me. I was surprisingly attached to Audrey and Daniel, particularly the conundrum that Daniel’s existence his. Technically not ‘alive’ but yet he is. Also I rarely despise characters, even when they’re supposed to be evil yet Matt Haig succeeded in making me do just that.

Worst bit?

CHRISSI: It’s hard to pinpoint a worst bit, as I didn’t really think there was a worst bit! I guess if I’m being picky, then I would say it took me a couple of chapters to really feel engaged in the story. Not a major thing at all. It seems pointless mentioning it, but I have to answer the question! Don’t let that answer put you off. As soon as I got into the story, I was happily stuck turning the pages, devouring each page and loving the story!

LUNA: There wasn’t actually anything I didn’t like about the book, as in thinking its bad – but when Daniel learns hate. That particular part of the story broke my heart. :(

Favourite bit/moment?:

CHRISSI: I loved the interactions between Audrey and Daniel. (Can I mention the beautiful writing again please?)

LUNA: It’s a Daniel/Audrey moment towards the end of the book but I can’t explain more without giving away spoilers. Also the fact that this book just constantly makes you think about things.

Was Echo Boy what you expected?

CHRISSI: I was expecting amazing things. I had heard so many wonderful things about Matt Haig’s writing. I fell in love with his writing and very much enjoyed reading Echo Boy.

LUNA: Yes, though I didn’t anticipate quite the emotional attachment to Daniel and Audrey as I ended up with.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: Of course!

LUNA: Absolutely

We Were Liars

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers

Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Thoughts:

We Were Liars is ridiculously hard to review, not because it’s bad, but because there’s so much secrecy surrounding it. I was lucky enough to read it without spoilers and I’m glad I did, because it just added to the anticipation. Whilst I wasn’t blown away by this book, I still think it was an enjoyable, intense and quick read. I think the beautiful writing is the strongest element of the book. It’s the first book that I’ve read by E.Lockhart, but I’d certainly read more.

If you’ve heard about the hype surrounding this book, but you’re unsure what it’s about then I shall try and explain without spoiling it. It’s narrated by Cadence, who is one of the ‘liars’. Cadence comes from a very privileged family. They are so privileged that they have their own private island! Lucky for some! On the surface it looks like Cadence has everything she could want. However, two years ago there was an incident. Cadence was found alone suffering from hypothermia and with a brain injury. Cadence doesn’t remember what happened to her, and she spends her four weeks back on the island trying to find out the truth.

Each chapter builds in suspense, whilst some might guess the ending, I don’t think others will. I think you should just read it and see for yourself what really happened on the island…

If you have read it.. please let me know (without spoilers!) if you guessed or were shocked by the ending!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Can Anybody Help Me? (Review)

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Quercus Books

Synopsis:

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.

Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.

When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?

But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

Thoughts:

I thought this book was an interesting and very relevant read to the modern day generation. All too often people are putting too much information about themselves on the internet, forgetting how much can be seen by so many people. Can Anybody Help Me? explores a terrible consequence of revealing too much information online.

The characters in this book use an online forum called Netmammy to gain help from fellow mothers. Many new mothers do turn to the internet for help and I know myself (although not from a mother’s perspective) how easy it is to find information and read other’s experiences on internet forums. If you talk to these people day in and day out, you really feel like you know them. The truth is… you don’t really. Anyone could hide behind a computer screen and you never really know who you’re talking to. I liked that Can Anybody Help Me? showed the dangers of the internet.

Can Anybody Help Me? comes together nicely (although I did begin to guess what was happening, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story) and the writing is good. It’s got a good pace, and is a mix of forum posts and narration from different perspectives. It took me a while to get used to the different characters, but once I did, I found myself reading it quickly!

I would definitely read more from this author!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

WWW Wednesday #65

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday!  To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book cover to get to the Goodread’s page for the book.

What are you currently reading?

20877628I’m about halfway through You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher. I really enjoyed Giovanna’s first book, and so far I’m enjoying this book. It’s very easy to read so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

18776744I recently finished Thereafter by Terri Bruce. I read this for the upcoming blog tour. It was intriguing, but didn’t particularly blow me away.

What do you think you’ll read next?

15740944I’m intrigued to start The Sound by Sarah Alderson. I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but I’ve heard some great things!

What are you reading this week? Please feel free to leave your answers or links in the comment section below! Happy Reading! :-)

 

 

Tease

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hachette Children’s Books

Synopsis:

Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault.

At least, that’s what everyone seems to think when Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. But Sara is sure she hasn’t done anything wrong, because Emma brought it on herself. Sara is adamant that she was the victim – not Emma.

Inspired by a true story, TEASE is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt you long after the last page.

Thoughts:

Tease is billed as a thought-provoking must-read book and I have to agree. It is thought-provoking. It didn’t take me long to read at all and it’s one of those books that proves that you don’t have to particularly like a character in order to enjoy the book. I enjoyed it, but I can see that a lot of people are going to have a problem with it.

Tease isn’t a really unique story. It’s a story that’s been told many times, but it’s told from a new perspective. Tease is essentially a story about high school bullies and the typical high school cliques. Emma Putnam is known as the school slut. Tease starts after her suicide. Emma was repeatedly targeted by Sara and Brielle, who use their popularity to encourage others to bully Emma. Sara is the narrator of Tease. It’s told in two time frames, one before the suicide and one after. I think they both worked well, but I was never quite sure whether to trust her or not. She didn’t mean for Emma to die, but at the same time she is not ashamed of her behaviour at all and believes that she should have attacked and humiliated Emma, because Emma ‘stole’ her boyfriend and was a slut.

I think a lot of people are going to love or hate this book because it does have such a strong subject matter. Also, the main character Sara, doesn’t seem to show any remorse whatsoever about Emma’s suicide. There’s also slut-shaming involved too. Sara and her best friend Brielle, seem to call Emma a slut quite frequently, and because of the unreliable narrator, the reader never really gets to know if Emma has done what it’s rumoured she has. And even if she had… it doesn’t mean that Emma deserved to die. I think a lot more people would warm to this book, if Sara and Brielle showed some real remorse for what they had done. I didn’t particularly like the message that Sara was portraying… that bullies are not to blame for the bullying. I imagine this is how many bullies try to justify their bullying ways, but for me I couldn’t accept it.

Whilst I didn’t love this book, I thought it was an interesting read, if only to read what effect bullying has on everyone. It’s not just the bully and the victim, it affects families and friends too. I think bullying can be so much worse in modern times due to Twitter and Facebook. Amanda Maciel does touch on Emma being bullied on social media, which is important to highlight. I just wish in this story (and in life!) that a death wasn’t the result of such horrible behaviour.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Top Ten Characters Who Are Powerful Female Leads

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is Top Ten Characters Who X (you fill in the blank — examples: piss me off, are the popular kids, are bookish, would be my bff, that stole my heart, etc. etc.) I have decided to talk about my favourite female leads. I’m a fan of strong female characters. I get too annoyed with wimpy, reliant on male lead characters.

So.. in no particular order here are my favourite powerful female leads:

Katniss- The Hunger Games

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Katniss may have her trouble with guys, but she is an absolutely kick-ass character. She can’t possibly be left out of this list, because she’s one of the most strongest characters I’ve read. Surviving The Hunger Games once is incredible, doing it more than once is unbelievable.

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Tris- Divergent

I have massive love for Tris in the Divergent trilogy. I think she’s such an amazing character. I love her relationship with Four. It doesn’t rule her. She’s her own person.

Hermione- Harry Potter

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Throughout the Harry Potter books Hermione develops so much as a character. We first assume she’s an insufferable know-it-all, but really it’s Hermione’s intelligence that saves her best friends time and time again. Where would they be without Hermione? I love that Hermione is such a strong character because of her intellect. What a good role model!

Cinder

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Cinder is such a fantastic character. She’s loyal and brave and doesn’t whine about being a cyborg. She deals well with what she’s got in life.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny- The Help

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This book is one of my all-time favourites. I absolutely love that the character of Skeeter is trying to show what life is really like for black maids in the local town. It tackles a very difficult subject beautifully. Our three narrators are all strong in their own ways. I can’t speak highly enough of this book.

Jo March- Little Women

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Little Women is one of my favourite classics. I simply adore the tomboyish Jo March. A great, strong, memorable character.

Clara- Unearthly

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Clara is a great character in the Unearthly trilogy. She’s incredibly likeable and determined to know more about the world in which she lives in!

Juliette- Shatter Me

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What I like so much about Juliette is how much she grows throughout the series. She doesn’t realise her own strength. She becomes a much stronger character in mind and physically too. She learns her own mind.

Matilda

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Matilda is another strong character because of her intellect. I think it’s great to see a character in children’s literature that enjoys reading. I think she’s a fantastic female lead. I love how magical Roald Dahl’s books are. Matilda doesn’t realise her own strength, and grows so much as a character. I think Matilda gives a good message of hope to its readers.

Melinda- Speak

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I think Laurie Halse Anderson created such a wonderful book with Speak. Yes, it may be controversial, but it’s so important. Melinda goes through so much throughout the course of this book and still manages to find that strength and courage to push forward and find her voice. Speak is a powerful and important book.

What have you picked this week? Feel free to leave your links to your Top Ten posts and I’ll stop by and check out your favourite characters!

Struck By Genius- A Non Fiction Review

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How did I get it?:
Bookbridgr- Thanks to Headline!

Synopsis:

No one sees the world as Jason Padgett does. Water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us.

Yet Padgett wasn’t born this way. Twelve years ago, he had never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging forever altered the way his brain works, giving him unique gifts. His ability to understand math and physics skyrocketed, and he developed the astonishing ability to draw the complex geometric shapes he saw everywhere. His stunning, mathematically precise artwork illustrates his intuitive understanding of complex mathematics.

The first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia, Padgett is a medical marvel. Struck by Genius recounts how he overcame huge setbacks and embraced his new mind. Along the way he fell in love, found joy in numbers, and spent plenty of time having his head examined. Like Born on a Blue Day and My Stroke of Insight, his singular story reveals the wondrous potential of the human brain.

Thoughts:

I occasionally like to read outside of my comfort zone, and non-fiction has always been something I’ve struggled to enjoy. I decided to try Struck by Genius because I am interested in psychology and how the brain works, so I thought this would be the non-fiction book for me.

Struck By Genius is Jason Padgett’s story of what happened to him after suffering a head injury after a vicious mugging. Jason developed synaesthesia. Something I had never really heard of. It meant, in Jason’s specific case, he could see geometric shapes wherever he looked. Jason also became incredibly gifted and interested in Maths. He could understand such a high level of Maths that he’d never been taught. Following his brain injury, Jason became a completely different person. He changed from an extrovert party-goer who didn’t have any interest in academia to a focused, incredibly inquisitive intellectual. Jason also developed acquired savant syndrome. The way in which he sees the world both fascinates and confuses me. Of course, not everything was positive following the brain injury. Jason develops OCD and PTSD and also can’t write well. He also didn’t get the scans he needed straight away to help him towards a diagnosis. That said, I think Jason is a remarkable man and I was incredibly intrigued by his story.

I was fascinated by how much Jason had changed. I have to admit to not being the most interested in all things mathematical. In fact, it’s one of my worst subjects. So some of the mathematical concepts went right over my head. What I did enjoy was seeing how Jason adapted to his new skills, how he learned to manage his pain, his panic attacks and his struggle with OCD. .

I think Struck by Genius would be enjoyed by readers with an interest in psychology, human resilience and how the brain works.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!- 3.5 stars