Almost Love

Almost Love

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.

But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt.

Isn’t it?

Thoughts:

I really like Louise O’Neill’s writing, because she pushes some very controversial subjects. Her stories are known for not being the most light and fluffy books that you could read. I’m always expecting a lot when I pick up a book by Louise, whilst I enjoyed this book. I didn’t think it was as good as her other books. Before you go into this book, be aware that you’ll possibly really dislike the main character. She’s awful.

Almost Love centres around Sarah who falls in love with an older man. He is a parent of a child that Sarah teaches. Even though he doesn’t treat Sarah well, Sarah is still drawn to him. Her friends and family try to get her to stay away from him, but there’s just something about him that keeps pulling her in.

I wasn’t a fan of Sarah, if I’m totally honest. I don’t often ‘like’ characters in Louise O’Neill’s books, but that doesn’t usually affect my enjoyment of the book. It did with this one. I just thought Sarah made idiotic decisions. The man that she is obsessed with completely uses her. She knows he will never love her but keeps going back to him to be used awfully. I think I could have felt some compassion for Sarah if she was nice to others in her life. She treats her friends, her father and her boyfriend awfully. I really didn’t like her attitude towards others.

What I do think that Louise O’Neill did well, is to show how easy it is to make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s easy to ignore advice even if the people mean well and are thinking of you. I can imagine that many people can relate to this relationship. This book is raw and I expect true to life for many.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I thought this book was going to be a 5 star read for me, but it didn’t move or affect me as much as I usually expect with a Louise O’Neill book.

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Asking For It

Asking For It

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from my sister Beth.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Only Ever Yours

Synopsis:

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

Thoughts:

It has been said that Louise O’Neill ‘writes with a scalpel’ and boy does she. Only Ever Yours was a disturbingly raw read for me and Asking For It is very much the same. Asking For It does contain rape and the aftermath of rape, so be prepared for that if you are particularly sensitive to the subject matter. Asking For It cements Louise O’Neill as one of my auto buy authors. Her books are hard to read but they’re raw and real. Louise completely understands young adults and portrays them so honestly.

Asking For It centres around eighteen year old Emma O’Donovan. Emma seems to have it all, she’s beautiful, clever, wanted and has a great social life. Her life completely changes when she is found out on her doorstep, bruised and feeling pretty rough. She can’t remember how she got there, although she has some recollection of a party with lots of alcohol consumed. She begins to remember taking a pill as well. When Emma goes to school the next day, no one talks to her, except to call her names. Everyone is talking about her and she doesn’t know why, although she’s sure it’s something to do with the party. Emma later discovers a Facebook page with some explicit photographs of herself. She’s absolutely crushed. Her life as she knew it completely changed as many people wonder if she was ‘asking for it’.

This book is just so raw. It pulls you in. I’ve found in Louise’s books, I don’t often like the characters involved. They’re generally not very likeable characters, but with Emma, I did feel sympathy towards her. This book affected me. The judgmental attitude that Emma experienced was infuriating. I really think it’s important that the issue of consent is written about. It’s such an important issue which should be discussed more.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to be pulled in at the start of the book. It seemed like your average contemporary with friends, drama and teenage parties and I was wondering when the writing was going to pack a punch. However, on the night of the party was when I quickly got pulled in. It was devastating. Even though Emma is not likeable, I think it just proves the point that noone deserves to experience what she went through.

I really appreciated that the story followed Emma a year after the event happened, when we see how much she has been affected, not just her, but her family as well. The story didn’t end with a happily ever after, but I appreciate that. It’s definitely given me a LOT to think about and I think this book should totally cause discussions about consent and attitudes towards women.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

Another spectacular book from Louise O’Neill. She’s amazing!

Untold (Lynburn Legacy #2)

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Unspoken

Synopsis:

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.

Thoughts:

I couldn’t wait to pick up Untold after really enjoying Unspoken earlier this year. It’s always tricky to review a second book in the series, as I never want to spoil anything tomorrow. This book didn’t really live up to Unspoken for me, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. Untold continues the story of Sorry-in-the-Vale, the town which is full of dark magic and sorcery. We continue to follow Kami and the Lynburn family. In Untold, Rob Lynburn wants to go back to when the Lynburns were on top of Sorry-in-the-Vale. As at the end of Unspoken, Kami no longer has a connection to Jared, but she still has the desire in her to stand up to Rob.

Kami has to be one of my favourite characters in a series. I think she’s amazing. She’s spirited, she’s funny, she’s strong, what more can you want from a YA character? I think the characters are one of the best things about this trilogy. They are so well developed. I also really appreciated that Kami’s parents are present and care so much about her. If you’re not into YA fiction that might seem like a strange statement to make, but all too often parents are missing in YA!

There is a love triangle going on. It’s YA…how could there not be? However, I never felt like it overshadowed the story. I didn’t believe it as much as I would’ve liked, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

Sarah Rees Brennan has a way with humour. I really enjoyed how it was added into an otherwise very dark story. There was a perfect balance of witty conversation and action. The plot itself isn’t very action packed, but at the same time it never feels like it slows too much. It moves at a good pace and kept me turning the pages. I’m excited to see where this trilogy goes next.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A decent middle book in the trilogy. The strength in this trilogy is certainly the characters! 

Only Ever Yours

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How did I get it?:
My sister bought it for me!

Synopsis:

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .

Thoughts:

I can’t even think where to begin with the review of this book. It’s insane, it’s creepy, it’s a page turner… it’s wonderful! I got torn about whether to rate this book four or five stars so I’ve gone for the in-between!

The problem with this book is that I really, really disliked the world, but at the same time I was completely engrossed and somewhat disgusted by the world and that’s what makes the book so damn interesting. Seriously, Louise O’Neill is an incredible writer.

Only Ever Yours is based in a future word where females are treated awfully. They’re only on the world to ‘please’ men. These girls are bred in a school and taught how to be beautiful. They have goal weights and basically have to be flawless at all times. It was tough to read because how self obsessed the girls are in this book. They really are. Their only concern is how beautiful they are and how slim they are and we all know that’s not a healthy place to be at. It really made me think about societies perception of beauty though. It’s scary how we do live in a society that (ok, not as extreme as this world) does place an emphasis on beauty, especially to young girls who may be impressionable. This book has to be handled with care because it does deal with eating disorders and shows girls wanting to be slim at all costs. The taunts the girls endure really messed with my head.

The writing is addicitive. I could not put this book down. Everytime I tried to, I was picking it up again not ten minutes later. It isn’t an easy book to read though. I know I felt incredibly uncomfortable throughout but at the same time it was fascinating. I needed to know how it was going to turn out for the characters. It was raw. It was brutal, but my God was it well written!!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

This book may offend some readers, but I seriously think it’s worth considering, I found it fascinating. So well written!