Archive | November, 2012

Saving June – Hannah Harrington (Review)

16 Nov

Paperback, UK, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Mira Ink (first published May 1st 2011)

Description

Your sister is dead. Nineteen songs can tell you why. Only one boy can help you understand.

Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June’s ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going-California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down again.

My thoughts

“Your sister is dead. Your family’s falling apart. How do you remember who you are?” This and the fact that the book had a 4.1 rating on Goodreads really grabbed my attention. Then I read the description and I really thought I was going to like it very much. I thought it was going to be dramatic, but it turned out to be just another “girl meets boy, girl falls in love, happy ending” book. I admit it. I liked the first few chapters, but then it sort of went downhill for me, mainly because I didn’t like the main character.

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

So, Harper is a 16 years old girl whose life is far from perfect. Her parents are divorced and her sister, June, just committed suicide. The relationship between Harper and June was never the best one, but Harper is very shocked by her sister’s choice – to take her own life, just a week before her graduation, without even explaining why. Since her sister always wanted to move to California, Harper takes the ultimate decision: to go with her best friend there and spill June’s ashes in the ocean. There is just one problem: they can’t afford the trip. Here is where Jake Tolan enters the story and offers to accompany the two girls to California. Apparently, he had a connection with June, so Harper takes his offer. Then, an almost-two-weeks-journey begins….

Like I previously said, I didn’t like the main character. Yes, there were moments when I felt sorry for her and I tried to sympathise with her, but, overall, I couldn’t connect with Harper. Firstly, I think she was very selfish to steal the urn and decide what to do with it, without telling her parents. I understand that they didn’t get along very well, but June was their daughter too. Harper is treated like an outcast, but just because she is acting like one. She just tries too hard to be something she’s not, to differentiate herself from her sister. She is constantly mean and judgy towards Jake, but at the same time she can’t stop thinking about him. They finally kiss after a week or so and, in the same day, Harper loses her virginty to him. What does she do the next day? She’s complaining again about him… What I liked about Harper was her loyalty to Laney, she was always defending her and taking her side.

“There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don’t want to miss a second.”

I guess Laney was an ok character. She is Harper’s best friend and she is very supportive. She is kind of fun, and, as opposed to Harper, she makes friends very easily. At the same time, she enjoys sleeping with boys and she even ends up getting pregnant. But don’t worry because everything is resolved: she has a misscariage. I still don’t understand what was the point in this pregnancy event since it didn’t add anything to the story.

Last but not least, we have Jake, a boy who loves music, smokes, dresses in black and owns a van. He is the “bad boy” to whom Harper falls in love. He has a sad backstory, which we discover slowly throughout the entire book. He reminded me a little of Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went, but I didn’t like him as much. He is obsessed with music, and even though that was what I loved the most about him, sometimes he tries to shove his passion down everyone’s throats.

“douche-baggy hipster music snob with the tastes of a forty-year-old white guy.”

I didn’t hate Saving June, but I think the book would have been better without the romance aspect, or at least if that would have been handled in a different way. I couldn’t stand the love-hate relationship between Harper and Jake. I also think it should have been more focused on June and the relationship between the two sisters. There were moments when June was completely forgotten, even though she is the main reason of this book. I loved the music references and that the author included the playlist at the end of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Mira Ink for sending me this e-book.

My rating:   

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About the author

Hannah Harrington is a YA author. Her first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and her second, SPEECHLESS, was released on August 28th, 2012.

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The Mourning House – Ronald Malfi (Review)

2 Nov

Description

Devastated by tragedy, Dr. Sam Hatch is a shadow of his former self. He travels the byroads of America, running away from a past he cannot escape. There is no salvation for him.

And then he sees the house. Like a siren, it calls to him. Yet the house is not what it appears to be. Is it a blessing, a gift…or a curse?

My thoughts

Sam Hatch had a nice life – good friends, a successful career and a lovely family – but everything changed after a car accident. He was the one driving the car that night and, because he fell asleep at the wheel, his wife and daughter died.

Even though he feels responsible for the accident, he tries to move on with his life and to leave the past behind. But that is very hard because everything reminds him of his family. He keeps hearing his wife’s voice and his baby’s crying in the empty rooms of his house, he thinks that he is not alone, that there is a presence following him, so he takes the decision to leave the house for good and to start travelling.

After a year of wandering, he arrives in a little town where he finds an old, abandoned house and, because it seems that the house is calling him, he decides to buy it. Not long after that, he realises that the house is not what it seems. There are stories about it, frightening ones and people say it’s haunted. But those don’t scare Sam and he decides that this is the right place for him to live in so he starts the renovation of the property. Soon, things start to move, noises are coming through the walls and little by little the house seems to transform itself into his former house, in which Sam and his family used to live. Firstly, the floor resembles the old one, he discovers a room which is identical to his little daughter’s room and finally he finds the bones of his dog, the one that he left to his friends, a year before. He comes to the conclusion that the house is a puzzle and he has to solve it.

I liked the story very much. It was a creepy, short read and the atmosphere was quite frightening and claustrophobic. My only problem was with the ending. Not because it wasn’t a happy one, but because I found it rushed. I still don’t know whether the house was haunted or everything happened in Sam’s imagination. Other than that, I don’t have any other complaints about the book.

I think the author did a great job and I hope you’ll also enjoy The Mourning House!
Thanks to Netgalley.com and DarkFuse for sending me this e-book.

My rating:     

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About the author

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning novelist and short fiction writer whose most notable works include the novels Via Dolorosa and Shamrock Alley. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and collections throughout the US and abroad. Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi writes fiction that transcends genres to gain wider acceptance among readers of quality literature.

He resides in Maryland with his wife, Debra, where he is currently at work on his next book.