A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

PUBLISHER: Orchard Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 7th June 2018
RATING: ☆ ☆ ☆  .5
GOODREADS

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

This book was intense.

I’ve mentioned before in blog posts about reading habits and tastes, that I really struggle with stories about abuse. Whether it’s depicted in tv, film, or books, I’m not one to watch/read it if I know it has scenes in it that’ll make me feel uncomfortable. But a part of me thinks I might be missing out on a lot of stories because I don’t like leaving my comfort zone. I am not a victim of child abuse, but I think it’s especially important to talk about content that some people may find triggering, even if it’s something you haven’t experienced. So, if depictions of violent, physical abuse does trigger you in any way, I would read more about this book before just going straight in (like I did). I wouldn’t tell you not to read a book, that is your decision to make, but at least you know this now and can make a more informed decision.

I had some idea about it just from the blurb, but I like going in blind to a book if I can; I seem to enjoy content more that way without having so many expectations of what it should be. I think for the most part, I did really enjoy this book’s depiction of the internal conflict of striving to be the best while feeling like the worst. Beck is considered by many (outside of his own family) as one of the best young piano players out there. He has a legacy to uphold since his mother was a world renowned classical piano player and his uncle a famous composer. However he’s constantly beaten and bruised by his mother’s desperation for him to be the best, despite thinking he’s terrible. Beck, because of this, also thinks he’s terrible, and I like how we don’t truly know whether he’s good or not.

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I’m gonna assume he is though. When you work hard on something, you get at least a little better at it, even if you’re not ‘born with the talent’.

The book on the whole is so sad as we peer into Beck’s inner lack of self-worth. I really felt for him, and was shouting when he made bad decisions. When you’re looking from the outside in at a bad situation, it’s very easy to say ‘do this! say that! just leave!’, but A Thousand Perfect Notes makes you really think about what you would do, and whether or not that would make the situation any better.

The writing was a bit strange in some places. There were a lot of similes and metaphors that were always taken to the extreme that seemed a little out of place. I can’t really explain without giving some examples:

“She whirls and Beck half expects wings made of frost and longing to sprout from her back and fly her home.”

Most of these strange sentences are either descriptions of August or speech from August. And I get why; she’s a bit of a stereotypical manic pixie dream girl. She’s kind of considered kooky because she doesn’t wear shoes often and has dreadlocks and is vegan. The story overall is a fairly stereotypical story but with more depth. Rather than Beck just being a mopey, alternative guy who needs a bit of colour in his life à la 500 Days of Summer, it’s all a bit more sinister. And rather than rolling my eyes at a lot of the cliches, I was more invested in Beck’s life. Unfortunately though, August still came across as a bit two dimensional.

This is a great debut from someone who has read far and wide about what makes a good book. Seriously, Cait’s reviews are on EVERY SINGLE BOOK PAGE ON GOODREADS. So congratulations Cait and can’t wait to read all your future books!

 

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Always & Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 4th May 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Unfortunately, I do not think Always and Forever, Lara Jean lives up to it’s predecessors.

While all three books in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy definitely exude this feeling of living on a pink, fluffy cloud that smells like bubblegum and cake mixture, this last book feels a little different to the others…it doesn’t really have a plot.

Unlike the first two books where there’s the whole fake boyfriend scenario in book one, and then relationship drama and a love triangle in book two, book three just sort of happens. I love Lara Jean and enjoy getting this insight into her life but AAFLJ just came across as diary entries that she was forced to write for a Creative Writing class that she’s not really into.

There’s no conflict, and if there is even a little, it’s no big deal and it’s easily resolved. The word I would call this book is: mild. It’s a chicken korma. I like chicken korma, but it’s not exactly my most adventurous choice of a dish.

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TTT / WHY WERE THESE REC’D TO ME?

So this week I wanted to get back into the swing of things and jump on a weekly meme. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is ‘books that were recommended to you’ and considering almost all of my books were recommended to me in some form, I thought this would be a very repetitive list with books you already know I love.

I came across Aimal’s list of books she wished she hadn’t even bothered with, specifically books that had been rec’d on Booktube. I found this interesting because Booktubers do often get paid to promote certain books, and you often see the same book roaming around the channels. So, instead of talking about the same books over and over, here is a list of books that I gave a go because of Booktube, but were just a little bit trash.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

So American readers seem to love Morgan Matson. I picked up her newest book because a few American Booktubers would not stop talking about her, and it seemed genuine; it came from a place of love and adoration rather than money and PR. But this book is so damn long and nothing happens. Yes, there were many parts that were cute and fun to read, but the rest was girls fighting over a boy and just chapters of chapters of “we did more swimming and partying in the sun”. It just would not end.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This book actually makes me so angry. I wrote a little review on Goodreads about it, but didn’t want to post one to my blog because I’d actually DNF’d it, and didn’t think that reviewing only 100 pages of a book would be appropriate. Booktube, especially certain creators who I adore, would not SHUT UP about this book, which they’d only come across because the author is hot (apparently). I really wanted to get into more sci-fi, so found this a perfect starting point.

But oh my God, it’s awful. In the first 100 pages, this book offends women, the working class, and the MC is the most perfect person that he’s immediately unlikable. Ew.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Shortly before reading Delirium I had read Panic and also found it really dull and uneventful, so I’m not too sure what possessed me to keep going with Lauren Oliver books. Delirium was just your stereotypical dystopia disguised as a utopia and by this point, this trend had definitely gone out of fashion. I’m not sure if I would have loved it if I’d read it while dystopias were popular, but I guess we’ll never know.

Soundless by Richelle Mead

I’d only read Vampire Academy, and while VA was ok but a little cheesy, I wanted to give Richelle Mead another go. It was the last book to read on my holiday, and I was ready to enjoy it like the rest of the books I’d read. But it was just dull. I can’t remember too well what happened in the story, all I know is thinking that this story could have been set anywhere, during any period of history, and it would have stayed the same. I was ready to learn about Ancient Chinese culture, but you would only know it’s set in Ancient China because of the front cover.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

More of the same as my criticisms as Delirium, only I read Divergent to the end and had an itch to read the next one. But then, the spark fizzled out and I no longer cared. I’ve been spoiled about the ending, and I can’t be asked to watch the films. Such a shame.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Why oh why did I bother? I found Throne of Glass to be average at best, but now the books are bigger and everyone has mixed feelings about them, I honestly don’t want to carry on. I struggled with Heir of Fire, and apparently it doesn’t get any better. Do I have time? Do I even want to make time? The thing is, if I don’t read them, I feel like I’m uninviting myself to a huge party that the whole YA book community is a part of. Forget Booktube, EVERYONE talks about this series. I just wish I had never started in the first place, so I’d never spent loads of money on these tomes, and never cared whether or not I enjoyed it.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

The Host is straight up stupidity on my part. Despite loving and then being really critical of Twilight, I’d heard a lot of good things about how different The Host was and how science fiction-y it was. I was intrigued, although painfully aware about the way Stephanie Meyer writes; with ease, but with so much problematic content. Had she listened to feedback? Had she worked to write a better story?

The answer was a no and then some. The Host was worse than Twilight, and so much more damaging. There’s almost no science fiction to it, it’s just love triangle drama.

ALL OF THEM by Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare is the holy grail of Booktube. I struggle to find a popular Booktuber who doesn’t adore her. I read The Infernal Devices and they were OK, but still super cheesy with repetitive lines and awkward dialogue. But The Mortal Instruments was even worse. I read the first three, because I know the rest of the novels were just a push to get more novels out there. It was easy to see that the plot was supposed to naturally end at City of Glass, so I ended it there too.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & Bookish.

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