Review- Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

 

Book Description

They Said It Was An Accident…

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You’re welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer’s every move..

My Thoughts

„ They say it was an accident.“

I SAY- this story can be described as the same. Someone accidentally shoved this book in the mystery genre * shaking head*.

I bought this book mainly because of the cover alone. The description was a mega bonus because I do love myself a mystery thriller.

How this book was supposed to be a mystery/ thriller is beyond me. This story was over the top predictable and that was, for me, a turn off. When you can forsee what will happen then that hardly qualifies as a mystery. A reader wants to be kept in the dark. The story has to have some mysterious aspect or else there´s no surprise, especially no thrill.

I might as well keep this review short and just say that I was fully disappointed when I finished `Truly Madly Deadly`. I expected to be scared shitless and sitting on the edge of my sofa, chewing on my fingernails. I expected to be engaged with the characters and feel what they were going through. I expected darkness and all that stuff. That didn´t happen. There were a few ( and by few I mean like, 1 or 2) scenes that were spooky but not scary enough to make me want to hide under my bed covers with all the lights on in the house.

The characters were transparent. The story was flat. The writing didn´t do anything special for me, either. The only huge positive regarding this story was that it was a super quick read.

For a Young Adult/Mystery novel not the worst I´ve read….but also far from fabulous. Maybe I set my hopes up too high for this one… who knows.

What I do know is that I will not reread Truly, Madly, Deadly. Not my cup of tea. I wouldn´t even recommend this read.

The Cover- 4 stars ( I really liked the mysterious side of the cover. It grabbed my attention)

The Story- 2 stars (I´m sad to say that this was a waste of my time. I need something with more substance. Don´t get too excited when you read the part where the Heroine, Sawyer, receives a message in an envelope about her boyfriends accident with a note attached to it that only has „ You´re welcome“ written on it. THAT is the only excitement you´ll be getting out of the story. The rest is just killing time. )

The Characters- 2 stars ( Let´s not go there.)

My emotional state after finishing this read– Disappointed.

I´m giving `Truly, Madly, Deadly` by Hannah Jayne, 2 out of 5 stars.

If you still want to go against my non recommendation and read this book then click here and be prepared.

 

 

Book Spotlight – Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella ( Hopeless 1,2 & 2.5) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless  ( Hopeless #1 )

Book Descriptionhopeless-1

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

** WARNING- REVIEW IS OF A PERSONAL NATURE**

My Thoughts

`Hopeless`. My first Colleen Hoover book.

It all started years ago, New Year´s Eve 2012 to be exact, when I suffered from unhappiness ( not depression. Just plain and simple unhappiness). I was pregnant, my marriage wasn´t going as I had hoped it would, I had a million bills to pay and didn´t know how to pay them with being unemployed at the time ( I wasn´t allowed to work as a chemnist during my pregnancy )… Life was in general one truck load of horse shit. On that New Year´s Eve I had a fight with my husband and he left the house before it turned midnight and I was too proud to sit and cry over him. So, what did I do? I downloaded the Kindle app and bought my first ebook- `Hopeless`.

I was thinking, „Title sounds fitting.“ and started reading. During those hours of reading I felt the words written by Colleen Hoover sooth me. I was a mess and the author was able to let me forget about everything. I was sharing a world with Holder and Sky, accompanying the two main characters on their own heartfelt journey.

And the story was beyond anything I had expected it to be. The story felt realistic. The characters felt real, their words / Colleen Hoover´s written words carried meaning and gave me hope. But hope for what exactly, I didn´t know. I just felt it and it felt wonderful but at the same time, I was scared shitless because a book / a story never made such an impact on me before. My life is nothing like the characters life so I can´t relate to anything that has happened in Hopeless. Except for the words. In an odd way, they felt like… me.

You see, my pride from before… when I refused to cry over my own miserable life ( incl. the fight with my husband )… that pride was knocked down and I was a sobbing mess at 4:00 a.m. To this day, I have no idea how it was possible for one person, I didn´t know personally, to make that happen. Me? Cry? Yeah, right. I had better things to do. Life is short- better not waste it on crying.

I cried and recovered only to start crying again. When I thought I was losing my marbles I called my mom at 5 a.m. and scared the living daylights out of her because she couldn´t understand a word I was saying. I remember her asking if my water broke, asking for my husband and wanting to know who the hell Holder was. She also kept repeating that the „Sky“ was still dark and she was coming over. Bless the best mom on earth because she came by and made us a hot chocolate at the ass crack of dawn and we both talked about `Hopeless` until the sun came up.

It took me a full week to completely recover from my book funk. It took my husband and I a day to become best friends again ( because that´s what we also are.). But that book….. bah. Brutal for my well kept hidden emotional household.

Now that I´ve bored you to death with my personal experience with `Hopeless`I´ll put you out of your misery and talk about the story.

I loved it. It doesn´t get any simpler than that. Reading the story felt like sitting out on the grass at night, waiting for fireworks to go off and when they did they lit the sky and blinded me with their pretty lights for hours.

`Hopeless`is a story about a 17 year old named Sky who wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But for her to do so she needs to go to a public school and make some friends, amoungst other things.

Sky meets Holder, a guy with a questionable reputation, and before Sky knows what´s happening..her little sheltered world gets shaken up. Unknown secrets surface and threaten to reveal the truth about Sky and the world around her, including Harder.

This is a perfect example for a well written Young Adult book. There are bits of romance, bits of heartbreak, bits of how screwed up life can be…. `Hopeless` is the poster child for the complete package, including an ending that will most definitely tug at your heartstrings. What more can a reader want?

`Hopeless` is a stunning story that will haunt readers in the most beautiful way, for a very long time.

It´s been 5 years since I first read `Hopeless` and the author has written many more books since then but this one will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Would I recommend this book?

Yes. I would. I tried to recommend it to my mother, though, but to this day she refuses to read the story. She thinks the book is plain evil for making her ( back then ) 29 year old baby cry.

Would I reread this book?

To be honest- I´d love to but I´m terrified. As beautiful as the story was I don´t think I could handle another round of emotional damage. ( I´m fine now, though. * smiles * )

The Cover – 4 stars ( It´s nice. Definitely nothing compared to what´s been roaming around the book world )

The Story 5+ stars ( A brilliant story about 2 young people discovering the truth )

The Characters 5 stars ( I have so much love for those fictional characters. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Well, it´s been 5 years since I last read `Hopeless`, but I still remember the devastation, the love and the relief I felt afterwards.

I´m giving `Hopeless`, by Colleen Hoover, 5 out of 5 stars

To purchase this book just click here here and begin reading. I guarantee you´ll love the story. 

Losing Hope ( Hopeless #2 )

Book Description

In the follow-up to Colleen Hoover’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hopeless, the charming and irresistible Dean Holder tells the passionate story that has melted thousands of hearts.losing-hope-1

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

My Thoughts

After my heart shattering experience with `Hopeless` ( Hopeless #1 ) I thought I could never go near that story ever again. I mean- That story did unfamiliar things to my cold heart. Was I really up for the same thing, only from the Hero´s point of view? Was Holder´s side of the story necessary?

If I´m honest- Besides not wanting to do another 24 hour cry session I also don´t like to read the same story told from a different perspective. I´m fine with a story being over the first time, if that makes any sense.

Anyways- we´re talking about Colleen Hoover here. I kinda felt the pull to give `Losing Hope` ( Hopeless #2 ) a chance.

I used the „rip off the band-aid“ technique and looked away while I clicked the 1-click button on Amazon. To make a long story short- I liked `Losing Hope`. My reading experience with the switched POV was good. Did I go through another emotional meltdown? Surprisingly, no.

Not being as much in love with this story doesn´t mean I didn´t like it. `Losing Hope` was an enjoyable read. Holder´s point of view was good but his side of the story, including the few additional parts, didn´t feel as powerful for me. The big surprise was already out.

And this brings me back to my question: Was reading Holder´s POV necessary?  In my humble opinion- No. The reason for that is because Holder was always available in the first book. He was there all the time so I didn´t have a chance to miss him, nor did I have the feeling that I needed to know more about him. His character was pretty vocal, honest and completely fulfilling. 

A reader does get a few additional scenes that made this story a little more different and not a 1:1 copy of the first book, which I found absolutely fab.

I would totally recommend Holder´s version to anyone who has already read `Hopeless`. It´s a great story that shouldn´t be left out of a Colleen Hoover book collection.

The Cover – 4 stars ( The cover is pretty, though I wouldn´t go nuts over it.)


The Story – 3 stars ( A re-tell of `Hopeless` only from Holder´s POV with great additional scenes.)

The Characters – 4 stars ( Holder was a bit of a handful with his emotions but my love was still strong for him and the rest of the Hopless gang.)

My emotional state after finishing this read– Happy and content.

I´m giving `Losing Hope` ( Hopeless #2 ), by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 stars.

This book is available in paperback and ebook format. 

Finding Cinderella ( Hopeless # 2.5 )

Book Description

This novella is a companion novel to the Hopeless series, but can be read as a standalone. finding-cinderella-1

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

My Thoughts

I have three words for `Finding Cinderella` ( Hopeless #2.5 )- Short, cute and emotional.

A Young Adult reader´s dream come true!

I love Colleen Hoover´s ability to make me feel so many different emotions with her words. One minute I´m just a happy camper, loving the easy-going writing style and great storytelling, and the next minute I´m fighting back the lump in my throat.

I´m not going to bother explaining the story because then you wouldn´t feel the need to read it. We wouldn´t want that, now, would we?

I remember thinking halfways through the novella of how predictable this short story was. The idea of a young guy hiding in a dark maintance room who get´s surprised by a mystery girl is fabulous and as the story progressed I thought I figured it all out. Let´s just say my fortune telling abilities suck.

The twist of the story had me holding my breath. I didn´t like it, yet I loved it at the same time. Think of being punched in the gut and enjoying the feeling. Weird, right? Yes. Beyond weird.

As for the characters- I was hoping Daniel would get his own story and I´m glad he did in `Finding Cinderella`. I loved him in `Hopeless` & `Losing Hope`. The only character I didn´t love was Six.

First- Six was not as odd as she was made out to be. She was a normal teenager with a tiny reputation, if one could call what she had a „reputation“ at all. I honestly didn´t understand the fuss about her. Her name was Seven but she called herself Six. Fine by me. But I didn´´t see her as the ultimate bombshell she was seen as.

I don´t have any complaints besides the fact that this story was short. I would have loved to have read more. More maintance room scenes, for example. I found the moments the characters had in the dark really interesting and entertaining. Or, a more stretched out ending. But that´s just me being picky. 🙂

Would I recommend this book? To any Colleen Hoover fan, definitely. To Young Adult readers, yes. I´d even say it´s important for readers age 16+ to read this book as the ending is a little like a reality punch. I know this is just a story but the end has a message and a fine one, too. It makes a reader think and that can only be a good thing for teenagers and a few young adults, right?

The Cover – 3 stars ( It´s sweet. )

The Story – 4 stars ( My kind of read only a tad too short for my taste. )

The Characters – 3 stars ( Six wasn´t my cup of tea. But I guess if she would have been different then the story would have turned out completely different too. )

My emotional state after finishing this read?  Remember the feeling I described above about being punched in the gut and enjoying the feeling? Think of a slap in the face and saying „Thank You“. That´s how I felt. It´s a wonderful, confusing feeling.

I´m giving `Finding Cinderella` ( Hopeless # 2.5 ), by Colleen Hoover, 3 out of 5 stars.

This book is available on Amazon.com in paperback and ebook format.

 

I hope you enjoyed Monday´s Book Spotlight. Have a great day! xx

Book Covers- What Happened?

Book Covers

Book covers / cover images are the first thing we see when we look for books. Whether it´s while we´re scrolling through an online shop or simply combing the bookshelves in a bookstore- It´s always the cover that grabs our attention before anything else does. 

Let´s get one thing out of the way before I begin:

Book covers / images are a matter of taste. Everyone has a different idea on what is great or what´s eye catching.

Personally, I like book covers that hardly give away anything from the story. I believe a cover image should grab someones attention, not give the story away. A book cover has to make me stop dead in my tracks. I mean- it’s the first thing a reader sees, right? And if a reader doesn’t like the cover, how fat are chances the reader will buy the book unless they´ve been forced by a friend/family member to read the book? ( The power of recommendations. “It has a hideous cover but awesome story!” )

All this means- I judge a book by it´s cover. I know I shouldn´t. No one should, yet we all do it.

I love to see covers with lots of color / color clashes, unique symbols or anything that stands out ( eye catching, remember? ) Contrasts are also brilliant.

 I’m Amazon’s Costumer Of The Year. Alot of my hard earned money goes for books. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this devastating condition. But if you asked me about book covers then I’d have to say that maybe half of the books I own have decent covers and half from that half have AWESOME images.In other words- I find alot of book covers / images boring and sometimes questionable. 

While reading books from the Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Erotica and even Horror genre, I’ve come to learn that each genre has their preferred book covers or colors.

Young Adult usually has some teenagers holding hands in a meadow ( colors are usually light ), New Adult covers are a bit more mature ( colors are more bold ), mostly showing some skin or a headless figure… you get the picture, right? We don´t really need to mention Horror covers because many of those covers are just down right brilliant. Creepy but cool.

Also, one has to see the difference between traditional published and self-published book covers. It most cases, self-published book covers / images aren´t done well. But then again- alot of traditional published books have horrible, tacky covers. I can’t really speak for trad-published authors because most of them don’t have a say in the matter. The publisher calls the shots and authors have no power over what cover will be used for their story. That all depends on the publisher and how tight the contract is. Some published authors are lucky and get to chose a cover image themselves. Very few have covers that are able to knock me out of my socks.

There are 2 types of book covers that do not grab my attention at all.  

  1. shaded, oiled torsos with tribal tattoos
  2. covers that look like every other cover

I can’t begin to tell you how many books I have that have black covers with some tiny animal, a key, a keyhole, pearls, diamonds or has some shadowed body parts on it. It’s a nightmare that will not end. 

It´s a trend, I get it. Still… It´s annoying. And when I see certain covers I immediately say to myself ” Uugh. Not again.”.

20161128_010727

( Those are only a few taken from my private bookshelf from only God knows how many )

Many would argue with me on the fact that black book covers aren´t an issue. They´re practical because they look good on a bookshelf, etc.  It truly isn´t an issue. It´s just nothing spectacular.

Then there are those covers with half naked, totally muscular, tribal tattooed, well oiled and well tanned, headless guys. In short- eye candy in it’s tackiest form. I stopped counting those covers because they’re endless. I know I know…sex sells and all that stuff…..but can’t someone stop this nonsense? Tribal tattoos went out of style a while back. Plus, I like guys who have a head. Hands can be sexy, too. Also-  I’m also not a huge fan of character covers, which is when the cover has a face on it. That ruins alot for me and I will ignore the book, risking the chance to read a fantabulous story. Why? Because a character image ruins my own personal image I like to create myself of a character. 

Another thing that brings my blood to boil is when there’s too much going on on a book cover. 

I once saw a cover that was in full color and had an oiled naked, tattooed bod, except- the lucky headless guy had arms and hands ( yay!) and those hands were holding a suit which hung from a coathanger ( I have never in my life seen a suit hanging from a hanger on a book cover before…NEVER) in the background stood the Eiffel Tower. The title- Caged. Can you imagine how confused I was? After taking all the images in I knew what the story was about. But the real question was- Was I interested in the story although I knew there was some godly guy in it, who was probably going to wear a suit at some point, paying the Eiffel Tower a visit? No, I wasn´t. Not even the coathanger was able to convice me.

My point- There´s no need to overload a book cover with dozens of images. That´s only confusing. 

Copying. It´s not a secret that many self-published authors like to copy. Which is fine. I´m the last person to point a finger at anyone in particular. Whatever works best for an author, right? Right. No wait- that´s wrong. Copying is wrong and often doesn´t work out well for an author who wants to make money. What worked for author A doesn´t necessarily have to work for author B. Many writers seem to forget that. 

What happened to self-published authors wanting to be original, standing out and making their book cover better than others? Any, if not all, want to make a living ( eventually ) off of writing, right?

I understand that cover designers are costy. And, yes. I´m aware of how prices are sky high. But they´re worth it. If an author finds a good, professional designer, and both communicate then nothing can go wrong. No one in the history of writing said it would be easy, or cheap. Unless writers don´t value quality and focus their attention more on their story. Then I´d say ” Whatever floats their boat.”.

Still, many don´t or are financially unable to take that path and invest in a cover designer. And if an author doesn´t have a clue what they´re doing when creating their own cover I´m 100% positive it will affect sales. Because, let´s face it- If I notice bad quality / a copied image then other readers will too.  There could be a chance people will ignore a not so great cover and read the story OR they´ll skip the book because of the cover. Who knows. I´m not an expert. But I´ve been watching this business for the last 10 years and can say that covers mean alot. 

I´m not out to ruin self-published authors. I´m not even out to diss traditional publishing houses for their often lack of taste in cover images. Just remember this before the next book hits the market:

1. Sex doesn´t always sell. ( Keep them well oiled studs in the late 90´s where they belong.)

2. Less is ALWAYS more. ( Be tasteful. Be creative. Be original. )

It may not be up to me to decide what cover image is acceptable for a book cover or not. After all- Cover images are a matter of taste.  But since I spend the majority of my money on books I can skip a cover that´s not original or won´t grab my attention.

My wish for the future? For writers to be more creative when deciding on a cover image. Or, invest in a designer. Although, I have seen a small inprovement in the past year ( see Colleen Hoover´s cover image for `Too Late`, for example. What a color explosion! ) so my hopes haven´t died completely.

( NOTE: A cover image alone won´t influence sales. Titles and excerpts play an important role as well. The cover is just what we see first.)