Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Rabmlings: The Liars by Jennifer Mathieu

This book gave me all of the Summer beach vibes, made me long for the soft sand and crashing of waves, but it didn’t make me long for Joaquin and Elena’s lives.

9781444946062

 

The Liars by Jennifer Mathieu

3/5 Stars

Published 5th September 2019 by Hachette Childrens Group

GoodReads

 

 

Blurb: It’s the summer of 1986. Joaquin and Elena, two teenage siblings live in a toxic environment with their alcoholic mother on an island off the Texas Gulf Coast.
Elena falls for a new boy who has just arrived from California. Joaquin must wrestle with his decision to stay on Mariposa Island to protect his sister or flee from his mother’s abuse.
As both teenagers struggle to figure out who they are and want to be, they are caught in a web of family dysfunction and secrets from their mother’s past.

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I was sent a review copy of this book by the amazing team at Hachette. I was surprised to receive it, I did request it, but being the author of the popular title, Moxie, I was sure that I would miss out on this one. I am greatful for the chance to read this book.

“The Liars’, was a three star read for me. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, I really did, but because I couldn’t escape the feeling that there was so much missing from the story.

Elena and Joaquin are siblings that are as close as two people can be, they need each other for their own survival. But it becomes clear, early in the book that living like that is only pushing eachother into separate directions. Elena and Joaquin, although they live under the same roof, live dramatically different lives. Joaquin is afforded some sense of freedom, freedom to leave the house, to get a job, to drive a car, to speak up for his beliefs. Whereas Elena, is house bound, forced to keep her opinions to herself, unable to get a job, have friends or to be a teenager. These differences alone, put their lives on completely different tragectories. Joaquin can leave, he can escape the tyrant style life that his mother Carrie is offering, but Elena, is likely to suffer long into adulthood, if not longer.

As you can probably tell from the title, this book is based upon lies, on top of lies. Some subtle, others blatantly obvious, but lies is what makes the world of Mariposa Island turn. Without spoiling this book, I want to say that one lie, the biggest of them all, is so complex and detailed, that it seems impossible for it to keep working, but it does, so much so that everyone, in the end, believes that it is true.  They are so comfortable with lies that when it is revealed that Carrie has been lying to her children, Elena is comfortable with it. As though the lie was necessary, something that was easy to accept. But for Joaquin it was the last straw.

Mathieu has written strong characters, characters that are deep, traumatic and real. They react with a realness that allows the reader to relate to them, no matter the readers gender. There is something in this book for everyone. The writing style will draw you in and not let you go, the pacing is perfect for the setting, when we are on Mariposa Island, it is slower, adjusted to the slow and sunny lifestyle of living in a beach-front town, but when we dart back into Carrie’s history, it speeds up, as though we are having the flashbacks as Carrie would.

The Liars, has all the makings of a fantastic book, but I feel that too much was left out for it to wrap up comfortably as a stand-alone title. There are too many loose ends surrounding Carrie’s history, her current state, what it is that is making her so controlling. Is there more than her need to have people to love and depend on her? We also don’t find out what happens to Elena. Elena is the first character we meet, the first character we really get to know and she is left hanging at the end, with no real positive prospects, just a long school year looming over her, trapped within the confines of her home. I, as a reader, just wish there was more information provided. But I still really enjoyed this title.

As I wrap up, I feel the need to mention that this book touches on issues such as psychological trauma, substance and physical abuse, neglect and bombing.

Is this on your TBR? Have you read it? Comment your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading,

Julie

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You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears??

Welcome to the You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears – Bookstagram edition.

Be warned, this post contains mild coarse language, all the ranting, and some opinions that you may not agree with. If you disagree or agree with any of my views, comment below! Lets chat!

Ready to dive in about what grinds my gears about Bookstagram? I’m ready to share!

 

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You wanna know what grinds my gears? Advanced Reader Copies, physical ones. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I am so, so, soo grateful for each and every one I receive (I have literally gotten 1… ever. From a giveaway), I love the purpose they serve and the chance to read something prior to its publication. But what annoys me about them is that Bookstagrammers tend to think that they aren’t good enough, have enough followers, don’t have good enough photos, that they aren’t a real part of the Bookstagram community etc. if they aren’t being sent ARC’s. Well lemme tell you a thing right now. That my friends is a load of steaming hot bullshit. You are enough, your photos are amazing, your opinions are amazing and if you have 1 follower that is incredible. It means there is another person who is into what you are, and when there is 1 there are always more.

Also, you wanna know what makes you a part of the Bookstagram community? YOU!! You and your love of reading, your love of characters, plots, scenes, authors and sharing your views with other like-minded people. What you have or don’t have has absolutely nothing to do with your worth and value. Don’t let not receiving ARC’s get you down. It doesn’t define you!

You wanna know what else grinds my gears? Being upset or feeling left out because you don’t have much bookish merch. Again lovelies, bookstagram isn’t about how many different Book Depository book marks you have, it is about the love of reading. Yes everyone tends to use book marks, candles, prints, pop Funkos etc as props, but you don’t need fifty-thousand of them to be a part of the community! Do you read? Yes. Then welcome aboard! If you have one scarf that you love, make it your background? One candle you can’t get enough of, use it in every photo. Use what you have access to, be proud of your photos, you don’t need the newest everything to feel great about your place on Bookstagram. If you love it, we will too (not necessarily true about books, but if you are confident and love your photos, we will too!).

Which leads me on to feeling shitty about yourself because you aren’t in a financial position to go out and buy all of the new release books, the book subscription boxes or the merch. Buying books is bloody expensive, you shouldn’t feel bad because you can’t afford to have a library full of every YA book released in 2017/18! And your local Library is a magical thing. The best thing about the library is they let you take books home, for free! and if you hate them, you just take them back and never think about them again, there is no regret from buying books, hating them then having to look at them on your shelf. Libraries are my life, I’d be lost without it!

There is no where on Bookstagram that says “You must only read books that you own”, I would definitely be broke by now if that was the case. You know what I like to do? request new releases from the library, take them out, read them, decide if its love or hate, then purchase the ones I need to own. A little try-before-you-buy action. But the best part about ordering them in through the library, is that hundreds of other readers in your community will also be able to have access to books that they usually wouldn’t have access to! Libraries are literally the best things ever.. AAaaand I am off track…

Too much importance is placed on physical items. Yes it is awesome to treat yourself to new books, merch and the like, but does your worth or value come from the things that you own? Or does it come from who you are and the way you interact with the world.

You don’t need to OWN books and merchandise to be a book lover, a reader or a bookstagrammer, all you truly need is YOU and your love for reading.

 

Wow I feel better for getting that off of my chest! A little reminder about how awesome YOU are is never a bad thing.

YOU are valued

YOU are important

YOU do matter.

Thanks for reading folks!

Julie

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New Laptop Apsirations

Yet again, here I am, writing about nothing in particular other than something new happened in my life, but I’m excited about it and I want to share it with you!

Recently I got a new laptop! Now, I know what you may be thinking, boriiiinnggg… Everyone has a laptop these days, what is so special about this one? Well, honestly nothing, but let me tell you why it is so significant to me.

I’m going to start with telling you about my new little buddy! I purchased a HP Stream , it has an eleven (11) inch screen and it is white and tiny. Super light weight and looks like this:resize.jpg

Great, you say? Great indeed! It is a cheap little thing and nothing like what I would usually go for. My previous, and still kicking, laptop has a fifteen (15) inch screen, a separate numerical keyboard and it is all metal. My desktop, is a ridiculously large, all in one unit. So I guess the point I am trying to make is that I usually go for the larger items, basically because I watch a lot of Netflix… Which is what makes this little fellow so exciting. I bought this little guy for writing!

*Insert groaning everywhere*… yes like, so many other bloggers, bookstagrammers and influencers (not that I think of myself as that), I am an aspiring novelist. At the moment I am content, working my way back into writing through this blog, but I would love to finish my manuscript. I started a manuscript waaay back in college, one that I got a lot of excitement for at the time, and one that I am still inspired to write. It isn’t the genre that I read anymore, but the story is still in me, yearning to be told. This is where my new little laptop comes in to play.

I am one of those people who finds it difficult to write in one space, wether it be blogging, essays, e-mails or novels. I need change in my writing space and I wasn’t able to do that with my previous laptop. This is mainly due to it weighing 3 kilos and not having any battery life at all… Anyway, I want to be able to take my computer, loaded with my manuscript and all of my notes, anywhere I want. I want to be able to throw it in my bag and if I feel inspired to write or to blog, then I’m able to.

Writing has always been a huge part of my life, ever since I can remember, I have had my nose stuck in a book and dreamed of being a published author. I have always studied English and find the language itself fascinating and frustrating. I have also recently discovered that I am incredibly comfortable in my own skin, that I don’t mind if people know about my blog, bookstagram or my writing ambitions. It has taken me the better part of a decade to reach this confidence and I hope it stays!

Now, the bit you are probably waiting for, the laptop review (so far).

Over-all this little laptop is fantastic. It is light-weight, easy to use and the key board isn’t squishy at all, like you find in smaller sized units. It is my first HP, so I am still adjusting to some of the system differences, but I am really enjoying it! The only thing I have to complain about is the lag and sensitivity of the mousepad, and the fact that there is no way to customise these settings. Other than that, this is a fantastic unit and I highly recommend it. Yes, it has a tiny memory, but that is what an external hard drive or OneDrive is for.

I am so excited to continue on with my writing journey and gaining experience in all aspects of my writing. Who knows, I may even get brave enough to post a chapter on here!

 

Thanks for reading,

Julie

 

 

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Bookstagram & Reaching 1k!

Well, it finally happened, I finally reached one thousand followers on my Bookstagram account. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely over the moon about it, but it is also hard to be so excited, when I use it as a platform to share what I love… But I’ll get into that in a minute. Right this second… I ACTUALLY CAN’T BELIEVE 1000 PEOPLE FOLLOW ME!blur bokeh bright burnt

I have had my Bookstagram since January 2016, yes it took me nearly three years, to get to where I am, but there is a reason for that. Unlike so many people using Instagram, my account started as a outlet for me to share what I was reading, I started out being so intimidated by the Bookstagram community, afraid that what I was sharing, wasn’t good enough, that my opinions were wrong and that I was reading the wrong books. I was so jealous of all of the people who were confidently sharing their views, doing videos and speaking honestly about what they had read, and taking stunningly perfect photos. But after a year of this intimidation (I want to make it clear, no one specifically told me I was rubbish or intimidated me directly, I just didn’t think I was good enough, I didn’t think I made good enough content or that my opinions were worth sharing.) I decided that I deserved to be enjoying this platform, Instagram is designed for exactly that, expressing yourself through images and a brief caption. So I changed up what I was doing…

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Photo Source: http://www.instagram.com/Bookish.Intoxication

And so began my flat-lay obsession, I started using  stark, clean white backgrounds and applying contrasting filters, I started enjoying taking book photos and showing off my bookish loves. But the best thing that comes with new found confidence in my photos, is that I found confidence in myself too. I started sharing my thoughts and opinions, some were unpopular, but I did it anyway. And this, my friends, is how you get the most out of Instagram. I say this because, I am a pretty honest person, and I find, that I am drawn to other honest people, people who say exactly what they think, they don’t say what they think you want to hear, they tell you the truth, their 100% honest opinion. And that, is what I love about Bookstagram. If they hate something, they will tell you, if they love something, you will see it plastered all over their feed and stories. I found myself commenting on other peoples pictures and replying to stories, fully submerging myself into the world that is Bookstagram, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I only wish I had of overcome my insecurities sooner.

The Bookstagram community is one that is so accepting of everyone, from every background, country, culture, you name it, you are accepted. We are united  by our love of reading, books, fandoms, movies and TV shows. We share our opinions, share our loves and hates, share what is going on in our lives and have a honest and caring sounding board for advice, compassion and kind words. It is honestly one of the most fantastic communities to be a part of.

Wrapping up, I am so, so grateful that one thousand people follow my account, that one thousand of you value the content I am creating, value my opinions and want to hear me talk about books and TV and my slightly annoying obsession with hating love triangles… But I digress, I am humbled by this milestone, and although my Bookstagram is completely for me, it is an amazing feeling to know that there are so many other people who feel the same way I do about books.

Thankyou

Julie.