Friday, November 17, 2017

Life on the Refrigerator Door

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: Life on the Refrigerator Door is a novel told solely in the scribbled notes between a Mother and her daughter, Claire, because they keep missing each other due to their busy lives of being a doctor and a teenager. They start as simple notes such as Mum reminding her daughter to pick up groceries or to clean out Peter, their pet Rabbit’s cage, or Claire telling her Mum she was babysitting or that she had passed a test but then one day the notes take a more serious turn... Mum has found a lump in her breast so she has to make a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out. Through note form, we see the strain this new development has on their relationship as well as Claire struggling with being a young teenager.

Life on the Refrigerator Door is a fast, easy read that follows a whole new layout which makes it stand out in the crowd. How Kuipers manages to make the audience feel so much empathy towards the characters when all we’re really getting is snapshots through handwritten notes left on a refrigerator is fantastic. I felt the hurt as young Claire realised her Mum was really sick, the distress the Mum had at telling Claire about the lump as well as feeling extremely irritated by Claire’s bratty teenage behaviour when she was being moody and self-absorbed; which is how most teenagers are and it was written superbly.

My only issue with this novel is that despite the quirky and unique layout is I can’t quite grasp the idea of a Mother and daughter having such personal and serious discussions over note form! Grocery list. Sure. Clean out the rabbit. Sure. Mum, I’m babysitting tonight. Great. The idea that the news of Mum having a lump in her breast and it turning out to be cancer was discussed in such an impersonal way kind of irked me but it did deliver a story that could have been cliche in a whole new format and for that I applaud Kuipers.

So make a note to yourself and add this book to your ‘to be read’ pile!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

We Are All Made of Stars

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 5:13 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars

Helen Thinks: I came across this novel when I typed ‘Dementia’ into the search bar of my local library and amongst all the medical journals and textbooks it jumped out at me so I reserved it. And boy, am I glad that I did!

It follows three different characters. Stella; a night nurse at a hospice who writes letters for her dying patients that she delivers once they’ve gone while also dealing with her veteran husband whose home from the war with an amputation and a coldness towards her. Hope; a young woman with Cystic Fibrosis that isn’t dying but is using the hospice as a rehabilitation after nearly not dying. Hugh; a recluse of a historian that lives alone but soon becomes friends with his new neighbour and her son. The main focus of the novel is Stella and her letter writing but we do get to know quite a bit about Hope and Hugh’s life too. I don’t want to give too much away in this summary because Hugh’s involvement with the storyline could be seen as a plot twist that I did see coming but Coleman still wrote it beautifully. Even with the multiple first persons, nothing became confusing or jumbled. It smoothly transitioned from one point of view to the next.

I read all three hundred and odd pages of this novel in one morning. I neglected T.V., housework, I’m pretty sure I cancelled meeting up with my sister all because I was desperate to see how this novel turned out - I’ve even recommended it to my sister and best friend to read! It was simply breathtaking as a novel.

The massive plus for me was after each chapter there was a letter written by Stella for her multitude of patients and it’s intriguing to see who people want to write to when they know death is upon them. Some wrote to their ex-wives, some to siblings confessing childhood secrets, to children that they had become estranged from. It just made me wonder... If I was to die tomorrow, who would I write my last words too? My sister? An ex-boyfriend? The boy I never found the courage to let him know I loved him back?

So thank you to my library for recommending this novel to me and I’m now paying it forward and recommending it to all of you guys to see if you can answer the question the book poses... “What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love? What would you write?”

Friday, September 1, 2017

First Position

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:30 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Romance / Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: If you’re at all familiar with our site, you know there’s one thing we ADoR gals love: cliches. Everyone has their favourite cliches and this story contains a weakness of mine. Rivals to lovers. Is there anything better?

This is set in the world of the New York City Ballet, a beautiful backdrop to a beautiful story. Ana Mikhelson has been working her whole life to get out of the shadow of her famous father, and this is her year. She’s finally made principal dancer, the highest position in the company. She’s known as the Ice Queen, but she doesn’t let petty things like jealousy or lonliness bother her. Until Natalie enters the scene. Hailed as a dance protege since she was young, Natalie has never liked the strict world of ballet. When she’s offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the NYC Ballet, she can’t say no. And so starts a fierce rivalry between the two, that soon gives way to a wary friendship.

I have a confession to make - I rarely read f/f books. The few I’ve read haven’t been very well-written, so I while I was hesitant to start this, the summary and glowing reviews urged me on. It doesn’t disappoint. It switches between both Ana and Natalie, but I never got confused between the two. It served to craft both their characters well and not make them into stereotypes. Ana’s a workaholic and reserved, while Natalie is the complete opposite - outgoing, loves to party, is continually late. But they were both more than this and that’s what truly brought this story to life for me.

The plot was riveting throughout. While it does go the way of a cliche, it’s more than that. There’s a solid storyline the whole way through, making it not boring for a moment. I’ve always had a fascination for ballet, so it was near-magical to read about it. Brayden writes in a way that flows like a picture in my mind. My only concern was it did feel a bit disjointed at the climax, but that’s only nitpicking.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Family Chosen (Volumes 1-4)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Erotica
Rating: 3.5 stars

Helen Thinks: This is a Sloane Kennedy’s entire story arc. It consists of twenty novels from four of her individual series but all the characters intermingle so Kennedy has bundled them into these volumes. I was going to individually review every novel but I really didn’t think you would want me writing twenty long reviews about how amazing these novels are - because seriously that’s all the reviews would be! For two weeks straight (would have been a lot shorter time if life didn’t get in the way!), I read these novels one after the other and I couldn’t put them down.

Three out of twenty novels are M/F pairings but the remaining seventeen are M/M or M/M/M. Kennedy does explain for those that prefer only to read M/M then you can skip the M/F ones if you really want to but as much as I love my M/M novels, I couldn’t skip the M/F ones and I wouldn’t advise that any of my M/M fans do either. Those of you that aren’t massively into the M/M I beg of you not to skip these books over. Lauren; my sister; has always stated that she wouldn’t read the M/M books on my kindle but then started reading the first novel - Gabriel’s Rules - which is M/F and I explained to her that the third one of the trilogy was M/M and she decided to give it a go anyway because she couldn’t not read the third book in a trilogy. Safe to say, she’s now halfway through the books and is just as addicted as I am. So praises to Kennedy for getting my sister to try something new and for it to be that well written she can’t put them down.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult / Young Adult
Category: Romance / Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: Sometimes, you just need a book that’s going to leave you with a smile afterwards. This is that book. It’s so cute, but has an at times sad and gripping storyline. Our main character is Annie, who is struggling with guilt over her boyfriend’s death. To honour his memory and as some kind of atonement, Annie signs up to run a full marathon. Downside: she hates running, and has never run a day in her life.

This story is structured around her preparing for the marathon, but it’s a lot more than that. It goes into her dealing with her grief and how her boyfriend’s accident has affected all areas of her life: family, school, and friends. She’s also struggling with her feelings for her coach’s younger brother, the charming Jeremiah. He makes her smile and feel things she hasn’t felt before, but that makes her want to stay away from him at the same time. A second chance romance is a tricky cliche to navigate. It’s too easy for an author to justify a new relationship by vilifying the old one, or comparing the two guys and finding the previous one lacking. Or, my least favourite of all, having the entire thing be completely unrealistic. This wasn’t the case here. The topic was dealt with gently and thoroughly, in a way that was very realistic and heart-breaking.

Jeremiah himself has to be one of my favourite leading guys. His personality is one I’ve never seen before, so it came across as incredibly original. This whole novel was a breath of fresh air. I’ve trained for something similar to a marathon, and the details were all there: the body breaking down, the stomach cramps, and how it’s the strength of your mind that will get you through it. I loved all of it! This is in a series of books called Hundred Oaks, and some characters from the other books do appear, but I read it as a stand-alone and had no trouble.

Friday, August 4, 2017

All the Missing Girls

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Age: Adult
Category: Crime
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: My library app recommended All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Miranda isn’t an author I had heard of but I thought I’ll give it a shot and I am so glad that I did! It was a captivating read that I couldn’t put down and I text my best friend while I was only halfway through to add it to her to be read pile!

Ten years ago, Nicolette Farrell left her hometown of Cooley Ridge after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. Now that her father has been diagnosed with Dementia and they need to sell the house to pay for his carer fees, Nicolette is back in Cooley Ridge to help her brother, Daniel. However, it’s not long before another woman is missing and it re-opens Corinne’s case as well as brings back old memories for all those involved. The investigation into Corinne’s disappearance focused on Nicolette, her brother Daniel, her then boyfriend Tyler and Corinne’s boyfriend, Jackson. Annaleise Carter, Nicolette’s neighbour, was the alibi for the group on the night of Corinne’s disappearance. Nicolette was the only one that left Cooley Ridge behind her while the rest of them made lives for themselves in their home town. Now Annaleise is missing...

Do you want to know what makes All the Missing Girls stand out? It’s told backwards.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Willful Machines

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:25 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult / Young Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: This book is truly a standout for me from all the other YA m/m books out there. It's crafted so well and is perfect for anyone cautious about books featuring gay romance, especially since the plot line is so good!

The main character is Lee, who is the closeted son of a very traditional US president. This is set a hundred or so years into the future, were science has progressed onto robots. The one try at artificial intelligence, however, ended up in chaos - a team of scientists created Charlotte, who escaped by transferring her consciousness to the internet and began launching terrorist attacks on the country. Lee, despite his love of robotics, is more interested in the more immediate - eccentric, beautiful Nico, who spouts off Shakespeare at random and seems to be truly interested in Lee himself. But when Charlotte starts attacking the school and targeting Lee, he starts to believe that Nico isn't really who he says he is.

Nico is an absolutely adorable character, perfectly written to make me want to jump into the story and pinch his cheeks. His charm and infectious laugh translates through the page, and Floreen made not only Nico, but the rest of his characters quite life-like. And I wanted to give Lee a hug, because he's a sad, depressed character with a fairly miserable past, yet he's always trying to stay positive. The love story between the two was so sweet and cute, and despite being a little instalove-y, I still enjoyed it.

Floreen's writing steers towards almost gothic at times, which serves to set up an unsettling atmosphere and suspense. I also loved the way he unapologetically threw philosophical questions into the readers face about free will and what makes us human. And this was all in there without sounding preach-y and ranting. It truly did make me think! This is a super easy read, with Floreen's writing flowing like magic. I definitely recommend!

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