Did I Mention I Love You? By Estelle Maskame

Grab a cuppa and get comfy, because my review of Did I Mention I Love You, is a pretty long one.

Swift synopsis: When Eden goes to spend the summer with her Dad, who she still hasn’t forgiven for walking out on her, and his new wide, and step-kids, the last thing she expects is to actually have a pretty good time.

For me, Did I Mention I Love You was very much a book of two halves. I found the first half to be fairly uninteresting. We met Eden’s Dad, his new wife, and Eden’s step-siblings, Eden makes some new friends and it’s all pretty forgettable to be honest. Nothing major happens. The only thing of note is that her oldest step-brother, Tyler, is constantly getting into trouble and Tyler and Eden hate each other.

The second half is much more interesting, though there is a major case of a sort of instalove. Eden and Tyler spend the first half of the book hating each other, but all of a sudden they decide they like each other. Not quite instalove, but definite unexplained love. They spent the first half of the book really not liking each other, and then they’re kissing and that left me confused. I found myself skipping back a few pages to see if I’d missed something out. Alas, I hadn’t.

I think the best thing for me to do here, is to split out the positive and negative points, otherwise this review is going to be all over the place.

Good

A realistic portrayal of being a teenager: There were plenty of underage parties and drinking in Did I Mention I Love You, and like it or not, under age drinking is a realistic part of being a teenager for a lot of people. I’m not suggesting it’s right, or that all teenagers spend every night getting hammered, I’m just saying it’s good that the author acknowledged this instead of pretending that teenagers are perfect and stay in being sober every night. Props to Estelle for that.

The scary girlfriend: Tyler’s girlfriend was a very well-developed character, who scared me a little bit at points and might well remind you of someone you went to school with. To be fair, I think she might have had more about her than Eden, which I guess makes this a good and a bad point.

Family issues: I felt the issues between Eden and her Dad were pretty realistic and were handled (or not handled as the case may be) in a realistic way. My Dad and I didn’t get on when I was a teen (because we were way too similar and both stubborn donkeys) and we just didn’t talk about it for a couple of years, so I can relate to the way Eden and her father’s relationship played out in this book.

The second half was gripping: While the first half of the book didn’t really feature anything that kept me hooked, the second half was miles better in that department. Once Eden and Tyler admitted their feelings for each other, it became more interesting as they tried to figure out how to handle their feelings.

 

The not so good

Unexplained romance: As I mentioned above, there was no real attempt made to explain why Eden and Tyler suddenly fancied the pants off each other. There were a couple of times where it felt like Estelle was going to explain why the pair were suddenly all over each other, but it didn’t happen and any attempts to were pretty unconvincing.

Friendships rushed: This book also had a case of instafriendship, and I feel like a little more time should have been taken here. Most of her friends were pretty unforgettable, and I was often confused about who was who.

Some things were let go of too easy: I won’t go into too much detail here because of spoilers, but Tyler’s girlfriend is pretty conniving. Yet when she is left, she kind of lets it go a little too easily considering what we’re led to believe about her. I felt like maybe she would have put up more of a fight, even though she was in the wrong.

Perhaps not the best messages about addiction: Tyler suffers from addictions as a result of terrible things that happened in his childhood. For the majority of the book he is often drinking and / or taking / dealing drugs, but when he and Eden get together he seems to get over it quite quickly. That didn’t quite sit with me very easily.

As someone who has seen what addiction does to people, I don’t feel comfortable with that portrayal of just getting over addiction. Maybe it can work that way for some people, but for the majority it doesn’t and I felt it was the wrong message to be sending to a young audience. Perhaps I’m just looking into this a bit too much because of my experiences, I dunno.

The step-sibling thing was a non-issue: As you might expect, Eden and Tyler try to hide their feelings because they’re step-siblings. To me, this was a bit of a non-point. Maybe I’m just fairly open, but they weren’t raised as siblings, so who cares if their parents are married? I don’t. They aren’t related and weren’t raised as siblings, so the whole ‘what would people think, we’re step-siblings’ point got fairly old for me quite quickly.

The better sticking point was that Tyler had a girlfriend. A controlling and horrible one at that.

 

Conclusion: *Exhales* This is a fairly hard one to summarise because I have so many mixed feelings. Did I Mention I Love You was not perfect, but the second half of the book was pretty gripping and despite all the negatives I’ve mentioned I’m hopeful that the next book will be better and I will read it because I need to know what happens to our characters.

*I received a free copy of Did I Mention I Love You in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion.

What was the last book you read that you had a love-hate relationship with?

Did I Mention I Love You Book Cover Did I Mention I Love You
Did I Mention I Love You
Estelle Maskame
Romance, young adult, contemporary,

When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.

Follow:

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

Oft, that was a tiring, adventure-filled, and excellent end to a series.

I put off reading the Percy Jackson series for years because I wasn’t sure whether or not it would live up to all the hype I’ve seen about it, but after finishing the final book in the series, I’m happy to say that it absolutely did.

The Last Olympian is just action after action after action, right from the get go. By the time I finished reading it, I felt in need of a nap and a rest. It just did not let up, and that was a little detrimental at points. Action is good, but it felt like there was a bit too much action. At times it was a little hard to keep up with what was happening, who is who, and I would have liked a bit more slower-paced stuff.

And, bizarrely, the final battle takes place over the course of a handful of paragraphs and seemed a little sudden, which was a little anti-climatic.

That said, I was happy with the ending and I think Rick Riordan did a good job of tying everything up, and he didn’t shy away from killing off some likeable characters.

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover underwent quite a lot of character development throughout the series, and that was evident at the end, especially concerning the decision Percy makes.

One of the reasons I love this series so much is the banter and friendship between the characters, and it felt a little lacking in this book. Though to be fair, they were battling throughout the whole book so maybe the bants wouldn’t be entirely realistic.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Last Olympian and the Percy Jackson series as a whole. I’m clearly older than the target market, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable, and I actually learned some things about Greek mythology as well, which I can’t complain about.

Percy Jackson has been a really fun, and easy series to read that’s perfect for when you’re feeling a bit burnt out and just want something you can read without thinking about too much.

I’m glad I finally got around to reading this series, and I’m eager to make a start on another one of Rick Riordan’s series. I don’t know where to start though. The Heroes of Olympus seems like the logical choice, but I do really like Norse mythology so Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is looking like the one I’ll go for next.

Have you read the Percy Jackson series?

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian book rating

 

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) Book Cover Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Rick Riordan
Adventure, mythology, middle grade,

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Follow:

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Oh, this was well worth the wait. The Rose Society is the stunning, and dark sequel to The Young Elites. It surpassed all of my expectations.

I filmed a 2-minute review, where, as the name suggests, I have two minutes to get out all my wafflings about a book. If you don’t want to watch it, read on for my written review.

The Rose Society picks up after the chaos that ensued at the end of The Young Elites, and Adelina is out for revenge. During The Young Elites we see Adelina debating whether or not to do bad things, but in The Rose Society she’s made up her mind. She’s vengeful and what she says goes.

It’s refreshing to read from the point of view of someone who is unapologetically dark. Adelina reminds me a lot of Daenerys Targaryen in the last couple of series of Game of Thrones. What I love even more is that despite the fact Adelina is undoubtedly a bad person, Marie Lu still makes you care about her. You still want Adelina to get what she wants.

Aside from Magiano, there are no other major characters added, though Violetta does become a more prominent character. We also get to see a bit more Teren, just because there’s not enough dark and evil going on in this book already.

There’s also this other thing that happens that, wow, but spoilers so I won’t so anything. But wow.

The plot is pretty action-packed, but it’s not overwhelming and the pacing is just right. Throughout the book something begins to build and build, and the revelation at the end is a pretty big cliffhanger for the next book. I did not see it coming at all and the next book can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure that this series is going to end in tears, and I am not a person who cries at books.

Have you read The Rose Society?

The Rose Society book rating - new favourite

The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) Book Cover The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2)
The Young Elites
Marie Lu
Paranormal, fantasy, young adult, magic
October 13th, 2015
Hardback

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Follow:

October roundup and November to be read

HOW IS IT NOVEMBER ALREADY?! Find out what I read in October, and what I’m hoping to read during November whilst I fight my way through NaNoWriMo.

Read in October

I finished five books in October, which was more than I thought. It felt like I’d only read three books, but I guess it must have been a kinda long month.

Sleepless – Lou Morgan

Perfect for Halloween, this was a mildly scary thriller that kept me up past my bedtime reading, rather than kept me up scared witless. (I’m a serious wuss when it comes to scary things.)

I did have a couple of niggles with this book, though. The ending was very abrupt and quite unclear, which left me confused about what actually happened. I found myself going back a couple of pages to see if I’d missed something, or if a page was missing. I don’t like unclear endings, so I wasn’t thrilled by the ending at all.

Secondly, there were some vague mentions about why Izzy left her previous school, which felt like it might have been relevant, but it was never actually explained, which was confusing.

 

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

This was the book choice for the inaugural Olive Fox Book Club, and it was a great way to start the book club off.

The Girl On The Train was the perfect blend of whodunnit, unreliable narrators, and despicable characters.

 

The Rose Society – Marie Lu

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since The Young Elites came out, it’s gone so fast. The Rose Society picks up where The Young Elites finishes and sees Adelina become even darker and more ruthless. She reminded me of Daennerys Targaryen quite a lot in this book, and I’m excited to see what happens in the third book.

 

Did I Mention I Love You – Estelle Maskame*

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this book. It was very much a book of two halves for me; the first half was fairly uneventful, while the second half was much more interesting.

It’s not quite as straight forward as that though, because I did have a few niggles with this book also, which I’m not going to get into here because I’ll be talking about it forever. I do mention them briefly in the video though. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of this soon, because it’s going to be a long one.

This was the 50th book I’ve finished this year, which means I’ve passed my Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books in a year!

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated) – J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay

Oh, this book. This book. Wow.

The illustrations are even more beautiful than I expected them to be, and the story is just as magical as the first time I read it. I was turning the pages in eager anticipation for what awaited me on the other side.

I’ll be doing a review of this soon, and a video review, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Just know that this book is perfect.

 

November to be read

It’s NaNoWriMo this month, and I’m getting quite busy with university work at the moment, so I think I’m just going to set myself the challenge of finishing off two books I started in October.

 

Allegiant Collector’s Edition – Veronica Roth

It’s been two years since Allegiant first came out, and I don’t know if I’m ready to re-read that ending. It hurts so much. I think I might do a Joey off Friends and hide it in the freezer when that part comes up.

 

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Rick Riordan

For me, the Percy Jackson world is a really easy one to slip into. They’re really fun, easy reads, so this is exactly what’s needed during NaNoWriMo. I’m a little gutted to be finishing off the series though.

 

What have you read recently, and what are you planning to read in November?

Follow:

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

I'll be doing a spoiler-filled discussion of The Girl On The Train for The Olive Fox Book Club at the end of the month, but for now, here's my spoiler-free review.

I was so happy when I saw that The Olive Fox readers had picked The Girl On The Train for the October book club. Over the summer, I heard so many good things about this book, and I honestly feel that it does live up to all the hype.

Do you ever see people and wonder what their life is like? I do. I like people watching and making up my stories about what they might be doing, or what their life might be like, so I instantly connected with this book.

The Girl On The Train is told from the point of view of three women: Rachael, Megan, and Anna, who are all connected by a street in a small town. Their lives end up tangled up (or even more tangled up, in some cases), and things get messy fairly quickly.

I've seen a lot of comparisons to Gone Girl, and I can definitely see why people are making those comparisons:

  • We've got unreliable narrators
  • It's not a straight forward whodunit - I didn't figure it out until just before it was revealed
  • Nothing is quite what you're first led to believe
  • Some other stuff that I won't mention because of spoilers

Paula Hawkins had me hooked from the very first page, and I ended up staying up much later than I should have on a couple of evenings to finish this off. When I wasn't reading it, my brain was ticking over wondering what would happen next. By the end of the book, I felt like I actually knew these people.

Our three main characters are incredibly well developed, and they're not perfect either which is perhaps what I love best. They're not easy characters to love; there were a handful of times where I found myself mentally shouting at a character and telling them to get their sh*t together.

I am a sucker for a character with imperfections though. I read so many books where we have your typical good character, whose flaws are very minor, so it's refreshing to read from the point of view of someone who is not necessarily a good person.

The pacing was just perfect, and the plot kept me on my toes at all times. There were a few times where I felt I was sure I knew who had done it, only to be proven wrong. I didn't get it right until just before it was revealed, and I love that. I enjoy it when a book makes me think and try to figure things out. I like it when a book lies to me and sweeps the rug from under my feet.

In short: A gripping read that will keep you on your toes and up past your bed time.

If you're interested, The Olive Fox are holding a Twitter book chat on Wednesday 21st October 19:30 - 20:30 UK time to talk about The Girl On The Train (as spoiler free as possible). If you want to take part in the book club in November, keep your eyes peeled on The Olive Fox as voting for November's book will begin in the last week of October.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins book rating - new favourite

Have you read The Girl On The Train?

For fans of:

Follow:

Sleepless - Lou Morgan book review

I must admit that I’m not much of a horror \ scary fan, but Sleepless was a gripping and thrilling read.

I met Lou Morgan at the start of the year at the UKYA Extravaganza, and after she told me about Sleepless I had to pick it up.

With the pressure to succeed in their exams, Izzy and her friends are encouraged to take pills one of her friends got off the internet which are supposed to improve your focus. Izzy is unsure, but does it because the rest of her friends are taking them and she can’t fail and get kicked out. Well that was never going to end well was it?

It turns out that the pills are much more than pills that just help your focus, and the side effects are horrifying.

Because I was ridiculously busy when I first started reading Sleepless, it took me a while to really get into it and get to grips with all of the characters. Once I had time to sit down and read a good chunk of it, I couldn’t put it down and finished it off in a couple of hours straight.

Our main character is Izzy, who has recently moved to Clerkenwell. Throughout the book she makes some references to an incident at her previous school and her leaving, but it’s never explained which seemed a bit strange. Come the end of the book, I was still curious to know what had happened.

For me, Sleepless was exactly the right amount of horror. As I said earlier, I’m not a massive horror fan – I’m pretty sure I’d struggle to sleep for weeks (pun!) if I read anything by Stephen King.

It was thrilling, and I had to find out what happened next. It was well-written, there was plenty to keep you interested and trying to figure out what happened next, and it was enjoyable.

The ending was a but abrupt and unclear for my liking. I’m not a fan of uncertain endings, I like to know exactly how it happened with no questions left.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable, and gripping horror (that’s not too terrifying) then Sleepless is well worth a read.

Sleepless Lou Morgan book rating

Do you like horror books?

Sleepless Book Cover Sleepless
Lou Morgan
Horror, young adult,
January 5th, 2015
Paperback
352

Young, rich and good-looking, Izzy and her friends lead seemingly perfect lives. But exams are looming, and at a school like Clerkenwell, failure is not an option. Luckily, Tigs has a solution. A small pill that will make revision a breeze and help them get the results they need. Desperate to succeed, the group begin taking the study drug. It doesn’t take long before they realize there are far worse things than failing a few exams.

Follow:

The Gospel of Loki - Joanne M. Harris

The Gospel of Loki is a retelling of the stories of the Norse Gods from the point of view of Loki, everyone’s favourite trickster.

Reading it from Loki’s point of view really puts a different perspective on it, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him because he gets screwed over several times.

Before reading this my knowledge of the Norse Gods wasn’t great, and was pretty much limited to the Thor movies, so I actually learned a lot about Norse mythology and some of the things that happened in Thor made a little more sense. 

Talking of Thor, if you’re expecting Marvel Loki, it’s not quite the same. Of course, he’s still a trickster and likes to have fun at the expense of others, but he’s much darker in this book and you soon find out why. It’s not the Marvel universe, so don’t expect a hilarious Thor either.

It’s a bit of a rollercoaster of a book; you follow Loki from his first steps in to Asgard, as he forms tumultuous relationships, to battle scenes right at the end.

At the start of each chapter, there’s a lesson from Loki and the pages that follow explain why he learned that ‘lesson’.

It was a pretty fast read, I got through it quite quickly when I was in Sweden, and it wasn’t the most gripping book I’ve read this year. I think because of the way the chapters are split into lessons, it makes it a book that you’d feel happy reading quite casually, picking it up and putting it down whenever you felt like it.

That said, The Gospel of Loki was a really enjoyable read, and I did learn a lot about Norse mythology, so I’m glad this was recommended to me.

Do you enjoy retellings?

The Gospel of Loki book rating

 

 

The Gospel of Loki Book Cover The Gospel of Loki
Joanne M. Harris
Fantasy, mythology, retelling, adventure
Paperback

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

Follow: