Every Heart a Doorway

Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Seanan McGuire

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations.    No Visitors.   No Quests.            Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.          But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.          Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.          But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.          No matter the cost

Though it was a short tale, it left me wanting more.

The main plot to this story was one reminiscent of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. A very well done ‘who-done-it’ with fantastical elements. It did leave you wondering who committed these acts right up to the reveal. However this didn’t feel like the main cause for this book.

Each character felt individual and, though it was a novella, I could really picture each character. It focused more on Nancy, our main character, what fantastical land she travelled to and why she came back. We also get to know a handful of other characters, Kade, Sumi, Jack, Jill and Christopher. Though they didn’t get as much focus, I still learnt enough about them to feel like I connected with them.

There was representation of asexuality, gender identity and gender fluidity, but it doesn’t just talk about gender identity, however. I felt that this spoke of a far more important topic that often gets forgotten until our later years: individuality, identity and self-acceptance. It really felt like an important read for teens to help understand their turbulent emotions

The brief times that parents are mentioned in this novella, they are unaccepting of change and just want their little baby back, which, as we can all agree, is a very true fact of life. It shows the split between teens and their parents, one wanting to start spreading their wings and learn who they are. And the other just wants to keep them just as they were. But by doing so, causes more damage to their relationships.

I also felt that it had a little nod to mental illness. That the doorways to these worlds is a symbolism for how many feel about a mental illness. Once you’ve gone through the door to the darker side of the mind, you can never forget it.

This story spoke to me in a way that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It made me feel like individuality and difference was more common-place than society would care to mention and that there is always at least one person who has been through a similar door to a similar world. I can’t find any faults. It is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of this year. It is one, that I think, should be read by any new teen or anyone who is struggling to find themselves.

“… the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”


Hardcover

173 pages

Published – 5th April 2016

Publishing Company – Tor Books

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Eleanor & Park

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.          Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.          Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.          Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.”

 I went into this with no idea what to expect from this book. I had no idea what emotions it would ignite in me that I haven’t felt in years.

I really resonated with Eleanor. A young woman who is anything but invisible just wishing to be swallowed up by the world. A girl who wants to fit in but is just too different to even know how.
Being a young girl in high school is rough. Really rough. Being a plus size woman in high school and looking different is really, really rough. Just that is bad enough but contending with that and being the new kid is a million times more rough!

But Park also reminds me of a younger me who would do everything to stay invisible because people suck. He reminds me of a time when I started to grow into my own skin, learn who I am.
During the course of the book, Park grows as a person. He embraced his differences and became more vocal about how he felt with the people around him. And, he had great taste in music!

I think the most gut-wrenching, soul destroying part for me was seeing the abuse unfold.

A big question that is left at the end of this book was if it’s a fairy tale ending or a real-world one. The author wrote that it’s like we are ‘coming to the end of our journey with them’ and I completely agree. To me, these characters are real people.  Though it would seem like a sad ending, for me it feels like the start of a new life and maybe there will be another serendipity in store for them when they’re ready.

I can’t (personally) see any flaws in this book. It really did hook me in from the very beginning and beyond the last page. I have a feeling that sometimes I may sit and wonder: where are they now? What happened to them? Or their families?

I have fallen head over heels for this book and it’s absolutely wonderful leading roles. Eleanor and Park is a story to remember.


Hardcover

328 pages

Published – 26th February 2013

Publishing Company – St. Martins Press

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The Hunting Party

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Lucy Foley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.                                                                During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.                          They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.                          Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.                  The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.                    Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.                         Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

I was gushing over this book the moment I finished it. A perfect who-done-it!

I wasn’t sure how I would find not only the alternating timeline but also the alternate perspectives. But it worked.

The events that unfold are told from the perspective of the employees of the lodge and the group of old friends guesting during the new year celebrations.        Each character was so individual that I never felt confused about what voice was speaking. As you progress through the book, you get to see that things are not all they seem. There were many points in this book where your opinion on these characters are completely upturned, begging the question of who can be trusted. Some of the events that unfold in this book have a huge shock-factor effect leaving you dumb-founded and unsure of what to expect next. There were also moments that left me infuriated with the character and showing how humanity can have a very dark side. It felt like everything that could go wrong, did! I only wished that some of the characters stories were given more time to be expanded on.

 There are so many twists and turns that keeps you guessing. Once you think you’ve cracked the mystery, by the end of the next chapter your theory has been replaced with another one. Even after the main reveal, there was still more to discover. Her descriptive writing of being snowed-in at hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere made you feel isolated and as the book progressed, the tension and feeling of claustrophobia was impenetrable. Despite the horrors that unfold, I couldn’t help but desperately want a trip to the highlands myself in a lodge, with a book, sat by a grand, luxurious fireplace.

I was hooked from the very beginning to the bitter end. Lucy Foley has become one of my favourite authors. If you’re a fan of Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell and Riley Sager, you’ll find this a great read!


Hardcover

400 pages

Published – 24th January 2019

Publishing Company – Harper Collins

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An Unwanted Guest

Audiobooks, Books

Shari Lapena

Rating: 2 out of 5.

“As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.            Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.              With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.             Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.”

 I desperately wanted to like this book. After making it to the halfway point, I just completely lost interest and decided to put this in my DNF category.

The plot and setting showed real promise of a good thriller reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel but it just fell flat.

I found the writing style to be too simplistic with too much information. I have read countless books where there is little information given about characters but is enough to give an impression of that character, allowing it to come to life in the readers mind and form a personality, mannerisms, a voice, and depth. All of the characters felt very two-dimensional and mono-tonal with very little to them.

The style of writing reminded me of short stories we write in middle school where it has an understanding of what we want to achieve but not enough time or energy to make it anything substantial, so rush through it.

I came up with three different ways this story could have played out that would have been far more interesting to read while I was reading.

As I’ve said, my compliments of this book is the setting of the tale and the blurb. I am hoping, once I get the chance, that other novels by this author are much better.          


Paperback

368 pages

Published – 16th May 2019

Publishing Company – Corgi

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