The Radleys by Matt Haig: Book Review

Synopsis: 

Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.

Publisher: Free Press

Date Published: September 20, 2011

No. Of Pages: 385

Date Read: April  2016

Source: Book Sale

 

REVIEW

“Course you don’t just convert anyone. It’s very serious thing. You drink their blood, then they drink yours. It’s two way. And it’s a commitment. If you convert someone, they’ll crave you. Love you for as long as you live. No matter how much they know that loving you is the worst possible thing they could do. They just can’t help it.”

This specific part of the book pretty much sums up my experience in reading this absolutely great novel. I was converted, I was in love!

It was hard to put it down, there are moments when I wished I could just attach it to my limbs and read the whole day away, but of course I had responsibilities to attend to and stuff to do, but I swear I was so engrossed by this book all the noises around me became a distant sound, like I literally zoned out. And that doesn’t happen all the time. What I appreciated most about this book is no one forced me into reading it, I was not pressured by any hype whatsoever or some readalong I need to catch up to. I read it at my own pace, I read it without reading the blurb, I went ahead not knowing much about it, and the saying ignorance is bliss held so much truth than ever. It was an unadulterated experience, so to speak. It was just sitting on my shelf for almost three years now, and that magical moment when a book speaks to you, *pick me, pick me* and I did, picked it up, settled in a comfortable spot and read away, before I knew it I was already past the half mark. And there’s this sense of satisfaction that I could not fully explain that I have not felt for a long time. And as reader I craved for that feeling, when you’re not programmed to hate or like a book, when you don’t have any expectations, when you just let a book take you into a beautiful place only you and the author know about. Ahh, it was euphoric, and I’ve missed that. Now this book brought back that feeling, that is why I have been so attached to it. Yep totally like a convertee to her convertor.

Now let me stop blabbing and get on to the real reason why you are reading this review haha.The Radleys is my first vampire read, yes ever. And it definitely did not disappoint. I was scared at first, I wouldn’t want my judgment to be tainted by the notion that books about vampires are overrated. I want to enjoy it as much as any other books. And I was glad it was able to held up its end of the bargain. I really enjoyed this book, so much so that whilst reading it, I was also researching for more good vampire books to read. And I may be a little late to the bandwagon but, yes, I think vampire books are definitely right up my alley. So if you got a good recommendation, please tell me!

This book captured my interest from the very first page up to the last. I really loved the writing style, it was so beautifully written, I don’t want it to end. I understand that not everyone liked this book, as it only has 3.47 rating on goodreads, but I was not deterred by it. There are books that have low ratings that I really enjoyed, and in the same vein there are also books with high ratings that I didn’t like at all, so it is a lesson to me, and probably to all readers out there that they shouldn’t be influenced by the ratings, I mean we all have different tastes in books. Let a book surprise you, again ignorance is bliss.

This book is so much more than meets the eye, yes it is about a family struggling to fit in a world they don’t belong in. It was a story of buried secrets, family above everything else and unconventional love. It was a full reading experience with every good things thrown in the mix. It was funny, thought-provoking, sometimes it gives you that melodramatic feeling too, it was all a good book is about and so much more. You just cannot cage it into one definition. I loved how the chapters are uniquely written, yes, the chapters are shorter than the usual ones we see in books, but the story wasn’t compromised at all, if for anything it added to the beauty of the book, making it more addictive than it already is.

The characters are all interesting. The Radleys is just like any other normal family with secrets, it was such a nice thing to read how they go about with their own lives day to day, and how one unfortunate event changed everything. Rowan’s and Clara’s character are just like the normal teenager, Peter and Helen just like every normal couple who suffers some marriage issues. The people surrounding them, i.e, The Felts, The Copelands, the people in the book group. Everyone played their parts well, and were all believable. Especially Will Radley, Peter’s brother, he was reckless and full of angst, that you just can’t help but get where he is coming from. The characters are well portrayed and is really a pleasure to read how their lives are all intertwined to one another, how each of them played an enormous part towards the end.

I loved the back story too! It was executed well, there were the littlest of loopholes that I could definitely forgive. I loved how the world of the vampires are explained in this book, that there will always be something original about their story even if you have heard a lot of stories like it before. It was not the typical vampire stories we hear or watch on television. I loved that it has depth to it, that it is not just another vampire novel that one could easily dismiss amongst the pile of mediocre books, this one speaks in volumes, this one portrays more than what it offers, it will surely make you ponder on life’s choices and its consequences. Maybe if I read this when I was younger, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it just as much as I did today. Again, it is always true,  a book comes to you in the perfect time and I couldn’t be any happier that this book found me. This book instantly became a favorite! And now I am more pumped to read more of Matt Haig’s works.

 

Rating: rating_5stars

“This is the whole stupid thing about all these unblood relationships. They depend on people staying the same, standing in the same spot they were in over a decade ago, when they first met. Surely the reality is that connections between people aren’t permanent, but fleeting and random, like a solar eclipse or clouds meeting in the sky. They exist in a constantly moving universe full of constantly moving objects.”
― Matt HaigThe Radleys

 

 

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Her Dark Angel by Felicity Heaton: Book Review

 

Synopsis: An angel trapped in Hell for centuries, Apollyon is tired of guarding the Devil. He longs to break free and feel the wind in his feathers, but he cannot leave the endless darkness without permission from above. When he senses someone calling him, he seizes his chance for freedom, but soon discovers the call came from a beautiful woman he has watched over from Hell, a woman who casts a spell on him and awakens the darkest desires of his heart.

Serenity is shocked when a wickedly sensual black-winged angel shows up in her city of Paris claiming that she called him when she was only casting a simple vengeance spell. He’s no other than the angel of death! When the lethally handsome warrior offers to obey her and give her revenge, Serenity can’t resist the temptation, but can she resist the forbidden hungers the dark angel stirs in her?

Intense and passionate, Her Dark Angel is a tale of desire and deepest forbidden love guaranteed to set your heart racing.

Publisher: Dark Rose Publishing

Date Published: August 28, 2010

No. Of Pages: 103

Date Read: January 28, 2016

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The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Synopsis: Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

Date Published: November 4, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

No. of Pages: 470

Date Read: December 2014

REVIEW

I honestly don’t know how to rate it, tell me I’m not the only one.

Hmm how do I start this review? I just finished it, like literally three minutes ago. And here I am trying to make a coherent review despite my chaotic and very lost mind. This is the final book of the Mara Dyer series, the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution I have read two years ago and I am going to be completely honest, I really enjoyed it, loved it even. I have not read anything quite like it before, and because of the unique plot and the huge twist, to say it mildly, it gripped me like a vise. And boy, have I waited two long gruelling years for book three to come out. The agony of waiting, the anticipation, the constant itch of wanting to know what will happen to Mara Dyer and her peculiar abilities, to Noah, to their we-should-not-be-together-but-we-are-too-stubborn-to-think-otherwise love story were all I had to go through during the years of waiting. I have hoped that waiting will be worth it, and Michelle Hodkin would give the trilogy the justice it truly deserves. Well was it given justice? A half yes and a half no.

Let me elaborate more. First, I had so much questions towards the end of Evolution, I needed answers, I demanded it even. I bought my copy of Retribution on its release date, but I did not read it immediately. I want to be ready for it, I don’t want to rush it, like any other ending of a series I want to savour it. I was not ready for it to end. I was not ready to let go of the story I have loved so dearly. I waited three weeks to finally open the first page and let myself be engulfed by the story. Some of the people I follow on my Instagram or even the friends I made here have read it, and I was confused more than I was eager to read it. Some really loved it to death, that it was so good and so on and so forth, while there are others who gave the book two stars, worse I have seen someone gave it a one-star rating. I was appalled to put it mildly, I mean it couldn’t be that bad right? I know I had to know it for myself. So here, to cut the long story short – the last book did not quite meet my expectations. There are questions that I needed answers to, but the answers were vague. There were too many loose ends. I feel like, there were parts, that were left the way it was, for the lack of resolution to it, not for the lack of trying though. Each chapter paved the way to more questions, and I see myself pulling my hair out and mentally blurting what.in.the.actual.earth.is.happening? Second, the events that transpired, all I have to say is – convenient. Like for an instance they were in some kind of dilemma wherein you would have guessed that there is actually no way around it, then poof something convenient will happen, like they will instantly have a place to crash in for the night or all those convenient things making it anticlimactic. And then I will catch myself saying “Oh, how convenient.” with matching frustrated sigh.

What was going on with Mara, Noah and all of them who have the “power” wasn’t explained thoroughly as I hoped. It just opened the gates to more questions and confusion. I was so ready for more what-the-fuckery stuff, those kind where it was so good in a twisted and sick way (because that’s what I got from Unbecoming and Evolution, that made me love it to ruins), I got some, yes, but it didn’t hold up until the end. I only have 130ish pages left to read and I couldn’t see where the story was taking me. It didn’t grip me the way it should, the way I have expected it to – and that actually made me sad, because no one knows how much I loved the first two books. It is like I was promised Disneyland and I was brought to some dingy playground. The ending was rushed, I hate to admit it, but yes, it totally was. It was messy and wasn’t as solid as final books should. I will love Mara and Noah until the end of days, but I just wished there was a better ending, because they deserve it.

RATING:3 stars

I love you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever. If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If I were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.