Blog Tour: White Water Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite

Blog Tour

White Water Black Death

White Water Black Death

Author: Shaun Eblethite

Publication Date: September 2017

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis

“A cruise ship is the perfect target for a biological attack”. These are the chilling words emailed to the Seaborne Symphony in the mid-Atlantic.

Magazine editor Geneva Jones has been sent on the trans-Atlantic cruise to help secure a major advertising agreement from the CEO of the cruise line Rachel Atkinson, but her efforts to win her over are curtailed by a mysterious crew death. Geneva suspects foul play. Rachel insists its suicide. A former investigative journalist, Geneva can’t resist digging deeper, but what she finds is far more devastating. There’s an Ebola outbreak on the ship, everyone is trapped aboard and Rachel is trying to keep it secret.

Geneva knows enough about Ebola to be terrified, but she’s also onto the biggest story of her career. As panic surges through the ship, she becomes fixated on a single question. How was the virus brought aboard? The answer is worse than she could have imagined, and the greatest exposé she’ll ever get, if she can only prove it.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35905923-white-water-black-death?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/White-Water-Black-Death-terrifying-ebook/dp/B074Y4X37Y

Review

White Water, Black Death is a very well-written suspense thriller that takes its readers for possibly one of the most dreaded cruise experiences anyone would think of. It takes us for a thrilling anniversary cruise with many twists as it starts off with a suspected murder which turns quickly into a mysterious deadly epidemic that spirals worse and worse. The story is told using the measure of days past on the cruise and the time stamps of the different events which helps with feeling more immersed into the story. The structure fits well. However, White Water Black Death does start off a tad slow as it sets up its characters. At the same time, the characters are a little overwhelming in the beginning as well as there are a lot of characters that eventually do play key parts in this thriller however most don’t truly feel like any that you can get behind as they are developed to be quite horrible people. For some other ones, the vast amount of characters do have a slight impact on having some underdeveloped characters. However, it does a great job in specifically choosing a few characters to focus heavily on to drive the story forward.

Thrillers (both books and movies alike) thrive on its mystery and building up a scenario that intrigues its audience to piece together its story in its final reveal. White Water Black Death achieves that very well. However, the only criticism is to have hidden the entire Ebola outbreak part in its synopsis because it takes away what the mystery of discovering what had hit the ship in the first place and makes the whole set-up to figuring that out  lose its mystery. The author does a great job and building that mystery and it feels a shame to have it revealed before the reader even starts the novel. Part of my enjoyment of the book came from not having read the synopsis in advance and only knowing the bare minimum. White Water Black Death is a page turner and as a thriller it delivers with its incredible delivery to structure a story that achieves both building the suspense and creating vivid and effectively descriptive scenes that truly help visualize each moment especially when the situation intensifies, making it a gripping page-turner.

Overall, White Water, Black Death is a great suspenseful thriller that does a great job and building its story and pieces to make it both an intriguing and gripping reading experience. While it falls short in a few places, it still works effectively and incredibly well.

Goodreads score: 4/5

About the Author

shaun ebelthite

Shaun Ebelthite was born in Namibia, raised in South Africa and educated in Dubai in the Middle East where he is a maritime and cruise journalist. He has been covering all aspects of ocean transport for more than five years and runs the Middle East’s foremost online cruise magazine. He has had two children’s books published, and is now branching out into a new genre with his first thriller.

Cruise Arabia (https://cruisearabiaonline.com)

Giveaway

Giveaway: 3 Digital copies of “White Water, Black Death” in Format of Choice

Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f21/?

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The 100 (The 100 #1) by Kass Morgan

After the continued efforts to finish reading IT, I have decided to change up the pace yet again and switch between IT and other books sitting in my Kindle mostly because lugging around that 1400 page novel is really heavy and giving me back pains that my chiropractor isn’t too happy about. With that said, I dug out my Kindle and decided to work on some novels I picked up in 2015 thats been sitting in my Kindle unread. With a longing to get back to the TV series for The 100, I decided to check out the book that the show is based on. This is the first in the series.

Let’s check it out!

The 100
By: Kass Morgan

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission…Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope. – Goodreads

In terms of dystopian settings, The 100 has decent one and with everything in the recent years, perhaps it even feels possible that if a nuclear bomb where to go off, the world’s backup would be to evacuate a certain few groups to space to survive while the radiation tapers off and Earth becomes viable again. Being a fan of the adaptation always makes it hard to read the source material because it makes you have a comparison. The 100 is a good book with the focus of the perspectives of four characters: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass. It takes us on both the Ark and the struggles there while also looking at the issues with not being on Earth but dropping a bunch of juvenile delinquents on Earth.

Using the four perspectives are good, it helps broaden the story and give the readers a point of reference and it allows us to learn about the characters, especially as it breaks down how and why they got arrested which highlights who these four are. I don’t quite mind the character development and the story or setting as much as I don’t quite like the descriptive nature of the writing. That honestly is a personal preference. Its easy to read but some parts hop onto slight cliches and it felt slightly corny plus, there was a heavy romantic angle focus which I have mixed feelings about. The 100 felt like in this first book to scrape the surface. It went through the motions of giving us the key plots and then the crisis on The Ark and ends with The 100 faced with their first threat, other people on the ground attacking them. With that said, I like my books self-contained even if it is a series. A good series can end their story and still intrigue their readers to come back in the sequel. The 100 has that intrigue just in its premise so it doesn’t need the cliffhanger ending.

I think this brings us to talk about the changes from the TV series to the book. For one, the entire arc of Glass and Luke are removed in the show however, the show gives a wider group of characters with their own skillset that are beneficial to the group. In this first book, the set up is quite lacking as they only end with realizing that people do live on Earth. Our characters and their leadership and intentions are diffferent also. Clarke is still strong but not quite the leader she is in the show which honestly is what I love about her in The 100. Bellamy also gets a more extreme character where he lacks his presence here. Although you do have to say that they do feel more like lost kids in this book because this is all new to them and between the dazzlement of being on land, it also emphasizes on the lack of knowledge.

The 100 was a good read. It has the right idea and to be honest, I think the show, only referring to the first season, actually takes its characters on a deeper journey than what the book does. While it is good to focus on a few characters and their arcs, the story could be so much better focusing on the dystopia and the new world they are in rather than the petty romance. Even if I am a Bellamy and Clarke fan from the series, it still was a little too much especially in some of the descriptive writing. The style just lacked a little something for me. It usually is a good move to step away from the soure material and in this case, it worked for the broaden scope of tv series.

If anything, reading The 100 has made me want to restart the series to refresh my memory ( not that I really need to) and catch up with season 3 and 4.

Blog Tour: Search for Maylee by Didi Oviatt (Review + Giveaway)

Search for Maylee

Search for Maylee
by: Didi Oviatt

Search for Maylee

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publication Date: October 6th, 2017

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do whatever it takes to either bring Maylee home, or to deliver the justice she deserves. – Goodreads

I’m not going to lie that Search for Maylee started a little rocky for myself. The first two chapters are a little bit of a drag to get through. The pacing is a little slow and it introduced some writing style and dialogue and especially characters that had some questionable traits and was insinuating towards a possible route a typical book would take. Luckily, past those chapters, the story really did jump back into the suspense and thriller parts and it escaped that route I feared most would take and took an intriguing turn. The further Search For Maylee got, the more of a page turner this novel became.

Search For Maylee is a relatively fast read. While the first two chapters proved that I wasn’t having great impressions of the characters, our main character, Autumn does redeem herself a lot and soon grew to become a very interesting character that develops throughout the events of her stubborn or perseverance to search for her niece. Its always great to see characters find themselves and their confidence as Autumn does here. However, this also makes the other characters hold simply filler spots making them less of someone to attach to, making them also mean less. However, the story isn’t exactly long so it makes sense that not everyone has the chance to be fleshed out as Autumn did.

This thriller and suspense’s strength is definitely in its suspense. I can’t say that it is particularly a thriller because a thriller would mean there being some twist to it and this one throws some rather expected turns. However, I’m also one to defend that a story can turn the predictable into great moments by the right pacing and creating a meaningful storyline. For the most part, the author makes a lot of great choices that line up to make those moments still on point and create enough suspense to keep us guessing as to whether Maylee is still alive and whether the search will be a success.

Overall, Search For Maylee has its obvious faults but its strengths are in creating a decent suspense and developing the main character with some memorable moments giving this novel an edge past the sluggish beginning and redeeming itself by not going down an easy path. Crafting suspense and thrillers are possibly one of the harder genres to create and overall, she does a pretty solid job.

Goodreads score: 3/5

Where to buy Search For Maylee

Amazon
Amazon UK
Kobo
Nook Book
Goodreads

About the Author

Didi Oviatt

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. She’s a suspense novelist, and magazine columnist second. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians(a trilogy to be). Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and bathing in the desert heat plays an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

Author Links

Suspense Author & Book Blogger
didioviatt.wordpress.com/
amazon.com/author/didioviatt
www.facebook.com/didioviatt
twitter.com/Didi_Oviatt
www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DidiO
www.goodreads.com/author/show/7207389.Didi_Oviatt

Columnist/writer for Conscious Talk Magazine
Like us on Facebook: @conscioustalkmag
Follow us on Twitter: @conscious_talk
www.conscioustalkmag.com

GIVEAWAY

3 Kindle copies of “Search for Maylee” Gifted through Amazon

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f19/?

Nintendo Book Tag

Its Monday! And you know what! Things are looking great. This weekend resolved a ton of stuff on my mind. I know that on Friday, I was just talking about it. However, this comes with its own stuff which I’ll talk about in a separate post soon, maybe I’ll vlog it..who knows!

Either way, we’re changing things up. Because of NaNoWriMo, I subscribe to the WordNerds Youtube Channel. Back in August, they did  for their Vloggers’ Choice segment a Nintendo Book Tag! This is their video HERE and the original of this tag is from Sam’s Nonsense HERE. I haven’t done any Tags in a long time but seeing as I’ve been really in the gaming thing lately, I feel inspired to give this a go. However, we are doing a fun post on it for Game Warp with an actual gaming twist.  Here, I’m going to try my luck as intended for books. Some challenging stuff here but let’s give it a go!

Nintendo Book Tag

  • NES: A Classic Book You Want To Read

I’m not one that loves war stuff but The Art of War is a book I’ve always wanted to read about strategy. What makes The Art of War very impressive is that his strategies apply to everyday life and not just war. It applies to business and the concepts behind it draw many parallels to the present. Chinese people love to toss around the really popular strategy in everyday life so I’ve always learned some stuff here and there but I feel its also enriching to embrace the works of my own tradition. With that said, when I read this want to read Classic…it wasn’t famous Western works that popped in my head but a bunch of Classic Chinese works that I’ve never found time to read, mostly because I’m born in Canada so while I can read Chinese, its an incredibly slow process, especially with traditional Chinese writing style.

  • Super Nintendo (SNES): A Sequel You Liked More Than The First Book

Maybe I’m cheating a little here. Not if they mean like sequel as in like the immediate second novel. Regardless, I love The Prisoner of Azkaban. Its one of my fave sequels and one that I love a ton in the Harry Potter series and definitely much more than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Its just incredibly magical and has this darkness that keeps it really fun. I still remember a lot of it and I haven’t went back to read the Harry Potter in many, many year (although hopefully one day).

  • Nintendo 64: A Book that Revolutionalizes the Way You Look at the World

Maybe it seems like an odd choice but I sometimes read non-fiction books, albeit rare, and this one has by far been one of those very inspiring ones. I read this one as one of the earlier reviews in the earlier days of the blog. You can find the (crappy) review HERE.

Quiet is a really fantastic book that looks at the world from analysing the power of being an introvert. I’ve been an introvert all my life and because of that, my parents have always felt that it’ll make me less competent and always found ways to try to make me more sociable and outgoing. I guess feeling that you are less makes you less confident but Quiet takes a nice reasoning behind the introvert and even those who are introverts but are pseudo-extroverts. Anyways, it changed my view and made me see the value of being an introvert.

  • Game Cube: A Popular Book that Did Not Go Over Well with You

The Fault in Our Stars

Sigh…What do I say to all you John Green fans? He’s just not my type of writer. The Fault of Our Stars is very quotable but that doesn’t make it a great book. My opinion and you know what this book’s plot is? Its a typical Korean drama series. You probably can find a ton of them on Netflix now. Its the classic Korean drama formula that all got brought to light with Autumn in My Heart. Not saying that its bad but its using the same tricks. You can find the review HERE. In this review, you will see that there was an update and my original 3.5 wa a 4 (since Goodreads doesn’t do half stars) but its really somewhere nicking a 3 and it keeps dropping the more I think about it, so I’ll stop. I probably should do an updated review on why.

  • Wii: A New Favorite

Illuminae

The Illuminae Files is officially my new favorite series in general. I burned through  Illuminae and then picked up full price Gemina and then read through that one in a hurry. You can find the review for Illuminae HERE and Gemina HERE. This series really take a beautiful turn and uses reading to a third person point of view and gives us wonderful twists and characters and development and mystery, action. Its a gripping sci-fi novel and its a must-read.

  • Nintendo Power: Your Favorite Graphic Novel Series (or other series you want to read)

fables

I’ve only read the first book in this Fables series but it was incredibly awesome. You can find the review HERE.

If you are talking about series, I have been quite into the renewed Archie ones. You can read the first volume review HERE.

  • Super Mario: A Character You Would Like to Squish Like a Goomba

Paper Towns

Typical that John Green makes it twice on my tag, right? My choice of character is Margo Roth Spiegelman. I really didn’t like Paper Towns. Its incredibly boring and what I hate most is the pointless of this main character who just seems really unlikable and rather manipulative. I remember reading this book and thinking that if this book ended the way I was expecting it would (and it did), that I’d hate this character even more. So yeah…I’m not here to give spoilers so I won’t. There are characters, I think further and see their mental journey and that they were meant to be that way, but Margo Roth Spiegelman was just boring and pointless. Perhaps this one meant for a villain character that I wanted to squish, but this is my choice.

If it was a character that I’d like to squish like Goomba (because of his villainous ways), I’d pick the I Am Number Four series villain, Setrakus Ra.

  • Zelda: A New Fantasy Book that You Would Consider a New Modern Classic

Night Circus

I honestly have no idea how many people know about The Night Circus. I read this one before the book reviews started here however, I did read this because The Night Circus was born from a NaNoWriMo project. Its honestly a fantastic little fantasy book about magicians and circuses and rivalry and the way destiny messes with these two young magicians who are in love. Its really a great story and a page-turner. If you haven’t read it and love fantasy, this one comes highly recommended on my list.

  • Samus Aran: Your Favorite Sci-fi Book (or sci-fi book you want to read)

Since I’ve already talk about Illuminae which is very sci-fi which is one of my faves, I can’t wait to read Obsidio, the next book in The Illuminae Files series however it only releases in March 2018. For something that has already been released. If you have been following here, I’ve professed my love for the I am Number Four series over and over again. The entire book series has been very strong. It has some variation but overall, they are really solid. The series has all released as of last year but being the procrastinator that I am, I’m still desperately waiting to pick up the last 2 books in the series, The Fate of Ten and United as One.

  • Pokemon: Book Editions That You Want to Collect

Currently, I have Calvin and Hobbes and Something Under the Bed is Drooling but I want to get all of these beautiful comics. They always are the reason why I sit down and take a break from cleaning the bookcase because I spot them and get caught up. The memories and the friendships and just Calvin and Hobbes are fabulous and fun.

  • Donkey Kong: A Book with Original Characters

the little prince

I feel that nothing is quite as charming as reading the short 80 or so pages of The Little Prince. It has a little prince from a faraway asteroid and a talking flower. He journeys to meet a stranded aviator. He meets these interesting characters and there is just so much to learn about this book. The Little Prince is a special character and sees through many things. He’s deep and interesting.

  • Nintendo Fandom: Favorite Nintendo game(s) or game you really want

While Nintendo Switch has just been released and there are some cool titles already out, my heart is still set on getting together some money to pick up a Nintendo 3DS so that I can play these titles. My favorite gaming franchise is Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright and I still have two games to catch up with the Ace Attorney franchise and then they got together and did a game, which was the turning point of when I decided I needed a 3DS eventually (and that was back in 2012). Its still on my mind every single day.

That’s it for this Nintendo Book Tag!
Join in if you’d like in your own post or in the comments below!
Even if you aren’t a gamer, these categories are still fun to think about. 
Happy Monday everyone! 

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

As I try super hard to stay on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year, I find myself finally jumping into the virtual world created in Ready Player One, especially since San Diego Comiccon brought us a trailer and I’m super excited to see that film. Both myself and my darling Game Warp co-host was and is reading it, however, we’re starting to think about expanding to game-related content once in a while so we may be doing a quick review discussion of Ready Player One when he has wrapped it up as well. I’ll share it here if and when it happens.

Ready Player One
By: Ernest Cline

Ready Player One

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. … – Goodreads 

Ready Player One has been praised by the masses. Almost everyone who reads it seems to love it. Ready Player One has a captivating if not depressing dystopian future set in 2044. It has great adventure and takes us to a world where everyone finds more joy in the virtual reality world of OASIS and what makes it more appealing is that for those with the right knowledge, they can possibly find a treasure. Treasure hunts, virtual reality mixed in with video games and an 80s love, Ready Player One has a great looking formula. The idea and concept of it all was truly great and while I really wanted to love it, I unfortunately only can say that I wished its execution had been better.

Ready Player One’s strength is its treasure hunt adventure. It let us be exposed to the wonderfully detailed OASIS and all that it could do. Being a video game lover, who doesn’t want to live in one, right? Solving riddles and figuring out puzzles and the whole process was fun except everything from the hunt to our characters and their development and the immersion was lost in its excessive desire to refer and elaborate on all the 80s culture. Whenever I hit a multi-page description (or it felt that way) of a certain 80s culture, I would just have this desire to skip over because it makes the treasure hunt and our main character’s quest lose its value and appeal. Also because of these descriptions, it would ruin the mystery of how a certain key quest would be achieved, turning what could be an exciting segment to something that only had two lines. While this might sound confusing, what I mean is that the main action doesn’t get as much description as the tangent stuff. The third act does pull itself out and focuses on the treasure hunt primarily however it seems to have lost the beginning excitement.

In terms of the characters, the characters are really quite good. Our main character is Wade, also called Percival. And he ends up befriending more of the society as they fall in place and also follow his suit and finds the first key. These characters themselves also are quite fun. One of the best parts is the awareness that these are all real people but in a fake shell and for the most part, we do forget about this virtual reality aspect. We see the events through Percival and because of that, it leaves some unknown factors for us to discover such as learning about his friends and competitors. Why do I not say enemy because the enemy is the evil corporation and the leader of the team they call Sixers. Their leader is an evil man and we soon see that he is quite the ruthless and possibly heartless villain. Pity is that their run-in isn’t frequent enough to make him a valuable enemy. He’s always just the looming danger but not enough the present one and we soon feel that this book could only end in one way and the dangerous feeling soon deteriorates as the treasure seems to be closer which probably shouldn’t be the case.

Overall, Ready Player One is a great concept with an okay execution. The descriptions are not focused on the right things and falls too much into a fan-boy chat about the 80s instead of focusing on building the story. No matter how central the 80s are as a foundation, it won’t be through reading 300+ pages that someone with not enough knowledge would get it. It would be through seeing how these games and movies play out that will boost the interest instead. While the book doesn’t appeal to me as much as the general public, I however still see it having a high possibility of getting a great movie execution because with the right approach and a focus on the main story and not the many tangents, this could be a fun virtual reality treasure hunt adventure which I believe Steven Spielberg is more than capable of pulling off.

Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files 02) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Let’s take a break from Fantasia Festival madness and get  a book review in! You may  not need it, but I absolutely do! 😉

Gemina is the sequel of Illuminae, the first book of The Illuminae Files (as you can see in the cover below). I read Illuminae earlier this year and totally loved it. If you want to know why, you can read all about it in my review HERE.

Gemina
(The Illuminae Files 02)
by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. – Goodreads

Gemina is an exhilarating ride. A fantastically amazing one. This author duo has truly created a writing style that works truly remarkably. Presenting the story through dossiers and recordings are amazing. In fact, I remembered talking at the end of the review of the first book.avoit how it was hard to make that one into a movie and I was honestly disappointed in that choice. On the contrary, Gemina is so descriptive making everything so vivid that while it will be hard to live up to the images of everyone, with the right director, this one could be a fun ride. It might be because it embraces Die Hard set in a dystopian future in space and adds in am an Alien theme with their creatures. The idea is that they can take the first book to have enough success to get this one made also. I’m a little more excited about the idea.

What works for both of these books is how they choose to lay it out. The different recordings and files give you juat enough to understand what is going on but also leaves gaps and blindspots as to what is going on behind the scene and that creates mystery. Continuing after the first book, this hops onto another space carrier and with new characters, however having still managing to comnect to the characters in the first book. That is important as it gives a continuity to the story. It makes the readers care about this world because the new pair of characters are every bit as intriguing to read as they come to life also, two very different people from the first but still with equally intriguing stories that make them survivors but also human. Hanna and Nik are two acquaintances wrapped up in a lot of stereotypes and prejudices towards each other and grow to see each other more.

Its amazing how the Illuminae Files series has embodied so much. Other than the characters, it definitely feels like there is a lot of unanswered questions. The virus in part one, the creatures in part two, the secret agenda from Beitech: the main question at the end is a lot of why’s. Hopefully we will get the answers soon to pull everything together in the third book.

Overall, I love Gemina. There’s so many great things about it that makes it incredible. Not quite as mindblowing as Illuminae however still very awesome.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

We’re somewhat back on track with the Goodreads challenge now. It shows that I’m a book ahead but then I can’t seem to fix the problem that it has the same book twice. Plus, I read a lot of short stories and comics so I’m not sure those really count as one book. Its slightly cheating. Although, with my TBR list somewhat mapped out, I feel like I’m most likely to go over at the current moment. Who knows, right? I could go into one of those lack of motivation phases and just not read for a month. Up next is a book review of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. As I read this one, I couldn’t help but compare it to Thirteen Reasons Why, mostly because it also features youth and mental illness and how the two authors took a different angle and built different characters essentially.

Let’s check it out!

All the Bright Places
by: Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.  – Goodreads

Before I start the actual review, I’d like to start with this bit. I’m on record to not have enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why. You can check out the review HERE.  As I think back to it frequently, its mostly because of Hannah Baker and how I find her a manipulative character in general. I haven’t seen the series and I can’t comment on it if that is what you are basing any opinions on. I always get a little worried when I approach books about mental illness because its a very touchy subject and a lot of people who has these illnesses will become very defensive about it. So I’m going to say that while I didn’t enjoy Thirteen Reasons Why, I appreciate what it was trying to do and the issues it was trying to highlight. If the character resounded more to you, that’s great. I’m happy to hear that it did because it means that someone related to it and it did its job. Now we’re aren’t here to talk about Thirteen Reasons Why but All the Bright Places and with that said, I’d like to highlight why I think this book works better at highlighting youths and mental illness, while trying to bring forth the same issues.

All the Bright Places is about two young ones who meet on the sixth story roof of their school and for their own reasons, they both end up getting off. Who saves the other is unknown at that moment and its with this starting point that this unlikely friendship begins. First off, that descriptions says way too much, making the mystery of the story vanish because its so obvious what will happen. I really dislike stories that make descriptions who say too much. However, All the Bright Places is a page-turner. There is no doubt about it. While primarily their problems and their inner struggles make them intriguing to read, Violet and Theodore are compelling because of that. In many ways, both are learning to live in the present and remember that there is more to life than running away from the past or finding ways to escape the present. Not all people who suffer some form of mental illness can’t be saved, but sometimes, it takes someone with a careful eye to notice these little details and that is exactly what this story highlights, how a lot of people don’t know how to differentiate when someone needs help. They may not reach out or they may not be noticed and sometimes people will just label them with an excuse that describes who they are in an awkward or weird way. And sometimes, mental illness does become the world of the person who lives with it whether they like it or not. I’m speaking of this last part through personal experience of people I know and things that has happened to them and how various parts of how Theodore and Finch’s dialogue resounded to me.

These types of books are very personal experiences in some ways. However, All the Bright Places is very cleverly executed. It creates two characters and uses their search for the natural wonders around them to invoke the sense of discovery and how there is more to see and worth living for regardless of how big or small. It also emphasizes how while part of the fight is with support from others, in many ways, their inner struggles had to be overcame by themselves and with some good professional help. I’m not sure if this is trying to have a social statement about how schools don’t have a good enough psychiatric help or that there are lacking of resources and knowledge of these issues in teenagers. It might even be a statement about how parents (or family in general) sometimes don’t pay as much attention as they should to their children as they deal with their own issues. There might not even be a statement but just that sometimes, a little notice of the details of the people you see day in and out, whether its a friend or family could go a long way. All the Bright Places depicts it well that certain symptoms can be nudged off as a character trait, awkward or odd or just how that person is because its a familiar thing, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that can alarm others to give a helpful nudge before its too late.

I’ve went off a tangent now. Overall, All the Bright Places is a great story that does very well in showing how mental illnesses can be misunderstood easily. It serves as a reminder to notice the ones we love more. It also serves to say that sometimes, those with mental illness might not even acknowledge that they have it and don’t know when to seek help and sometimes, there is nothing you can to stop their actions. Whatever it is that you relate to in this story or pick up, its a rather personal experience. In a more objective way, All the Bright Places brings out two characters that are very different and dealing with different issues, living in different realities and create a story where they search for wonders as they both search for the will to keep living and moving forward each day. Who says whom in the beginning, what is the reality of the situation, what are these individuals thinking of, what inner struggles are they truly dealing with, who are they and which part of their personality is because of their mental illnesses; these are all questions that it poses and will be swimming through your mind as you read it. Sometimes, it’ll make you smile a little as the characters find happiness and contentment in what they do and sometimes, you might feel a tug in your heartstrings as they go through their inner battles. Whatever it is, All the Bright Places is a well-executed and well-written young adult novel with compelling characters.

**As an after note, I have read some of the Goodreads reviews on why some people have changed their mind and rated this poorly, which made me think about the characterization of not only Violet and Theodore but also the people around them, I’d like to say that with my experiences, I feel like this book strikes a chord with me and does portray and highlight the mental illness issue very well in these characters. **