Gifted artist? Standout student? All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian’s School. As for Evan, however, he can’t be bothered anymore. Since the shock of his young father’s suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother’s encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope. Then Evan’s grandmother hands him the key–literally, a key–to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.
In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally…compassion.
As much as it pains me to say it, I’m calling a Did Not Finish on this one. The Namesake is acclaimed as a “searching story” about a “boy’s too early coming-of-age”, but nobody tells you it’s disturbing. I’m here to inform you that this novel’s fourteen and up recommendation should probably be rethought. I won’t go into details about The Namesake‘s many issues– both the ones it treats and the ones it possesses– but suffice it to say that I can only recommend this novel to those who appreciate a good and twisted turn of events. I’m sure that, intrinsically, The Namesake is a wonderful, emotionally impactive, life-changing book– it’s just not one that I’m ready to read.
Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.
I’ll keep you posted,
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
I’m not usually one for fantasies. I mean, sure, Kristin Cashore rocked my world, but as far as world building will go I’m a far happier campier with a juicy dystopian than anything else. With all of its rave reviews, though, I was quick to order Throne of Glass from my local Barnes and Noble– and I’m happy to say that it lived up to its reputation.
Celeana Stardothien will either impress you to no end or rub you the wrong way. Thankfully, my experience was closer to the former. Her country’s deadliest assassin, Celeana enters a power hungry king’s frivolous contest in the hopes to win back her freedom. As displayed in this competition, she has all of the nerve that comes with her commendably fatal reputation, though the walk she walks doesn’t come close to living up to the talk she talks. Despite this incongruity, I loved Celeana’s arrogance; so what if there’s a small gap between her abilities and her bragging? She was definitely a nice change from the typical “woe is me, I have low self esteem” YA protagonist. I like my heroines confident, and I like them cocky. Especially if afore-mentioned cockiness is delivered with deliciously witty insults, a bonus which Celeana did not fail to distribute in abundance.
I’ve heard that Celeana’s true (and skilled) colours shine through in Throne of Glass‘s novella prequels, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire. Assuming that this is true, I cannot wait to read them and uncover more Celeana’s murderous past. Yes, you might say that I’ve tasted blood… and I want more.
Like any good fantasy I’ve ever read, Throne of Glass‘s world building was spot on. Corrupt royal family? Check. Needless slaughter and painful genocide? Check. A history that you’re not sure you want to know? Check. Magic woodland creatures that no longer frolic in their corner woods? Check. And there you have it, folks: all of the ingredients necessary to win me over.
Throne of Glass‘s tragic flaw lies in its predictability. Although I tried to steer myself in other directions, thinking “this can’t be the evil villain; it’s too obvious”, I figured out the culpable of the contestants’ horrible murders on page one. I understand that Ms. Maas first wrote this novel when she was sixteen, but there’s no need for juvenility, is there? Moreover, Celeana’s inner debating on the goings-on around her actually turned out to be more dramatic irony than anything else; the truth became obvious to the reader long before Celeana’s pretty little mind caught on. This slowed the novel’s pacing and left me with the general urge to bang my head against my four-hundred page hardcover in the hopes that losing brain cells might make the plot twists less obvious. Again: a little subtlety can go a long way.
All in all, Throne of Glass was superb. Not superb enough to rival Graceling‘s grandeur, of course, but we can’t all be Katsa, can we? 3.9/5 stars.
I’ll keep you posted,
I have a curse. I have a gift. I’m a monster. I’m more than human. My touch is lethal. My touch is power. I am their weapon. I will fight back.
No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time– and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Or perhaps it’s in the stars in ourselves. As in the stars in Juliette’s eyes throughout Shatter Me. Because in cases like this, love isn’t all you need.
Had Juliette been less consumed with her boy-ogling, boy-kissing, and other romantic activities, I believe that she would have been better received. Had she taken charge of her fate, had she taken charge of herself, she could have succeeded as a character. Unfortunately, her self acceptance and self esteem are directly based on others’ opinions of her. I’d like to see Juliette emerge as uber-confident if Shatter Me‘s male characters had rejected and dismissed her as insignificant, but I’m afraid that that would not be the case. I understand that she’s had a difficult life, but where is the self-possession? Where is the self-respect? Thinly-veiled attention seeking is so 2008′s Twilight, yes?
This brings me to my next point. Shatter Me‘s men cannot reject Juliette. Why, you ask? It’s obvious: she’s simply too beautiful. Drop-dead gorgeous, really. Now, I don’t know very much about beauty, but if sitting in dank cell with but paltry hygiene practices for 264 days makes Juliette irresistible, then I’m willing to give it a go. Hey, I’ll follow her lead to the letter: never cut my hair, do minimal amounts of physical exercise, wear absolutely no makeup, and expect every male character under the age of thirty to hit on me. Why not?
The majority of reviewers out there also claim to despise Shatter Me‘s somewhat purple prose. Alas, I have to disagree with them on this point. I’ve been incredibly hard on this novel as of yet, but now I’ll be terribly honest: I loved it.
I loved its mildly uncomprehensible metaphors. I loved its eccentric choices of words. I loved its bizarre expressions, its poetic discourses, and its sporadic strike throughs. If you are not the type of person who enjoys flowery rhetoric, then I must forewarn: Shatter Me is not for you. However, if you’re like me in the way that you bask in words, savouring the taste of each of them as though they’re chocolates ripe for the eating (no, I wasn’t kidding when I said I liked figurative language), you have found your next good read.
Shatter Me‘s plot is one hundred percent classic dystopian: you’ve got your initial exposure to society’s injustice, your exploration of all things wrong, followed by your inevitable rebellion. This plot scaffolding is certainly old, maybe overused, but definitely well done. The intrigue was played out and the action was packed.
Where Mafi proves to be original is in her novel’s premise. Shatter Me has been compared to X-Men on a few occasions, and I can see why; the whole magical powers gist is more or less concurrent. However, unlike most of the paranormals you’ve read, Juliette does not consider her abilities to be a gift. And then we get down to the whole moral debate: is she a hero or a monster? Only time will tell.
Shatter Me was a thrilling ride that I’m happy to say that I’ve read. For fans of purple prose, steamy romance, and hot heroines. I’ll doubtlessly read the sequel soon enough. 4/5 stars.
I’ll keep you posted,
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
I’m beginning to realize that perhaps the wee hours of the morning were not the best time to read this book. Falling asleep to vivid images of gruesome deaths, abominable beasts and the many possibilities of what if does not exactly inspire sweet dreams. Fortunately, last night’s nightmares involved, at worst, a love triangle compromised of hideously two-dimensional love interests. Oh The Madman’s Daughter, what strange effects you have on me…
The most appealing aspect of The Madman’s Daughter stems from its origin. A new and hot take on H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, this novel features a callous mad scientist’s estranged daughter. Conveniently, it also twists two of the classic’s original characters, Edward and Montgomery, into attractive teenage boys.
The Madman’s Daughter, sold as a Gothic thriller, immediately piqued my interest. From its first page– opening in a dreary London whose dank basements have absorbed untold terrors– to its last page– sketching an uncharted island containing one too many unnamed beasts– I have to say that this novel’s setting is extremely well done. My kudos go to Shepherd for verbally illustrating a world that’s not quite scary, per se, but sinister somehow. These nightmares slowly creep up on you, ominous but not entirely present until it’s too late to run from them. Oh sweet disquietude, why must I delight in your torture so?
Had Shepherd chosen to stick to what she does best, her readers would have been infinitely more pleased. Unfortunately, she chooses instead to explore the realm of teenage hormones and lays the romance on hot and heavy. Because that’s all too realistic; had I traveled months to visit a father who abandoned me a decade ago, braved atrocious monsters that should never have seen the light of day, and had to discover an island’s darkest secrets piece by piece, hawt boys would be all I could think about. I don’t even know how I could remain focused on the task at hand, I would be so consumed by my wanton daydreams! Shepherd captures the essence of the adolescent female perfectly. We’re nothing if not frivolous and boy-crazy.
Moreover, it’s not like Juliet’s love interests are dazzlingly irresistible or even mildly attractive. You’ve got Montgomery, the seemingly innocent boy next door who was sort of sweet when he was kid (and therefore inexorably tantalizing to our protagonist) and Edward, who has nothing going for him other than his savage good looks and air of mystery. Juliet met Edward when he, shipwrecked, was picked up by her boat, you see. But that’s teenage girls for you; we just fall hard for everybody who passes our ships on a dinghy.
Regrettably, The Madman’s Daughter‘s intense focus on romance engendered a series of hiatuses in its plot. I’m all for physical displays of attraction, but this “Gothic thriller” ‘s promiscuity affected me in more ways than one. Lulls in the plot just aren’t my thing– especially if they’re caused by pretty girls kissing pretty boys (and doing nothing else).
Nonetheless, Shepherd did redeem herself towards The Madman’s Daughter‘s ending. The last dozen chapters were so unputdownable that I did not see the twists coming in the least. Yes, twists, as in plural, as in two, as in my mind was so excessively blown as to result in many hours of sleep lost (both due to my compulsive reading and my compulsive shouting of “no freaking way!”). The grand finale’s suspense was ramped up to dangerously high, the sluggish plot finally picked up the pace, and small horror after small horror assaulted my willing mind. Furthermore, the execrable love triangle was resolved in a way so utterly satisfying that I did not think it possible. Perhaps Shepherd knows how to write a romance after all.
Don’t let me scare you away from The Madman’s Daughter. Truly, I enjoyed it thoroughly (although I’m not sure if reading it or mocking it was the most fun). I could go so far as to call it a beach read– if you’re the type of person who vacations at abandoned lighthouses, reading ghost stories into the dead of night. 3.99/5 stars.
I’ll keep you posted,
Autumn Rossi thought she was a normal teenager. Suddenly, she can outrun creatures in the forest, making her wonder if she’s even human.
When the new guy at school, Zack de Luca, witnesses a questionable scene, he unfairly pins her as stuck-up. He acts like he hates her, yet he keeps bailing her out of trouble. Not only is Zack insufferable and irresistible, he seems to sniff her anytime he gets close.
As passion flares between them, Autumn isn’t sure which is more dangerous: her psycho ex-boyfriend, or falling for Zack — who’s risking his life just by being near her.
Happy spring break (ish) to all of you students! What better time of year for a beach read? You’ve been searching and searching, but you need search no further: I have the book for you. Veronica Blade’s series debut will no doubt sate your thirst for lighthearted entertainment.
My Wolf’s Bane incorporates all of the ingredients necessary to fluffy reading: new boys at school, magical powers, and psychotic ex boyfriends. Sure, sometimes the romance was a tad exaggerated– think frivolous obsession with an all-too-perfect love interest– but, hey, that’s all part of the enjoyment.
So grab your flip-flops and secure your straw hats, ladies and gents, and get ready for one helluva of a whirlwind romance. Oh, and check out my interview with My Wolf’s Bane one and only protagonist, Autumn Rossi:
ANA: Do you have any future career in mind, or are you just planning on improvising?
AUTUMN: I like doing design stuff. Sometimes, when I’m slaving away for my dad, I’ll do website changes for him or whatever else he needs. I’d like to take a college class or two and get better at it. Design is something I can do from anywhere, so long as I have a laptop– which I do. If I end up running from werewolves, having mobile work will come in handy.
ANA: Ah yes; I love using my laptop. Buying it, though? Not so much. You, however, seem to go on quite a few shopping sprees. What’s your style like?
AUTUMN: Obviously, I try to stay stylish, but the limited allowance my parents give me forces me to be creative. Like browsing the sale racks to help me stretchy my dollars. Choosing neutral colours, so I can mix and match. I’m still a fashionista, just a practical one.
ANA: I feel your pain! Unfortunately, I blow all of my cash on books. I know that you’re not much of a reader, but what’s your favourite YA book?
AUTUMN: Oh, I totally read! It’s just that lately, I’ve been distracted by other stuff, like finding out that I have super-human powers, meeting the guy of my dreams and my ex trying to kill me. Things like that make me neglect my to-be-read pile. Grrrrr. As for my favourite YAs? Paranormals rock. Some of my favourites of Shiver and Twilight.
ANA: Yes! Maggie Stiefvater for the win! I loved her Raven Boys! But before I go on a total fan girl monologue, describe yourself in five words.
AUTUMN: Strong-minded. Loyal. Slightly snarky. Stylish. :)
ANA: What’s your personal motto?
AUTUMN: Sometimes, you have to do the right thing, even if it might mean risking your life.
ANA: Speaking of risking your life, you say that Daniel was charming when you first met. I can’t believe that such a whack job could ever be appealing. Care to clarify?
AUTUMN: What can I say? The guy had me fooled. Daniel seemed super sweet at first, I swear. He used to ask me what I wanted for lunch, then wait in line and buy it for me. Whenever my car broke down– which was way to often– he’d drive me to and from school. And you know how guys can be gross with the lewd gestures and stuff? Well, Daniel always told them off. Of course, now I know it was all an act to reel me in. And as far as our first date goes, he didn’t really ask me out. It was more like, “Yeah, a bunch of us are going to Bill’s Bean and Brew. Need a ride there?” Classy, right? Not.
ANA: Well, good luck with that. I hope that you can get that asshole out of your life. Do you have any clue as to what the future holds?
AUTUMN: Well, I can’t see the future but I can tell you that I just found a birth certificate with a different last name for me. And the parents listed… Well, they’re names I don’t recognize. Zack and I are thinking about going on a road trip to the hospital where I think I was born, which’ll be awkward since our relationship is still so new and we’re going through some rough times right now. And then there’s the whole hotel room dilemma. One bed or two? And, OMG, Gina is a total bitch! Do you know she framed me for cheating? If the principal contacts my parents, I’m so screwed. Plus, there’s this new werewolf in town and I’m just gonna say that he scares the HELL out of me. Veronica Blade will tell you all about what’s happening with Zack and me in Wolves at the Door, releasing summer 2013. See you then!
A big thanks goes to Crush Publishing for making this possible!
I’ll keep you posted,
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
Paper is everywhere. From your mindless schoolwork to your petty job to the two-dimensional people and the two-dimensional places that satisfy them, we are living in a paper world. Thin, pliable, and easily stained, paper isn’t all bad. But to people like Margo Roth Speigelman, ‘not all bad’ will not suffice. Commitment to a higher calling abandons paper in search of something more.
Margo Roth Spiegelman has found that something more. Quentin Jacobsen, however, has not. John Green’s Paper Towns is about a boy in search of the truth– and in search of a girl who rocked his world and fled shortly thereafter.
What is youth? As a teenager, I guess that I should know. But John Green could tell you better than anyone: sweet revenge, breaking high school records and last-minute road trips with only four bathroom breaks. It’s separating your idea of people from the people themselves, wearing absolutely nothing under your graduation robes and accepting your colleagues for who they are. Introspection. Rebellion. Goodbyes. Friendship.
I cannot fathom how Green managed to incorporate all of these elements into one novel–and a short one at that–but I don’t care. It rang true, effortlessly mirroring typical teenage banter and infinitely impacting readers in a way that they will remember for the rest of their lives, or at the very least the rest of their teenage years. It is one thing to write philosophy, and it is another thing entirely to write for young adults. Green managed both while exploring the very essence of growing up.
Although I must say that Paper Towns‘ metaphysical soliloquies changed my life (or the way I view it, anyway), my favourite part the novel was honestly the nerdy characters. Any teenage girl will solemnly tell you that badass guys are fantastic, but on behalf of all self-proclaimed nerds I can attest to real-life dorks being one step above them all. Nothing beats nerdy boys swapping witty– and geeky– comments and casually quoting T.S. Eliot in everyday conversation. Don’t believe me? Just see for yourself.
Despite being the only one of us who owned the game, I wasn’t very good at Resurrection. As I watched them tramp through a ghoul-infested space station, Ben said, “Goblin, Radar, goblin.”
“I see him. Come here you little bastard,” Ben said, the controller twisting in his hand. “Daddy’s gonna put you on a sailboat across the River Styx.”
“Did you just use Greek mythology to talk trash?” I asked.
Radar laughed. Ben started pummeling buttons, shouting, “Eat it, goblin! Eat it like Zeus ate Metis!”
Expertly, Green’s characters also possess a commendable reality/relatability factor. Regardless of some of them being unwittingly held up on pedals before being stripped to the core, I was able to grow with them throughout the novel. A wonderful supporting cast pulls through once again in the most unlikely ways, and I daresay that I was wowed.
Perhaps it’s the quirkiness of Paper Towns that makes it an overall likable novel. (Awkward teenage boy narrators, their geeky friends, and the frequent use of the term ‘honneybunny’ tend to make for a quirky book.) Characteristic of John Green, this kooky style is a favourite of mine: ironic life truths spoken parallel to chuckle-inducing one-liners never fail to charm.
If Paper Towns began with a bang (and it did), it ended with fireworks. And not the gorgeous, awe-inspiring, typical fireworks that everyone and their dog love to admire, but the whimsical and understated fireworks that no one dares to showcase. This resolution was bittersweet: no hope, no love, no glory, no happy ending. Just truth. I loved it.
This novel is for you if you like nerdy jokes, old-school mysteries, references to old music and even older poetry and prose, and awkward romances between celestial beauties and socially clumsy beasts. I can safely say that John Green will be on my auto-buy list for a long time to come. 4.6/5 stars.
I’ll keep you posted,
I wrote this review for school, so this review may sound a little staged. My apologies.
On the bright side, this project has led me to one of my new life passions: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A modern twist on a favourite classic, I present to you a vlog starring your one and only Elizabeth Bennet.
Elizabeth Bennet is best described as playfully impertinent: outspoken, but honest, and critical of frivolousness. Despite her mother’s intentions and despite her century’s fashion, Elizabeth is determined to marry for nothing other than affection. No economic advancement will sate her thirst for true love. She’s a little ahead of her time.
Moreover, to her mother’s great displeasure, our Lizzie is dreadfully obstinate. For example, when her simpleton of a cousin proposed to her, Elizabeth refused him despite her mother’s threats of disownment. She even rejected Mr. Darcy when he proposed to her for the first time, saying “I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” Harsh, much? At the time, of course, I considered Darcy to be somewhat of an asshole, and so I rejoiced in this refusal.
Darcy is not an asshole. I learned this the hard way. But excuse me for being offended on Elizabeth’s behalf when he calls her ugly the first time they meet. And then later on, when he realizes that she’s not, in fact, as devastatingly grotesque as he first thought, he declares that “He really believed, that weren’t if for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.”. Well, by all means, Mr. Darcy. You should definitely pursue Elizabeth, then! Looks are all that matter in a relationship!
Nonetheless, you must not be fooled by this pride and prejudice. Despite his many flaws, Darcy is really a hopeless romantic at heart. When he first admits to Elizabeth his feelings for her, he says “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”. Swoon.
Darcy’s flaws are what make him real. They’re what make him human. They’re what make Pride and Prejudice something more than just a shallow, idealistic romance novel.
This book was actually originally entitled First Impression, and rightfully so. When you meet someone for the first time, you judge them. It’s a human default, if you will. However, this judgment is not objective. It’s based on your opinion of yourself and your opinion of the rest of the world: pride and prejudice. When Darcy and Elizabeth meet for the first time at a ball, Darcy deems Lizzie ugly and refuses to dance with her. What the reader must understand is that this is a natural reaction; Darcy stems from a family of an incredibly high class, so what’s some poor girl to him? As for Elizabeth, she declares that Darcy is conceited beyond all salvation and vows to hate him forevermore. For a large part of the novel, she even refuses to see any good in Darcy because she’s so offended about their first meeting.
This is just one of the novel’s many examples that demonstrate the undercurrents of pride and prejudice in society.
To return to Pride and Prejudice’s most prevalent theme, marriage plays a huge role in this novel. From its ironic first sentence, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Austen, page 1), to Mrs. Bennet’s thinly veiled representation of the theme of marriage, to the overbearingly nuptial focus of the plot, I think that I had a marriage overdose. Even when I finally understood the implications of living in the early nineteenth century, I dismissed all passages pertaining to the theme of marriage as frivolous and rolled my eyes through about two thirds of my reading.
At one point, however, Lizzie was talking to a haughty, proud and prejudiced character who was trying to separate the couple due to the social chasm between them. Elizabeth’s response was “He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal.”.
And then, finally, it hit me: Austen’s going on and on about marriage is really her means of social criticism. The theme of marriage is actually the theme of society’s injustice in disguise. In Austen’s chauvinist world, men and women were never equal; women had to marry in order to survive. Her grim portrayal of her society in Pride and Prejudice reflects that and condemns it. She does this not only through one-liners throughout the novel and the scolding of stereotypical theme advancing characters, but through the ultimate irony: Mr. Darcy makes ten thousand pounds a year, which is our equivalent of a millionaire. In defying her society’s expectations and marrying the man whom she loves, Elizabeth hit the jackpot.
Finally, I absolutely recommend Pride and Prejudice. Its characters and their romances will not fail to charm, its setting will most likely induce a reality check, and its themes will blow your mind. Moreover, you can enjoy this novel on many levels, be it thoughtless romance or profound criticism of early nineteenth century society. And, if not, you always have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I’ll keep you posted,
Happy Tuesday! (Almost) every Tuesday at around this time, I participate in The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday weekly meme. This week’s theme is Top 1o favourite romances, in honour of Valentine’s day, of course. And I have to tell you that I’ve come out of this whole thing enlightened. The truth is, I’m not really a romance person. I’ve managed to find five romances that really tickle me pink, so… let’s just pretend that they count for two this week, shall we? Anyway, I’m listing in no particular order:
Oh, and just one more shout-out. My absolute favourite fictitious couple is Rick O’Connell and Evelyn. Oh yes, I’m a Mummy fan. And proud.
PS: The awesome images are from these sources:
Happy Valentine’s day!
Happy Tuesday! (Almost) Every Tuesday at around this time, I participate in The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday weekly meme. This week’s theme is Top 1o most frustrating characters ever, and I have to say that it was hard to narrow it down. However, I managed, and I’m listing in no particular order:
I’ll keep you posted,
Whew! This month has just been dragging along. Long time, no reviews. High school exams are so not my idea of fun. The good news? I won’t have to deal with them again until June. The bad news? This semester I’m taking two language classes, so I’ll have less time for pleasure reading. Total downer. At least non-pleasure reading involves a few classics, and those are always interesting. I’ve just begun Pride and Prejudice, and let me tell you that I did not expect Darcy to be as catty as a teenage girl. Tall, dark, and handsome, sure, but that doesn’t make up for everything else.
But on to Burn for Burn. I wish that I could tell you that Han and Vivian’s first collaboration was a smoking hot read, but alas, it isn’t so. Sure, it got fiery, but as blazing as its title would lead you to believe? I don’t think so. Let’s, however, start this review on a positive note.
First things first: I love Jar Island. Forget elaborate settings, there is nothing better than revenge in a small town. Made up of beaches, independent restaurants and only one high school, Jar Island is practically the definition of picturesque. And the best part? There’s no escape. The only way to the mainland is by ferry. Does this handy feature ever make for some entertaining situations…
Nonetheless, Jar Island isn’t quite as lovely as it first seems. Its charming character entails a few unfortunate back stories. Lillia, for instance, had an action-packed summer. She’s just hoping that her little sister won’t be as adventurous as she was. Kat has been the hot topic of the rumor mill one too many times, and is ready to let her ex-BFF take that spotlight. Mary has just moved back to town, ready for the first time in years to confront the ghosts of her past. Each one of these ladies has been burned, and they’re ready to repay the favor. And, boy, if hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, than you can only imagine the terror wreaked by three such women whose resources are pooled. I’ll tell you one thing: it’s not pretty.
Burn for Burn‘s narration varies, featuring these three protagonists’ points of view in different chapters. This isn’t as confusing as you might think, though, and I have to say that I very much appreciated this element of the novel. Their unique voices and different perspectives showcased different dimensions of each character. Moreover, their staggering flashbacks, which revealed their every little secret bit by bit, were extremely well done. These definitely kept the suspense high and the pages turning.
My final aftertaste of this novel is actually something haunting. I’m surprised by how well it captured the desperate attempts to attain popularity, the cruelty of the popular, the betrayal dispatched in order to better reputations, the loss of friendship, the loss of innocence and the loss of priorities that plague students everywhere. If nothing else does, this component of Burn for Burn merits recognition.
Despite my high praise, I have a few issues with this novel, the first of which being its ending. And what an ending that was. Emotional? Yes. Unforeseen? Yes. Satisfying? Absolutely not! To be fair, I guess that I came into this whole thing blind. I had no idea that Burn for Burn was the debut of a trilogy when I picked it up, so you can imagine my shock when I flipped to the last page and found a total of zero resolutions. Had it been another hundred or so pages longer and thus transformed into a standalone, my quench for an overall good read would have been assuaged. But as it stands, I’m more than a little surprised; I’m downright aghast. There is a fine line between cliffhanger and ending-less. Suffice it to say that Han and Vivian have crossed that line.
I was once again astounded when I came across the hint of something paranormal towards the end of Burn for Burn. Apparently, when it comes to the unexpected, these author just won’t give us readers a break. As much as I admire their attempts at originality, sometimes simplicity is key. This is one of those times. A good, cold plate of revenge is exactly what I wanted– no more, no less. Again, if Burn for Burn had been a standalone and perhaps lost this paranormal element, I would have been a much happier camper.
Finally, Burn for Burn merits 3.1/5 stars. I recommend this one to those of you who have been burned before, need something unexpected in your lives, and enjoy unhealthy doses of suspense.As for the sequel, my interest is piqued, but my guards are up.
I’ll keep you posted,