“I’m not like other girls”: Why it’s not a good thing

IsImage result for i'm not like other girls there any sentence that’s more jarring in a novel than“I’m not like other girls”? As soon as I read it, my thoughts go something like this:

  1. Mmm-hmm. You definitely know what all other girls are like, right?
  2. Well, that’s kind of true. No two people are alike. Everyone’s unique.
  3. Really Author, you couldn’t figure out a subtler way to let your readers know the protagonist is a special snowflake?

This is a sentiment which can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Unfortunately, when authors lack a shred of imagination, it’s stated in this cliched way and it’s usually accompanied by a coy look and a toss of (low-maintenance, but glossy) hair.

At the risk of sounding like an angry, ranting feminist, I must say that this one sentence ignores all the progress third-wave feminism has made. It implies the “other girls” are shallow, mercenary, clinging women who worship at the altar of consumerism and lipstick. They’re the ones who can’t be bothered to look past the reputation (whether notoriety or fame) of the love interest to see the “man”.

Third wave feminism is all about choice. You are no less of a woman if you decide you would rather wear jeans than skirts. At the same time, if you want to be a housewife—it doesn’t make you anti-feminist. The phrase “I’m not like the other girls” makes the girl whose not like the “others” one in a million. She’s the last bastion of feminity in a world where every girl falls prey to quick judgement, ambition and boy-crazy mania. Our main character is the perfect girl (a.k.a. “manic pixie dream girl”). She can be a paragon of virtue, hang with the dudes and fight against evil—all without sweating or breaking a nail.

I sound bitter. I can’t help it because I hate it when authors (or people in general) try to make one woman look good by bashing others. You have no business praising someone if the only way you can do it is by insulting everyone else. That’s not a compliment; it’s just billions of insults.

If I see this line, I usually close the book after finishing the page. In fact I can think of only one unique instance I didn’t. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the book but it was a romance novel where a male character told the female protagonist “You’re not like the other girls” to praise her for not being shallow. The female character parries by saying something along the lines of “Well, clearly you’ve been hanging out with the wrong people.”
Well said.

For those of you who’ve considered using this sentence, please don’t. At least this way you can ensure you’re different in one important way.

Running Barefoot: A Book Reivew

“Like a shoe that has lost its mate is never worn again, I had lost my matching part and didn’t know how to run barefoot.”

Book: Running Barefoot
Author: Amy Harmon

Running Barefoot

Blurb:

When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy, crashes headlong into new kid Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music, and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young mentor behind. Many years go by, and Samuel returns to find his old friend in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go.

Deeply romantic and poignant, ‘Running Barefoot’ is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind us to our homes and families, and the love that gives us wings.

My thoughts:

I don’t know why this book surprised me. I mean Making Faces by Amy Harmon was fabulous. But Running Barefoot blew that book out of the water. I expected high-quality from Amy Harmon, but she outdid herself with the profoundity, the beauty and the romance in this book.

Josie (despite her rather horrible name) is a precocious child and a beautiful woman.  She shoulders a stunning amount of responsibility for a 13 year old after her mother dies. But at times, you’re reminded how young she is- her naivete and her self-consciousness. She’s deeply passionate about music- and that makes her pretty relatable. I think this quote is a good example of how Josie’s eloquence and maturity meshes with her age.

Sometimes I think if I could just SEE without my eyes, the way I FEEL without my hands, I would be able to HEAR the music. I don’t use my hands to feel love or joy or heartache – but I still feel them all the same. My eyes let me see incredibly beautiful things, but sometimes I think that what I SEE gets in the way of what’s…what’s just beyond the beauty. Almost like the beauty I can SEE is just a very lovely curtain, distracting me from what’s on the other side…and if I just knew how to push that curtain aside, there the music would be

Samuel as a teenager is the cliched dramatic, angry (maybe for a reason) guy. But he has his own depths and is surprisingly receptive when josie shares  Classic Literature and Music with him. And perhaps the fact that he’s willing to form a deep friendship with a girl whose 5 years younger than him is the biggest indicator of his inherent sweetness.

“Your song…that is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

As always, Amy Harmon handles the topic of romance sensitively. I’ll be honest, when I heard that there was going to be a 5 year gap between the MC’s (and they’d be teenagers for a good portion of the book)- I was majorly squicked out. I don’t know why I was worried. For a good portion of the book, Josie crushes on Samuel. But it’s one of those mature crushes where you know you can intensely trust someone instead of something physical. First and foremost, Josie and Samuel are friends.
The romance comes later.

If I had a complaint about this book- it’s the Navajo myths. Though they were beautifully retold and emphasized just how proud Samuel was of his heritage, I felt that they detracted from the main story, from Josie’s and Samuel’s story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It moved me with it’s beautiful writing and simple, honest characters. I’ve reread this book twice and I cried each time.

If  you’re looking for a quiet, profound and beautiful romance; If you’re looking for a good story; If you’re looking for something that will move you- this is the book for you.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Six of Crows: A Book Review

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”

Book: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Blurb:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

My thoughts:

I knew this was going to be awesome.  But I failed to aniticipate exactly how awesome this was going to be….

Initially I was a bit skeptical about the multiple POV’s (We all know how often that turns out well-never).
6 characters? I was afraid I was going to have to take notes to remember who was who. I even got all prepared with a notebook and a pen.  Turns out it was unnecessary. Totally unnecessary.

All 6 characters had very distinct personalities with very different voices and backgrounds. Not once did I confuse Jesper (the sharp-shooter) with Kaz (the master-thief). Nina (the ex-soldier) was very different from Ingrid (the ex-prostitute).

I might go as far as to say: Six of Crows is the best multiple POV book I’ve seen. Part of it is the names. Very diverse names which make it clear the characters come from seperate countries.  I mean, obviously there were some people who’s point of view I was looking forward to (Oh My God! Ingrid! and Kaz!). But there was no one I wanted to skip over and I count that a huge success.

The characters in this book are so screwed up, I’m lost for words.  Despite that (or maybe because of it), I related with them so well. I know, I know- wouldn’t it be hard to relate to a compulsive gambler, an ex-prostitute, a member of a rebel army, a traitor, a con-man and a rich boy who ran away from home? (Hint: The answer is no.) In fact they were so unique, I did not expect them to work so well together. I expected rivalries, tension, arguments, fist-fights- and those did happen. But some very strong, realistic bonds of friendship evolved. 

Favorite character? Hands-down, it has to be Ingrid. She was a powerful character who packs a punch. With a nickname like Wraith, an affinity for parkour and skill with knives- admit it, you expected a cocky bitch.

She was the Wraith-the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.

And maybe she would have been an awesome as a cocky bitch, but I loved her for her vulnerability. Kidnapped by slavers, forced into prostitution -and still she is so strong. If you provoke her, she will probably cut you into tiny pieces. but at the same time, she’s extremely  and just wholesomely good (if you can be that while stabbing someone in the chest). 

Characters I crush on? Kaz just moved to the top of my list. In real life, he would probably drive me to tears of frusturation with the way he holds his cards close to his chest (also, he’s a bastard- and takes pride in calling himself that). But as a book character, his intensity appealed to me. 

“He’d broken his leg dropping down from the rooftop. The bone didn’t set right, and he’d limped ever after. So he’d found himself a Fabrikator and had his cane made. It became a declaration. There was no part of him that was no broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.”

His reckless ability to stay three steps ahead of everyone else was…sexy.

If we’re still talking about romance, know that I am on the fence with MatthiasXNina.  Very violent, very intense love affair. Breathlessly passionate one moment and vengeful the next. They hate each other’s people and sometimes they hate the fact that they love each other.  I think this sums it up:

“And what did you do, Matthias? What did you do to me in you dreams?”
“Everything,” he said, as he turned to go, “Everything.”

I thought I would dislike Jesper and Wayne. Turns out that’s impossible.

Wylan drew himself up. “I may not have had your … education, but I’m sure I know plenty of words that you don’t.”
“Also the proper way to fold a napkin and dance a minuet. Oh, and you can play the flute. Marketable skills, merchling. Marketable skills.”
“No one dances the minuet any more,” grumbled Wylan.

This book is dark. The writing is poetic.  It’s character-centric. It has a heist! Honestly, the worst thing about this book is that it’s sequel, Empire of Crows, comes out next year.
September 22nd 2016. I’ve already marked my calendar.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Quotables:

“Shame holds more value than coin ever can.”

“We are all someone’s monster.”

When they took everything from you, you found a way to make something from nothing.

She wouldn’t wish love on anyone. It was the guest you welcomed and then couldn’t be rid of.

“I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.

 

Jojo Moyes: Maybe She Writes for Young Adults Too.

Here’s to a bloody brilliant British author who, with her gaining popularity might actually be able to convince those Americans across the pond that their cousins aren’t really all crisp accents, 5 O’clock teas and prim and proper (admit it fellow star spangled banner-ers: you heard it as prop-uh in your head).
And how does she do that? With her mind-blowing honest-feeling, sweet  and believable books, of course!

I know I usually stick to YA books and Jojo Moyes is traditionally considered an adult romance writer, but I think that Jojo Moyes books are something that YA fans would appreciate.
First of all, her characters are believable and natural. Don’t resist sympathising and empathising with the characters- it’s futile. Maybe it’s poor, harassed cleaner and single-mother of two who’s fast losing track of her morals but it still so beautifully hopeful and loving towards her children or the computer geek (turned millionaire), trying hard not to disappoint his military father and whose awful luck with women end with a lawsuit against insider training in One Plus One. Or perhaps it’s the precocious 10  year old girl who desperately wants to go into the water where the marine animals she loves are and is keeping a terrible secret for her mother or the British executive who’s scoping out the land for a watersports hotel (also because he’s having doubts about marriage) but falls in love with the beach, a family of tough women who live there and the whales who migrate there in Silver Moon Bay. It could be the copywriter living in a glass house with a striking painting who’s still half in love with her dead husband or the great painter’s brave wife running a bar and hotel during German occupation during WW2 in the Girl You Left Behind. Whoever it is, you can’t walk away from these books without the characters touching your heart- no your soul. They are just that colourful and vibrant but worn and tired and relatable at the same times.
Second, it deals with moral conundrums that will leave you reeling. Is it okay to steal if you really need it, you know the person won’t miss it and you plan to pay it back? (No.) Can you sleep with a Nazi commander with a strange fascination with art to save your husband from a camp? (Yes, if that’s what you believe). At what point do you choose your personal convictions and moral beliefs over your job? (When you know that something that will haunt you forever if you don’t do what you believe in). Non-preachy and thought provoking- most YA novels wish they did the whole problem-solving thing this well.

Third, she does great side-by-side comparisons of the characters. It’s not a common plot device, but Jojo Moyes often tells two love stories in parallel: one historical and one contemporary, with a common thread linking the two stories together like family, a letter or a painting. It’s whimsical and beautiful, and the juxtaposition really highlights the differences. However, at the same time it shows that human character and things like love, friendship, family, loss and change remain the same- no matter the time period. And that may be the most brilliant thing of all!

Fourth, Jojo Moyes writes about ‘real’ men. Yes, the teen guys in YA books have chiseled jaws, six packs, brooding countenance and smouldering green eyes, but let’s be honest- how many guys have you seen like that? The guys in Jojo Moye’s books are less perfect and are more beautiful for it. With thinning hair, or slightly thicker abdomens than ideal- the love interests in her book could be anybody you know. They may not look perfect, and they’re not perfect- by any stretch of  the imagination. But the men (for these are men, not boys or guys) are principled, skilled, intelligent and patient with hearts of gold- people you’d want in a long-term relationship.

If I had to start you off with one Jojo Moyes book, I’d suggest the Girl You Left Behind. With half the story set in France during WW2 and the other half set in modern-day New York, it’s about love and loss and belief and art-appreciation. The book absolutely wrecked me, because at times it was so, so, sad. No spoilers, but there was a  HEA ending (It wouldn’t be chick-lit without it).  Read the prequel, Honeymoon in Paris. It showcases a different side to the characters, gives you some backstory that you’ll really appreciate after reading the Girl You Left Behind and will get you attached to the characters.
The Girl You Left Behind

Honeymoon in Paris

If you dislike WW2 stories, read Me Before You. It’s no less hard-hitting or tragic, dealing with life debilitating injuries, hopes, real falling in love, bitter rich men, family and suicides.  It’s one of her best-known books for a reason, you know.

Me Before You

So Rainbow Rowell, Elizabeth Wein and John Green fans looking to move towards books targeted towards older audiences, Jojo Moyes is the author for you. Chick-lit lovers and romance fans, Jojo Moyes is the one you’ve been looking for. Hell, if you’re above the age of 14 and female (I don’t mean to stereotype, but…I don’t know many guys who are into the chick-lit/romance scene).

Quotables:

 “All I can say is that you make me… you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”
– Me Before You

“I was once told by someone wise that writing is perilous as you cannot always guarantee your words will be read in the spirit in which they were written.”
-The Last Letter From Your Lover

“Some mistakes… just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.”
-One Plus One

Hidden Huntress: A Book Review

“Here lay the gateway between worlds, the divide between reality and fantasy. A dream or, depending on who waited, a nightmare.”

Book: Hidden Huntress (Malediction trilogy #2)
Author: Danielle Jensen

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)

Blurb:

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

My thoughts:

Oh! I wanted to like this book so much more. This book was possibly my most anticipated book of 2015, and while it wasn’t bad- it wasn’t spectacularly mind-blowing like the first book, the Stolen Songbird (I love the titles and covers of both).
I think my main problem with the book was that I had built it up to be so much better than it actually was. There was character development with Cecile becoming a little braver and coming into her own and Tristan learning to trust others and eating a bit of humble pie.  But I just wasn’t as invested in their story; I didn’t feel and want for them , since half the time they had no idea what they wanted themselves!
Another thing: the main characters were separated from each other for at least  80%  of the book. I’m sorry, but the Cecile/Tristan magic only works when they’re together. I did like the insights we got into enigmatic and mysterious Tristan’s mind, but I think their characters would have shone a lot brighter if they were near each other. What can I say? They bring out the best in each other.
Also, there was a serious lack of banter. And I love banter.

The side characters were brilliant, but some how Anais, Marc, Chris- I wouldn’t say they faded into the background, they just weren’t instrumental to the plot.

And while we’re talking about plot, let me just say I was pretty disappointed with it. The whole book revolves around figuring out the identity of the witch (Anushka), and I had a pretty good guess from the last book (I was right, by the way). Yes, we got an impressive backstory for her ( I just love it when the villains get awesome backstories), but honestly, I think a novella or a short-story would have showcased her point of view a lot more impressively.

Another disappointment was the setting. Trollus was an enchanting and interesting place I fell in love with the second I started reading about it. I loved the magical concept of the tree, the mines seemed appropriately terrifying and the problem on essentially being trapped under a huge rock seemed very real. I loved the intrigue and the layered secrets of the palace as well as the complex relationships the characters had with each other. Unfortunately, only the last two were present in this book.
Now that Cecile’s back in the real world, her days are filled with balls, the opera and faux-witchery. When she’s not pining away for Tristan, she’s pondering her complicated relationship with her mother or feeling guilty for using her brother. This all combined to somehow seem artificial and contrived, nowhere as moving and honest as her emotions towards Tristan and the Trolls in the previous book. Also, the human world is kinda…boring.
Tristan’s story is set in Trollus, but he barely seems to notice his surroundings, and he honestly has no reason to explore the magnificent place (that he grew up in, so we assume he’s familiar with it). Instead he spends his days plotting to one-up his father, steal the throne and keep Cecile safe- all the while pondering who his greatest enemies and allies are. Honorable objectives, maybe- but it felt a bit much.

I did like this book, but it didn’t meet my expectations; this book suffers from middle-book syndrome. If you’ve read Stolen Songbird, then you have to read this too- but honestly, if you skip it, you wouldn’t miss much in terms of plot. You might miss a couple of awesome (and I mean this in the very real sense of the word) quotes.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Books Like This: Court of Thorns and Roses, Crimson Bound

Quotables:

“I’d admired him, and yes, lusted after him, but then I’d fallen. Fallen for a man who felt too much and took on too much, who believed if only he worked tirelessly and ceaselessly enough, that he could improve the lives of an entire race of people. And I’d had that depth of passion turned on me – seen it in his eyes, felt it in my heart. He loved me, and I loved him. And I’d love him as long as I lived, and if my soul endured, I’d love him for eternity”

“It seems to me, that no matter what we do, no matter what choices we make, there isn’t a happy ending waiting for us at the end of the long road.”
“But that doesn’t mean we give up. It doesn’t mean we stop fighting.”

A Court of Thorns and Roses: A Book Review

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Author: Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

Blurb:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

My thoughts:

I absolute adore the Throne of Glass series. So as soon as I knew that S J Maas was writing another book, it went on my TBR list-no questions asked. It’s another retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast along with a good, old-fashioned dose of village folklore and it’s…beautiful.

I really didn’t like Feyre at the beginning of the book. She just seemed so Mary-Sueish as soon as I found out she was single-handedly taking care of her family and they didn’t even appreciate her. What was even more irritating was the fact that she had taught herself how to hunt and how to patch herself up once she got hurt. Not to mention her over the top distrust and cynicism. Cliche, anyone?

But I forgave Feyre quickly enough once she got over herself. The worldbuilding in this book was absolutely fantastic and so was the writing. Here are a few examples:

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

“I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.”

“You look . . . better than before.”
Was that a compliment? I could have sworn Lucien gave Tamlin an encouraging nod.
“And you hair is . . . clean.”

Elegant and beautiful, isn’t it?

The love interest’s in this book were a hundred times hotter than the ones in the Throne of Glass series. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Tamlin was sweet and considerate at some times, totally feral and dangerous at other. And he was amazing, but really I’m all-like TEAM RHYSAND. If I read things correctly, we’re going to have a love triangle (normally I don’t like those but I’ll make an exception for this series) on our hands in the next book. Join me on Team Rhysand because Rhysand is dark, mysterious, has scarier powers- Oh! And he gets the best dialogues.

So if you liked Throne of Glass, you’re going to love this book. If not, you may like it but definitely not to the same extent. And I feel the need to warn you: this book is targeted to the older side of the YA audience. While you might enjoy it as a 16 year old, I wouldn’t recommend letting your little brother or sister read this book.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

If you like this book, you should read: Cruel Beauty, Throne of Glass


Pearls of Wisdom from the Book:

“Because all the monsters have been let out of their cages tonight, no matter what court they belong to. So I may roam wherever I wish until the dawn.”

A life for a life–but what if the life offered as payment meant losing three others?”

Summer 2015: Books I Plan to Read

Yes, summer has started for me.
And that means temperatures soaring to 40 degrees, a crazy amount of mangoes entering the house, no school and perhaps most importantly, the time to read a bunch of amazing new material.
So here it is. A list of 5 new releases I want  plan to read this summer:

  1. Things We Know By Heart

    Author: Jessi Kirby

    Release Date: April 21

    Things We Know by Heart
    When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

    After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

    Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.


  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses
    (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)

    Author:Sarah J Maas

    Release Date: May 5

    A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
    When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

    As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.


  3. End of Days
    (Penryn and the End of Days #3 or Angelfall #3)

    Author: Susan Ee

    Release Date: May 12

    End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3)
    After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

    When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?


  4. The Wicked Will Rise
    ( Dorothy Must Die #2)

    Author: Danielle Paige

    Release Date: March 31

    The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die, #2)To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die….

    But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn’t wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?


  5. Saint Anything

    Author: Sarah Dessan

    Release Date: May 5 (expexted)

    Saint Anything
    Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

    Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

    The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Juliet Immortal: A Book Review

Book: Juliet Immortal
Author/Authoress: Stacey Kay

Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal, #1)

Cover: 5/5

Plot:4/5

Blurb:

An intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history’s most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.”
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

My Thoughts:

Me? I’m the kind of girl who think’s that the Romeo and Juliet love story is not an epic romance, but an epic case of insanity. At the very beginning of the drama, Romeo is obsessed with a girl named Rosalind but as soon as he sees Juliet, he instantly falls in love with her (and we all know how I feel about instalove). Moving along, Romeo and Juliet get married. I know that people got married early in those days but please keep in mind that these were 14 and 15 year old kids who met and fell in love within 3 days. Crazy, right? If you think that’s bad- I haven’t even started yet. A mere few hours after getting married, Romeo goes ahead and offs Juliet’s cousin (in the name of self defense). But the part that irks me most about this loony story is that both of them commit double suicide. Even worse is that this willingness to kill one’s self for the sake of love is glorified and touted as proof of ‘twu wuv’.  So as soon as I saw this quote in this book, I kind of fell in love.

“Glamorizing death, making dying for love seem the most noble act of all, though nothing could be further from the truth. Taking an innocent life—in a misguided attempt to prove love or for any other reason—is a useless waste.”

 

This was after I realised how much I liked having Romeo and Juliet locked on opposing sides of a war with Juliet protecting young lovers and Romeo in his batshit crazy way, coercing them to kill each other. Like, woah! I really, really liked the idea of Juliet attempting to annihilate Romeo instead of sighing over him.

Characters: 3/5

Juliet had a very clear, unique and easily identifiable voice. She was a seven hundred year old cynic who had died at age fourteen but was stuck inside a  sixteen year old’s body. When you finally wrap your head around all that, you’ll appreciate how hard it had to be for Stacey Jay to portray Juliet. Even though Juliet, as a rule, has a hard time trusting people, for an immortal she shows an unprecedented amount of compassion. Surprisingly, despite the fact she’s beemake even though it made her so jealous.

Romeo…Oh! Romeo was totally and completely crazy. If there was an asylum for immortals, Romeo would have a place. Perhaps the most frightening thing about him was his utter disregard for humans and their ambitions. Or maybe it was the fact that he could lie without telling a lie and then when caught in the act, justify it all. Despite his evil ways, Romeo, like all seductive players, has a charismatic sort of  narcissism. You can kind of see why Juliet fell for him in the first place. Well that and the poetry.

Romance:1/5

Ugh! No to the romance. Ben is a sweet enough character I guess (who would have thought that he had anger issues? but the romance was love at first sight. How could Juliet be stupid enough to think that love at first sight was possible, again? I mean she must have seen where insta-love had gotten her in the first place: With a knife in her back. Literally. So why was she masochistic enough to go and do it all over again?

Ending: 2/5

The ending was as terrible as the romance. It was a quick, abrupt deus ex machina which made no sense at all. The rest of the book was beautiful; why did the ending have to spoil it all.

Plotholes:3/5

The insta-love. And the fact that Juliet’s going thorough the whole fiasco a second time. Enough said.

Overall rating:

At times, this book was beautiful and poignant. I loved the whole new take on the epic Romeo and Juliet romance. I loved the setup of the world. So yeah, this book IS worth reading. 

However, the book has a few flaws- most notably, the instalove. I guess you can’t escape instalove if you want to read YA paranormal romance. <sigh> Pity.

 

 

My Top 5 Young Adult Ships

A huge part of reading young-adult is the romance. And as a young adult, it is impossible not to go through a couple of books without really loving how two characters go together, appreciating their chemistry and just sighing at their combined cuteness. So this is going to be a post on the ships that I love, love, love.

1.) Jonah Griggs and Taylor Markham
Book: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Couple Name: Jaylor? or Tynah? I think I prefer Jaylor (pronounced like ‘jailer’)
Why: There is nothing cuter than this couple; they have so much history. The angst that they share and how they reach out to each other is truly heart-breaking. But what gets this the number one spot on this list? They say the sweetest things.


2.) Will and Lyra

Book: The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Trilogy) by Philip Pullman
Couple Name:  Willyra? Lyrill? Oops. Both of them sound pretty bad. No cute couple names for them; It’s a good thing that both of them have short names.
Why: These two have a very sweet relationships. Both of them are strong, brave, impetuous and beautiful. They would do anything (and they did a lot) to protect each other. The romance never really got far (they were about 12 years old in the books, how far was it supposed to go?) but there was so much possibility and potential. The end of The Amber Spyglass was the saddest, most beautiful ending I have ever read.  Here’s a picture of it.


3.) Magnus and Alec

Series: The Mortal Instruments by Cassendra Clare
Couple Name: Finally a couple with a well-known couple name that actually sounds good. Drumroll please! May I present to you: Malec.
Why: Although this was never the main pairing in the series, it stole all of our hearts anyways. Magnus is a flamboyant glitter-loving warlock while Alec is a tough, closeted and fiercely protective shadowhunter. These two are so much more than the token LGBT characters. They’re well rounded characters who occasionally have problems in their relationship- just like anyone else.


4.) Penryn and Raffe
Series: Angelfall, World After (Penryn and the End of Days) by Susan Ee
Couple Names: Oh God! This couple name was doomed from the beginning. Penryn was named after a highway exit and Raffe sounds suspiciously like ‘raw feet’. So, Penaffe? Renryn? I didn’t think so.
Why: Angelfall is my favourite angel book ever (maybe even my favourite paranormal) and a huge part of it is due to Penryn and Raffe. I loved the witty banter that they kept up throughout the book. I loved that both of them were total badasses (this is more rare than you would think in a paranormal book) who took turns rescuing each other.  I loved their loyalty towards each other and how it sometimes made them do stupidly dangerous things.


5.) Liam and Ruby
Series: The Darkest Minds, Never Fade ( The Darkest Minds) by Alexandra Bracken
Couple Names: Luby? Riam? Okay, I think I prefer Riam. But not by much.
Why: Because the good-guy is seriously under-rated in young adult fiction. Liam was heartbreakingly sweet (even if he was naïve) at sometimes. He was just perfect for Ruby who was seriously traumatised after just escaping a concentration camp where she had been forced to stay for several years. Also, it’s pretty rare in fiction to see such a powerful, strong and self-assured girl . Let me tell you it was refreshing.


Disclaimer: I own none of these pictures. I just…borrowed them. They belong to their respective artists.

5th Wave: Book Review

Book: 5th Wave

Author/Authoress: Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Cover:4/5

It’ pretty, isn’t it? It also fits the book pretty well. In fact, I can imagine several scenes in which the picture on the cover would be appropriate. 4/5 stars for this cover.

Plot:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up

Contrary to what the blurb suggests, this book is not about zombies. Not even close. It’s about aliens. Evil aliens.

For some reason (which is not revealed in this book but which will probably be revealed later), aliens decide to take over the Earth. Not content with simply being considered superior and having humans completely downtrodden, they want to remove all humans from the face of the Earth. And to do so they will go to extreme lengths. Really extreme. By extreme they mean much more than electromagnetic waves which prevent satellites and electricity from working and diseases for which there is no cure. I can’t tell you much more about the plot without give you spoilers. Just let it be known that it’s spooky, creepy and at points nail-bitingly scary. And more full of twists and turns than a road up a mountain.

Characters: 4/5

Cassie: Cassie is an overly-sarcastic and flawed (she knows it too) heroine who made a promise to her dear and departed Dad to keep her brother safe. Except he gets captured by aliens in the disguise of soldiers. So it’s her job to get him back. As soon as you read the first few pages, it’s obvious that she’s deeply paranoid and missing a few marbles here and there. But we can excuse her for that. After all, she has been through a lot. Fans of Katsa (from Graceling) and Penryn (from Angelfall) will probably love this character.

Evan: He’s the love interest. And is a pretty interesting character if I do say so myself.  Just as insane as Cassie and defintiely more dangerous. He saves Cassie’s life (this is debatable). However I really can’t tell you much without giving major spoilers. But since, I want to talk some more about this awesome character, let me give you 3 words: He’s a traitor. Okay that tells you a lot while telling you absolutely nothing. But hopefully, this hint makes you curious enough to read this book.

Ben Parish: This guy carries a whole lot of emotional burden. Ben Parish is driven by a desire for revenge against the aliens who murdered his sister, and his own guilt because he was unable to stop them. He’s crazily loyal and a pretty fierce protector. He would have made an ideal soldier but then he finds out the evil plot. Good for him, not so much for the aliens. Also, for some reason it is impossible to simply refer to him as Ben. Hence he is always known as either Ben Parish or zombie.

Nugget: He’s Cassie’s little brother and is sometimes stupidly naïve and trusting. But he’s only 5 so I guess it’s pretty much justified. I think one thing I envy him for is his blind faith in Cassie and then in Ben. Despite being so young, he’s pretty much able to hold up his own in the team and I found his POV super interesting.

Besides these gems, we also have side characters who are pretty well rounded. We have the emotionally-stunted, Annie-Oakley like Ringer (three guesses why that’s her nickname in the Army) and the brilliant survivor who used to be Cassie’s dad.

Romance:2/5

Okay, the romance in this was pretty bad. For some reason, Cassie has a huge crush on Ben Parish, a guy who she hasn’t seen since the beginning of the end of the world. …we-ird.

Then, if the romance between Cassie and Evan was a pattern of  footsteps, it would be like: one small step, one small step, a huge leap, another leap, run back as fast as possible, stampede forward (the space of four huge, flying leaps). Definitely weird. But if it’s any consolation, there was some chemistry between the two. And it wasn’t just because both of them were kind of crazy and weird.

Dialogue:4/5

This book is extremely quotable. We have the deep, profound stuff like:

“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.”

Cruelty isn’t a personality trait. Cruelty is a habit.”

“How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity

“What doesn’t kill us sharpens us. Hardens us. Schools us. You’re beating plowshares into swords, Vosch. You are remaking us. We are the clay, and you are Michelangelo. And we will be your masterpiece.”

And there’s the badass, honest stuff which somehow just makes you proud to be human:

“But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.”

“You can only call someone crazy if there’s someone else who’s normal. Like good and evil. If everything was good, then nothing would be good.”

“When the moment comes to stop running from your past, to turn around and face the thing you thought you could not face–the moment when your life teeters between giving up and getting up–when that moment comes, and it always comes, if you can’t get up and you can’t give up either, here’s what you do: Crawl.”

And then there were sentences that were humorous in a dark sort of way. Just what you need when you’re in the middle of a book full of the scary and the serious.

“We’d stared into the face of Death, and Death blinked first. You’d think that would make us feel brave and invincible. It didn’t.”
“There’s an old saying about truth setting you free. Don’t buy it. Sometimes the truth slams the cell door shut and throws a thousand bolts.”
“What were they thinking? ‘It’s an alien apocalypse! Quick, grab the beer!”
“I would kill for a cheeseburger. Honestly. If I stumbled across someone eating a cheeseburger, I would kill them for it.”
Plotholes:3/5
The romance= Not good. Other than that, I don’t really have any complaints.
Overall Rating:3.5/5
Freakishly scary in some parts, this is what I had hoped what the Ender’s Game would be like. Anyone who’s a fan of aliens, apocalypses, survival and dystopian need to read this book. Falls in the same category as Ashfall by Mike Mullin, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, Unwind by Neal Shusterman or Angelfall by Susan Ee.