Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Roar by Cora Carmack

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

Welcome to the YA Frozen retelling!!!!!!!!! Where Elsa doesn’t have a sister… but there’s a guy who says she looks like his dead sister, so of course he wants to fuck her.


I would like to add Roar to the list of books that have shot themselves in the foot with ridiculous ending, right next to Everything Everything. And also in the list of stupid names where America Singer lives, because who the fuck would call herself Roar????

To be honest what called to me was the summary, you have Aurora the Princess of a magical Kingdom where powerful sentient storms wreak havoc. As a royal, Aurora should be able to kill these storms just like her mother the Queen does and protect the Kingdom (although to be honest they just seem to be protecting only the city surrounding the castle, what about the rest? Or is that all the Kingdom? That small patch of land?) but Aurora is completely magic-free. In order to protect her Kingdom she’s marrying a vicious and powerful Prince from another land, resigning herself as nothing more than a decorative figure without power. But when she meets a stormhunter who claims he didn’t have magic before, Aurora realizes that just because she wasn’t born with magic, doesn’t mean that she can’t make a destiny for herself.

I am a sucker for stories about character who work their butts off. I’m serious, I absolutely hate reading about special characters that are born incredibly powerful (who are usually idiots who “don’t want to have powers!!!11!!! and only want to live a normal life *shudders*) but haven’t done anything to earn it. I don’t buy it, I mean they didn’t do anything for that power, they didn’t fight or even trained for it they just woke up one morning and BOOM specialist snowflake to ever flake. It’s one of my pet peeves, I mean DO SHIT PEOPLE, earn your motherfucking praise.

So yeah, I was excited about this book because from the Blurb Aurora didn’t seem so bad. Most YA Princess whine and complain with this sort of shit, but the girl knew that the Kingdom needed someone to protect them from the storms so if she couldn’t do it, the best she could do was marry someone who could, that was basically her only choice. So maybe she wasn’t thrilled about it, but she was determined to carry it through for the sake of her Kingdom and I liked that. I liked her.

At least that is, until we meet the Oh So Terrible Prince:

Moments later Cassius Locke melted out of the shadows, looking more like a villain than a prince—dressed all in black with dark hair and eyes to match.

The second this smooth-talking drool-wiping sexy motherfucker appears, I knew I was fucked. Or more precisely, the book was fucked but I was fucked because I knew the book was not I thought it would be. We wouldn’t get a cool heroine trying to find her own destiny, instead we would get a beautiful, blushing, flimsy and idiotic heroine who would get flutters in her chest and heat in her lady parts whenever the love interest were around. A girl who wouldn’t go out to chase her own destiny but that would turn out to be THE MOST POWERFUL STORM MAGIC GURL IN ALLLLL THE MOTHERFUCKING WORLD. 

Aurora is beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful, YA bullshit-beautiful. She’s also fierce and determined! Until the guys appear and she becomes a blabbering idiot. To be fair, I always blame this behaviour to the lack of sex education in YA worlds. For some reason, and even in fantasy girls always have to be virgins and pure, why is that? Let the girl have some lovers, or at least a masturbatory guide for dummies and I swear they won’t blush and get “tingling” feelings every time they look at someone hot. Poor girls are horny, just let them be!

Let’s talk about Cassius, Love interest Number 1 (out of 3):.He is the perfect amalgamation of Kylo Ren and Hans from Frozen. You don’t even need to picture him, I made this just for you guys:


He’s is COLD. He is CRUEL. He was raised in a court of lies and manipulation, with a horrible family that only cares about POWER. He’s UNFEELING, he only wants freedom from his family, power of his own so he marries Aurora. He is a CAT and she a BIRD and he will not-

“You don’t deserve someone like me,” he said... “But you are mine all the same.”

Ehhh fall in love with her? *sigh* damn idiot. 

So bachelor number 1 is the cold prince, who of course will immediately fall in love with Aurora’s purity, because everybody here are fucking idiots. The minute he lies eyes on her he lusts, he “can’t help himself” teasing her and touching her and throwing her over his shoulder and do a lot of stupid shit.
He’s quickly gone though.

Bachelor Number 2 is even worse, if you can imagine, and that is because the fucker has the NERVE to think himself a nice guy? Locke definitely has a saviour complex, to the point where he goes as far as hurting Aurora to then save her.

I’m not even going to make a joke about him, everything from his narrative disturbed me. He sees Aurora as his dead sister, and still his dick gets hard when she blushes or shows her vulnerability (I’m paraphrasing here, though it’s not exactly a stretch). He forces Aurora to “let him help her” which means bossing her around for her own sake and marking her as his territory to protect her. Everything about him disgusted me, and it doesn’t get any better. What little character development Aurora goes through is hindered by this guy and the fact that she finds his behaviour not only acceptable but romantic and heroic.

And it sucks even more because Aurora, after discovering that the evil prince was evil (I still don’t get why that was a surprise for her, she even knew he was evil before he flirted with her) Aurora says that what she wanted the most was to belong to herself, not so much to her Mother and the Court, but to be her own person and now she’s stuck with evil prince who uses her for power.

She had hoped that when all was said and done, she could finally belong to herself

So Aurora flees a life trapped to an evil Prince that controls her, only to fall to the hands of Locke who also controls her…


I can’t say I would recommend this book to anybody, I know that many people loved it so if you think this is your thing go for it! It just wasn’t mine.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

“Please don’t. Please. I can’t lose anyone else to this stupid turn.”

Then I understand what I was going to do, and what it would have done to Wallace, and I start to cry too.

Yeah sure, don’t kill yourself because it would make your boyfriend, the guy who drove you to this horrible point in your life, feel bad. Yeah let’s make this suicide attempt all about him because it’s very fucking healthy and not at all disturbing.


Eliza and Her Monsters is a book that should have appealed to me. It deals with anxiety, depression, fandom and suicide attempts all things I know so very well. And yet here I come with my two star rating, once again the only one in a sea of thousands who loved this book. Why is that?

My issue with this book was that it as shallow. Little thought and research was put into the very things this book is praised for: the representation of mental illness and the cool fandom/webcomic aspect. 

The book begins slow, with Eliza and her life orbiting around her webcomic Monstrous Sea and not much else, then she meets a shy guy who turns out to be a famous fanfic writer of her comic and romance begins. Up until 70% the story was dull, being familiar with fandoms, fanfics and the like I didn’t find anything new or entertaining in the book and got bored. But then Eliza’s secret identity is revealed and we get a really dumb, Hannah Montana situation in which everybody now knows about Eliza being famous and it’s chaos.

I found the revelation to be dumb, maybe things are different in the US but I was imagining something like that happening here and honestly, nobody would have given a fuck about Eliza being LadyConstellation so the whole drama that accompanied it was ridiculously over the top, like a Disney after school especial.

Then we get to the part where her boyfriend gets a book deal to put Monstrous Sea into book format, with Eliza’s “permission” but they only want to do it once the comic is finished. Boyfriend gets pissed because Eliza is having a mental breakdown and a writer’s block to boot, so he starts yelling about how she has a perfect life and can pay for college after she has worked her ass off for years making the comic, so she should just draw a shitty ending so he can make money by ripping off her original work… and then gets more pissed when she says she can’t do it.

Things get better with her family, she connects with her brothers and parents a bit more and starts enjoying things she used to hate because she was so consumed with Monstrous Sea. She starts to be a bit happier and healthier, until she visits Wallace and he just HAS to tell her how ANGRY he is at her, because now that she’s feeling like shit she ruined his life by not letting him make money off her hard work.


But then, after Eliza thinks and decides against committing suicide, Wallace has to show up, angry again, because if Eliza killed herself he would feel guilty and that’s how Eliza realizes that suicide is not the way!!!!!

The fucking end

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

”We need to get that girl into project Leda so she can clone herself; that way she’ll be able to do all this press stuff and still have time for us.”



*in disbelief*Project Leda? Seriously??? If you're going to use an Orphan Black reference would it kill you to do it right??

I know I said I wasn’t going to write a review for this book, and I really meant it. BUT after a day of careful and thoughtful reflection (aka mumbling to myself incoherent rants about why this book sucks while my mom looks at me worriedly) I decided that I’M PISSED and I want to rant even though nobody will listen/read me. So here I go.

First, I just want to clarify that I came into this book with high expectations okay? I didn’t read it because I thought I would be pissed or anything, I honestly thought this would be a book I would love! Queens of Geek is about three friends that go to SupaCon and we get to see each of their stories; Charlie is a youtuber and actress that is promoting her first movie, Taylor is her best friend and Tumblr blogger who goes to the convention to meet her favorite author, and Jamie… is Taylor’s love interest… yeah, there wasn’t much of a story for him. So basically is about two girls and their love stories.

I guess I wanted to write this review because Queens of Geek has an average of 4.21 rating from my friends, and when I was (stalking) checking out one star reviews there were only twenty. TWENTY one star ratings in a total of two thousand?? Way to rub in my face that I’m in the 1% of people who didn’t absolutely worship a book… again. How is that possible? Really!

Not to say that Queens of Geek is a horrible book, I honestly loved the beginning and I thought it was going to be a great book. I identified with Taylor the most, the way she described being with people, how she got overload with noises and images… I sometimes had to put the book down because I was overwhelming myself. 

The book tries to tackle issues about bisexuality, the autism spectrum, misogyny, etc and I would generally love that except… it was so fucking unnatural.

The best way to describe this book would be “soulless combination of random Tumblr posts” and there really is no other way to describe it. The author tries to take these important themes and talk about them but she does them in a very shallow and inconsequential way that it was impossible for me to take it seriously. She just writes very basic stuff that ANYBODY should know by now, doesn’t add a plot and basically brings over the same subjects without giving them any depth over and over again. 
At first I thought it was cool, I mean I love to read about this stuff but after it gets repeated forty times with no changes, no anecdotes and nothing to learn from the characters (other than bully is bad, really obvious shit). I just have to say it, Charlie and Taylor weren’t characters on their own, they were caricatures, cardboard copies of Tumblr stereotypes that somehow made it on a book and we are supposed to be happy about it *throws confetti*

After the fifty percent mark everything started to annoy me, and it didn’t help that all the fandom references were either wrong or incredibly cliché (way to be more Tumblr and mention Destiel, seriously). There were so many things that the author got wrong not just about the fandoms but about how Youtube works (Are you really going to tell me that a massively popular geeky lesbian youtuber is surprised that trolls exist? People are shit, especially in youtube in real life trolls would make up half of her comment section IF not more).

I didn’t found Queens of Geek to be enlightening, refreshing or liberating. For me this book was nothing but a bunch of overused cardboard stereotypes that tried to teach me basic shit I already know (seriously, I mean is there anybody who read this book and discovered something new? I feel like if I had read it when I was a teen and was totally clueless it might have helped, but the soulless writing would have surely put me off even then).

In the end, I know I’m on the minority here guys so if you wanted to read this book before you read my review don’t let me discourage you from it. I’m just a grumpy old lady ina twenty-two year old body.

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan


Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders. 

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace--but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes...

The Warprize



It’s hard to write reviews for books that I like. I don’t know why that is but although I’m perfectly capable of describing my thoughts when I don’t like something, if I have to talk about why I did like a book I just… go blank. So just a heads up, this review will most likely be short.

When I decided I wanted to review books based on their tropes, I started with enemies to lovers because that’s one of my favorites. However, I knew from the beginning that sometimes it wouldn’t be much fun because this trope can easily be turned into “girl falls in love with abusive douchebag” and that’s it. This is basically what happened with my first read, The Queen of All that Dies so I was a bit reluctant to start a new book fearing it would be the same again.

Warprize (luckily for me) is pretty much everything I like about the “enemies to lovers” trope. Don’t get me wrong, the book is not perfect, but it does present a nice relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. It also has some interesting concepts about cultures merging which… admittedly could have been dealt with better but it wasn’t horrible.

So, long story short; Lara is the princess of a conquered Kingdom. Their enemy’s warlord requests as part of the peace agreement for Lara to be his warprize. Unbeknown to her, her half-brother and King (and little shit) has already agreed to this without her consent, so Lara faces the choice of running away thus breaking the King’s promise and angering the Warlord (who is known to attack those Kingdoms that break their agreement) or go with the Firelanders, leave her life as a healer behind and live as a slave. Lara choses to be his warprize, though obviously not very happily.

What I really liked about the relationship between Lara and Kier was how respectful it was, especially considering how different their customs and their peoples’ were. Lara is obviously terrified, but Keir never tries to force himself or his ideas on her. When he sees she doesn’t want to be touched he immediately stops, never asks why or tries to convince her otherwise. When he learns that she’s “untouched” aka a virgin, unlike women in his culture who have sex way before they decide to bond with someone (if they decide they even want to) he again doesn’t try to convince her that it’s wrong, or weird or anything, he simply nods and doesn’t ask questions. 

This was something I loved because it showed a lot about Keir and his people. They are not conquerers, killing and taking territories for their own gain. They are people who want to learn from others, they want to merge their culture, learn all they can without imposing on them and thus be stronger. Lara is surprised at first and she compares it with her own culture, she’s confused because she was told she was basically sold as a sex slave to a monster and yet the guy is completely respecting, understanding and demands nothing of her. I liked seeing the comparisons between both people, though I did have a few issues with Lara. Her culture is obviously more closeted and unlike the Firelanders in their desire to learn from others, and that showed on Lara. I liked that she tried her best not to judge, to be open minded but she was just so… righteous. As a healer she is convinced that she should try her hardest so that her patients survive, but even when they don’t want to. The Firelanders have a different outlook on this and Lara never overcame the idea that she was right and they were wrong on giving their friends honorable deaths.

Another thing that sometimes confused me about Lara was that her characterization could be a bit flimsy. One minute she’s a slave terrified of even going outside her tent out of fear because she wasn’t told she could, the next she’s yelling at people, bossing them around and saying she’ll kill them if they don’t help the injured which… I get she wants to give the men medical care but how do you go from being afraid to step out of line to telling people what to do? She would go back and forth between these two moods and it was confusing, to say the least.

At one point I was afraid that the book would go with the “dark-skinned-agressor” trope with the Firelanders, but fortunately that never happened!

To sum up, Warprize is a nice love story with a very respectful male lead and some interesting ideas on cultures-clashing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Problem With Diverse Books

When reading books you tend to notice a trend, especially when you read a lot of them. This is not just about Young Adult books or even contained in a single genre; whatever it is you read you’ll notice that in everything fiction the characters tend to follow a pattern, people are white, straight and able-bodied.

Of course this is not all that there is in literature, and of course we know the world is not solely composed of white, straight and able-bodied people but that is not what we see reflected in books. Since this is a Young Adult blog though, and my experience is greater here, I’m going to speak about them.

About 70% of book characters targeted to this audience are white and roughly 12% are non-human, leaving a very small percentage left for people of color.

Resultado de imagen para how many white people are there in children's books

As someone who reads primarily YA, I can tell you this percentage shows and a lot. When I first began reading this genre (roughly nine years ago) every book I could get my hands on, and I mean literally any book for Young Adults, had white characters. Most of these books were written by North American or British authors. I am from Argentina, but back then (and even nowadays) books in this genre written by national authors were not many and were practically unheard of, so I read primarily foreign books by foreign people with foreign characters.

I read about girls with pale, ivory skin, skinny, with little curves and unblemished skin. Basically, I read about anything BUT what I looked like. I wasn’t dumb, I knew the books didn’t represent the entire world, and yet at my thirteen years it changed the way I looked at myself, even if I didn’t realized how or why. I started to dislike my dark skin, trying to find sunblockers that would help me bleach the color because I believe paler was better. I disliked my brown eyes and begged my mom for green contacts for months (she didn’t give in to my pleas), and I hated everything curvy about myself.

Now, this does not mean that this is what every kid goes through, please don’t believe that. This is my own personal experience marked by my own insecurities when I was a tween. What I want to show with this is what I read about those books did mark me.

Whenever people talk about how “Books are just books!” They are forgetting something very important; people don’t watch movies or read books and expect for dragons to come to life, or magic to happen but what we see does shape the way we see the world.
If all we read about is a certain stereotype of what people are, what they are supposed to be, then even if we don’t want to it will shape a little bit of our view of the world. It’s simply impossible not to be influenced by it.

This is why diversity in books is so important. Because the world is not filled with only one kind of people and it’s important that we see it all.

As an avid YA reader, I have to admit that I am tired of reading the same.fricking.thing over and over again. Anybody who says that diverse books are not important is an idiot. I am perfectly serious, this is not on discussion, this is not a matter of opinion. Diversity in books is ESSENCIAL same as a plot, a narrative and fricking words. Nobody can argue this, and if you want get the fuck out of my blog.

Now, however, there is a catch. HA! Yeah, there’s always a catch you should know by now.
In the last couple of years the publishing industry has given us more and more diverse reads, which is fucking awesome. Still, eighty percent of books are by white authors featuring white characters so we are not there yet, but it is fantastic that things are changing.

But despite this wonderful trend in the publishing industry there is a problem with diverse books, and that problem is advertising. What I mean with this that more and more books are advertised as being “diverse” as a way to draw readers in, using the diversity card to get praised but not really offering much as way of story.

Basically what I have seen the most is this (and I’m paraphrasing based on different books):
“This book is great! It has an Asian MC, it features a Mexican boy in a wheelchair and an asexual black boy!”

And I see that and think, that’s great! I love it!... But what about the story? What about the plot or even the characters’ personalities? Because when you try to answer those questions the book falls short. We have books advertised as wonderfully diverse but with a poor plot, flat characters and boring writing (to name a few things).

Of course I am not saying this happens with ALL diverse books, but it’s a trend I’m seeing more and more and it’s troubling because most of these books not only use the diversity card to try and set themselves apart, but often enough their wonderfully diverse narratives can be awfully offensive (I am having terrible luck right now and can’t seem to find a book with a bisexual character that doesn’t fall into the “slutty bisexual” trope).

What I want to say with this post is not that people should stop reading diverse books, or advertising them as such. I just want to complain on those books that are using diversity as a way to make readers praise them for doing the BARE MINIMUM when in reality they are not even giving the characters and story any effort, they are just using them for attention.

I can’t say this is simple, because I am well aware of the fact that many people use the excuse of the “diversity card” to attack books for its inclusive themes (as in “this book is crap, it’s only popular because it’s ‘diverse’”). So please know that when I write this I am in no way trying to dissuade anybody from reading, writing or promoting a diverse book! I am only trying to speak out against those people who try to use diversity as a tool to sell more books, not even caring what stories you write.

This is something that has also been happening with established series. In an attempt to ponder to masses as well as cover up for claims of racism, authors introduce characters “different” from their usual white-hetero mold and make a big fuss about it. The best examples I can think of are Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass/ A Court of Thorns and Roses series) and Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen quartet).

I am tired of authors announcing, as if it were this huge accomplishment that “Well yes readers! After years of nonsensical and boring hetero-nonsense I give to you ONE gay character/POC/etc!” and then stay still and wait for the shower of glorious applause to rain on them as if it were some huge fucking sacrifice (yes I am looking at you Sarah J. Maas! *glares*).

As a final note, all I have to say is: diverse books are not just important but essential. Write them, advertise them, read them, love them BUT don’t write diversity expecting applause. If he only thing your story has in its favor is that it’s “diverse” then you are not doing anybody any favors. 

And I Darken by Kristen White

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Rating:  3,5 Stars

“A dragon did not crawl on its belly in front of its enemies, begging for their help. A dragon did not vow to rid the world of infidels, and then invite them into its home. A dragon did not flee its land in the middle of the night like a criminal.

A dragon burned everything around herself until it was purified in ash.”

And I Darken is not what I would call a typical Young Adult book, at least character wise. 
I myself am a huge character-oriented person, that is I focus on the characters and their stories and if I can’t find them interesting (bear in mind that interesting is not the same as likeable to me) then the book is pretty much lost and won’t grab my attention. For me, characters are the ones who make the stories and I loved And I Darken because its characters, and the relationships between them were so twisted and complex that I enjoyed almost every second of it. However this is not a perfect book, there were times when I wanted to stop reading, when I grew bored and annoyed and there were certain aspects of it that can be quite problematic, so I’ll talk about it more in-depth.

The Story:

And I Darken is a retelling of the historical figure Vlad the Impaler but as a girl. We see her grow up as a vicious child in love with her homeland Wallachia, side by side with her best and only friend Bogdan as well as her complicated relationship with her younger brother, Radu. We see her admiration for her father until he betrays her and Radu, leaving them as bargaining chips in the hands of the Ottoman empire.

It’s in this empire where most of the story happens. Lada grows up bitter and resenting everything around, wishing for nothing more than being back in her home Wallachia. Radu, always being beaten and ignored by his family grows to be an influential and charismatic man favored by the Sultan himself.

The book is mostly about the growing up, their sibling relationship and their friendship and love for Mehmed, the Sultan’s third son in line for the throne.

The story can grow boring sometimes, and for me what really killed it was the love story. It wasn’t terrible per se, but without it the book would have been much better and this comes from someone who always wants a bit of romance in her books to keep me entertained.

The Characters:

This is where the book excels at, the characters, their friendships and betrayals are what make this story worth reading.

Lada: She is the main character and daughter of Vlad Dracul, the military governor of Transylvania and vavoide of Wallachia. She grew up seeking her father’s approval, always trying to compensate for being born a girl which made her father think less of her, despite Lada seeing nothing wrong with it. 
When her best friend is sold as a Janissary and her father, after breaking an oath to the Ottoman empire (previously breaking another Oath to the Pope when he swore to get rid of infidels) he leaves Lada and Radu to be held as ransom should he misbehave. Knowing full-well that her father will most likely break his promise once again and have them killed, Lada feels betrayed and swears to forget him, looking for a way to return to Wallachia safely with Radu.

Lada is not the sweetest main character, I can tell you that. If you have read another review by me, you’ll probably know that I’m always complaining about characters being assholes, so why you must be wondering, did I like Lada? Well, because she was the most fantastic asshole here. I hate it when a book tells you over and over how “good” someone is, how nice and perfect and worthy a character is when the narration tells you the exact opposite. Lada’s ruthlessness was not sugar-coated, she was brutal, vicious and no excuses were giving for it.

“If you are too weak to stand being hit and too stupid to avoid it, then you deserve more pain.”

Lada is someone who wants to be her own person, she wants to have power on her own and not to be tied to anyone. As the novel progresses, Lada sees how different women handle situations and how they react to power.
In the harem she’ll meet Halima, a happy and beautiful girl that is thrilled to be the Sultan’s wife. Lada is struck between wanting to hate her for being a happy slave and wishing her to be happy in her ignorance and contentment. Another wife is Mara, who Lada can relate more to. Mara is the daughter of the Serbian King, and her sacrifice in becoming the Sultan’s wife let her Kingdom be safe from the Ottoman’s attack.
Mara and Lada’s conversations were fascinating, and I really wished we had seen more of that. Lada is convinced that she doesn’t want to be just a bargain chip to keep her Wallachia safe, she wants to have power to protect it without sacrificing herself. But Mara makes a good argument, in a game of power you always have to sacrifice something and she suggest Lada makes her peace with that.

Despite how interesting I found Lada, I have to admit that borderline admiration I felt towards her and her determination diminished when the romance with Mehmed began. 
On the one hand, I can’t exactly fault her for wanting to be happy, to find something to keep despair at bay. But I just hated how petty and jealous she became of the women in Mehmed’s harem. 

Perhaps I had wanted to read more in Lada than what she really was, but through the first half of the book she was looking forward to getting to know women, maybe even befriend them (though after Bogdan she was squeamish about having other friends). When she met Halmia and Mara she tried to make them aware of their position as powerless slaves because she thought it would help them and they could regain the freedom they wanted, realizing later that what she wants and what other people desire are not the same thing.
But still, she tried. And it made me angry how she became towards the women she now considered her enemies.

When she saw Sitti Hatun at the head of the table-tiny and perfect, and perfectly miserable-Lada nearly laughed. Her rival was diminished, unworthy of even scorn.

I mean, Mehmed’s wife was a girl forced to marry him and after the union she had no power or respect for herself. I would have expected Lada to feel at least a bit of kindredship with the girl, since Lada hated marriage for that very same reason, because she was afraid of power being taken from her.

Lada could only understand that marriage was evil.
Sometimes she imagined a shadowy figure standing at a stone altar. She would hold up her hand, and he would take everything she ad for himself. She burned with hatred at the very idea of that man, waiting to make her crawl.

But Lada spent most of her time being jealous and petty toward these women, and I hated that.
Every time the harem business would come into play I wanted to roll my eyes at her, I thought she was better than that.

Radu: He is Lada’s younger brother, and her complete opposite. Radu is kind, sweet and utterly helpless, at least as a little boy. He was shy and fearful, and his siblings made him cry for sport, so his memories of Wallachia are not exactly fond.
As a child, Radu loved his sister more than anything but as they reach the heart of the Ottoman empire things start to change.

“..If anyone is going to kill you, it will be me. Understand?"
Radu nodded, snuggling into her shoulder. "Will you protect me?
"Until the day I kill you." She jabbed a finger into his side, where he was most ticklish, and he squealed with pained laughter.”

Lada ignores him and lets him be beaten, alone and scared Radu finds solace in the Islamic religion and soon his charismatic personality make him popular and beloved, having more power than Lada ever did in Wallachia.

Mehmed: He is Lada and Radu’s friend and love interest… and my least favorite character. I don’t know exactly how to explain what it is I disliked about him but, you know when there are two girls fighting over a guy and you think to yourself “Why are those two amazing girls fighting over that idiot?” well, that’s kind of what I felt for Mehmed.

Radu’s love for Mehmed is clearly forbidden and accentuated by the fact that Mehmed only sees him as a friend, while he loves Lada. 

I for one, wasn’t fan of the romance. I liked Lada and Radu’s relationship and their developing personalities too much to be focusing on the romance that I didn’t really cared about.

Historical Inaccuracy:

I have come across several reviews pointing out the inconsistencies in this book and the real history behind Vlad the Impaler. When it comes to retellings I never know what to say; what is right to change and what not? Kristen White clarifies in her author’s note that she has taken great liberties not only with the characters (obviously changing Vlad to Lada is the major one) but also with timelines, fights and so on. However, many reviewers have mention how certain things such as the forced conversions and many other brutalities carried by the Ottoman empire were ignored, and when we are talking not about fantasy retellings but about real history, what is okay to write about and what not?

I have zero knowledge of Rumania’s history so I won’t talk about it, but I suggest you guys check out reviews that have delved deeper into this. Some of the ones I read:

Teavious' review

Brindusa' review

Overall, And I Darken is an interesting book with fascinating characters but not perfect. I suggest you guys try it and see for yourself!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

"General William, Lady Meira-“
Lady. My nose curls, the title rubbing up my spine. That had better not stick-I’m not sure I want to be a lady.


Snow Like Ashes… how to explain this book? You know, I’ve wanted to read this since it first came out? It was years ago and I was a different reader back then, but for some reason I always thought this would be a book that I would love. SO I’m on winter break, I have time on my hands and say “Why don’t I try this book once and for all?” I had heard it wasn’t great, people who knew me thought this wouldn’t be a story I would enjoy but I was SO CURIOUS! Aaaand in the mood for a bit of a silly read so I thought, why not?


Oh boy… rarely does a book manage to hit every.single.motherfucking.annoying trope so badly that makes me want to reach through the pages and strangle everybody as I laugh maniacally.

I know that I complain a lot in my reviews and… well, in my everyday life too. BUT despite all the tropes and all the clichés what bothers me the most is not a love triangle, nor is it instalove (though those things do annoy me), but my greatest weakness and what will absolutely make me hate a book is stupidity.

Snow Like Ashes was special to me because it completed a perfect trifecta of:

1.Stupid main character.
2.Stupid world building.
3.Stupid writing.

You might be wondering how is this possible, and I have to admit as I was reading I wondered the same thing. Why, why would someone do this? But it’s done, and it’s time to rant about it.

Buckle the fuck up my friends. We are about to start.

The Story and World-Building:

The world (although I don’t think it’s the entire world because Meira mentioned other Kingdoms? But then never again?) is divided in eight Kingdoms: Four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn and four Rhytms… which are not really explained.

Each Kingdom’s ruler has a Conduit, that is a trinket infused with magic from a giant ball underneath the ground that allows them and their heirs to use magic and help their Kingdom. For reasons not fully explained, the magic ball underneath the ground knows how to differentiate between gender (and makes a big deal out of it because certain Kingdom’s Conduits can be used only by female Heirs, others only by males) and the Conduits affect only the people of their own Kingdom… but it’s not explained what happens when royals marry people from other Kingdoms?

In the book, someone from a Rhytm Kingdom marries Autumn providing a heir that can use the Autumn’s conduct (a girl), but the girl’s magic will only affect the people living in Autumn? And how does the magic know who are the people who belong to that Kingdom? So nobody from any other place has come into any other Kingdom and started a family? Do you have to be born there for the magic to affect you, or do you have to be a descendant of the people living in those Kingdoms when the Conduits were made and the magic sealed??

So many questions! I can go on all day, but I’ll get back on track.

Turns out that the King of Spring is crazy and looking for world domination… because power, I guess. So sixteen years ago he attacked Winter, killed Queen Hannah, broke her conduit and slaved all of her people.

In the present day, Meira is an orphan girl (and if you have read YA before you should know that that makes her special)and one of the eight survivors of the twenty-five people who were able to escape Winter when Spring attacked. She’s in love with her best friend and King of Winter, Mather, who can’t even use his mother’s broken Conduit because he’s a boy.

The book is pretty much Meira complaining and throwing temper tantrums, realizing she’s throwing tantrums, and then doing it again when she gets bored. Oh, and there’s an unimportant love triangle and war going on.

There were so many things in the world-building that don’t make sense! First Meira says how the Winter Kingdom was made of a thousand people. Only a thousand! How can you possibly have a kingdom with only a thousand people? What about the military?? But then Meira gets documents on the number of slaves at Spring concentration camps and it’s roughly the same number so… I don’t get it.

Not to mention that as only eight refugees and none of them with magic, they really don’t have a chance.

if so, how will we defeat Spring, a kingdom steeped in magically induced strength, when all we have are eight refugees and a pretty necklace?


Seriously, the only reason they might win is because deux-ex-fucking-machina. At one point, Sir lies to Meira and sells her hand in marriage to the Prince of a Rhytm court, Cordell, under the promise that they would give her a proper title once Winter was back on its feet, and in exchange Mather would let this King have access to his lands to see if he could find the magic ball of light underneath to get more power.
BUT… it really makes no sense? I mean, they are only eight people with no army or magic, if Cordell’s King wanted access to Winter’s lands he could just walk in and do whatever he wanted. Assuming of course that Spring didn’t see him because EVUL king wanted the same magic.

The marriage plot is only an excuse so Meira stops obsessing about Mather’s beautiful face and instead starts fixating on Prince’s Theron’s corded muscles and sweaty abs.


The Characters:

HA HA HA HA *cracks knuckles* okay here we go.

Meira, Meira, Meira… oh what an annoying, spoiled, perfect snowflake you were! I have to admit it was funny seeing this girl that was clearly written by a modern woman with little understanding of feminism, trying to be spunky and dishing out “wisdom” about being her own woman free of man, when in reality she was a dumb, selfish girl that only ever accomplished something because the author forced circumstances to make it so.

It was strange, because there times when Meira realized what she was doing.

I have been so selfish, haven’t I? Selfish and narrowminded and wrong, because I wanted to matter to Winter, but in my own way. Within my own set parameters that would also fit who I wanted to be.

But then she did it again???

Right at the beginning of the story Meira is explaining how she’s training with Matter (her crush, best friend and King) and how he can easily kick her ass because she’s not very good at fighting. She complains about how she wants to do more for Winter other than staying behind camp, but understands why it is that Sir (the leader) doesn’t let her go into dangerous missions until she can at least stand her own in a fight (which she certainly can’t do). Seems reasonable, right? Until she starts saying stupid things like:

[…] and me, the perpetually intraining orphan girl (who, despite six years of sparring practice, still “isn’t good enough” to be trusted with the important assignments.)

And then she spends pages and pages moaning about how everybody takes her for granted and how she can do more… when in reality she can’t??? Bitch, you just said you were totally useless in a fight and you’re wondering why it is that grownups don’t trust you, an emotionally unstable and totally useless teenage girl, to carry on top secret missions???

This was something that kept happening. Meira would do something stupid, realize it was dumb and then DO SOMETHING MORE IDIOTIC!

For instance, when she got engaged to the Prince against her will she was clearly mad. Hell, I would have been shocked too, specially because nobody told her (and that was a really dumb decision made to shock readers. Sir could have easily told him that he was planning to get her married with the Prince because it was their only chance at saving Winter, instead she had to find it out by the Prince herself when they were courting).

Meira goes through several stages:

(I am) Just someone who gets bounced around in whatever position needs to be filled, used and used like a candle on a moonless night until I burn away into a puddle of compliance and obedience.

Bear in mind that this was pretty much the second time they had asked something of her, and the first time she begged and cried until she was given the assignment (which she fucked up until the author magically fixed it). She’s such an exaggerated dumbass.

And then:

I instantly hate myself for thinking that.
Other Winterians suffer enslavement while I’m engaged to the Crown Prince of Cordell-someone bring out the sympathy parade, poor Meira is engaged to a handsome Prince.
My life could be worse. Much worse.

So, for nearly a moment Meira is alright with the wedding. I mean sure, she’ll complain every breathing second about how she hates being a lady and all feminine stuff and blah, blah,blah.
But everything is relatively well… until she learns that the King set the date for the wedding in two weeks-time.

Meria, knowing that the wedding is the only possibility to help her people (stupid I know, because Cordell’s King could easily take the Kingdom from these eight useless people) and even though she had made her peace with it, TWO FUCKING WEEKS IS NOT GOOD FOR MEIRA Y’ALL!


Suddenly she gets FUCKING INSANE and starts screaming at everybody at how she won’t be tamed by these men who are trying to control her life as an independent capable woman, dammit! (let’s ignore the fact that she’s none of those things).

I may be trapped in this arrangement , but that does not mean I’ve become Noam’s future queen-shaped slave.


I’m so tired of Noam and Herod and Sir and Angra and all these arrogant, puppet-aster menwho hold all the strings and refuse to give them up.

So, after refusing to speak to anybody who is trying to explain what’s happening. She decides that the smartest course of action is to go SCREAMING LIKE A FUCKING MANIAC to the King’s chambers and bang on his door demanding… what? I mean, if his own son couldn’t convince him to change the date what the fuck does she expect to do? And why the fuck does it matter if they’re getting married in two weeks?? Seriously, the Prince has better marriage offers she should be happy they are getting the deal at all.But the King is an idiot, of course, and left the door open and that’s how Meira finds out that the greedy and very obviously devious King of Cordell is actually betraying them to get access to the giant ball of magic!... Exactly as everybody had predicted…

And then when Meira finds out she’s surprised because… well, she knew he had been using them but not so “ruthlessly”? Ugh God, trying to understand her way of thinking is making me stupider (and I wasn’t very smart to begin with, shit).

As for the plot twist regarding her character (view spoiler)

The love triangle and the two love interest won’t get much from me. Usually with love triangles I tend to choose the guy that comes later (if you have the girl in love with her best friend and a new guy appear I usually like the new one DON’T ASK ME WHY cuz I don’t know), but here? I honestly couldn’t choose any because it was like choosing between two pieces of cardboard. 

Do you want cardboard number 1? Or cardboard number 2? I DON’T KNOW, IT’S FUCKING CARDBOARD THERE’S NO PERSONALITY.

Meira has been in love with Mather, Winter’s heir ever since she was a child. The second Theron, Cordell’s Prince appears though? She couldn’t care less about her childhood friend and I have no interest in seeing hoe the love triangle ends.

The Writing:

I mentioned earlier that the writing in this book was stupid but… what exactly did I mean by that? I have to admit I’m not someone who pays much attention to the writing style unless it annoys me or is particularly beautiful. Here though? The writing was full of inconsistencies and odd phrases that made little sense.

A moment, Meira had her wrists tied and she was awkwardly thrown on a horse with another rider. The next scene she managed to cut her bindings but suddenly she had her own horse, and she was galloping away with the necklace (what she had tried to steal and had been captured for). Not only did the horse appeared out of nowhere, but who the heck puts the stolen item in the same horse as the thief??? Probably the same people who didn’t check to see if she had any knifes on her *sigh*


Both servants are only a few years older than me, dressed with plain but simple dresses made of cloth in Cordell’s hunter green.

Plain but simple???


Finn and I leap, dropping facefirst off the balcony and into the cool night.

If you’re on a balcony and want to safely get on the ground… you don’t throw yourself face-first as if you were diving into a f*ckingf pool??? But I guess it was a magical balcony, because first the building was two stories high, then as they were falling it was like six… so yeah… magic.

And then of course, we have all the typical clichés which I will only mention because I’m bored already:

-Orphan MC
-love Triangle
-Girl doesn’t like feminine stuff
-Girl has make up on and is suddenly beautiful as she gazes at herself in the mirror
-Mentor and father figure dying without revealing the truth
-Rape threats to the MC.
-I mean TONS of rape threats.
-Magic was INSIDE HER all along!!!!!!1!!!11
-Etc, etc.

In the end Snow Like Ashes definitely wasn’t for me. It was a bad combination of awkward writing, annoying characters and painfully predictable plot. Read at your own risk!