Sunday, November 29, 2015

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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

Rating: 2/5 Stars

I tend to avoid books that deal with depression because I don’t want to be reminded of my own (though the bastard still comes, no matter what I do but hey, I’ll do what I can). But I think they are extremely important for people to understand this crappy disease, and all it entails.

So I went into All The Bright Places expecting to be punched in the gut. I could already see myself nodding along to the story, identifying myself with the characters and what they were going through and yet…

I felt nothing. This book, even though it deals with something that I’m very familiar with did not ring true to me. I couldn’t connect with the characters or the story, and I was honestly a bit bored up until 70% of my reading.

The characters dealing with their depression was nothing like what it was with me in high school. Not to say that it was wrong, I’m just saying it to show how I did not connect with it.

Rather than believing that depression made me more interesting, darker and better than other people like Violet and Finch did, I spent most of my days wondering “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be like everybody else?” I can’t explain what it was like to watch my classmates playing, laughing and making friends. It was so distant to me, their happiness was… strange. I wanted that, I wanted to be with them and be friends with them instead of feeling that way, like everything was too much.

So I couldn’t relate to Violet and Finch, who made depression seem like a quirky little thing to have that made them “special” somehow, that connected them as the only two people who understood each other since everybody at their homes was too busy with each themselves to care about their kids. And it was this treatment that diminished my enjoyment of the book, because every time it tried to bring out the seriousness of the issue, I wouldn’t buy it. Not after romanticizing it as if it were something cool.

Moreover, and this brings the question that I make every time I read about this stuff on books in the US. Is the society really like this?

Violet and Finch were always ignored and ridiculed for having depression. Students were constantly making jokes at school and, even though everybody knew that Finch had suicidal thoughts, nobody gave two craps about it. In fact, at one point in the novel some assholes release a “newspaper” detailing the top ten kids with depression at school (who the hell let that thing get published?) and the authorities did nothing, in fact they seemed to blame the kids that were on the magazine rather than the insensitive idiots who wrote it!

I just don’t buy it, I may not know a great deal about North American culture but I know that more than one parent would have filed a lawsuit against the school, and rightfully so.
It seemed like everybody was against this duo, just to make their situation even crappier. You are telling me there was no other decent person in that town?

I did not appreciate the amount of slut-shaming in this book. Violet is a virgin, and for some deranged reason, she believes that makes her superior to other girls… What is this mentality? And even after Violet has sex herself, she thinks she’s a slut.
 What the hell is a slut, can somebody tell me? Because I fail to see how having fun without hurting anybody makes you worthy of such a disgusting insult.

However, there were many great things about this book, little ideas here and there that I could identify with, like feeling guilty over having those thoughts, as if it were their fault but mostly, and despite All The Bright Places dealing with something close to me, I thought it’s only strength laid in the fact that it was a book about depression and suicide, albeit it dealt with it rather lightly.

Now, I know that depression is different for everybody and I’m not going to say “This book isn’t about depression!” Simply because I didn’t identify with it, a lot of people have and will, and that’s amazing! But I was looking forward to somethig different, and I often felt like the author was romanticizing a disease to make the main characters seem “cooler”.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

I... I don't know what happened.

I loved Poison Study, and when I read about Touch of Power I was in love.
I mean a story by an author that I loved with that amazing premise?? Bring it!

But as soon as I began reading, I knew that there was something off about the story. We meet the main character yes, and we are told about her story, how she's a healer but has to hide it or she'll be executed... But it was all so rushed! The writing style was simple, there was no depth, no passion in it.

It felt a little like reading My Immortal.

Right off the bat, Avry heals a dying little girl and because she's consumed by the desease she can't run away and hide, so she's caught by the law inforcement after the girl's parents rat her out.

The monologue is so infantile I can't even form a coherent review!!!

When the girl's father confronts her, you know what he says?

"I don't care that you saved my daughter. You are a healer and you deserve to die." Like, what??

And Avry is like "Yeah I know, I totally deserve it!" *Hides face for being such a monster*

By chapter two, she's already rescued and the plot develops with no subtlety or grace, it's like the action starts there and then… that's it.

I didn't like it. At all. Avry wasn't a character, I don't know what the hell she was, a machine that nodded, felt sorry for herself and was for some unexplained reason super in love with a guy that hated her and who would rather she died instead of his friends?

No, no, NO.

Terrible, that's all I'll right about it. I'm gonna pretend this book never existed.

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.” 

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would have to be unnecessary.

Probably because I don’t think annoying as hell would count as one word, so I’m sticking with that.

The Winner’s Crime suffers from what I call “The middle book Syndrome” and that is the second book in a trilogy that adds little to the overall plot, and it’s clearly a set up for the third and last instalment.

The problem with this is, even if you write a book and want the majority of the action to happen in the third instalment, that’s perfectly fine! But in this sequel, the actual story happens in about twenty pages, and the rest is filled with absurd drama, forced tension and predictable plots that weren’t even exciting to read about.

I’m sounding a bit hard here, but can you blame me after banging my head against the wall during the entire read?

The story starts shortly after the end of The Winner’s Curse with Kestrel at court, after she accepted the engagement to Valora’s crown prince to save Arin and his people. We see her navigate her way through the palace and her conflicted relationship to the King, who see her as the cunning heir his son could never be.

I still love the author's capacity to make me believe in this world. There were elements in it that I ahd to think twice on whether they existed or not, because she managed to execute them so naturally that it made me believe it!

I liked Kestrel’s relationship to the King, at first. It was compelling to read how much the two of them seemed to resemble each other, both cunning and ruthless. Here we started to see another side of Kestrel, not so much the innocent girl she had been in the first book as she is forced to make hard decision after hard decision.

Perhaps my problem was that, for all the efforts the author put into making Kestrel a smart and decisive character, she fell flat. You know all those hard decisions she had to make? Well, they were a result of her own stupidity, and it was painful to see her try and fix the mistakes she made while not realizing she had been the one who had gotten herself into that situation.

Instead of being smart and work from the shadows, Kestrel makes it very clear that she is against the King and working with Arin as she works as a “spy” for his Kingdom. Sure, she tried to disguise herself as a “secret” informant for Arin through his friend, but the only one who was fooled was Arin himself. I cringed reading about how “cleverly” she allegedly hid herself and lied to her friends, when it was very clear that those excuses were far-fetched, and that her friends and companions were picking up on the not-so-subtle clues she left behind.

Her relationship with Arin was annoying in the sequel, unlike how exciting and fun it had been in The Winner’s Crime. Their interactions consisted of Kestrel pushing Arin away, Arin not believing her and desperately trying to make her confess she loved him, but when he started to let go, Kestrel would despair and try and win him back, telling him that everything she did, she did it for him, though not wanting to explain what she was doing “because of reasons”.

No no no, I hate that. Really, this book should have been twenty pages long, because that’s the time the real plot takes, the rest is Arin and Kestrel going back and forth in an annoying dance that none could win.

Besides, Arin guesses why it is that Kestrel is behaving this way and confronts her about it at the very beginning. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just go “Well shit, yeah dude you’ve got me there. I really do love you and I’m doing this to protect you and your people.”

But instead she just tell him that, despite having been completely in love with him in book 1, she suddenly fell out of love and is doing the very same thing she said she didn’t want to do, to marry the prince. How does that make sense?? It doesn’t.

These two should have sat down, had a long conversation and settle this matter straight away. Then everybody would have been happy!

Arin was, by far, the most annoying thing in this book. He was more than willing to damn everything for Kestrel, even though she begged him to think of his people and what his actions would cause.
He wasn’t thinking about what he would cause if he kept chasing Kestrel, what that would mean for his people and the fragile peace they now had with Valoria. He just wanted Kestrel, like a spoiled child who fancied a shiny toy. Screw the rest!

The end was the cherry on the cake for his character. Although I will admit that it was interesting how the tables turned, I now do not care for him. I do not want him to succeed in any way, just… go.
I loved the prince, he was clearly smarter than Kestrel and his father, and I really wished Kestrel had listened to him. Everything could have worked out just fine if she had.

Overall, the only thing that made the reading worth it for me was the ending, now I just want to get to the end and see how everything plays out!!!!! But, and I know I’m in the minority here, I don’t want Kestrel to end up with Arin. As much as I felt for him in the first book, he transformed himself into an idiot in this sequel, and I really believe that this girl deserves better.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself. 

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

“She’d never break a vow to the Gods to save her own skin, but Nalia would sell out the entire jinn race in order to rescue her brother.”

Exquisite Captive is pretty much everything you would expect from a book titled “Exquisite Captive”, we have skin described as food, an abusive romantic relationship between a slave and her master, an abusive relationship between a slave and her rescuer, and an idiot MC.
Ok, the last one is not so predictable but it’s still there.

Nalia is a Ghan Asouri, the last of the most powerful of the Jinn races. This kind, only female, was believed to be Gods’ descendants thanks to their connection with all four elements, air, fire, earth and water instead of just one like the other Jinn races. They ruled over the Jinns with an iron fist, until they all rebelled against them and Nalia, a guard back then, managed to escape but was later captured and put inside a bottle, forced to obey the master that bought her, Malek.

First I’m going to say what I did like about this book before I get into the negative stuff:

  • I liked the writing style of the author, it was a bit purple-prose yes, but it helped set the mood for this fantasy tale.
  • The world-building was fantastic, I could picture perfectly and I loved the background the author provided for this world, it really showed that she had put a lot of thought into it.
  • I liked how the author said that Nalia had experimented sexually with other girls. It was natural (especially considering how all girls lived together) and, although the author didn’t go into too many details it’s something that most writers tend to avoid, so I’m glad she showed it!

Now, onto the problems:


As far as plot goes, well I’m still not sure what that was. Nalia wants to escape her sadistic and beautiful master, Malek (because bad guys must always be hot, otherwise his behaviour would be automatically catalogued as creepy, instead of sexy) and get back to her homeland so she can rescue her brother from a life as a slave.
The problem is, to be free Malek has to make his third wish or die. He won’t do the first and, thanks to a wish he forced from Nalia, he can’t do the second either. So that leaves Nalia with only one choice, help Raif the leader of the revolution that killed her kind.

Probably one of the major problems with the plot is that it doesn’t show itself up to 30% of the book, and after that nothing really happens. We end the book pretty much the same way we started it, with a few changes here and there.

Exquisite Captive focus too much on the romance, a sin most YA books commit these days. No that there is anything wrong with romance, but when it starts out of nowhere and it leaves only a few sentences for the real action it overpowers the plot. Mostly Nalia spent her days missing her homeland, being scared/confused to Malek and her attraction to him, being pissed off/attracted to Raif and telling us constantly how she was the Ghan Asouri, the most powerful of the Jinn races, but never living up to her words because she always had to be rescued by some guy.

The lack of consistency:

At first we are told that Ghan Asouris can be born from other of their kind (Nalia’s mother was one as well) or they could be born randomly in other Jinn races. When identified by their eye color, violet, they are taken away and trained with the rest.

So I just don’t understand why Nalia being the only Ghan Asouri left meant that it was the end of the race! Couldn’t just more of them be born into other families like it had been happening since the beginning of time???

The author completely ignores this!

At the beginning of the book, Nalia said just how close she was with her “sisters”, how they understood each other and were a family she dearly missed. Then she goes on and tell us how this new friend she has on Earth is probably the only real friend she has ever had, because she was “different” from the other Ghan Asouri (she was against violence and shit, even though at the beginning she said she loved it) so she kept to herself. And THEN she tells us how her only real friend had been another Jinn back in her homeland.

Make up your fricken mind!

The Characters:
I’m the sort of person who focuses a lot in character. The plot could be fine and the writing decent, but if the characters are dull or annoying that will kill a book for me. Something of the sort happened here.


Aggg, Nalia! You could have been amazing, gurl! I was excited to see her character play out. As a Ghan Asouri, Nalia had been part of the oppressing regime, instead of being the one who rebelled against it. It was a nice change, because this time the man character was “the bad guy”.
Unfortunately, her character fell flat. We were remained again and again how she was so powerful and she shouldn’t be overpowered by someone lower than her, and yet she spent all of her time having her ass kicked by lower Jinns and even humans!
Moreover, the author didn’t seem to settle on what Nalia was supposed to be. Was she a fierce warrior, ready to take revenge on those who murdered her family? Or was she someone who hated to make other people suffer, even if they had hurt her? Was she a dictator, believing to be oppressing as the right thing? Or was she the only “good” Ghan Asouri, the one who realized what they were doing was wrong?

It was like the author wanted for Nalia to be strong, but not too strong so that she wouldn’t need a guy to come and rescue her. She wanted the girl to be different, but not different to the point where she had an interesting personality. Nalia was only so powerful in the past so that Raif, one of the love interest, would have a reason for hating her (because it’s sooo romantic when a guy hates your guts!) but not too bad so that there couldn’t be romance between them. Meh.

I got bored, Nalia started as a vindictive woman, and rightfully so! But then she turned out to be this person who begged people not to do stupid things instead of simply stopping them. She wasn’t as active as I wished she had been, she let a lot of stuff go by simply so that the problem could resurface later on and that’s a plot device that annoys me, because it’s clear that if you ruin someone’s life they’ll most likely want to get revenge on you.


The creepy master was, surprisingly, the best character in the book. Even though I hated what he did, how abusive he was toward Nalia and everybody around him, the guy was compelling. I cared about his story and how he would turn out. He was like a weird and worse version of the Darkling from The Grisha.

That being said, he’s a freaking asshole.

The stupid revolutionary and the “good” guy. Ugh.
The romance between him and Nalia was annoying as hell. Raif was supposed to be a good guy, but his behaviour toward Nalia pissed me off. Yes, she was a Ghan Asouri and had been in the cup, but she had also been fifteen years old at the time, a child. And yet Raif kept saying how he didn’t care that she was probably being forced to sleep with her master, that she deserved it.

Fuck you Raif. Fuck you fuck you fuck you.

His plan to win the rebellion is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard of. He wants to find a magical object that will give him the power to control all Jinn but instead of using it, he says he just wants to show it to the enemy and scare them.

Like, what?? First, everybody thinks that object is nothing but fairy tales so showing it it’s not going to do nothing, you have to use it to scare them.

Second, if you just show it but won’t use it, then there is a 100% chance that the enemy will try to take it from you, and that enemy far outnumbered Raif’s entire resistance (they are winning for a reason).

Third, Raif had no training whatsoever and yet he thought he could keep the object from making him evil (kinda a la Lord of The Rings) by sheer force of will, right.
I really wished it had been his sister the one who was in charge of the revolution instead of him, she was far smarter and level-headed.

Skin as food, skin as food, SKIN AS FOOD!:

I don't think I have to explain why it's wrong to describe skin as cinnamon, right? Right.

Overall, Exquisite Captive showed promise, but the execution was poorly done. 
Two out of five stars.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.

Complete strangers since this morning.

He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This book is… something.

I know, I know. I couldn’t have chosen a more vague way of describing it but Never Never really is something. Something weird, something new and everything in between.

The book is a mystery in itself. It starts with Charlie at school looking at some books she accidentally dropped. She doesn’t remember who she is, where she’s at, what time it is. Nothing.
Her entire life is blank up until that moment.

The book is told in two points of view, Charlie’s and her boyfriend Silas who has also lost his memories.
(This is completely irrelevant, but was I the only one who thought of this guy while reading about Silas? 
No, just me? Alright…)

There was something compelling about watching these two figuring out who they were and what was happening to them. Their relationship, although seemingly perfect to the outside world, was incredibly flawed and it makes you want to see why Charlie and Silas, although clearly in love, would go to such lengths to hurt one another (I can’t reveal much because it would be a spoiler).

If I had to point out any problems within this book, it would be the lack of communication to elongate the drama/plot. After reading Confess, also by Colleen Hoover, I see that this is a common team of her. In Never Never Charlie and Silas don’t tell anybody that they have lost their memories because “people would think they are crazy” and, although I can understand at first why they would be reluctant to share this, at some point it becomes annoying.

There is no real reason to drag out the confession for so long, especially when they could have gotten much needed help, instead of doing it all by themselves. Their argument that other people would think they are crazy for not remembering becomes useless after being used for so long; maybe they are not “insane” but I wouldn’t call losing your entire memories being ok, either.

If anything Never Never most surprising achievement is, in my opinion, the creation of a plausible instalove.
Charlie and Silas team up the second they realize they are both going through the same thing, and fall in love in a matter of days. Usually by this point in a novel I would be fuming, but the authors show you their relationship in a way that it’s believable. Even though they have issues and their relationship before the memory loss was almost ruined, you want for these two people to keep trying and find a way back to one another.

The book itself was short, and it didn’t help that the mystery had me devouring its pages, making it last even less.

To sum up, even though Never Never is not without its flaws, it’s certainly worth a read.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Rating: 1/5 stars

"Well, if you were to kiss him, what do you think it would be like?”

   “Oh, I think it would taste sweeter than honey.…” She fanned herself as if a memory was making her light-headed. “Yes, I think it would be very, very good, that is, if I were to kiss him."

Welcome to The Kiss of Deception which deceived me into thinking it would be the story of a strong-willed princess, instead of a spoiled, delusional girl wondering about which boy she’d like to kiss the better.

I read up to 32% of the book ,at which point I got annoyed with everything, so I skimmed read until something better happened. I got to the end of the book with nothing remarkable, because I had already predicted everything that would happen (hey, I’m a First Daughter after all! Wink wink) and that kids, is the boring story of how I finished this book.


Bored out of my mind.


The Kiss of deception starts with this beautiful prose:

"Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.

   The wind knew. It was the first of June, but cold gusts bit at the hilltop citadelle as fiercely as deepest winter, shaking the windows with curses and winding through drafty halls with warning whispers. There was no escaping what was to come."

And I’ll admit, if well I was annoyed as hell during my entire read, it is clear that Mary E. Pearson has a remarkable way with words. They make you flow through the pages without even realizing it. Unfortunately, that is the only redeemable characteristic of this book.

Princess Lia of House Morringham is a First daughter, which in this fantasy world means she should have “The Gift” (it always kills me how authors put such little thought in names. Things here were “The gift”, “The ancient language”, “The ruins” which ancient language? Latin?? Which ruins?? Even if all knowledge were lost there were still different languages from different periods, which ancient shit are you referring to??) but it appears that she doesn’t have that prized ability, even though her mother and countless women before her had.

As a First Daughter, she is more desirable for a marriage alliance since her "gift" would also bring her new husband (and therefore kingdom) political advantages. It was clear then, based on the predictability of Young Adult novels, that by Lia not having a gift meant that she would be the most special/powerful perfect First daughter to have ever lived on this earth, unlike the kinds had ever seen before.

At least, that was the most obvious and dumbest prediction, and I was sadly proven to be right.

The introduction of Lia’s character left a lot to be desired, because I already disliked her from page one.

“But, Mila!” You must think. “That’s a bit too much, isn’t it?”

Well no my dear reader, not when Lia proved to be a spoiled brat from the get-go. We get from her point of view that she doesn’t want this marriage to happen, though honestly, who could blame her?
Women being used as pawns in political alliances was awful, we were considered a piece of property rather than actual people. Right now, Lia’s marriage to some stranger would ensure peace not only between those two kingdoms but also against the enemy’s attack, a force that has been growing strong with each passing decade.

My problem with Lia was that, although I could sympathize with her desire for freedom, she paid no care to her role as a princess.

Yes, being sold off as property is awful but her marriage could ensure peace. Lia can only think about herself, how unfair this is, how her parents don’t care for her, so she’s doing this out of spite, too.
It sucks to put a burden so heavy as the peace of two nations on a seventeen year old girl, but the burden is still hers and by running away she’s not just making her parents angry she is also condemning her kingdom and the one of her future husband to a certain downfall at the hands of their common enemy.

Those are thousands of soldiers being killed at war, thousands to even millions of people being starved to death, countless women and children being raped and murdered.

Yet Lia doesn’t care, all she can think off is on how unfair this is for her, even though she has always known that this was the life she was born into. Lia doesn’t care and never even thinks of her people when she makes her selfish decisions, she’s just a spoiled brat rebelling against her parents rules.

Even though she only thought of escaping the night before, Lia is more than happy to bring her maid and best friend with her without considering how, if caught, Pauline would be executed for treason.

The escape from the palace was vague and dumb, like the rest of the book. Despite them having never gone out of the castle by themselves and the place being heavily armed with guards from both Kingdoms (since it’s the heist of the celebration), the two young girls just escape to the barns, hope on a horse and ride off, with Lia still on her wedding gown.

 I bet nooobody could have seen her.

Once they are safely away, meaning they rode for a few hours, they stop and cover their tracks. Lia’s brothers taught her one day how to hide her tracks while hunting, so of course she can hide her trail from highly experienced trackers from all of the two kingdoms.
They even go as far as cutting off some of the gems of her wedding cloak (ruining a relic like a good spoiled teenager) and then tying it on a branch and dumping it on the river so that people assumed that she had drown… because she tied the cloak, tieeeed it.

After that and even though there are “barbarians” and rebels everywhere, the two girls start a very noticeable fire and yell at the barbarians to come and get them.

" I shaded my eyes with my hand as if I were peering into the dark woods searching for them. “I’d welcome the diversion of a savage right now. Barbarians, show yourselves!” I shouted. There was no answer. “I do believe we frighten them."

I kid you not. Why not just do like Celaena Sardothien and choke down a bag of poisoned candies while you’re at it? Save us both the trouble of keeping up with this story.

But no, they sleep safely and then the two girls arrive to Pauline’s old home. Because when a teenager runs away, her parents would never try and look for her first at her best friend’s house.

After they are both settled there, Lia starts the life she always wanted and becomes a waitress doing “real” work like making the beds and pouring beer, instead of running a kingdom.

I just don’t get it, Lia seemed to think that doing hardwork was the only good thing anybody could do. Forget intelectuals and science, Lia despises all of that. In more than one occasion we have to sit and hear her complain about how much they made her study (even though most of the population was probably illiterate, she complained about her super pricy and excellent education) but then she would act all mighty and smart when she knew things that other people didn’t.

That didn’t mean she was smart, it meant she had a better education, and she spits on that because it was just another thing that mommy and daddy forced on her.

And it is at this point when the Assassin and the Prince arrive.

The author does a pretty ingenious trick and hides the identity of the killer sent to stop the alliance from happening and the prince sent to… emmm… well, it’s still pretty unclear why the Prince went to find her besides to get the love triangle started, but the thing is when they both arrive and find Lia, the reader doesn’t know who is who.
The idea was fantastic but, unfortunately, it didn’t work for me because:
  • A.  We know little of the Prince, the Assassin and Lia for us to care who is who.
  • B.      I couldn’t care less whether Lia is betrayed. I was actually looking forward to it.
  • C.      The two idiots fall in love the second they see the Princess, so there is no real treat to her.
  • D.      Both the prince and the assassin had the same personality and voice, I think their only difference was that one was blond and the other dark-haired. Why would I care who she would end up with if they were both the same?
  • E.       The love triangle starts too soon and with no development for us to care about it, and it takes up to 80% of the book.

The author tries to give the love interests some semblance of personality by having Lia say that one is an asshole and the other one is nice (guess who she falls for…) but as the narration continues, they are both described as ill-tempered, mysterious and hawt and that made the reading complicated.

When you are writing different POV’s you have to make sure each character has their own voice, that doesn’t happen here. There were times when I was reading a chapter and thought it was one of the boys, and then it turned out to be Lia, and viceversa.

So at the thirty percent mark,  I got to the point where it was either throw my phone out the window or skim read. So I started to go through the pages until something exciting happened…
I got to the end with nothing, and the end itself did not redeem the book. The only reason I was happy was because this was finally over and I wouldn’t have to read another page of “berry picking with handsome strangers.”

I can’t say anything redeeming about The Kiss of Deception apart from the writing. This is not fantasy, considering how there are only vague mentions of powers and kingdoms.
I would recommend this for hardcore romance fans who don’t mind love triangles or plot-holes. If you are looking for real fantasy and engaging characters, come by my side and we’ll search together, my friend.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Rating: 2/5 Stars


I’m not the biggest fan of having people in the covers, to be honest. It’s just a personal preference of mine.
For one, they don’t really say much besides having a hot girl/guy in some pose and the title. I’m more of an abstract cover girl but in this case, and although I’m still not totally sold out on it because I’m annoyingly stubborn, the cover of Siren Storm does get the point across. We have Nym with her silver-blonde hair, a storm and an ominous forest in the background.
If anything the problem with the cover is that tells us about a strong and powerful girl that controls lightning… and that was something that was missing.


I picked up Storm Siren because the premise sounded a lot like Shadow and Bone, and in some ways it did… just not like I would have wanted.

Nym is a slave and an Elemental (siren) but her kind are only born males and so they are killed at birth, identified by their white hair. Nym shouldn’t even exist.
Her control of the weather is a gift among her kind, at least when they got to be old enough to have it, but she doesn’t have an actual control over it. The storms and lightening come without a warning, and she can kill anybody without her being able to do anything to stop it.

At a slave auction, when a storm she causes kills her new owner and a little slave girl, Nym is presented with a choice by a strange woman; be delivered to the authorities and executed or train to become a weapon to be used in the ongoing war against the enemy kingdom.

Storm Siren was just “meh” for me. There is nothing about the book that can set it apart from the other thousands of YA novels on the market.

Nym was a frustrating character to read about. She reminded me a lot of Alina from Shadow and Bone, and she was an annoying narrator for me too. Nym doesn’t want to train to become a weapon because she doesn’t want to kill anyone else after the accidental deaths she has caused in her life. Although I could understand her point of view, she took it to an extreme; Nym doesn’t want to kill a few people even though by doing so she could save thousands, millions of lives!

Her reticence became annoying and dumb. Refusing to train and embrace her power was just a plot device to make the book last longer, and that annoyed me to no end. She wants to help, but she doesn’t want to help!! She wants to embrace her power, but the lives she took!!!
Enough already, just settle into a decision and follow through with it.

Besides that, Nym didn’t have any particular characteristic or defining personality trait. Who is this elemental girl that shouldn’t exist? The book kept reminding us just how special Nym was simply because of her status as an Elemental, but that’s all that there is in her character. She’s special because she was “born shuper-speciul” not because she has earned it.

As the plot moved forward (at a snail pace I may add) so did the love story.

Or should I say… love triangle?

Yes, we have the nice guy and the super-hot asshole here.

I didn’t really care for the romance, because I didn’t care about the characters. Despite having my hopes up, there is no Darkling here. The love interests are dull and predictable; one is a super asshole for no reason, and the other is super nice for no reason (Seriously, I wanted to slap Nym a few times and the guy made her sound as if she were perfect)

The world building… was nowhere to be seen. Why were the two kingdoms at war? Why did the people with special abilities were separated geographically? Why did they have special abilities to begin with?

Nothing is ever explained and everything is taken for granted. That’s just not my cup of tea in fantasy; if you are creating a new world, please tell me how it works.

Overall, I would say Storm Siren was average at best, when it wasn’t pissing me off. Romance fans will probably enjoy it, but if you are looking for a good fantasy story this might not be your pick.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch (Perfected 2)

Freedom comes at a cost...

Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure...and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one's safe, least 
of all the other pets. But she's trapped, unable to get back 
to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her. 

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she's lucky, she'll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives 
of everyone she's tried to save...

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I was kindly provided with an ARC of this book via Netgalley in Exchange for an honest review.

I can definitely say that Tarnished was much better than its predecessor, Perfected, in both character development and pacing.

No more parading around in dresses and admiring the beautiful place around her for Ella. No insta-love (although I still don’t see why these two kids love is so epic) either. Instead we find ourselves in a more action packed story, with enemies at every corner and with the stakes being so much higher, considering how now many pet girls are being found dead.

Tarnished picks up were Perfected ended, with Ella being kept in a safe house in Canada with other pets. Desperate to escape and save her boyfriend from his father’s claws, she will team up with an old “friend” to get back to the United States and help the other pets kept as slaves around the world.

It was an entertaining read, although it didn’t bring much into the plot or the world building. Ella did grew as a character, something that was missing in the first instalment, but it still felt forced; the change wasn’t smooth or natural but rather she became this freedom fighter overnight. It wasn’t very believable.
I still have problems connecting with the characters and the story, their feelings are just not in here and that makes it hard for me to be invested in them.

I won’t say much else because Tarnished will be published in December and I want to avoid spoilers, but I’m sure that fans of the first book will absolutely love this sequel.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vessel by Lissa Cresswell

The sun exploded on April 18, 2112. It exploded in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen. 

They had nineteen minutes. 

Nineteen minutes until the geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, every satellite in their sky. 

Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms have destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth and humans have reverted to a middle ages like existence, all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents and books are burned as heresy. 

Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

I was kindly provided with a copy of this book through Netgalley in Exchange for an honest review.

I’ll stick to Goodreads rating system this time and give it two “it was ok” stars.  Because Vessel really was ok; it wasn’t spectacular or horrible, but rather fell into the average range of Young Adult novels.

The story is about a slave girl, Alana, who lives in an unspecified post-apocalyptic world typical in Young Adult. After a solar explosion destroyed all machines, life reverts itself to the dark ages with no technology and great fear of any knowledge of the world before.

As with many other YA stories before, the world-building is not really there. We get solar storms, lots of people dead, “technology is to blame!!!! so we’ll just get rid of it including all the good stuff like vaccines and shit” mentality, and “the world before” kind of stuff. Because people were so ignorant of their own history, it is never really explained how the world came to be and why some people still know some places names such as “Asia” but at the same time they had no idea of where they were.

The characters are all right, really, they were ok. The writing was weird though, I’ll admit it. Sometimes Alana (it’s first person POV) would think with lots of grammatical errors and with a limited vocabulary, after all she was a slave and her masters didn’t care for her, but there were other times when she’d come up with overly complicated metaphors or descriptions with rich vocabulary that had me confused. Was it one thing or the other?

But I didn’t really mind all that as much as I minded how rape was handled here.

Yes, there is rape in Vessel and it’s not dealt with well. I seem to be having problems with books lately, because everytime I pick one up it contains rape, and if you have read some of my reviews you’ll know that I have little tolerance for rape as a plot device. As a matter of fact, I hate it.

Rape it’s not something you put in your book to add some spice like a love triangle or a quest, it’s something horrible and disgusting, and playing it as if it were no big deal is also horrible and disgusting.

In this case, rape is used to show just how cruel this world is. Alana is constantly raped by her master. In fact, she is forced to wear a Billa, which is a sort of black blanket that covers her entire body and face to hide the disfiguration that his master’s wives did to her.
Sometime ago, as a result of the constant sexual assault, Alana got pregnant. But only first wives can carry the Master’s children, so they all teamed up together to pour hot oil over Alana’s face and body, scarring her for life and killing her unborn baby.

Yes, it’s that awful.

But it doesn’t stop there, after that attack she’s forced to wear the Billa so that nobody else can see her ugliness, and so she is also punished for “tempting” her master.

Again, yes. It’s that awful.

Besides those memories, the book is plagued by rape. It’s a treat that’s constantly over Alana’s head. Barely five pages went by without someone trying to rape her, or threatening to have his way with her. It was awful and it infuriated me how little importance this was given. Sure, some people were mad about it but it was more like “Oh this is so bad! Ok moving on.”

So my question is, would the author have used the same plot to show this world cruelty had Alana been a boy? Would she have written a teenage boy constantly threatened with being raped to show us just how awful the new world was?
Considering what I saw of the book, no. I don’t think so. Never is a man in danger from this, it’s only Alana. It’s likely the author would have settled with having the boy being starved and beaten senseless, as it also happens to Alana.

It’s alarming really, to see violence against women being so carelessly dismissed at books directed toward young girls.

The ending was left open, either to interpretation or a sequel we’ll have to wait and see. I for one, don’t think I’ll be sticking around.