Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Prince by Kiera Cass

Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Rating: 2,5/5 stars

“I saw her search her mind for an alternative path, but she quickly saw there wasn’t one. She was a servant to her crown, I was a servant to mine, and our masters would never cross.”

Do you ever just feel nostalgic about a series you haven’t read or heard about in a while? I haven’t started The One yet (nor The Heir or The Crown, but are those two still be considered to be part of The Selection series or a spin-off?) but yesterday I had some free time and was assaulted with nostalgia feels (plus, I was curious to see Maxon’s point of view of the story).

I have to admit I was having a lot of fun until the actual Selection came to play. During those first chapters we get to see Maxon as, well, a person. He’s nervous and confused, and he seemed more like a regular boy with a lot of responsibilities trying to make the best of them.

But when the Selection starts… I don’t know, everything just goes south. It was so strange to go from those chapters where he had a particular voice (both in his inner monologues and when talking with his parents and advisors) to when he meets America and an entire new pedant character comes to play. The whole “dear” thing is so creepy! And the Maxon from the first chapters would have never said that or even been like that. There was a great difference between the character the author created for the first few chapters of this novella from the one she had created for The Selection.

“Maybe it was a bit shallow, but was it so bad that I wanted someone attractive?”


Maxon went from cute to creepy in one second when he started meeting the contestants and treating them like cattle. The fact that he eliminates the first girl because she’s not as beautiful as the rest was such a dick move, and he tried to pass it off as “logical” because they had nothing in common and she had no “winning personality” (because America was such a well-rounded and interesting person!).

Overall, this was fun for the first few chapters until creepy Maxon and his sexists comments came to play. He was never my favourite character in the series, and even though I don’t love America I still believe she deserves better than this asshat.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Reader by Traci Chee

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week's book is:
The Reader
By Traci Chee

Publication date: September 13th

Pages: 448


 Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Why am I anticipating this book?

I'm always excited when new books come out featuring POC characters and a different culture. In this fantasy world people can't read, and that's something very interesting to explore in a society. Why is that? Was all knowledge lost or is the illiteracy done on purpose to keep power over the population? Either way, I'm super curious to see how this book will be! A girl looking for revenge is a nice plus too.

What books are you anticipating?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Most know her as the Bloody Baroness, the captain of a fearsome glass starship called The Marauder. Androma and her crew strike terror in the hearts of those who cross them amongst the many corners of the Mirabel Galaxy.

When a routine mission goes rogue, the all-female crew is captured by a bounty hunter from Andi’s past and forced into a job that could, quite literally, start a war that will devour worlds.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, the ruthless ruler Nor waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time. The final pieces are about to fall into place, liberating a plan that will tear Mirabel in two.

As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, there is one lesson that proves to be true: No one can be trusted in a galaxy that runs on lies and illusion.

From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and multi-genre author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance.

ZENITH: THE ANDROMA SAGA will be released in small sections at a time.

Rating: 1,5/stars

"She remembered every inch of the white angular markings twisting their way across his honeyed skin,"

Nothing like a bit of racism to start the day!

I’m a huge fan of Sci-Fi, and especially when it’s combined with YA, however I have had bad luck when it comes to this genre lately which had kept me away from looking at books like Zenith. However, the cover was pretty and the description sounded great! A bloody Baroness of space, missions, war and romance? Plus It wasn’t a super long book that could keep me hooked while I had work to do (again, college is to blame, damn you). So I decided to reward myself a little and bought it, and… well, it wasn’t as satisfactory as I would have hoped.

Andomera, or Andi, is a runaway and outlaw. Plagued by nightmares of the first person she killed keeps her awake at night, and it was during one of those nights that she discovered her and her crew had ships following them. Someone from her past was chasing her, and with an unlikely offer that could set her free, or end up killing her.

Before I started the book I had no idea that it was a collaboration between a booktuber (Sasha Alsberg from abookutopia) and an author (Lindsay Cummins from “The Murder Complex” series). I don’t follow Booktube but I thought the idea of a reviewer and author coming together to write a book was pretty cool nonetheless. Although I wasn’t a super fan of Zenith.

First, I was disappointed with the length. Yes, the description said 62 pages and I was fine with that because I had college and homework to do, so I wasn’t looking for a long read, however when I bought it my Epub said 56 pges, not 62 (I don’t know if this happened to anybody else?) and taking away the cover, acknowledgment section and all of that I was left with 46 pages. Now, I wouldn’t normally be discouraged by this, but hardly anything happens in this novel! We get a simple introduction, an action scene and the beginning of the plot. There are short stories that end on a cliff-hanger that make you rage because you want to know MORE, with Zenith you end up frustrated because you know virtually NOTHING.

The plot:

Zenith was, in many ways, incredibly similar to Throne of Glass:

-Gorgeous criminal girl with white-blond hair and eyes of a “unusual” color.
-Is running away from her past.
-Ran away from her master.
-Is offered a job by the King in exchange for her freedom.
-Killed the King’s child and is punished for it (this is more along the lines of Poison Study but Throne of Glass is similar to that).
The similarities were there, but I still enjoyed what little story I saw and the relationship between Andi and Dex.

The writing:

I found it to be a bit repetitive and unpolished. What surprised me was that, Lindsay Cummings is a published author so she already has experience unlike Sasha, and yet the entire book was plagued by inconsistencies and awkward sentences. I know that this is the first book written by Sasha, but the mistakes that were here could have easily been avoided if an editor/beta reader had gone through the book and picked out those things for them.

Breck shrugged. ‘Any money is good money, if it brings us more food stores.’
‘And ammo,’ Gilly said, cracking her knuckles like the soldier she was.
Andi inclined her head at Lira.
‘We will see where the stars lead us,’ Lira answered.
Andi nodded.”

Imagine this, but in all 46 pages. This is the sort of dialogue you write during your first draft, full of repetitions and inconsequential actions, not the one you put on a published novel.
I found the level quite poor, and didn’t help in making me engaged with the narration or enjoy it more.

World building:

“After years of work, the Arcadian fleet had finally been rebuilt following the war against Xen Ptera.”

The story happens in space and there are several different species and worlds all living in relative harmony… at least, that’s what I think? Because I mean, it was never explained.

The story showed aliens, such as Lira, who have blue skin, and I think there was another one (Dex?) who had green blood? Oh, and that war is mentioned, but not what happened, who started it or why, who were involved… nothing, yet this apparently will be one of the major plots of the book?
Hardly anything in the story was ever explained. You could see that the writers had thought things through and created a world (at least I… hope so? They wouldn’t just be making words and names up as they go right?) but when it came to explain that to the readers, the writing failed.
If this is the introduction to your story, and it has new worlds, social system, races species and all that Jazz coexisting together and being an active part of your narration, you need to explain to your reader how it works. We can’t just figure things out on our own.

“Do we know who they are? Black Market, Olenian, Mirabel Patrol?”

NO, WE DON’T! Because it’s never explained what these names mean or why the reader should know/care about them. At this point it would be good to add something like “If it were Black Market, the Marauder could easily escape them. Their ships were slower, and Andi had experience dodging their maneuvers from the times she had had to escape from nasty costumers. Olenian wouldn’t be a problem either, but Mirabel were. Their ships were newer and faster, and if the authorities had finally gotten to her, they were in big trouble.”

I just made that stuff up, but that’s because nothing of it was explained in the novel! You had new names and expressions being thrown at you with no clue of what they were.

“Marauder and her crew could lose a tail as fast as a Xen Pterran Darowak could fly.”

I’m guessing her ship is fast then? Since I have no idea what a Xen Pterran Darowak even is.

“Andi grimaced as Lira removed a black hunk of Moon Chew and popped it into her mouth.
‘That stuff can kill you, you know.’”

Why? What is that?? What does it do???

The entire book was like that. You’ll see strange names or have hints at past stories and memories but no further explanation. I get that they wouldn’t want to explain all in one go, otherwise the info-dump would get too boring, but you’ve got to explain something and in Zenith there were moments where the reader got too much information in one go, yet we still knew nothing about the story.


“So close she could see the pores in his caramel skin, the deep brown of his eyes, and the raised scar that rested near his temple.”

In case the beginning of this review didn’t clue you in, diversity and representation in Zenith is thoroughly lacking. Not just that, it’s offensive.

I know that there are many people who love Sasha and her book, but I for one cannot understand how a reviewer who has been doing this for so long (I take it it’s been years?) could write a story with this. Doesn’t she care that describing skin as food is horribly fetishizing? Same goes for Cummings.
Whenever authors do that I would like to ask them what was going on through their minds that, when it came to describing the ONLY character of color (so far) in the story, they thought that saying his skin was like honey/caramel was the best freaking idea.

In the end, Zenith had some fun and interesting aspects readers can enjoy, but the lack of explanation regarding the world building, diversity issues and writing made of Zenith a less than stellar debut for me, but still fun to read.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Rating: 2,5/5 Stars

That ending ruined… everything, everything.

This was a very promising novel for the first 200 pages or so, until the thing at the end happens that makes the entire novel, its message and plot, be completely pointless.

It’s not very often that I read books in the contemporary genre mostly because, although I do enjoy reading about characters like Maddy who go through all kinds of moments (both good and bad), most of the contemporary novels I have read have failed in making me feel something.

It happened with All The Bright Places and The Fault In Our Stars, they had wonderful concepts that drew me in, but with the execution I felt something lacking. I couldn’t connect with the characters or what they were going through, I felt myself get bored more often than not and wanting the books to end rather than enjoy the read. I saw what was happening and how much it sucked, but there was something that just kept me from being invested in the characters. I always say the same thing; I’m a very character-oriented person, and in books like these they ARE the story. If I can’t feel what they are going through, it’s pretty much done for me.

But that was not the case with Everything Everything.

Sure, Maddy wasn’t perfect. Her life wasn’t perfect either, when you have a severe form of Combined Immunodeficiency or “bubble baby disease” you are unable to be outside. Anything from plants, to chemicals in any regular thing can make you sick and almost kill you, so Maddy stays inside and lives her life from her little bubble away from the world.
Her character was interesting, Maddy sometimes she was hardly likeable, but that made her real and I could understand her. She has spent her entire life inside her house, only interacting with her mother and nurse, never being able to leave the house, smell fresh air, eat food that’s not plain! Basically, everything could kill her. But then she meets her new neighbor, Olly, and she begins to see what she’s missing.

I loved seeing this contrast. The novel starts with Maddy being happy with her life, studying with her online teachers, having movie nights with her mom and doing everything inside her room. But then when she meets Ollie she can’t deny the fact that there’s a life everybody is living but her.

It was interesting seeing this disease and the world from her perspective because she wasn’t someone who moaned and complained about the carts she had been dealt with. She lived her life day by day doing all sort of things to entertain herself. The problem was when she began to see the world through Ollie’s eyes, she saw the possibilities and everything she had been working hard to ignore. What was the point of dreaming about those things when it was impossible? But by making friends with him, she can’t escape reality no longer and she knows that by being trapped inside her house unable to connect with anybody or anything she’s not living, but existing. And that’s not the same thing.

I found the romance to be cute at first, but it quickly overruled every other aspect of the book. Take the mother-daughter relationship, for instant. At the beginning I loved seeing how Maddy’s relationship with her mother was. Their friendship was sweet and heartwarming, something you don’t get to see quite often in YA. However, as Ollie entered her life, the narration completely steered away from family, friends and any other aspect of Maddy’s life that didn’t involve him.

Romance is important in a teenager’s life, I get that, but I still wish the story had focused more on Maddy’s life and its different aspects rather than it being all about the relationship between her and Ollie.

I wish we could have known more of how she lived her life, too. At the beginning Maddy describes how she spends her days, what she likes and dislikes, her hobbies and studies. She even mentions having Tumblr friends whom she talks with “endlessly” yet they were just that, a mention and they never appeared again. Same with the other aspects of her life, they were introduced but since the moment Ollie steps into the scene Everything, everything (see what I did there??? God I suck at this) revolves around him.

Nevertheless, the romance was cute enough to keep me interested, at least until the 200 page mark. That’s when things begin to go down.

My major problem with this is the ending. The author had a wonderful story here, I could see myself giving it four stars because, albeit not perfect and too focused on romance, the story had promise. It made me be engaged with the story. Made me feel Maddy and sympathize with her. But then the ending comes around and it just… everything went out the window. It was as if the last 200 pages had never happened and the resolution was a cheap ending.

Usually, when I really like a book, if the ending sucks yeah, it’s bad but I loved the rest! Here the ending ruined the entire book for me, because it went against everything it had built.

Everything Everything is a promising debut by author Nicola Yoon, albeit the ending was unfitting for the story, the narration was engaging and it made of it a fast read.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Rating: 2/5 stars

"The moment a girl learned how to talk, she was told not to."


So… once again I am the black sheep with a beloved book…


I don’t enjoy being one (even though I should probably be used to it by now) so my review is going to be short and to the point so I can shake this feeling off me.

These Shallow Graves was an ok read. I didn’t hate it or disliked it, I just thought it was fine. The length of the novel (500 freaking pages!) and the characters (mostly Jo) were what cemented the two-star rating.

Jo has always lived a sheltered life as a high-class socialite. Despite her dreams of becoming a journalist and her need to learn more of the world, she knows her future is certain; marry, have kids, and spend her life as a wife and mother. Or at least that’s the case until her father suddenly dies. Jo refuses to believe the police report that says he accidentally shot himself while cleaning the gun. Nothing adds up, her father was too careful and smart to clean a loaded gun, and what about the mysterious man looking at her from the streets? So as she begins to investigate with the help of rising reporter, Eddie Gallagher, she’ll discover that her family has secrets that might have gotten her father killed.


I’m a huge character person, always have been. They are the ones who carry the story for me, we see it all through their eyes, and in These Shallow Graves Jo simply wasn’t fleshed out enough to carry the plot. Despite her dreams of being a journalist and investigator, Jo was terribly clueless and naïve. It was something I could not understand, this contradiction; Jo was described as smart and curious, yet she had no idea of what prostitutes were (or that they even existed), how bad things were for poor people and that rich people could do bad things.

“’It’s not funny, Jo. You’re in one of the most dangerous places in the entire city.’

‘It’s not so bad,’ Jo said dismissively. ‘The people here are actually quite kind. While I was waiting for you, a man tried to give me all his money. Before that, a woman complimented my dress and invited me to her house. She said her friend Della would find me work.’”

Does this sound like an educated woman? Or like a painfully naïve individual that for some miraculous reason is pegged as brilliant?

She was presented as someone clever, someone who went beyond her way and investigated to write a story on the horrible working conditions for the girls at a factory nearby when that alone could have gotten her expelled. She studied books “unfit for ladies”, she asked her maid to buy her newspapers from the working class that weren’t all about marriages and socials, but that had stories of crime, economy and politics. How on Earth couldn’t this girl know about prostitutes? How couldn’t she care about the conditions on the working class when she had written an article about it?

The narration justified this sudden ignorance by explaining that, because of her upbringing, Jo could have no idea of these things. Nothing could be further away from the truth, women those times knew these things, they simply ignored them or used them for gossip. And even if that were the case, why was it that only Jo was clueless when she was supposed to be the bright one? All of her classmates and friends who were supposed to be shallow and demure, knew a great better deal of the real world than Jo did.

All these contradictions made Jo seem naïve and dumb, instead of clever and pro-active. If the author wanted to use this to show her character development, I could think of a hundred better ways that wouldn’t make Jo look dumb.

As the story carried on her character grew, but for me it was too little too late. She wasn’t as interesting as Fay, someone whose story I would have enjoyed much better. Fay was cunning, clever and decisive, everything I look for in a main character yet she was relegated to appear only now and then, a sidekick to Jo’s story.

The romance:

“She tried to look away, but couldn’t. his eyes were not only impossibly blue, but frank and amused. She felt that they could see inside her, that he could see her heart and its sudden, silly fluttering.[…]
Had she thought him handsome? He was glorious. He wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tweed vest. His shoulders were broad and his forearms muscled. Thick, wavy brown hair curled over his ears and down the back of his neck.[…]”

This was the first time Jo saw Eddie, a reporter who decides to help Jo uncover the truth in exchange for writing the story and getting his dream job, and yeah… I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the insta-attraction. The problem with building relationships with these foundations is that they’ll hardly go anywhere. He’s hot, she’s hot but besides their interest in journalism they don’t share a significant connection.

I can see it from Jo’s side. She’s infatuated with him because not only is he handsome and dedicated to his work but he also treats her like a person, an equal, something she’s never experienced and desperately needs. But Eddie? What does he see in her besides the fact that she’s pretty? I don’t know, it was like the author wanted it to be romance so she just made him fall in love with her, even though it was very out of character for Eddie.

I liked how the relationship was about Jo finding someone who respected her, but again, she also had a wonderful relationship with Fay that was like that and it went completely ignored for the sake of romance and the dramatic love triangle.

The Plot:

I was expecting a great mystery (and also a horror story based on that cover doesn’t it look like horrible secrets are just waiting to be exposed with that arm crawling out?) and I found neither. The main mystery was predictable, the story carried a lot of twists and turns, but when you could predict it from the beginning, those things held no surprises. My biggest issue was the page count. I love long books, I really do and I get disappointed when I read a short story and keep wanting more, but These Shallow Graves was 500 pages long when a good 250 would have sufficed. Instead of using that extra word count to expand the story, the narration revolves around descriptions, Eddie and Jo’s relationship and the twists and turns of a foreseeable ending. 

I wanted to keep reading, I really did but I felt like I was going nowhere when I did. The same mistakes were made, characters came and went with little consequence. It was as if the story wanted to do so much at one, establish Jo and her romance with Eddie, show the unfairness of gender barriers at the time, the class system but it all meshes together and you’re left with some poverty, some unfairness and a lot of social comments about gender roles that sometimes made little sense when you compared it with what really happened at that time (like Jo and corsets, I won’t even start on that one).

There were some really great stuff about this book too, if you like historical fiction, discussion on gender roles and don’t mind the predictability of the mystery this could be a great book for you! It just wasn’t for me.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi

Lexi has a secret.

She never meant for her mom to find out. And now she's afraid that what's left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

Lexi knows she can fix everything. She can change. She can learn to like boys. New Horizons summer camp has promised to transform her life, and there's nothing she wants more than to start over.

But sometimes love has its own path...

Rating: 3/5 Stars

“The truth was, I had never felt sad about being gay. It was just another part of who I was.[…]

But if mom knew and understood, well… that would just be the best. The barrier between us would vanish and it would be me and her against the world-instead of always me vs. them. But then she looked up at me, for the first time since I came in, and my world came crashing down.[…]

The barrier between us hadn’t vanished; it was raised even higher.

Why does God keep punishing me?’”

Life’s not easy for Lexi. Her father died just a few months ago due to pancreatic cancer, and ever since her mother has been so depressed that it was up to Lexi to take care of her. But one day, her mom discovers she’s gay and as you can see from the quote above, things don’t go very well. Lexi has never felt bad about who she is. She lives in a small religious town were being gay “simply doesn’t happen”, but besides of being afraid of what other people think, she’s never thought there’s something wrong with her.

Of course, things change when her mother doesn’t accept her and instead suggest she goes to New Horizon’s, a religious camp that will make her straight.

The Summer I wasn’t Me was a cute and fast read from the contemporary genre. I’m a little bit torn on it because on the one hand, it deals with very important topics such as accepting yourself and what happens when your family doesn’t. It shows an interesting point of view on sexuality and religion too, which I found entertaining and intriguing to know more. But on the other hand, I wasn’t happy at how certain things such as rape, were completely overlooked to carry on with the romance when it was time to discuss those subjects more thoroughly.

I loved the beginning of the book, you know when you start reading and want to highlight every single sentence because it’s so damn good? This was me. The perspective the author offered on Lexi and her life was wonderful, she has an amazing ability to create a believable and compelling character, as well as describing her feelings and thoughts when it came to her sexuality and why she hid it.

“When Pastor Joe gives sermons about protecting the sanctity of marriage, heads bob in agreement. When someone does something dumb in school, they get called fag and everyone laughs. The word of choice for all things uncool is gay.
It goes way past homophobia. It’s the norm, it’s our way of life.

Her mother is the only thing she has left in this world, and she doesn’t want to hurt her more than she already has by being gay. So when her mother comes home from church with the idea of the de-gayifying camp and smiles at her for the first time since her father died, Lexi decides she’s going to do everything in her power to become straight. After all, not only would she be making her mother happy but maybe her own life would be easier, right?

“As I sat in church, listening to Pastor Joe, I slowly began to feel less resentful about his teachings of homosexuality being sinful and more optimistic that, maybe by the end of the summer, when I heard talk like this, it would no longer be personal.”

It was sad to see Lexi thinking like this and having to go through this situation, but this is the heart of the story; learning to accept yourself and the joy of finding people who love you no matter what.

I knew from the beginning I wasn’t going to enjoy her time at the camp, I mean a place where grownups try to make gay teens straight? As if it were a sickness that could just be rid of? And I was right, I freaking hated that place just as the author intended me to.

As soon as she arrives, the method this camp has becomes clear. It’s not just about sexuality but about gender roles. A man must be dominant and “manly” (whatever the heck that means) a woman must be submissive, and soft a housewife and mother, nothing more. Listening to them speak about gender roles made me SO ANGRY, the whole camp reminded me of my days back in Christian school… how I hated it. Not that I dislike religion, for me it’s ok to have one and be proud of it, but it’s not alright to try and force your values and believes into someone else.

The camp works by putting them in groups of four, Lexi ends up with Daniel a fifteen year old who hates who he is, Matthew a bubbly and happy-out-of-the-closet kid who was forced to go to camp because of his father (even though he knew since his son was thirteen that he was gay, he thought it was “just a phase”) and Carolyn, a beautiful girl who has a secret reason on why she wants to become straight. Her and Lexi hit it off right away, and it’s clear from the beginning that being straight is less and less of an option for Lexi as she begins to fall for her friend, but what will she do when they are both there to be “fixed”?

The romance, although cute and hopeful, was too insta-love for my taste. The moment Lexi sees beautiful Carolyn, she’s completely smitten. While I completely understand insta-attraction (hell, who hasn’t experienced it?) I don’t believe it means love. Carolyn and Lexi interact a lot in the story, but we never get to know much about Carolyn other than what they talk about Gatsby (a book they use to communicate secretly with one another).

We don’t know her favorite color, what she enjoys doing (besides running), her family, anything that would show the reader who she is as a person. Lexi gets fixated on how beautiful she is, on how lovely her voice sounds and how soft her skin feels against hers, but they don’t really know each other. I never felt that their attraction went further than skin-deep. How can you absolutely love someone when you don’t even know them?

Then comes the revelation of why Carolyn is at the camp. We know that her parents had no qualms with their daughter being gay, and that she didn’t believe in God or religion (making the point of a religious camp seem a bit silly), and the excuses she gave for being there always made Lexi, and the reader, feel like she was hiding something. Then the revelation comes and… well, it was not what I expected. It didn’t add anything to the character, for me it just seemed like a convoluted plot device to keep the girls apart and create tension.

I was prepared to give this book 4 stars (despite the insta-love) until a certain event happens. At some point, rape and sexual assault are used to force Carolyn into realizing that the camp is not what she was hoping for, giving chance for the romance between her and Lexi to finally hapen, but without addressing the event at all. That didn’t sit well with me, you can’t use something so horrible as a plot device and then forget all about it. The book did wonderful things while dealing with self-acceptance, friendship and family but this was an aspect it missed.

Overall, it was a cute and very interesting story about sexuality, religion, family and friends. Despite my issues with it, I still recommend it!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Rating: 3,5/5 Stars

“I will not let us be beings of regret. I know my past. What I want is my future.”

The Star-Touched Queen was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. It promised a rich and imaginative world, fascinating characters, magic and romance. The blurb alone was enough to grab my attention, just looking at reincarnated lives got me and I was very much looking forward to its publication. However, the story delivered what I wanted… but it also fell a bit flat for me.

There’s no doubt that the author has a wonderful imagination, I love the places she created such as the Night Bazaar (you have no idea how those jewel-like fruit trees gave me life, I’ve dreamed about things like that since I was a kid), the crystal gardens, even Akaran itself. But when it comes to relying those images to the readers is when things begin to get a bit messy for me.

As a reader I saw those places, but they weren’t fully explained or fleshed out. As a result everything felt more like an after though and the world-building suffered. Aram would take Maya from place to place and she would say “Oh look, magical creatures I didn’t know were real! Ok” “Oh, magical garden with wishes? Ok”.

The story is told from Maya’s point of view and she seemed to be a little all over the place, she paid important moments not much attention, but fixated on the little details. I could see that the author was trying to go somewhere with her and the story, but I felt that she wasn’t sure of how to do it.
She reacted to magic as if it were something ordinary instead of new and wonderful. Amar would speak to her in a cryptically manner describing past lives in which they met, and always saying how he had been waiting for her even though she never met her until that same day, and she doesn’t think that’s the least bit weird.

This was a story in which a secret was held from the main character and in consequence, from the reader as well. When it comes to plots like these, I see authors taking different routes; sometimes the character is given no warning or advice, and so we must travel this journey with them, unsure of every step and whether they have made a mistake or not.

In the case of The Star-Touched Queen, we had heavy hints from the summary and the narration itself which left clues along the way for Maya and the readers to pick up. I knew as much as Maya, and I could guess what was happening pretty easily (at least at part of it, of course) but the girl had no idea! 
She would be confronted with all this evidence and… ignored it? She didn’t even think about it, or reason it. It was as if she had never come across it. Maya wants to know the secrets of her new Kingdom and husband, she tries the different doors and tries to unveil their secrets but when she comes across something important she lets it go, dragging the story and the revelation even more.

It became frustrating when you knew she had to go left, and she went right for no reason at all. 

The story wants to show Maya as independent and strong by having her refusing to conform to society, not trusting her new husband and breaking the rules. But more often than not, she made dumb decisions that got her into trouble and could have easily been avoided if she had just listened and thought things trough, instead of screaming every time she felt like she was being suffocated. I understood the predicament she was in, I really did. But when you’re told not to pet the freaking shark, you don’t go and stick your hand into its mouth just because you were told not to.

As the story developed, I did grow to like her and understand what was happening as the secrets were unveiled, but it didn’t make the beginning any less frustrating.

As for the romance, I liked the chemistry between Maya and Amar although their relationship did grow very fast, almost insta-love like. It is explained when the secrets are unveiled, but it was still too rushed like the rest of the narration.

In the end, I did like the story and the romance even though I did have issues with both. The author has a lot of imagination, but it felt like she treated the story a bit too lightly, she touched some subjects, her characters and the world but didn’t expand on them as much as I would’ve liked. And it’s a shame, because it was a very good story and could have been even better.

This is a stand-alone though (something I wasn’t aware of until I finished reading :/ ) but there’s a novella detailing the life of another character and I’m really looking forward to it!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

“To the people who told me to read this book because they wanted me to get pissed.”
“To the characters that are annihilated, and the plots that make no sense.”

Totally accurate quote from ACOMAF.

So here's the thing, I was planning on writing a long-ass review for everything that annoyed me, but I just want to be rid of this dissapointment already. Beware of spoilers for both books and a very ranty and messy review.

Ok, first let's get a few things straight. There were a few devious souls in Goodreads who doubted the pureness of my untainted heart and actually thought I would hate this book. To those people I say, shame. Shame on you.

Also, you guys were right.

Now, to my surprise, my problems weren’t those most people had, such as the annihilation of Tamlin’s characterization to make him a good guy and make readers ship RhysandXFeyre. I think for those things to annoy me I would have to:

1.Liked Tamlin and Feyre together.
I didn’t.

2.Expected better from this author.
I didn’t.

ACOTAR was my first book by Sarah J. Maas and although not perfect, I still really liked the story and its promise so I was eagerly anticipating the sequel. After reading her Throne of Glass series, I realized that her writing wasn’t exactly my thing, and after what happened with Chaol and his personality completely erased for the sakes of a ship so chemistry-less I was unaware that they were even a ship until QoS, my hopes weren’t too high. But I gave ACOTAR five stars! Even if somethings annoyed me, I still had high hopes for Rhys and the Night Court, hopes that were cruelly squashed when I began reading.

To be fair, the first 150 pages or so were very interesting. It’s not common for books in the YA/NA genre to pay much attention to the lasting effects of traumatic events, rather using it as a plot device and forgotten later on. A Court of Mist and Fury picks up a few months after Amarantha was killed and the curse broken. Feyre still suffers from what she went through Under the Mountain and the lives she had to take continue to haunt her so badly she can barely sleep without nightmares.

Feyre was never the liveliest of characters, if I’m being honest. I found her personality fickle, as if Maas couldn’t exactly make up her mind on what she wanted her to be, which turns out to be something most of her books have in common. Her characters are not very well rounded; you’ve got the vicious assassin who has gone through hell to survive, but doesn’t check mysterious candies for poison, trusts people too easily and more often than not is played by the people around her. With Feyre it was the same, and in ACOMAF the same issues carries through. I’m a very character-oriented person, I like to connect with these people and see how they face the story. With Maas it’s another thing, she has a story in mind so she twists and molds the characters to fit into her scheme.

Rather than seeing people face adversity and go through the plot as themselves, Maas makes them go OCC for several scenes so that they can survive/carry on, then forgets all about it. 

On PTSD and abusive relationships: 

I’m not going to say that the way Maas wrote PTSD is not valid, because everybody experiences it in their own way. I simple wished she had been more consistent about it. There were moments in which Feyre would claim she couldn’t feel fear anymore, that she was no longer afraid of dying yet she would scream terrified two paragraphs later on and wouldn’t think twice about it. This was something that repeated over and over throughout the book, and I just couldn’t help but to think that the PTSD was more of a plot device to prove how amazing Rhysand was by helping her, than an actual relevant part of her characterization. I mean, if it were wouldn’t Maas have put more thought into it?

Maas wrote Feyre so she would eventually become strong and independent. To be free of Tamlin’s abusive behavior and instead found someone else she could be happy with. However, even though she escapes and gains a bit of independence, her narration is still oriented to men. Everything she does concerns Rhys, and her friends are all his friends first. The most important things in her life are still connected and dependant of a man. Can you imagine your life like that? Your only friends, acquaintances and people you interact with are all your boyfriend’s. 
Even when Feyre claimed she wanted a family, someone who would care for her like her father and sisters never did, she is only fully embraced into the group not because she fought for it, or because she means so much to Amren, Azriel, Mor and Cassian. No, it’s because she sleeps with Rhysand and settles the mate bond. Her acceptance has to be penis-approved first.

“’Welcome to the Family Feyre.’
And I thought that those might have been the most beautiful words I had ever heard.”

One thing I was pleased with was how Rhysand’s rape was dealt with. It’s not common to see men being raped in literature, let alone have the subject brought up in a respectful manner and this book did it. Back in ACOTAR I was afraid of how it would be dealt with because, yes Rhysand was a dick but it was clear that the relationship between him and Amarantha was not consensual at all. He was forced to sleep with her or else he would be killed, yet everybody else thought of him as a whore. It was interesting seeing how Rhysand reacted to finally being free, his memories of his time there and how he coped with what had been done to him.
However, I still wish we had seen more of it. Since most of the narration was about Feyre and there were only a few mentions of how Rhysand was dealing with that.

Regardless of all of this, things were going great until the Night Court happened. Until that point, I was extremely happy with ACOMAF. I couldn’t put it down, I needed MORE! Especially when Rhysand appeared, he had been the most interesting thing back in ACOTAR (even if he had been an asshole) so finally getting to see him and his court of mischief and depravity was going to be AMAZING!... Sadly, I was mistaken, and here is where the problems begin.

The Night Court & Rhys: 

I remember there was a time when the idea of getting to know the Night Court gave me joy. Now, I want to cry with how fucking boring it was. Where was the fun? The mystery and intrigue? Maas takes everything that belongs to Rhys and his court and polishes to a boring, perfect reflection of goodyness and pureness, so that Feyre can finally fall in love with it.

This was my biggest issue here. Even though back in ACOTAR Rhys was an asshole, he and Feyre had chemistry. So if the author really wanted to establish a romance between them she had the means to do it. Instead, what does Maas do? She completely erases anything remotely interesting about Rhysand, turning him into a boring, perfect goody-two-shoes kind of guy with absolutely NO FLAW.
So many people loved the romance building between Feyre and Rhysand, but I hated it simply because it wasn’t real. I understand that both of them had their issues, and after what happened to Tamlin she didn’t want to be around someone like him anymore, but did Rhysand had to be perfect?

For me, it was just sad to see that Rhysand had to be cleansed of all his sins. Polished with sugar so that all of his rough edges were rounded up and smoothed out. In order for this romance to happen, Rhysand can’t make a single mistake, or else Feyre is out.

There is no struggle in their relationship, nothing to overcome besides Feyre’s narrow mind. Rhys is absolute perfect, and he is her mate. She doesn’t want Rhys despite his flaws; she doesn’t fight for the relationship. She loves Rhys because he is the safe choice.

At one point, Feyre is relieved that Rhys is her mate because that means that her decision was already made for her. She doesn’t really have to choose or think, she might as well just go with the male fate forced upon her.

“And beneath the barrage of my thoughts, a throb of relief.
My relationship with Tamlin had been doomed from the start. I had left-only to find my mate.”

It was sad to see that, despite everything Rhysand had gone through (either ACOTAR or ACOMAF Rhysand), the only way he had of being loved was if the author turned him into freaking Jesus Christ. I thought him turning out to be so good from the beginning was absolutely laughable, but still, sad.

I never got the sense Feyre loved him, despite all their beautiful words on romance, because pretty words mean nothing if you don’t have the actions to back it up.

In A Court of Mist and Fury, Rhys went through hell and back to prove that he was the most especial and saint male to have stepped into Phrytian, he was there to nurse Feyre back to help, he sacrificed himself to save his friends and his people, he is the most powerful High Lord in the history of High Lords, etc. But the moment he keeps ONE secret from Feyre? She dumps him in the mud and leaves him.

I know what you’re going to say, “She had Tamlin! He controlled her! She didn’t want to repeat that!!!!” And I understand, but seriously, the guy was absolutely perfect, he kept the secret of her being his mate because he thought she would do something dumb like run away… and then she runs away. But is Feyre ever recognized for her wrong doings?

Feyre is never at fault, she never has to earn that love. Why the hell does Rhysand love her, I wonder? Besides that convenient mate bond. He claims that he loved her ever since he picked up the knife to kill Amarantha, but I just don’t understand why. Yes, yes, love is a mystery and all that shit, but the reader should be able to see, or at least make sense, of the romance, Instead it’s like “They’re mates! Suck it.”

I know that many people were angry at what happened to Tamlin and the reveal of “Rhysand’s true nature”. I’ve seen reviews in which they claim there are clues and hints in both books towards this, I myself didn’t find them but there is no way to know what the author really had in mind, all I know is that, it could easily happen again.

Yes, Feyre and Rhysand are mates, but even so the way she built their relationship doesn’t protect it from a new change of ship. Feyre was incredibly suspicious and reluctant to hear Rhysand, yet the minute she arrives at Night Court and his cousin and friends start telling her how nothing is what she thought, that the Night Court is a wonderful place and Rhysand and amazing High Lord, Feyre thinks “Oh, I guess I was wrong.” Instead of, you know, thinking they are lying/deceiving her like people at that place are well known to do.

She just accepts everything she’s told as solid fact, never questioning except for when the author wants to create mindless drama.

Mates are equal, and for some contrived reason that I yet not fully understand, Feyre and Rhysand are mates. But Maas could easily introduce a new ship if she wanted to. 
Let’s say that in the Third one, there is a fight and a spell gets loose, making the cauldron spill its inky water all over the floor, and from that pool arises a new High Lord, a being created from the cauldron itself. This man, who will totally be white and straight because otherwise he can’t be a love interest, will be the most perfect person on Earth and he’ll be not Feyre’s mate, but her ultra-mate, a kind of mate so rare and speshiul that it’s more powerful than regular mates.

Then what will happen? Well, then it’ll turn out that Feyre and Rhysand are not really meant to be. You see, they were both so broken after Amarantha that they needed comforting, they both needed support and happiness, but now Feyre is ready to actually live and be in danger and shit.

Sounds fucking ridiculous, doesn’t it? Now imagine reading 627 pages of something as dumb as that and you have my ACOMAF experience.

That’s the thing with Maas, she makes stuff up as she goes. There are people who are fine with that, and other who need more consistency. I need consistency.

I remember reading a review that said Maas creates “very boring, very heterosexual romances” and I couldn’t agree more. The whole foundation of their relationship is a boring-ass dreamland. Hell, Velaris is even called “The Court of Dreams”.
The perfection doesn’t only embark Rhys it’s also about Feyre and their relationship. They have sex, but nothing too kinky. They bleed and sweat, but still look absolutely gorgeous. It’s not real. At one point they eat stew and start having sex, neither of them had bad breath of course. I wonder what would happen if one of them *gasps* farted during sex, or made something ridiculous like a glowing vagina.

I bet Feyre would dump his ass.

I was soooo looking forward to seeing this place, and all we get is strolling through the streets, buying lacy underwear (oh, so spicy!!!!), going out for dinner with friends, training every now and then. Boring, boring, boring.

The secondary characters: 

Although they were promising, the secondary characters left a lot to be desired, especially because the narration focus on boring-ass Feyre and Perfect-ass Rhysand (literally). Amren, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and Lucien were there to serve a purpose. Rhysand’s gang was there to prove that he was actually a good guy with lots of devoted and crazy friends, and Lucien was there to show how pretty much everything the Spring Court was shit.

There was so much promise in those characters, so many things to explore and develop. Yet none of those opportunities were taken.

Amren was the proof that Maas’ writing is “tell not show” we are told how wishes she is, how powerful, and cunning and ruthless. Yet what do we see? A girl that has some power, but it’s barely shown and in very few occasions. Who wears jewelry and apparently comes from another dimension. She’s supposed to be incredibly powerful, making people tremble in sheer fear and yet she is Rhysand’s second? Why the fuck would she do that? Why isn’t she out there fucking with people who annoy her, you mean to tell me this all powerful being actually takes orders?


Mor, Cassian and Azriel seemed fun at first, but eventually I grew tired of Maas shoving their romance down my throat with Feyre being their shipping champion. It was like Tamlin all over again, Maas wants to create subtle and wonderful hints for her romances, but the woman is as subtle as a punch in the face, and it shows in the way she manipulates the narration with very obvious comparisons and set-ups.

Lucien I wished we had seen more of it. For the book’s focus on trauma, all we ever get to see is how it affected Rhys and Feyre but not the rest of the people Under the Mountain and the ones who were left behind. Look, I hate to compare but it didn’t seem fair that the narration made it seem as if Feyre were the only one that suffered. Yes, she was beaten and had to clean dirty floors, pick up lent in the dark, face challenges and kill two faeries. But there were people who were locked up for fifty years in there. Fifty years being beaten, watching your loved ones being killed out of spite, and being tortured all the while knowing that the people that was left behind had it worse, they were enslaved, raped, tortured and beaten repeatedly. I’m not saying that Feyre’s trauma is less valid, all I’m saying is that hers wasn’t the only one that mattered. Just look at Lucien, he wanted to avoid a new war so badly he went along with Tamlin’s requests even if it killed him.

And what do we get?

You are my mate.


I was SO FUCKING PISSED when I read this, and for a while I couldn’t figure out why until I realized; this is all we get. For Lucien, someone who has been through so much, who loved a “lesser” faerie and was murdered in front of him, who had his eyes ripped out and almost died… all his character gets is a stupid romantic plot with Elain, someone who is even more fucking boring than Feyre (the human/fae equivalent of watching paint dry).

Fuck it. 

The Plot: 

What plot? Seriously, I kept reading and half the time I couldn’t remember what they were doing or why they were doing it. Apparently the King of Hybern had found the Cauldron, the powerful casserole that gave birth to the universe or something. And he had brought Jurian, the human Amarantha killed in the war, back from the dead… because that… made sense, somehow? And, apparently he wants to shatter the wall and conquer the human lands, and the human Queens, even though they hate Fae, were stupid enough to believe him and him access to part of the book that can nullify the cauldron… because of reasons.
What I don’t understand is… ok, I there are many things that make no sense but basically:

1.Why did Feyre had to go with Tamlin? Besides drama, I mean. Feyre is super incredibly-amazing and powerful thanks to the abilities accidentally given to her by all High Lords when she was turned into Fae (is she the only one like that?). So powerful indeed, that she was a freaking Deux ex-machina whenever the plot needed it, but then she went back to being completely useless. She had already shattered their defences, why not go with Rhysand and her sisters? Or why not kill the King right there? They didn’t even try.
I know Rhysand said she “was going to destroy them from within” but this is Feyre. She had Rhysand going around with a ten-foot erection every time she came near and she “wasn’t sure he even liked her”. And this shinny beacon of human stupidity was supposed to be a mastermind and trick beings that are hundreds if not thousands of years older than her?

2. What was Jurian doing there? Of all the people to resurrect, why this putty human?

3.Why use the Cauldron to resurrect people when you can pretty much use it to destroy everybody? What’s the King’s motivations here?

4.Why was I actually excited for this book?


In the end, if well A Court of Mist and Fury is not the worst book I’ve read this year, so far it’s been my biggest disappointment.