This was an interesting and reasonably unique YA novel that was actually pretty delightful to read. Jae Hwa has just moved to South Korea and is havin...moreThis was an interesting and reasonably unique YA novel that was actually pretty delightful to read. Jae Hwa has just moved to South Korea and is having some trouble fitting in. To make matters worse, there's a sort-of curse on her family because she's descended from a mythological princess who jilted a demigod, and the demigod has continued to claim the soul of every generation's eldest female since then.
First off, I really enjoyed that this book's location was Korea and not Japan. I love Japan, don't get me wrong, but it was nice to sort of side-step into another culture. Having never been to Korea, I still had no problem imagining the setting of the novel. The author managed to walk the line between using so many foreign words that you need a thesaurus and using so few you forget where the story is taking place with what seemed like relative ease. There is a glossary in the back, but it ended up being a nice touch, instead of something you have to rely on to get through the story. And I did a little bit of independent research on the myths behind the story after finishing the book, which is a really good sign.
I also loved the deviations here from standard YA -- there wasn't really a love triangle so much as an obsessive god and a human couple growing closer despite all that. Also, there weren't any vanishing parents here--in fact, Jae's father, aunt, and grandfather were all steady, constant influences in her life, and the plotline of the story centers around helping her entire family, not just herself (or her boyfriend). (less)
This book filled me with such ridiculously high levels of unspeakable rage that I don’t even know where to start. First off, what actual drugs was I o...moreThis book filled me with such ridiculously high levels of unspeakable rage that I don’t even know where to start. First off, what actual drugs was I on when I actually liked the first book of this series, because oh my god, there cannot possibly be that much of a difference between book one and book two.
I don’t even. Okay. This might get a little curse filled. Also, overuse of italics and possible unmarked slight spoilers.
First off, I don’t even care who you are or who or what you are dating, if your man gets displeased with you for doing something with your own fucking hair or god forbid making friends, you punch that man in the nuts. Punch. His. Nuts. And then you gtfo so quickly you’re followed by a little trail of fire. Lucinda. What in the hell were you thinking. This is not a sign that he cares, it’s a sign that he’s going to beat your ass for not having his dinner made right later on down the line. His celestial dinner. Or whatever. GUYS THIS GOES THE SAME FOR YOU. WOMEN CAN BE ABUSIVE TOO AND IT’S NOT OKAY EITHER WAY.
And then, at the end? How much worse could he possibly get?! Oh my god, I wanted to literally reach through my iPad and lay waste to Miles and Daniel both for their little territorial pissing match at Lucinda’s parents’ house where you are a guest! What the actual hell?! PUT THEM AWAY, BOYS, THEY’RE TRYING TO HAVE TOFURKY.
I would push Daniel right off of a cliff and not even feel bad about it. He has wings, he won’t even feel a thing. And I thought there might be a snowball’s chance in hell (ha, see what I did there) that Lucinda would redeem herself for the incomprehensibly bad judgment she’s shown by not tossing Daniel’s stupid ass right out the door, but GIRL. How DUMB can you possibly be?! Watching her painfully muddle through “I’m not a nephilim… but I can see the Announcers… and they clearly congregate around me… but I’m not special…..” was like tearing teeth out of my skull without drugs and with my bare hands. GIRL.
I actually kind of halfway liked Shelly or Shelby (I’m so annoyed I can’t even remember her name right now) and her promotion of Lucinda and Miles… not that I particularly like Miles, but THAT PLATINUM BLONDE HAIR IS YOUR DECISION, DO YOU HEAR ME, LUCINDA PRICE?
While we’re on the subject of her, WHY IN THE NAME OF EVERYTHING I CAN CALL UPON HERE is it okay for Daniel to do whoever the hell he pleases but Lucinda gets the cold shoulder—excuse me, cold wing—for KISSING A BOY? Are you SERIOUS? Just because Daniel says they’re destined to be together (now get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich like a good little human, Luce) does not mean she has to go along with that. He has ended her life countless times and she’s never even gotten to LIVE one. Not only that, but she did that (view spoiler)[AFTER their pseudo-breakup that he refused to accept in the first damn place. (hide spoiler)]
So, three stars, for a book that I was actually enjoying up to the very abrupt ending that was monumentally uncool.
(view spoiler)[I don't care if I'm...moreSo, three stars, for a book that I was actually enjoying up to the very abrupt ending that was monumentally uncool.
(view spoiler)[I don't care if I'm "supposed" to feel like Shawn should be grateful to Brenna for selling his music without even telling him or asking if it's okay first, I feel like that is absolutely not okay. That was personal, and private, and maybe he's okay with sharing his music with her but that's way different than giving it to a label. And if she can't understand the difference then maybe she's not ready for a grown up relationship. (hide spoiler)]
And after that happened, there was a really fast resolution and then it just... ended. I know it's book 2/3 but I don't particularly have any desire to read about Darcy, and I was actually really shocked how Shawn and Brenna got basically no ending whatsoever. Plus, it just lacked a sort of cohesiveness. (view spoiler)[He's known her since she was little, but he hasn't known that she had a thing for him, so he instinctively knows that he needs to let her lead herself around to it and then he throws it all out anyway? (hide spoiler)] No thanks.
I enjoyed it up to that part. I was really pullilng for them. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm going to make a confession here and say that I was kind of a snob when I picked this out. And looking back on it, I have absolutely no idea why. T...more
I'm going to make a confession here and say that I was kind of a snob when I picked this out. And looking back on it, I have absolutely no idea why. The kindle first deals just didn't seem to appeal to me this month, I guess, and I picked the one that seemed like the least of the four evils. Maybe I was just feeling cynical that day, or maybe I am a little more disappointed in my past choices than I really thought. Sometimes males don't write females well, and vice versa, so maybe I was a little harsh on that point, as well. I am happy to say that I was wrong on all points.
This book centers around Mercy Taylor, a girl born into a family full of witches without one bit of magic of her own. She's just shy of her twentieth birthday and is giving tours of Savannah, her hometown, when she catches sight of a hoodoo pracitioner, Mother Jilo, and gets the idea that she should visit Jilo for a spell of her own--a love spell. Mother Jilo taunts her a bit, and though Mercy ultimately says that she changes her mind, Jilo says she'll work the spell anyway. And then the cruel family matriarch, Aunt Ginny, is murdered and it throws the family into a tailspin, because Aunt Ginny is the guardian of something called the line, which protects the human world from the demons who once ruled it.
This book got really interesting really fast. I expected Mercy to be the whining kind of girl who was prone to throwing fits about being the only normal person in her family and therefore perceiving some of the abuses she puts up with. This wasn't the case. Everyone really, truly did treat her differently, from giving her disparaging nicknames to making her wait in an undecorated foyer for hours because she wasn't important enough to warrant an audience.
I think that the thing I liked the most about reading this was that Mercy didn't know anything more than the reader, really, and so there was a lot of honest discovery going on, not just info-dumps of information because Mercy knows so much more than we do. She's just as in the dark.
While at times I felt like she was maybe a little too naive and a little too good, I feel like the events closer to the end of the book, regarding her personal life, made it seem like she'd grown and matured through the events of the book.
There were a couple of parts that I felt were reasonably predictable (view spoiler)[Mercy not really being born without magic, for example, and some events regarding the drawing of the lots after Aunt Ginny's death (hide spoiler)] but I still really enjoyed them.
I really had to tell myself to slow down at parts. I was reading too fast and I thought I'd miss something. I'll definitely reread this and I'm looking forward to the sequel! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I had no idea what "choc lit" was before picking this book up. Apparently it's "books where the hero is irresistible like chocolate." Not... really su...moreI had no idea what "choc lit" was before picking this book up. Apparently it's "books where the hero is irresistible like chocolate." Not... really sure what to do with that, I'm not going to lie.
Anyway, apparently this is the second book in a saga, the first dealing with an Englishwoman, Hannah, and her journey to Japan. This can be read as a stand-alone; I didn't feel like this story lacked anything at all without knowing the background, but I might go back and read The Scarlet Kimono later.
Half-Japanese, half-English Midori, daughter of a daimyo, is in danger because of her mixed parentage. The Shogun is trying to purge Japan of all Christians, and while Midori isn't, everyone knows she's the daughter of a gai-jin so she's in danger. Her half brother, Ichiro (fully Japanese and therefore in no danger) arranges passage for her on a ship captained by Nico Noordholt, who isn't thrilled to have her there but gave his word.
The first half of the book took place over Midori's journey to Plymouth and the second, while she is trying to fit in with her English relatives. It starts a bit slowly, but picks up--though don't misunderstand me, this is a romance novel and it's not packed with nonstop action, just attraction that both characters intend to ignore.
Both Nico and Midori have "secrets" but when she finds out what his is, I felt like she overreacted just a little. (view spoiler)[She got upset that he didn't tell her that he was her stepcousin, which I understand for the, what, two days before they showed up that he knew about it? But she never told him what her mother's family name was so how was he supposed to explain to her that they were related? (hide spoiler)]
I can't say that, coming away from this, I really "got to know" any of the characters beyond the main two characters. I liked Daniel, but the others all sort of blended together. They aren't too central to the storyline but I would have enjoyed this more if it had gone into a bit of detail and didn't just gloss over years of time.
Also, I think having read Shogun sort of changed my opinion of this one a little. They're close to, but not exactly, the same time period (both in the 17th century, though) and all I could think when Midori made it to England was how shocking and horrifying the lice and general lack of cleanliness (at least to the level she was used to) would have been to her, but it seemed like it was hardly touched on. She mentioned being worried about bedbugs once and that her petticoats itched once, but hygiene didn't seem to be a problem.
It all had a sort of "modern" writing style to it, but it wasn't too distracting. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)