This was a retelling so awful that I deleted the file on my e-reader without checking whether I had managed to read 25% or 30% before combusting. One...moreThis was a retelling so awful that I deleted the file on my e-reader without checking whether I had managed to read 25% or 30% before combusting. One spontaneous, annoyed click and the free Kindle version was gone without a trace (The order still lurks in my Amazon account history and mocks my bad taste. This year will be better, I am sure.)(less)
"Yucko"". That is the heroine's favorite word. And it fits, a bit. However, if I were to blurb the paranormal sleutheress boarding-school romance ""To...more"Yucko"". That is the heroine's favorite word. And it fits, a bit. However, if I were to blurb the paranormal sleutheress boarding-school romance ""Touch of Frost"" I would say ""Likable, but in the direct vicinity of 'meh'"".
I feel a little bit like venting, but I am in bed with a cold. So, please excuse me for amassing random thoughts here instead of a structured review:
- English is not my mother tongue. Therefore I am always happy to pick up additional tidbits that help me to understand and use it better. While reading ""Touch of Frost"", I learned that ""purple hoodie"" is actually a composite word. The same might be true for ""violet eyes"", a narrower term being ""my violet eyes"". The broader term can be found sixteen times within this series' starter volume. Both can be used in sentences of remarkable literary value, i.e.: ""So I just stared at him, my feelings for him so obvious in my violet eyes."" The only way Gwenny could be so unwaveringly sure of the expressability of her Frost-Familiy-Brand-Eyes in PANTONE 261C is extensive self-study via mirror... or it might be that the author still has no idea how a first-person-narration is successfully implemented. That might also explain the long, long and kind of repetitive analytical monologues the heroine has in her mind - preferably in the face of imminent danger.
- Connected to the point-of-view is a lot of meta-information that gets dumped on the reader, which is either the result of judging the readers as being too dense to spot the author's applaudable ability to stick to certain paranomal romance or sleuthing-story formula on the dot on his or her own or it is a tell-tale-sign of parodistic writing. I tend to go with the first possibility. Gwendolyn actually tells us ""Everything about Logan screamed bad boy, from the thick, silky, ink-black hair to his intense ice blue eyes to the black leather jacket that highlighted his broad shoulders."" A thousand things just feel ""off"" to the heroine, which certainly makes her investigate. But then she misses some important clues. And in case the reader has not just noticed that things are a tad too obvious here and the heroine has a plot-lengthening moment, she emphasises her own being behind: ""I felt a memory stirring in my subconscious. Something to do with illusions. Something that I'd seen or heard or read or thought about in the last few days. Something that was important."" Well, duh.
- In addition there is the ""let's-have-a-paranormal-heroine-but-how-on-earth-can-we-make-use-of-her-powers"" dilemma. In ""Touch of Frost"" it is not as bad as in, for example, Clarity. But if the heroine would play her cards, or rather abilities, right, there would be no need for her to admit repeatedly that she is no Veronica Mars. Gwen, whose gift is ""touch magic"" - having visions when touching people or people's objects -, breaks into a room to find clues about a murder, but actually tries to avoid touching most things in there. She takes out a book with a sticky note tacked to a rather relevant looking paragraph, but a day later she has still not tried her power on it. Gwen's reluctance is feebly explained away by her fear of reliving horrible moments or learning secrets without the consent of people she respects, but in the light of solving the case - and the fact, that Gwen earns money by locating lost and sometimes embarrassing stuff - that sounds far-fetched.
- The heroine's ""I-avoid-touching-people"" strategy certainly works beautifully with the ""Save-the-heroine's-virginity-for-the-last-installment-or-forever"" rule most paranormal young adult romance sticks to. Gwenny is even of the unkissed sort and ohhh does she want to make out with the bad, but life-saving boy, but then she would compromise him by learning all his and his family's dirty secrets and probably his hot and dirty thoughts on top. Therefore she takes down her open arms in time, makes a double morron out of herself verbally, has the love interest's half-melted ice-eyes turn to popsicles and does not get a third chance in the end, because by then we have - just in time - switched to the moody-broody ""I-cannot-have-you-know-my-dark-secret-and-my-utterly-ugly-side-yet-although-I-crave-you"" part of the required plot development. Who would have guessed, huh?
That would be all for now. Before you say it, I have to bring it on the table myself: I cannot successfully explain what made me read a paranormal boarding school romance again after so many disappointments. Must have been the high average rating plus the enthusiasm of several of my friends - or my indestructable hope that Enid Blython and J. K. Rowlings cannot be the only ones who were able to pull off addictive stories set in boarding school environments.(less)
3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls...more3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls feeling wrong in their own female skins, but plots that show girls cross-dressing because their gender would be an unacceptable obstactle to doing what they want or what they have to do (like spy work, having a career or evading a certain unwelcome fate). For instance, I loved Alle halten mich für einen Jungen, in which 12-years-old Simone just doesn’t dare to contradict the teacher introcuding her to her new classmates, Star-Crossed, in which the heroine applies for a job as a ship’s surgeon after her master dies and leaves her jobless, Freedom Beyond the Sea, which shows a jewish girl fleeing the Spanish Inquisition as a hand on Christopher Columbus’ ship, the historical romance The Spy and the manga series W Juliet, Volume 1... plus I have to admit I almost became addicted to the Korean drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince when I watched it two years ago: I felt compelled to watch episode after episode although night had already set in and I had plans for the day after.
In Babe in Boyland a lot of the possible, awkward situations that might occur when a girl pretends to be a boy in an boys-only-boarding-school were covered and I liked the conveyed message that we all have different sides to us that we broadcast in the company of different people and that the conviction of really knowing someone is mostly founded by what our own interaction with the person in question triggers. Plus, The heroine and her two best friends were rather cute and the love interest was hot and nice.
Still, Babe in Boyland was not perfect as a girl-in-boys’-clothes-book. It reminded me a lot of the Japanese drama version of the popular manga series Hana-Kimi, Volume 1, which I enjoyed considerably more inspite of all the unnecessary twists and turns and silly side-plots a manga-based TV-series is inherently prone to. In both stories the supposed new boy falls for her roommate. And in both plots this leads to interesting dilemmas. But the scenes in the drama were more vivid, more romantic, more awkward. They pushed the dangerous whoa-she-almost-blew-the-cover angst at me with a firmer shove and made me wonder if the „real“ boy, who tended to react grumpy or moody, but sometimes a little tender, was having difficulties at keeping himself from being attracted to someone he thought to be a guy.
But a non-perfect book is by no means a book that is not good or not recommendable. So if you like light and short chicklitty romances that involve a little cross-dressing, cute boys, friendship, Shakespearean drama and a teenaged heroine, who shows some character development, I show you you both my thumbs turned upwards. Babe in Boyland provided my with some much-needed fun hours and a wonderful respite from wading through an endless historical fantasy that entirely revolves around sex and dark obsessions. (less)
4,5 stars!! I am quite overwelmed by how much I liked Ballad, since after reading Lament I expected a sequel that would also barely make it into the "...more4,5 stars!! I am quite overwelmed by how much I liked Ballad, since after reading Lament I expected a sequel that would also barely make it into the "It-was-enjoyable-but-didn't-touch-me" category. In most cases sequels even take a slight - or not so slight - drop for me. Surprisingly Ballad turned out to be what I wished Lament had been: A beautiful but eerie story in which humans meet dangerous, but alluring and likable faeries. Both worlds are shaken up. Both main characters change because of the encounter. James was the character I liked best in Lament, anyway. And his story told in turns with faerie muse Nuala tucked at my heart strings in a way Deidre's narration would not and could not. (Oh, how I wished for a miracle in the end! A sure sign of success of the author's efforts to engage the reader.) I was so very afraid of Nuala hurting James in the beginning, but after a few chapters she started to grow on me, which is how it should be in my opinion. Ballad, which was featuring Deidre, too, in the form of unsent text messages, confirmed my slight dislike of "the cloverhand" and opened my eyes to why Lament and I could not and did not really click. A short comment on the cover: It fits "like a fist on an eye" as we would say in German.
P.S.: I am sorry, Jessi, for stowing Ballad away on my keepers shelf after having set up your hope. Borrowing is certainly possible ;-).(less)
I feel so bad about giving up, because "Dust City" is really easy to read and I would leaf through the remaining hundred pages in a blink. But I am to...moreI feel so bad about giving up, because "Dust City" is really easy to read and I would leaf through the remaining hundred pages in a blink. But I am too lazy to invest the time, because I know it will not chance my opinion - or my life, or even my day. It's too late for that after two thirds.
As we all had the same difficulties with the visuals: I imagined the evolved-towards-human-standards-intelligence animalia dystopian-fairytale-retelling-setting to be a nightmare-turned world of the Calico Critters, little jeans overalls with pre-fabricated tail-holes and all - although no LRRH-eating wolf family seems to be part of the available selection.(less)
An unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let i...moreAn unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let it simmer on my bedside table for a while.
Is it so bad, you ask? Oh, it's not bad. - I just don't care for bordom-school (oops) boarding-school stories at the moment - especially not for those including blue-blooded royal-bitch-room-mates - the moody, goth-like, thrift-store addicted, I-am-different-from-everybody-else-where-is-my-great-destiny-invite-me-to-a-french-castle heroine, who in my mind looks like Emily the Strange, grates on my nerves - the evil or not so evil sisterhood searching for "The Dark One" promised in their prophecy switched on all the cliché-screamers inside of my head and alerted my suspicion-mode - I wanted a cute ephemeral ghost and got a solid Medici-time guy visited during time-travelling dreams.
Go ahead: buy and read it, but read the description first and forget about the cover. It has been switched at birth.
Nic, don't you buy the book. I'll mail it next week.(less)
Meh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-...moreMeh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-adult" boarding-school girly-girl, let's-kiss-the-presumably-hot-and-bad-but-taken warlock, "three-mean-girls-shall-you-be" witchy-washy is.
Please pat me on my back! Finishing this with only skipping half a page now and then took almost all my witch-power for today.(less)