Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was a book I probably wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for the book blogging community that put it on my radar. A reteTiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was a book I probably wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for the book blogging community that put it on my radar. A retelling of Peter Pan narrated from the perspective of Tinkerbell, this story focuses largely on Tiger Lily and features a less innocent Peter.
I really liked the idea of having Tinkerbell be the narrator of this book because as a fairy, she could understand the thoughtz and emotions of everybody around her. So, you got more insight into all the characters. It also led to Tinkerbell being a more rounded character herself instead of just being a fairy who’s in love with Peter Pan.
Other characters that I liked included Tiger Lily, a girl struggling to hold on to her freedom while trying to find a place for herself within her tribe, Pine Sap, the boy who accepts Tiger Lily just the way she is, and Tik Tok, Tiger Lily’s adopted father. Sadly, I didn’t find Peter’s story as captivating – he came off as clingy and manipulative instead – and didn’t really feel like I got to know Wendy very well because she entered the story so late. Poor Wendy also wasn’t portrayed in a very favourable light, which wasn’t surprising.
What I loved about Tiger Lily though was that it was grounded in reality. In Anderson’s story then, Neverland is a magical island that some Englanders like Captain Hook were able to find. As a result, you get to see how the European travellers affected the Indigenous population. For example, the native Neverlanders worry about the aging disease brought by Englanders, which is why the Sky Eaters agree, as a tribe, to let Phillip die. Meanwhile, after being nursed back to health by Tiger Lily, Phillip begins trying to get the Sky Eaters to give up their religion and traditions and start assimilating to more European ways of living. ...more
The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after readiThe last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend.
With its horrifying descriptions of crime scenes, references to notorious real life serial killers, and statistics and logistics about murder, I Hunt Killers was unsurprisingly dark. But, there was also unexpected humour laced throughout this novel due to its snarky main character, Jazz. Jazz was likeable as well because although he used his charm and skill to manipulate others, he was constantly worried about becoming a replica of his dad.
As well-developed as Jazz was, I found the secondary characters to be just as strongly developed. My favourite character from the cast of secondary characters would have to be Howie, Jazz’s amusing, loyal, and chatty best friend. A close second would be Jazz’s crazy grandmother.
Though there’s little I would change about I Hunt Killers, I would rather not have had POVs from the serial killer because they weren’t necessary nor were they particularly interesting. Overall, however, I Hunt Killers was brilliantly written.The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend. ...more
Since I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. BesiSince I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. Besides having more of Akiva’s perspective *cue my inner fangirl screaming*, I loved that Days of Blood and Starlight was a much darker read with some very surprising twists.
Although the main perspectives remain Akiva's and Karou's, Days of Blood and Starlight enables you to get into the heads of other major and minor characters too. I really loved this because it showed how war can affect people in such different positions of life. Through these different perspectives, the novel introduces you to new characters like Ziri and Jael and fleshes out some of the secondary characters from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I particularly enjoyed reading the perspectives of Liraz and Zuzana, and hope that their perspectives are included in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Days of Blood and Starlight also lacks the insta-love romance that was present in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In fact, considering how badly he betrayed her, I love that Karou doesn’t forgive Akiva! At the same time though, I love that Taylor leaves open the possibility of redemption for Akiva.
A sequel that definitely doesn’t suffer from the dreaded middle book syndrome!...more
Basically, if Kendare Blake's Girl of Nightmares had featured more of Cas hunting ghosts and less of him obsessing over Anna, I'd have given it a highBasically, if Kendare Blake's Girl of Nightmares had featured more of Cas hunting ghosts and less of him obsessing over Anna, I'd have given it a higher rating. While a still a solid sequel though, it just lacked the creepiness of Anna Dressed in Blood.
Since I wasn’t keen on the romance between Cas and Anna to begin with, Cas’ constant moping about Anna made me annoyed with him, especially because it affected his ability to kill ghosts. Thank goodness for Thomas’ optimism and Carmel’s levelheadedness! In fact, I really liked Carmel’s characterization in Girl of Nightmares because she wasn’t afraid to take a step back and stop hanging out with Cas and Thomas when she found the situation becoming a bit too much for her to handle. Unlike Cas and Thomas, who are used to not living a normal life, I thought it was a really smart decision on Carmel’s part to try and figure out what she actually wanted.
I also liked the expansion of the world from Anna Dressed in Blood as Girl of Nightmares explores Cas’ father’s past as a ghost hunter and the athame’s connection to The Order of Biodag Dubh, which eventually leads Cas and his friends to visiting London and Scotland. Besides the awesome and scary scene in the Suicide Forest, I enjoyed meeting Jestine, who almost seemed like a female Cas to me....more
For a self-published novel, Heather Topham Wood’s First Visions was a well-written mystery. The book, however, lost some stars when it came to the maiFor a self-published novel, Heather Topham Wood’s First Visions was a well-written mystery. The book, however, lost some stars when it came to the main character of Kate and the romance.
After contracting meningitis, Kate emerges out of a coma with a vision about an abduction case. Having seen her family’s and friends’ reactions to her newfound ability, Kate now pretends that she can no longer see visions of people’s past. Hiding her true self though has led to Kate becoming very defensive and being more or less a loner. When Jared shows up on her doorstep asking for assistance with his case, Kate initially continues the charade, but is eventually convinced by her mother to help.
Jared was a nice guy, and I thought he and Kate would have made good friends. But, the romantic tension between them felt very forced to me. I mean, how convenient that the first guy Kate started to fall for after becoming a psychic also happened to have an eccentric aunt who brought him up and therefore was very open to ideas like people being psychic. Of course he got bonus points for being attractive and a good listener.
Another reason I wasn’t a fan of the romance was because Kate just seemed so immature in comparison to Jared. For example, Kate crosses professional boundaries soon after meeting Jared by Googling his address and showing up at his apartment after a fight with her mom. Later in the book, she gets him to pick her up from a club and tries to seduce him while drunk.
Finally, I didn’t like the romance because I didn’t approve of Kate going after a guy that was already taken (even if he was sending some mixed signals). I think Wood tried her best to convince readers that Kate was the better option for Jared, but she unfortunately did so by depicting Nikki as a stereotypical mean girl.
The relationship I did like however was that of Kate and her mother. It was just so normal, and I liked how close they were with each other....more
Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington, the third book in The Violet Eden Chapters, picks up right where Entice leaves off. With only six months between releaEmblaze by Jessica Shirvington, the third book in The Violet Eden Chapters, picks up right where Entice leaves off. With only six months between releases, you’d think that I’d remember what happened in prior books better! But, for some reason, by the time a new book in this series is released, I can barely remember why Violet is so special, let alone the overarching plot. I really think having a list of major characters with their powers at the end of the book and a brief recap at the beginning would help solve my problem.
In terms of how The Violet Eden Chapters has evolved, a lot of things remain the same. For example, each book ends with a cliffhanger. As well, Violet continues to be pretty immature, having secret meetings with Phoenix and withholding information from her Grigori friends rather than letting them be a source of support. I’m also getting sort of tired of the whole wanting-to-be-with-Lincoln-but-not-being-able-to phenomenon. I love though that we still get some steamy scenes and that Shirvington remains able to smoothly incorporate her angel mythology with the historical background of the different places (e.g. Jordan, Santorini, etc.) the Grigoris travel to.
The one noticeable change in Emblaze is that Violet’s absent father suddenly starts to notice his daughter. He begins to question her whereabouts and even makes an attempt to ground her. Although it was weird to have Mr. Eden randomly acting like an actual parent, I like the development and am curious to see how this will change his relationship with his daughter....more
None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing was a quick, easy read. Though the story was decent, it was one that unfortunately didn’t leave a lasting imNone of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing was a quick, easy read. Though the story was decent, it was one that unfortunately didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. Perhaps because of the short length, the characters were also a bit flat.
While I liked Sophie, she and her friends were just a tad self-absorbed. As a result, my favourite character in the novel was probably Johnny because of his easygoing attitude and the way he helped Sophie and her friends with their dares, eventually becoming a friend of Sophie’s.
I also appreciated that Downing didn’t force her characters to rush into a relationship. When Sophie realizes that her crush on Johnny might be reciprocated, she lets him know that she isn’t interested in being strung along or becoming the other girl. Instead, she gives him time and space to figure out who he wants to be with. It was really nice to see a YA protagonist deal with her love life in a mature manner....more
Since Flash Point by Nancy Kress was available as an automatic download on NetGalley, I snagged a copy without knowing much about it or having any sorSince Flash Point by Nancy Kress was available as an automatic download on NetGalley, I snagged a copy without knowing much about it or having any sort of expectations. Although I found the novel easy to get through, I also thought the worldbuilding was severely lacking – we’re never given any information as to how something akin to the Great Depression 2.0 comes about – and the challenges quite boring for reality TV. As well, the characters were ridiculously flat and the main character hard to like. All I came away with about Amy was that she loved designer labels (as evidenced by her multiple ramblings about them), had phantoms – a concept that wasn’t well-explained, fell in love way too easily, and barely got along with her sister because both were jealous of each other. ...more
Although Conjure by Lea Nolan is a YA book, it can easily be read by older MG readers because its tone felt a bit younger, particularly since the mainAlthough Conjure by Lea Nolan is a YA book, it can easily be read by older MG readers because its tone felt a bit younger, particularly since the main character, Emma, was only fourteen and repeatedly thought about how dreamy her crush was. While I liked Emma, I found her twin brother Jack to be whiny and kind of selfish. To me, the most interesting and unique thing about Conjure was the incorporation of hoodoo. I’m not going to lie: before I read the book, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between hoodoo and voodoo. Not only do I know the difference now, but I actually felt like I learned quite a bit about hoodoo from reading Conjure. It’s very clear that Nolan did a significant amount of research on the topic!...more
You know how when you’re little, people ask you what you want to be when you grow up? Well, one of my answers used to be: “Archaeologist!” As I grew uYou know how when you’re little, people ask you what you want to be when you grow up? Well, one of my answers used to be: “Archaeologist!” As I grew up, I realized that it probably wasn’t as glamourous a job as the media made it out to be and that getting dirty wasn’t something I was fond of. And let’s not even talk about bugs! However, I thought it would be interesting to read Jordan Jacobs’ Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies considering that Jacobs himself is an archaeologist. Here’s my list of pros and cons about the novel:
Pros: - Because the locals living around Chavin de Huantar speak Spanish, I liked that Jacobs kept their sentences and questions in Spanish rather than translating them into English. I may not have understood what was being said, but the incorporation of Spanish gave the book a more authentic feel. It also enabled me to relate to Samantha’s plight of not being able to understand what’s being discussed when people are conversing in Spanish because she doesn’t know the language. - Similarly, I liked the incorporation of real archaeological terms. - I thought the relationship between Samantha and Evan was depicted pretty realistically. As siblings close in age, they argue a lot; but there are also times when they’re sort of nice to each other. - Overall, I felt that Jacobs did a good job of demonstrating the day-to-day life of an archaeologist.
Cons: - Though I didn’t think the answer was that obvious, my hunch as to who the looters might be turned out to be correct. Nevertheless, I had no clue as to how the looters were stealing from the units. - The book could have used a bit more excitement. It was a little more serious in tone than the MG novels I prefer to read, and I never felt that need to find out what was going to happen next....more
After seeing lots of praise for Hannah Harrington’s debut novel Saving June and then again for her newest book Speechless, I wondered what I was missiAfter seeing lots of praise for Hannah Harrington’s debut novel Saving June and then again for her newest book Speechless, I wondered what I was missing out on and figured I’d give her sophomore novel a try before my galley expired. I’m not really fond of stories revolving around selfish, mean girls so when I first started Speechless and realized Chelsea was one of those girls who ignores how awful her “best friend” is in order to stay popular, I speculated how long it would take before she blurted out the secret mentioned in the synopsis. Fortunately, not long; and by the end, Harrington’s gradual development of Chelsea’s character had me if not liking Chelsea, at least respecting her.
In my opinion, by far the best thing about Speechless was Chelsea’s voice because it was so honest and easy to relate to. Since Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence – which to me seemed a tad unrealistic because why decide to stop speaking altogether when you could just as easily make a vow not to gossip for example – a significant chunk of the book focuses on her thoughts. Through Chelsea’s perspective, you realize that, like anybody, she’s flawed and is a myriad of contradictions – brave, judgmental, determined and self-absorbed yet also vulnerable, thoughtful and perceptive.
I also liked the secondary characters. I just wish I could have gotten to see them in a more personal environment (e.g. in their homes) so that I could learn about them as characters independent of their interactions with Chelsea at school or work.
Another thing that I would have liked more time to be spent on was the relationship between Chelsea and Kristen. Since the two stop hanging out after the awful incident, we don’t really get to see Kristen as anything other than a stereotypical mean girl. At the same time though, I was okay with the way their relationship was portrayed because there was eventually some sort of resolution between the two.
Since I’ve never read Juliet Marillier’s adult fantasy novels but had heard good things about her work, I was curious to see what her newest YA novel,Since I’ve never read Juliet Marillier’s adult fantasy novels but had heard good things about her work, I was curious to see what her newest YA novel, Shadowfell, would be like. The fantasy lover in me is always thrilled when I can find a new world that I can fully immerse myself in; and in that regard, Marillier delivers. However, Marillier’s mystical world full of magic and danger is unveiled agonizingly slowly as Neryn, the protagonist, journeys through Alban. As such, I’m pretty sure this book won’t appeal to everybody.
If you don’t mind a slow plot involving a lot of walking though, then I would recommend giving Shadowfell a try because not only does it have great worldbuilding, but it also has sensible characters. While I liked seeing Neryn grow and become more determined and self-confident, my favourite character was the mysterious and complex Flint who carries quite a burden. That said, I wish the characters could have been a bit more memorable since it felt like they lacked that little something extra....more
My biggest problem with Sylvia Gunnery’s Emily For Real was that it squished a variety of topics like a breakup, family secrets, alcoholism, etc. intoMy biggest problem with Sylvia Gunnery’s Emily For Real was that it squished a variety of topics like a breakup, family secrets, alcoholism, etc. into a short book. As a result, none of these subjects were covered in depth. However, there were other problems as well: namely, that Emily was kind of immature, that what was supposed to be a meaningful friendship between Emily and Leo felt superficial at best, and that because I felt emotionally disconnected from Emily, I just didn’t find her family drama that engaging. ...more