I love reading retellings because it’s always fun to see authors put their own twist on something familiar; and with its dark humour and some bloodsheI love reading retellings because it’s always fun to see authors put their own twist on something familiar; and with its dark humour and some bloodshed (as a nod to the original Grimm tales), Adam Gidwitz’s In a Glass Grimmly is definitely one of the more memorable fairytale retellings I’ve read. Gidwitz takes the stories of The Frog Prince, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and Jack and the Beanstalk among others and combines them into one over-arching story where Jack and Jill are the main characters. It wasn’t until I was done reading that I found out that In a Glass Grimmly was the second book in the A Tale Dark and Grimm series - perhaps I should have looked at the cover more carefully since it does say In a Glass Grimmly is a companion novel ... oops! - but now that I know there’s another book in the series, I’ll be sure to read it too....more
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is a book that I’d describe as well, peculiar. It was written by Bachmann when he was in his teens, yet reads likes itThe Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is a book that I’d describe as well, peculiar. It was written by Bachmann when he was in his teens, yet reads likes it’s been written by a more experienced author. It’s classified as a MG novel, yet has an adult as one of its two main characters and features steampunk and politics, topics most middle graders aren’t really interested in. Personally, I felt emotionally disconnected from the characters; and while the worldbuilding was imaginative, I would have liked it to be better explained....more
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