I don't understand - how stupid can a character get, really? Practically all the characters in thReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I don't understand - how stupid can a character get, really? Practically all the characters in this book are shallow, dumb and infuriatingly scatter-brained. I wanted to tear my hair out all the way through; I wish I hadn't wasted my bloody time reading this pathetic excuse for a romance! Let's not even talk about sub plots and secondary characters, because I don't think I can stomach talking about them.
Yes, it's that bad.
Let's focus on the general lack of brains of the characters, if you please. Almost a decade ago, Breanna is happily engaged to Troy. But Troy has a one-night stand with Breanna's best friend Meg and gets her pregnant. Of course, that is not only so cliche, the book does not even bother explaning what the hell happened there. You'd think that at least Breanna is given a measure of comfort by a heartfelt explanation on what really happened and why but no, of course not - the author decided it's better to leave it blank! To make matters worse, Troy goes 'round to eloping and marrying Meg. Then he had the guts to call Breanna - who at the time was only about to tell him she is pregnant with his child - and drops the bomb. Hurt, Breanna leaves town to build a life for herself, but miscarries the baby.
Any rational reader would place the sympathy on Breanna. But guess what? Apparently she's in the wrong! Troy gets all self-righteous and blames her for not telling him about the child! Her father and sister labels her a coward for running away! Plus, we are told that her father is actually the one who encouraged Troy to marry Meg, because he understood Troy wanted to do the right thing. Even if Breanna's father didn't know she was pregnant at the time, what rational father would be all friendly with the fiance who cheated on his daughter?! He was not even mad! He'd rather hurt his daughter than punch the fiance in the face - quite an insult to fatherhood I'd say. But then again - later we find out that he was also a cheater himself. Now, maybe that's why.
And then, to make matters worse - Breanna thinks so too! Pride? What pride? She's a pushover! She does things half-heartedly and is content with Troy's inexistent apologies. When every stupid one of her friends pushes them together, she's like a giggling teenager trying to pretend she's against it when she's really rearing to be pushed towards the person who betrayed her in the worst possible way. Ironically, the book tries to portray her maturity but damn, I've never seen such a dismal failure as this before.
Troy is a bastard. How can you blame the fiance you cheated on for not telling you she's pregnant when you ran off to marry her best friend, pregnant also with your baby? Or, more accurately, how dare you?! He's a cheater. He doesn't have the right. He was not even in the least apologetic about it! He continually goads Breanna, takes liberties and struts around town as if he had the right to feel deserted and be angry and act all possessive around Breanna. Yeah sure, he looked sullen when he found out she had a miscarriage - but instead of grieving for his lost child what does he do? His ego gets stroked for fathering two children by different women (also best friends!) and stakes his claim of fatherhood. What. an. ass.
And let's not forget - after a little teasing, a few kisses here and there, and seduction of course, Breanna forgives Troy and all is happy again! What a pair of idiots - they deserve each other!
So please, don't read this book. You'll only give yourself an apoplexy. ...more
I'd like to think I'm a reader who do not demand perfect characters. As a matter of fact, I like finding the faulReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I'd like to think I'm a reader who do not demand perfect characters. As a matter of fact, I like finding the faults in the characters that makes them so human. However, when I come across a character who barely has any redeeming quality, I also do not hesitate to flog the aforementioned character. And Max Archer is such a bastard of a character I swear he more than deserves some serious flogging.
I don't think the book executed the plot well at all in itself, but by God the characters! Weak, laughably ludicrous and without any ounce of self-respect! Max, in particular was an arrogant ass who revelled in the knowledge that he has two women in his bed. One, his wife Celine. The other, his mistress Kate, a younger work colleague. For goodness' sake how many times do middle-aged men have to be warned about their endless attraction to ambitious, independent women decades their junior? They never learn, do they? Max certainly did not get the memo, because this cheating husband did not only get himself the stereotypical mistress, he threw his wife to the gutter and thought himself in love! His complacency about the severity of his infidelity sends the wrong message, as well as his poor treatment of both Celine and Kate. His actions show no regret or payment for it, only self-confidence that he can apologise once and with clever words ease what he did to Kate and that a little wooing would earn him back his wife. Sorry, life doesn't work that way. Sorry is only too light a word. He seemed completely assured that because his wife is a woman without a pride, he can easily go back to the way things were. Like I said, no redemption. I was utterly disgusted by his behaviour - if he was a real-to-life person and I was in Celine's shoes, I'd divorce him without ado and file an injunction against him! What a despicable character this one is.
Celine - although the victim here - is no better. By God woman, have some dignity! She is so blinded by her love for Max - which, in turns out, she only realise when he left - that she simply continually begged him to come back. Really begged him to come back. Her pride is practically inexistent, and she cannot seem to function without Max. Pathetic. I happen to find it very difficult to find some women like her, who is content to grovel when she has all the resources to move on with her life, forget the episode and find someone who deserves her more. Celine is portrayed as a pushover with no real power in this book, and I think as a female reader that is seriously degrading. And Kate - well, Kate has no real presence in the book, only at the beginning and end. Although I think she is also a victim of the disgusting Max, nothing whatsoever justifies breaking up a marriage like she did (and moreover, begging Celine to let Max go). For goodness' sake, how many times do we also need to remind young, ambitious females to keep their hands off a married man? Motives be damned, if you have enough decency you'd know that ruining a marriage is one of the worse kind of sin!
Since the main protagonists are abhorrent, well the secondary characters are just as bad. They seem to be all happy and contented the marriage eventually gets back on track - no talks to Max about anything, or lectures or what nots. Nothing. Very disappointing - everybody was just oh-so-ready to let every wrong slide.
I am especially picky with the books I read - and I usually immediately chuck the book when infidelity begins toReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I am especially picky with the books I read - and I usually immediately chuck the book when infidelity begins to show itself. I made an exception for this book however, because if there's anything I love more than a man baring his heart to his woman, it's a man grovelling for forgiveness. A thread on Amazon recommended this book as one with a lot of grovelling so I thought I'd give it a try even if the reason for said grovelling is infidelity. Guess what? I was disappointed.
Call me shallow, but I picked this one up because it was supposed to show, grovelling aside, regrets, new beginnings and much-needed realisation in part of the characters. So I expected to be indulged - but there was little to make me happy. Grovelling? What grovelling? The hero was arrogant, self-righteous and would rather have the graces of the heroine through seduction rather than apologies! I disliked Joe because if there was anyone who had absolutely no right to act as if the past just erases itself, it's him. It did not help that the heroine was as weak as a newborn - a typically weak-willed heroine easily seduced by the hottie even though she despises his guts. How cliche could it get?
Add these characters to a equally cliche climax (other girl involved, but of course a total misunderstanding...) and you get something that isn't at all worth reading. It's as cliche as can be! There were several subplots that have no volume whatsoever - they'd make you wonder if they were only added in to garnish the plot because God knows it needs it. The only redeeming quality of this book I think is the part where Trish digs deeper into her own emotions. Her realisations were quite well explained and generally fits the plot.
I'd say do yourself a favour and skip this - but it seems some people like it, so there you go. ...more
Infidelity, being the ultimate betrayal, is terribly difficult for any couple - let alone family - to face. So imReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Infidelity, being the ultimate betrayal, is terribly difficult for any couple - let alone family - to face. So imagine if it happens to two very close-knit families: The Maxwells: J.D. and Teke, their children Leigh, Jana and Michael. And the Popes, Sam, Annie, and Jon and Zoe. It all begins one afternoon when Sam and Teke loses themselves in a moment of passion. Worse, Michael walks in on them and runs away, only to get hit by a truck, which results in a coma. Now, if that drama isn't heavy enough, the truck's driver happens to be Grady, the love of Teke's life.
This book really evokes intense emotions from the readers, because the crushing betrayal is aggravated by the fact that the families are so close, and MIchael being hurt is a direct effect of the trauma of seeing something that should never have happened. Pain and resentment abound, and I shed a lot of tears for Annie in this book, because I felt she deserved the most sympathy. The emotions of the characters are compelling and it is easy to get to know each character and their motivations. The characters are really varied and well-differentiated, and each of these differences dictate the path of the story.
What isn't easy to understand though, are the reactions of the adults to the infidelity. Annie for me was too forgiving - she was such a martyr! I guess she's real enough in that you always hear about women who forgive husbands/boyfriends who have cheated on them. Personally for me, although not vindictive per se, forgiveness comes hard and long and forgetting may never happen. So I felt Annie forgave too easily. I hated how the offending parties, Sam and Teke, tried so hard to brush off their sins under the "it's a one time mistake", "it's in the past", and the one I hated most: "we did not have an affair" umbrella of worthless excuses. As if that changes things! No mature, rational adult is vulnerable to their excuses because they were shallow, appalling and very, very flimsy. I've always hated that 'blinded by lust' excuse that authors use, because well, it's unrealistic!
It really threw me off how both of them downplayed the relevance and gravity of them cheating. It was as if they were trying so hard to make it look as if it never happened because it apparently meant nothing to both of them - but come on, cheating is cheating no matter what, and it is a big, big mistake even if it 'meant nothing'. They consistently hid behind the fact that it 'was not an affair' - are we to take it lightly because it was not? The book never really justifies it enough, and that's even worse because of the closeness of the family.
Sam also had the guts to be all condescending to their children, which was ironically immature of him to do because they were teenagers and not six years old! They don't understand not because their young, but because there's nothing to understand. Sam was such a typical male - expecting to be forgiven because he had admitted the sin and apologised. Bollocks! He didn't even try very much. He also dared to excuse his unfaithfulness by saying that he wasn't unfaithful at all because he was making love to Annie in his mind! And that he only used Teke's body. You know what that sounds like? It sounds like a well-thought, well-practiced excuse. Who comes up with that s***? What really got to me was when he was doing it with Teke, he said "Jesus, Teke" - which does not support his excuse of thinking of Annie, and also makes it known that he knew who it was he was screwing. I really lost respect to him after that, and once you lose respect for a character... it's hard for him to redeem himself again.
Teke is just as bad, because she was so self-absorbed, always thinking about Grady. Instead of redeeming herself to Annie, she only called on her to again, talk about Grady. How very unrepentant! And although by no means her fault, the book seems adamant to excuse Teke's behaviour due to troubled past - as if that gives her the right to cheat! So really, I felt that Sam and Teke got off very lightly in this book - it was very frustrating. Sure, J.D. is cruel and doesn't seem to deserve his due damage (he also cheated, by the way), Annie deserves every bit of grovelling from Sam and Teke! Having said that, Teke is a devoted mother - she did suffer her own share in her marriage, and more after her indiscretion, especially from J.D. who had absolutely no moral right to judge her. After a while it's hard not to sympathise with Teke, but I don't feel she apologised to Annie in particular, which given that they were the best of friends, should have done so in the first instance.
There were two redeeming characters in the book for me - Grady and the children. Grady is one very interesting character, and although he is often on the edge of the main picture, he has a very solid presence. The children were the most rational of the bunch, and in a book about infidelity by the parents, that says a lot.
More than Friends is slightly predictable - it ultimately revolves around the ramifications of infidelity on two different families, and the outcomes that result from said consequences. It's also about forgiveness and starting over. It shows how people cope very differently to an indiscretion; how it changed lives, how it strengthens bonds and how to ultimately live with it.
Sadly, it seems to me that wanting to re-read the book doesn't stem from the desire to wallow in the message it conveys, but from the pleasure of seeing those who should have been more tormented suffer repeatedly.
More than Friends is a painful, frustrating read - the characters are flawed and does grate at one's nerves. But it also does explore family life and values, and despite not liking the characters much, I don't regret reading the book...much.
I read quite a lot of romance, and I do like most of them, but occasionally I find one that can easily outclass tReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I read quite a lot of romance, and I do like most of them, but occasionally I find one that can easily outclass the rest. My Name is Memory is in huge contention for the most romantic book I have ever laid hands on.
The story of Daniel is one that is both fascinating and unnerving. I found the concept of reincarnation common enough, but to carry the memory of it all - both a gift and a curse to our hero - is a fresh albeit as intriguing twist to the idea. The complexity of Daniel's memory is engaging and intensely captivating, and as more of his history is introduced I was felt I was being enlightened to a philosophical, cosmic law. I was curious as to how the plot would present the concept of reincarnation and the accompanying memory - I did have a lot of questions but these has been more or less seen to in the course of the plot.
The novel is in alternate chapters of past and present. Through Daniel's account, readers glimpse his - and Lucy's/Sophia's - history. Images of the past were new and exciting to me. I cannot comment on the accuracy of the depictions but I am pretty satisfied and as Daniel is more thoughts than acts it is really his reflections which captivated me.I looked forward to each chapter of Daniel's narration and history while reading the present events and looked forward to the present while I was immersed in each of Daniel's chapters. Once I started reading, I almost haven't stopped.
Daniel is certainly the mostnotable character. It is easy to feel - yes, feel - him in every page. His character is thoughful, reflective, almost self-less. He carries in his narration the words of a man who has lived a hundred lives, and this I felt is what drew me most to his character. It was as if a tangible Daniel has written those accounts himself; the emotions and anguish were so raw, his love for Lucy pervades his every word. It is worth noting, I think, that whilst Daniel is unquestionably in love with Lucy, he lives each of his life as his own person. Whilst Lucy is also a developed character, I find the balance tilted more towards Daniel. In a way, I think the latter surpasses many of the characters I have come to admire; there is respectability and a sort of magnetic admirability in Daniel that I rarely, if ever, find in others.
Now, if that was not enough, the twist in the plot had me gasping, squealing and racing to find out what happens next. It was incredible. The suspense was almost heartbreaking; I wasn't quite sure how everything would fall in place!
And while the ending(or lack thereof) was impossibly vague, it was not frustrating at all. I was still basking in the intensity of Daniel and Lucy's love to be frustrated about anything at all. I absolutely adore this novel. I could not get enough, and whilst I'm not sure if there will be a sequel, I damn well hope so.
I still re-read my favourite parts and am yet to determine how to untangle myself from this novel. It's impossible not to fall in love with it!
My Name is Memory is beautiful,beautiful novel. Written exceedingly well, with magnetic characters and with a romance that took my breath - and my heart - away, it is easily the most romantic novel I have read as of late....more
I was hugely excited for the second installment in the Drake Chronicles and am glad to say that it pleased me a lReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I was hugely excited for the second installment in the Drake Chronicles and am glad to say that it pleased me a lot! I know a lot of you girls out there are excited for it too - you better be, because this is so much better than Love Lies Bleeding (US title: Hearts at Stake)!
Let me start by saying that it surpassed all my expectations. I thought it was going to be a book that was more romance than anything but boy was I wrong. It was a good mix of mystery and action (I love!) - it was really a fast-paced read which I could barely let go of.
It is not only an excellent sequel, it can also stand-alone. Alyxandra Harvey continues the plot in Love Lies Bleeding smoothly, without foregoing the development of the relationships (Nicholas-Lucy!) established in its predecessor. If anything, it actually entices any reader who has not yet read Love Lies Bleeding to read it.
Blood Feud is told in both Logan's and Isabeau's perspectives. The difference in their way of thinking delivered a very insightful glimpse into a tale that was part past and part present. Logan's point of view is always fraught with humour and indignation whilst Isabeau is the more reserved, thoughtful type. Logan is hilariously funny and Isabeau, though trying not to be, is still a girl underneath all the hatred she harbours. They are a wonderful pair together, but I'm afraid I'm still a hard-core Lucy-Nicholas shipper!
The narrative is not exactly told in alternate POVs, but rather in blocks. You have several chapters of Isabeau's perspective and several of Logan's succeeding that. In between an omniscient narrator relays the past that explains Isabeau's experiences during the French for revolution and elaborates her thirst for revenge. I must say that these chapters are very well-placed, so that they support the continuity of the plot rather than distract the reader from it. They serve also as a form of characterisation of Isabeau. Well described and strongly portrayed, it allows the readers to not only understand, but also sympathise with Isabeau.
What I did not favour in the general plot would be the lack of characterisation on Logan's part. Isabeau was definitely a developed character; I was not sure Logan is. I certainly would have wanted more on his part. The second and final thing I can say about the plot is that I wanted more romance! Quite difficult to impose on a character such as Isabeau but the fan-girl in me screams more.
I have once more enjoyed immersing myself in Alyxandra Harvey's vampire world. The Drakes and Lucy are always a pleasure to be with, but with the addition of Isabeau and with the deeper, more action-packed plot, Blood Feud just made it a whole lot better! ...more
I almost regret reading The Summer I Turned Pretty. I found it to be rather distasteful.
I should start with the few strengths of this book. Firstly, I thought it really captures the essence of summer. While reading I could almost feel the warmth of the summer breeze seeping through the pages of the book and the smell of the ocean in Belly's narration. It's also a wonderful book with regards to its portrayal of family life and friendships. The relationship between the Fishers and Belly's family is uplifting to read about. Their closeness is enviable, and although Belly is often bullied by the three older boys - Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah - it is obvious that they all love and care for her.
Realism is also strong factor in The Summer I Turned Pretty. It's not about a perfect summer, but is about its many imperfections and how one grows in facing it. Hence it's not a light-hearted book per se, it's also about the heavy problems that life throws at you, summer or not. Towards the end of the book, Belly begins to understand this and hence mature, and it becomes clear how the book chronicles different people's way of coping.
Unfortunately, developments appear to occur only towards the end. The first three-quarters of the book is a pain to read. Belly is the type of person that I don't mind meeting but I certainly would not want to hang out with. She's immature, whiny, possessive and self-centered. The narrative is told in her perspective and is a criss-cross of the present and the past. While the flashbacks serve to elaborate on present events, I found that Belly hardly matured. She is constantly obsessing about being a grown up (while not acting like it), and this becomes a constant drone that has irritated me. I also felt that a lot of her attention were drawn to inconsequential matters, which was a waste of time. I could not get the point up until three quarters of the book. Shame.
The secondary characters were not all bad, of course. I like Susannah and Jeremiah, whom I thought were perfectly drawn. However, I felt Conrad needed more development. Belly is always constantly mentioning changes in his attitude, but he's such a vague character I thought his reactions were anything but abnormal. Which is another reason why I never really connected with the book.
Finally, I had issues with Belly's relationship with her mother and Cam. Belly is borderline ignoring her mother - she loves Sussanah so much, but her affection for her mother is so limited it is almost inexistent. To make it worse, she hardly appreciates her mother's efforts - no thank yous or I'm sorrys - which annoyed me to no end. Meanwhile, Cam is just like a passing breeze that shows how Belly is completely insensitive, which is no excuse for anyone to be, summer fling or not. His presence is misleading because here I was thinking there were only two boys for Belly, when there was actually three. It's a little over my limit, especially if the aforementioned two are siblings.
I'm not a fan of this book, I'm afraid. Sorry....more
Such a hilarious book - I've been howling with laughter since the first few pages! Emma's totally and completely nuts - she sought audience with the kSuch a hilarious book - I've been howling with laughter since the first few pages! Emma's totally and completely nuts - she sought audience with the king to force her husband to attend to his husbandly duties, which, in her (completely lacking and innocent) knowledge, means sharing the bed - literally. When her second husband Amaury is faced with the challenge of showing her what exactly happens between a husband and a wife on their wedding night, she thinks his extra appendage a deformity, wonders at the lack of toes at the end of it and how it can grow like it does. Such a classic humour. I love it!...more
Saying this book tested my patience does not even begin to cover it; it truly exhausted every ounce of whatever pReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Saying this book tested my patience does not even begin to cover it; it truly exhausted every ounce of whatever patience there was in me. While I admit I was intrigued about its premise at first, and was thoroughly excited at having the book in my hands, eventually I had to get rid of it or risk insanity.
For the record, I actually did not finish the book. So whether or not you'd take my review as accurate, I'll leave it for you to decide. However, note that I did try to read as much of this book as I could possibly endure. But it just was not possible to finish the book.
The protagonist, Julia, narrates the story and this pretty much guaranteed it's downfall for me. She's a whiny character, one that comes across as stupid more than naive. She's also rather weak in character and I was especially put off with her incessant pining after Nicholas.
So the guy heroically saves her and she falls head over heels in love at first sight, granted. But when Nicholas fails to show up after his saving her, she acts as if her life has suddenly lost its purpose. She goes through the five stages of grief, as though she has lost a lover. She begins blaming him, acting as if Nicholas owed her a lengthy explanation for promising to show up and somehow failing to do so (sure, a promise is a promise - but when a stranger promised something to you, do you honestly fall into a depression when it's broken? Aren't you more likely to be surprised if that stranger actually fulfilled a promised visit?). She also actually gets into the point where she tells herself to finally 'move on' from Nicholas. Move on? As if they ever had a relationship in the first place? It was just too pathetic.
Of course a good mystery and even more mysterious hero is always welcomed in my book - but as I waited for the mystery to unravel, there was nothing else to sustain the plot other than Julia's never-ending pining for Nicholas. Not only did this lack of subplot resulted in the dragging of the storyline, it also made it boring, and Julia's narrative practically killed it for me. Being annoyed to death by this character overshadowed my reading experience so much I can hardly comment on the book's writing and structure.
So sadly, despite my initial enthusiasm, Emerald Talisman turned out to be rather unbearable...more
Wondering why I'm reading a romance novel as old as I am? Clearly, because I think romances are timeless (hey, whReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Wondering why I'm reading a romance novel as old as I am? Clearly, because I think romances are timeless (hey, which is why I read a lot of romances!). But also - because old stories are ultimately more focused on the emotional rather than the sexual aspect of a relationship. Many older romances are very very good, and this is just one of them!
A very dramatised marriage and divorce, including the secrets and reasons for the above, but a surprisingly good book. Despite being a little predictable, everything ties up wonderfully and I am much impressed by the female character in this book. Abby is a strong heroine with the perfect sense of self!
Initially, Nick appears like every kind of playboy. I also thought that he would be a stereotypical hero, who uses seduction to capture the heart of our heroine. Fortunately for Nick, he is well-redeemed in the end. I am quite happy as to how this turned out, because he grows likeable as the book progresses, while not moving away from the ruthlessness that characterised him all the way through. This guy is peculiarly over-dramatic with his antics, but he grows on you. He really is a flawed character, but great nonetheless.
As I have mentioned, I admired Abby greatly in this book. She has a backbone, and knows when to stand up for herself. Unlike other heroines, she isn't immediately seduces, nor does she lose her head when ex-husband Nick is anywhere close. That just seemed mindless to me, and Abby I'm glad is not. I think the author has shown in Abby a good balance of pride, dignity and love and longing. While Abby maintains her cool and clings on to her self-respect, it is also clear that she yearns for Nick. It's a delicate balance and one not easy to trek - but Jacqueline Baird managed it perfectly! I have all respect for Abby.
With two great characters, and a great, twisty and close-to-reality plot, Shattered Trust is a wonderful book to pass time with! ...more
Oh dear God this book is insane. It could have easily killed me with its hilarity, and to be entirely honest it mReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Oh dear God this book is insane. It could have easily killed me with its hilarity, and to be entirely honest it might just be the most hilarious, most ridiculous book I've ever read. I wish I read this when I was younger - I'd have loved it! Or well...it could have easily killed me then. It's just too funny!
Tallulah Casey is seriously insane. In a good way. She is a character so full of life it's hard to not be uplifted whenever I open the pages and read about her adventures ... or I beg your pardon, misadventures. Her voice is genuine, and really a lot like a young teen. You can sense her naivety and insecurity, and it is easy to relive your very own interesting teenage experiences with her. Or compare it with hers, and with it comes the nostalgia. I think that's one of the best things about Withering Tights - as an adult, it not only filled with the the exuberance of a teenage spirit, but also made me reminisce the many misadventures of my own teenage life!
With a cast of equally vibrant characters with Tallulah, Withering Tights blossoms to a book with a life on its own. It's easy to get into the flow of the plot; apart from Tallulah's easy narration, one can expect hilarity at every other page, indignation in between, and a lot of fun mishaps sprinkled throughout.
A little caution on the narrative's tendency to exaggerate, though. Although admittedly, it is so very hilarious, at times it's bordering on stupidity rather than naivety - it's primarily what I disliked about the book, really. I felt that Tallulah as a character with brains was somehow sacrificed just so the humour could continue. My thoughts then, at those points were dominated by - 'surely no teen could be that stupid!' But there you go.
Having said that, I'm sure Withering Tights will be a hit for kids and kids at heart alike. It's hard not to like such a vibrant, hilarious book! ...more
As much as I love historical romances, there is only so much of the history I can take. Which explains why perhapReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
As much as I love historical romances, there is only so much of the history I can take. Which explains why perhaps, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.
If I'm not mistaken By Arrangement is my first Madeline Hunter read, and I chose this not lightly - because when I checked her website I loved almost all the blurbs of her books! They were exactly what I would want to read about. Surprisingly though, I seemed to find more than I bargained for, because this book at least just doesn't fit the blurb! I mean, it does in a sense, because fact of the matter is, it has what it says in the tin. But it isn't quite all that it has, and the heavier, more important element - that is the political intrigue and mystery - has not been mentioned in the blurb. As I was expecting something entirely, it was quite a bore reading all those parts. I'm open to a bit more content in any book, but when it overwhelms the plot ... it's not very nice. I think that sums what I did not like in it entirely - the political intrigue/mystery overshadowed the romance a lot and I was tempted to flick through the pages and just read through the parts where the romance play an integral part.
Having said that, I think the author did an excellent job with the characters. More than anything, the book shows a path to romance that is beyond the 'love-or-lust-at-first-sight'. Christina and David learn to grow accustomed to each other, then trust each other and finally love each other. Like any couple, they go through misunderstandings, but their coming together is handled very excellently. A little humour, misconceptions and tears made the book more interesting too! The incomplete ending aside, this is an entertaining read, particularly if you like romantic mysteries....more
I have pined for this book since I first read the blurb. I wanted it so much I visited Jennifer's website for teasReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf
I have pined for this book since I first read the blurb. I wanted it so much I visited Jennifer's website for teasers and/or extracts twice a day, every day. So you can only imagine the excitement and the height of expectations I hold for Forget You!
My judgment in five words: Jennifer has done it again!
Forget You is a delicious and a bewitching romance, with a bucketful of sexual chemistry between an endearing heroine searching for answers and a seductively sexy hero who holds the key to it all. Complex, hugely addictive and ultimately mersmerising, Forget You is an unmissable treat! I found Forget you to be more emotionally-charged, whereas Going Too Far is more psychologically defined. I love love love them both!
Zoey and Doug are both charming characters, brought to life with their respective fears and insecurities. The complexity of their personalities and the demons that shapes them - Zoey's family problems and Doug's past - opens the ground for a richly developed set of protagonists. Between Zoey's problems and partial amnesia - forgetting such a consequential night - and Doug's own concerns, they evoke sympathy from readers without forgoing their relatability. I love how Doug is immediately introduced and is prominent in the narrative - I'd like to think that as Zoey's subconscious being extremely aware of him. Around them, secondary characters are equally loveable, with flaws that reflect the imperfections of humanity. Between them, a disarming connection with each other that shatters their defenses.
And I have to add that Doug is unbearably sexy. And sweet. And cute. With or without crutches. Oh heck.
Undeniably, Zoey and Doug are sultry in their own right and are scalding together - the sexual tension between them have reverberated throughout my entire reading experience! Their romance I found was built on an attraction that has long been denied; each attempt at turning away from each other only leads to taking a step towards each other. The contrast between their relationship and Zoey and Brandon's are glaringly obvious, but with a different feel.
Sexy and full of surprises, Zoey and Doug's relationship takes root from a shared past and blossoms to an enchanting tale of of searching and finding. Each of their shared moments are addictive and special, and oh-my-God, so searingly sexy, unmasking qualities of they would not have otherwise discovered in each other. Emphasis here on searingly sexy.
The also setting is adds to the dreamy pair - the lull of the sultry beach in inescapable and welcoming. The unravelling of the twists in the plot is heart-stopping and delivered in short, surprising bursts of revelations. Not to mention that structure of the narrative mirrors accurately Zoey's thoughts and the extent of the the effect her partial amnesia has on her life, especially on her relationship with Brandon and with Doug. And the ending - I wish it was longer! I know I might sound terribly selfish - because even though Forget You is not yet released, I am ready for a sequel! ...more
Even before I read Trash, I knew it will be one of those book that has a strong, immediate connection to me. As aReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Even before I read Trash, I knew it will be one of those book that has a strong, immediate connection to me. As a child, I often spent my summer holidays in Manila, where the plot was loosely based. While reading, I came to find out just how much the characters, language and particularly the setting reminded me of the Philippines. But it is not its mere familiarity that made me love this book, it's the way the plot is reminiscent of some of the ugly reality in many, many places, and the brutal honesty in which this fact is presented.
The three characters, Raphael, Gardo and Rat, predominantly tell the story, although in certain key chapters other characters add their own input. The criss-crossing of narratives present different viewpoints which only adds to the magnetism of the whole book. These various point of views gives a broader viewpoint, I think, and allows the narrative to encompass a larger picture to drive home the plot.
I love these three boys - there is something about a child's voice that really captures my heart, but hearing their story is something beyond that. They have suffered so much from the cruel reality and their innocence is so tainted by the harsh world they were born in that each of their words seem too precious to not take to heart. Their excitement and despair is full of that powerful voice that I wanted to sweep them three into one warm hug and hope that that somehow brings enough comfort. I think that holds true in many readers and indeed makes one wonder that if these characters can hold one's heart, then what more the real children living in and with trash at the other side of the world?
Interestingly, many view Trash as a dystopian novel - but I beg to disagree. How can it be a futuristic novel when there are children living, eating, breathing trash? When there is widespread corruption by officials high and low and inhumane abuses in the hands of those who are supposed to protect? When children like Raphael, Gardo and Rat barely survive the next dawn and are in constant danger of dying a cruel, cruel death - of famine, war and diseases? No, Trash is not a dystopian novel. It's a moving, poignant novel about the here and the now. It's a story of the ugly reality.
There was the minor glitch of me not feeling wholly satisfied by the ending. It does not seem to fit well with the plot, although it still makes sense. I will not go into further details for fear of spoilers, but after reading, I wished the ending was a little less smooth and a little more thrilling.
Regardless, Trash is a book everyone should read. I mean it - everyone! No one can read this and say he (or she) did not take anything away from it. Andy Mulligan's Trash is one of those books that shows a picture of exactly how life is in places we don't know, but we should care about....more
I am fascinated by the way this book bridges the classic and the contemporary in such a flawless way. The comingReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I am fascinated by the way this book bridges the classic and the contemporary in such a flawless way. The coming together of Greek mythology, of shapeshifters, vampires and even fairies holds this book together - with a sprinkle of romance, mystery and action, Lunarmorte is a fabulous start to a promising new trilogy!
Fresh and original, the book first introduces the reader into the background of the plot through its prologue. It's darn good introduction to the intricate plot, where interwoven with the classic Greek gods and goddesses are the supernatural creatures we love most: vampyres, lykans and fairies. I am amazed at how the author connects all these and still emerge with a clear, concise and detailed plot. I was completely captured, and that was just the prologue!
The characters, particularly Caia and Lucien, are a joy to read and watch grow together. Their attraction is evident and boy does it sizzle! There are twists in the romance which I never guessed coming, and to top it off, a third party whom I seriously adore. Great recipe for a romantic read and one which a romance lover like me cannot resist! Just a quick note though - the book gets a little descriptive at some point, so the book may not be suitable for younger teens. It is not too graphic, but it is still for much older audience. On a side note, I'm sure readers will enjoy Lucien. Brooding, mysterious and possessive, he's one hot catch. He definitely has my vote for Caia!
The pack as a whole are a colourful bunch - the characters both primary and secondary are fully developed and their personalities are well defined. Within the group, there are those whom I had grown to love and hate, annoy and pity. The connection and the bond of the pack to each other is well established and admirable - Caia's adjustment into the lykan community is shown step by step and her integration into it is well played. I loved reading about the practices and tradition of the pack - definitely thumbs up!
Mysteries abound in Lunarmorte. My theories were obviously far from the twists and ultimate truth, but it was hugely enjoyable to guess and search for clues. There is humour present, and best of all, action and tension is also prominent towards the end of the book.
Having said that, Lunarmorte is indeed a well written novel. However, there are a few inconsistencies in the flow of the writing - sometimes certain phrases and words which appear to be a misfit in the general flow of the narrative. This does not occur frequently though, so it may only be an editing overlook. Speaking of which, there seem to be a lot of that happening, because punctuations and typos are everywhere. I am one of those who are very sensitive about it so it did irritate me. This may be a reflection on the editing - so I think if this is corrected, the book would feel more polished. There is also a little drag that occurs in the middle of the book - although Lunarmorte did made up for it in the end.
Yup, you'd want to pick Lunarmorte one up and read it - I myself am already looking forward to the next book! ...more
I'm not exactly sure how Return of the Rogue ended up as my afternoon read but I do know it probably took the exprReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf
I'm not exactly sure how Return of the Rogue ended up as my afternoon read but I do know it probably took the expressway. I simply wanted a romance novel to spend my afternoon with and found myself attached to the story of the Sinclare brothers. As you may have guessed, the fact that this has diverted me from my official to-be-read pile means I favour this book!
Return of the Rogue is a charming highland romance novel - not that I read many, mind you - and set my standards for the succeeding books in this particular series quite high. It follows the story of Cavan, the olders of the Sinclare brothers and the joy and upsets of his unexpected and unwanted marriage to Honora Tannach, a 'mousy' woman he so thoroughly dislikes. Scarred and broken from his being captive to the Barbarians, Cavan is riddled with guilt at failing to save his younger brother Ronan from the same hands. The novel follows Cavan's marriage and his family's attempts to rescue Ronan from the barbarians' hands.
As already mentioned, Cavan Sinclare is a broken man - the novel is lengthy at its description of Cavan's tumultuous thoughts, of his guilt and the effects of both on his character. There were moments where I wanted to skim read over his reveries but reading through proved useful as the plot progresses; mind you, these were merely at minor times as I did enjoy Cavan's thorough development. In fact, all characters are well developed; Honora for her part is provided with sufficient history and uniqueness I have no complaints whatsoever. The rest of the Sinclare brothers are also very well described; they are easy to relate to and are quite an entertainting company. Their bond - brotherhood - is evident and is a huge driving force in the plot.
The plot itself is amazingly generous. Mostly, it paves way for a complete development of character and builds the essential foundations for a romantic storyline. It strengthens the chemistry between the main characters, so I was rooting and cheering and hoping for their love to be known to each other. I also enjoyed the sub-plots, which are not too many to be overwhelming. I'm surprised at how the book quite easily took me to a different time in history; most of the time I grapple with such change but it was easy with this book. Wonderful!
The only negative thing I can comment on is the limited array of characters. With such small number of characters - mostly the Sinclare clan - readers are able to familiarise quite intimately with each and every one, which I have no doubt will suit many. It develops these characters very well and each are bountiful in their individuality. However, this also causes the plot to become more predictable. Given the numbered characters it was easy for me to pin-point who the culprit behind it all; the clues that are showered within the plot are no help either - they were too well-timed to be dismissed, which might probably leave readers with too little to guess.
Overall though, this is a really good book. For romance lovers, grab this and enjoy the Sinclares! I am personally reading the next in the series. ...more
Ah, a book about infidelity. Normally I'd rather suffer through watching Big Brother than read it, because the foReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Ah, a book about infidelity. Normally I'd rather suffer through watching Big Brother than read it, because the former at least would make me feel better about my mental faculties and the latter I'm sure from experience would only upset me so. But I have always shunned these books and really, it was time to give one a chance.
Glad I did. Sure, the topic is painful, sensitive and emotional, but ultimately what carries the book for me I have realised is not the reasons for the infidelity that the characters give, but how the couple handles it after the bomb explodes and puts everything into chaos. And in a marriage with children involved ... well it gets a hell of a lot more complicated. There could have been a thousand wrongs waiting to trap this book as I am easily irked by the littlest of actions/reactions from the characters in situations like this, but fortunately Rachel and Daniel are characters moulded from reality. Each of their reactions, reflections and feelings are genuine and portrayed effectively and with great accuracy. Rachel will earn the readers' sympathy, perhaps even empathy, just as Daniel shall earn the scorn he deserves.
There is no instant forgiveness for Daniel - because he did betray Rachel after all. He is contrite and is shamed by his behaviour, and does a lot of grovelling for his wife's forgiveness. He also does suffer for his mistakes. His reparation is long and admittedly satisfying. Rachel is a strong character - she's not a pushover, but someone who knows she is wronged and the gravity of the betrayal. She does take a little blow to Daniel here and there but the book really shows the depth of her affection for her family. There is enough drama to glue you into the plot, and with these great, real life characters, this book is one you should read!
The Ultimate Betrayal is a great read - one that focuses on the asking and granting of forgiveness, on the building of a broken trust and on re-valuating a marriage. It's also about making mistakes, regrets, and knowing one's priorities in life. In The Ultimate Betrayal, I seem to have found the star book about the one topic I hated to read most in romances!
Old book indeed, but awesome nevertheless. I wished more romances were like this, with a lot of focus on emotions, trust and love, rather than just sexual tension. This really should be re-issued!...more
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's TheReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's The Abduction of Julia is a really good book that I think reading it might have led me to warm up to the sub-genre. It seems it only occured to me that the rigid etiquette of the ton and the double standards of their actions, not to mention the innumerable marriages of conveniences sets the scene for an endless array of hilarity and romance!
A marriage of convenience is exactly what ties Julia Frant and Viscount Alec Maclean to each other. Bound to a vow to his late grandfather, Alec finds himself eloping with and agreeing to marry Therese Frant, daughter of the Earl of Covington. To prevent his inheritance from going to the hands of his cousin Nick, he fulfills the demands in the will of his grandfather. Unfortunately, instead of Therese he finds his carriage carrying her cousin, the overprotective chaperone otherwise known as The Frant Dragon. Plain and spectacled, Julia does not catch his attention, until he finds that she was, once upon a time, the daughter of the other Earl of Covington. Hence begins the marriage and their attempts to engage with the ton and avoid scandals... not.
Not only have I warmed up to regency romances with this book, I appear to have also developed a penchant for regency romance revolving around marriage of conveniences! There is something absolutely delightful about regency wives and husbands fluttering about hiding their feelings for their loved ones, and I found that in The Abduction of Julia! I must say, the characters are every bit as loveable as the plot. Alec and Julia are both oblivious to each other's feelings, resulting in very comical but very romantic misunderstandings, which they make up for with some memorable scenes. I love Julia's transformation from plain to beautiful - it's highlighted, but not in a way which leads the readers to think that Alec's attraction it dependent on her beauty. It is clear from the start that it is her fiesty and compassionate attitude that pulled her to him. Alec can be insistent, insensitive and impulsive at times, but he carries the emotion in this book - quite a lovely character! The secondary characters deserve an applaud too, because they are a very entertaining bunch, from Edmund the excessive chatterbox to Burroughs, the old butler who never falters to bring Alex his warm glass of milk every night!
Despite the lovely characters and the fun plot, I found several loopholes in The Abduction of Julia. Firstly, there was a lack of detail surrounding the ton - I am fascinated by the ways of society and while I thought the book would focus a bit on it, it only passes over the detail very fleetingly. Secondly, the climax was not very thrilling, as it plays safe and stays on the romantic side. Finally, the ending is unsatisfactory and I did not feel that there was a resolution. Such a shame for a novel so fun!
Nevertheless, The Abduction of Julia is a wonderful indulgence in regency romance. Romance lovers would love this!...more
I'm not certain why I somehow still read books about someone infidelity when I know that all it ends up doing isReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I'm not certain why I somehow still read books about someone infidelity when I know that all it ends up doing is making me feel terribly agonised. It irks me to no end, but perhaps I keep looking for a book that gives an insight to both sides of the party. Well, Calling Romeo fits well, but it isn't the best read, I don't think.
I'm very torn about my response to this book. On the one hand, the trickling pace of the plot bored me. Too much narrative! I was tempted to skip through and just get to the ending. I disliked the ending; hated the message it could have easily given to the reader. On the other hand, I appreciated Juliet's hesitations because that is how it is. Unless one is unfeeling or morally apathetic, you would hesitate and reconsider to the nth degree your decision to begin an affair. I thought Juliet's thoughts and indecision - her consultations to friends even - were an accurate portrayal of that dilemma. But I'm not saying she justifies it - adultery for me is never justified, whatever the circumstance. Juliet does however, show that she isn't indifferent and has genuine reasons for her affair with Sykes. Admittedly, I believe part - a very small part - of the blame lies on Will, but as Juliet realises love is not always the happy side of the coin.
Calling Romeo is underscored by many subplots, and one can view the events from different points of view. And so when everything unravels, there is much, too much pain swivelling around the characters. I'm not exactly happy how Will handled Juliet's unfaithfulness, and how towards the end Juliet for me didn't feel as apologetic as she should be. Oh yes, there were many tears and pain but I didn't feel she was ultimately entitled to be angry at Will after her unfaithfulness, because whatever Will did or did not do, cheating surpasses that. I tell myself this though: she isn't me. She's a flawed character, and in that she is entitled to feel what she does. I don't think they resolved anything by the ending, and it was very vague, but there you go.
The plot is cliche. The characters are naive, sometimes foolish, sometimes selfish. It can be dragging. But ultimately, Calling Romeo is a book that builds on its imperfections. It made shed tears, it made me angry, it made me want to lash out at the ending, but at the end of it all it's a story of two people that isn't me. Therefore while I don't think it's the best book, plot or ending for me, it might just be for them....more
There is no one word that can describe just how good of a read Boys Don't Cry is. This book is one of the few thaReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
There is no one word that can describe just how good of a read Boys Don't Cry is. This book is one of the few that should be read by every teenage boy in the world - it's packed with life's lessons and I'm sure I'm not the only one who says that this book is a thought-provoking and a reflective read.
When Dante Bridgeman finds the biggest surprise in his life lying in a baby buggy, to say that his life is turned upside down is an understatement. Suddenly, he is no longer a typical student waiting for his A level results and university, but a single father to an eleven-month baby, Emma. With his ex-girlfriend and the baby's mother Melanie suddenly MIA, he finds his future veering dangerously towards the unknown. The changes in Dante's life - every minute details - is well described and highlighted. I'm familiar with the difficulty of babysitting, but not quite with the difficulty of single parenting. Dante's narration is vivid and so real it's almost like a first hand account. Nothing quite gets to you than the voice of someone who has really been there - I got that from Dante. His sacrifices opens the reader's eyes to the reality of being a parent - single, teenage or otherwise. His concerns starts from the basic (what about university? How do I stop her from crying?) and evolves to the bigger (will I be a good father? How will I provide for Emma?) questions. I am a lot like Dante in situation (A level results, university...) but it is his questions that makes him so normal, so average. That, more than anything, makes Dante real. His actions, his thoughts and his words show his flaws, but it also channels his growth as a person, as a brother, as a son and as a father to Emma.
Interspersed with Dante's life changing moments are his brother Adam's. My heart went out to Adam in this book - he's a cheerful lad who is neither ashamed nor afraid of his sexuality. The challenges that face him are not the easiest ones to face nor read. Despite that, he has an indomitable spirit that rises up and faces these challenges head on. Of course, Adam has his share of challenges, but with his family's support never once leaving his side, Adam's strength is clear for all to see. I'm not sure who between him and Emma I find more adorable - but both of them are near top of the list of characters I love hugely.
There are varying sub plots in the book in support of the main plot. These elaborates more on the characters and are very well ingrained with the narrative. Mostly, they are resolved and I am one happy reader with how everything turned out. The secondary characters are involved in these subplots and are also very important as they are foils to and frame the protagonists. Quite simply, I have no complaints! It's my first Malorie Blackman read and I sure will check out more of her works.
Boys Don't Cry is an eye-opener, a complex novel that is one of the few which effectively thrusts the reader into issues that matter most in the big world. It made me cry, it made me think and it made me want to read so much more. I love this! ...more
Stolen is a very vivid recollection of a kidnapping, and an effective journey of what could be the Stockholm SynReviewed at Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Stolen is a very vivid recollection of a kidnapping, and an effective journey of what could be the Stockholm Syndrome. It left me feeling breathless, scared, confused, helpless, even hopeful...much like Gemma. It made me feel as if I was Ty, at the same time opening enough ground to make me relate to Gemma's emotions. It is poignant, I think, that the book is written the way it is. In the second person, everything comes to life.
The book is brutally honest. It's vivid description of kidnapping and Gemma's emotions and psyche throughout her experience is by no means a light read. It is a rich, equally disturbing account of the realism of a kidnapping. Personally, I thought Gemma's emotions were intense, strong, solid. Her narration was gripping, beckoning and so realistic. Although I have no experience of kidnapping, I feel that had I been in her shoes, I would have thought and did much of the same thing. The intensity of Gemma's narration made me feel as if I was part of her capture; her emotions roaring right of the pages hooked me.
The characterisation of Ty also did not lack in richness. By no means is he normal - the author shows the side of him which ultimately gives background to his actions. I found Ty to be obsessive, frightening at times, and mad. Crazy. Insane. But he also has a heart, and Stolen takes time to explore the other side of him. And it is this exploration that really strengthens the book and the message it carried through. It is this journey of discovery that really shows how Stockholm Syndrome could happen - and it is so easy, so relatable.
As mentioned, Stolen exhibits the Stockholm Syndrome directly from the perspective of the victim. By doing so, and brilliantly at that, Lucy Christopher has underscored how it happens. She does not only shows you - she makes you feel it, experience it for yourself, so even the reader knows it is inevitable. After reading Stolen, I would never think Stockholm Syndrome is a ridiculous idea; before I could not imagine how a victim could feel for a kidnapper. Stolen shows you just how. It was too easy for me to be symphatetic with Ty - to believe him, to trust him, to feel pity - and so a reader related, and from that sprang the understanding of such complex psychological condition.
I loved also the description of the setting - the desert, the stars, the wildlife, the heat - they were all brilliantly described, and I admit I felt jealous reading about it and not being part of it. Despite the seriousness of the novel, it does not fail to translate beauty into the plot. And for that, it deserves just so much.
I didn't dislike any part of the book at all- what I disliked was what I felt. In some twisted sort of way, I hoped that Gemma would accept Ty. I hoped that she would learn to live as he did, to see the beauty around the landscape as he clearly did, and maybe, just maybe, to embrace Ty and the romance they might share.
I cried, in the end. Not much because of the resolution, but because of - and I feel wretched really, saying this - what might have and could have happen. What I wanted to happen. What I thought should have happen. In retrospect I now think the ending could not have been better - it would be what I would have wanted for someone in those circumstances. Only, it hurt.
Overall, Stolen is a very gripping, disturbing read. But it is also beautiful, in an odd way. And a book which would no doubt stay with you a very long time after reading it. It left me speechless. I still am.
The Duff is a witty, funny and endearing novel, full of lessons and with lots of growing up involved. Not to mentReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
The Duff is a witty, funny and endearing novel, full of lessons and with lots of growing up involved. Not to mention it's also honest, sarcastic and a hugely entertaining read indeed!
Bianca Piper is very cynical and very blunt, but is also very guarded. Never in a million years would she have thought she'd kiss, let alone sleep with Wesley Rush, resident womaniser and the same jerk you just referred to her as the Duff: Designated.Ugly.Fat.Friend. And yet, she ends up doing exactly just that. I find it amusing how she can make the most ridiculous of mistakes but is still standing strong enough, willing and ready to berate herself for her every action afterwards. She goes through a lot in this book, from being lowly called the Duff, and undergoing a family breakdown, but also takes a lot from it and learns to mature and face her problems. I'm not very sure I understand completely the rationale behind her actions and decisions and in fact at times I feel I disagree with her at all.
Having said that, I am completely in love with the solidarity of her friendship with best friends Jessica and Casey and their unwavering support for her. I love how her relationship with each of them differs from the other but all three are still unequivocally bonded to and love each other. Theirs is a friendship every girls should have - and if Kody ever decides to write about these three again, I will be first in the queue to get the book.
The romance in The Duff is slightly overridden by Bianca's development as a character, but they are both so closely intwined and are integral to the plot. Wesley and Bianca's relationship (or lack thereof) is interesting, to say the least. The Duff narrates a few of their rendezvous and does not become too graphic, although it is a few words shy of being quite explicit for younger teens.
I have a few major complaints about the way the narrative is handled. I kept looking forward to understand Wesley more and to the development of his character, but The Duff falls short of that. There were not enough scenes, let alone enough dialogue from Wesley to fully understand his character and how and why Bianca falls for him. If I am not mistaken I think majority of Wesley's scenes involved sex and there was not much words to convey the depth of his character there, apart his constant question of "are you okay?" or "what's wrong?". Perhaps this affected the second flaw I noticed, which is that this book is too short for my liking. There were much emphasis on scenes I would have rather not read too much of and less on those I really would have wanted to read.
I had fun with The Duff and I'm sure will too, but I caution younger teens from reading this book just yet. Maybe wait until they're little older? ...more
I happen to come across this title as I was browsing through Amazon's Kindle Store, and it was the exact kind ofReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I happen to come across this title as I was browsing through Amazon's Kindle Store, and it was the exact kind of historical romance I was in the mood to read so I picked it up and moved it ahead of my to-read pile. Fantastic decision, because Eye of the Beholder is an exquisite romance novel! It was such a beautifully gentle and tender romance I nearly swooned.
I have read very little of 19th century American romances so I started with a clean slate. While I loved to read about arranged marriages in regency romances, there's still a difference, albeit small, between those and the marriage in this book, which resulted from ad-postings. Ad-postings! Soon enough however, the book made me realise that it is a beautiful foundation for a sweet romance - and now I'm hoping to read more romance books of this era! Most likely with the author too.
Mary Peters knows she is unattractive, which very much explains her lack of a marriage prospect. What makes her stand out as a character however, is that despite that, she knows her worth. She's independent and strong-willed, and whilst she is aware and is often times hurt by the fact that she is merely plain, she has accepted it and continually found a way to move beyond it. It was easy to symphatise with Mary as it is clear her world is outwardly judgemental, and even easier to admire her strength because she works to overcome this lack of outer beauty, which I'm sad to say, her (and our, for that matter) society almost labels as a disability.
Mary's insecurities and hurt does affect her and Dave's relationship in the book, but ultimately, she is not hindered by this. And the message that carries through is a positive one - it really is about building a marriage, trust and affection on the basis of inner beauty.
Eye of the Beholder has very varied group of supporting characters - there is Neil Craftsman, arrogant villain extraordinaire. Dave, Mary's husband, is a chivalrious, caring gentleman who from the very beginning has clearly appreciated Mary's inner beauty. It was a joy discovering a leading man that was not highlighted for his looks, but for his gentleness and kindness. Usually romance novels has excessive focus on how handsome the hero is, but Ruth Ann Nordin that no beautiful face can ever be truly memorable if an unpleasant person lurks behind it. There are assortments of other secondary characters and events that together highlights Mary and Dave's romance as well as the message of the book in general: inner beauty shines through.
The plot does have the tendency to drag as the conflict occurs towards the end; however, since Dave and Mary's marriage have practically begun from scratch, I felt that that some scenes were essential to show how they have progressed in their relationship.
Ruth Ann Nordin writes books that readers are bound to revisit again, and again, and again. Eye of the Beholder is one I shall read a lot in the coming years, that's for sure.
PERFECT! <3 I'm checking out the author's other works because I just fell in love with this!...more
Sequel to Hush Hush, Crescendo is undeniably my most awaited book of the year. I'm pleased to say it is indeed woReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Sequel to Hush Hush, Crescendo is undeniably my most awaited book of the year. I'm pleased to say it is indeed worth the wait. Missing Patch was dreadful, so reading Crescendo felt like an indulgence - needless to say, I treasure this book!
Crescendo is a build up of everything in Hush Hush, only a whole lot more complicated. The complexity in Crescendo, including the surprising and sometimes jaw-dropping twists had me flipping the pages back and forth to re-read key parts of the plot. Compared to its predecessor, Crescendo has a lot more of these surprises, a fuller background story and a stronger mythology. I was thrown off balance by some turns I had not expected, but it is all amazingly well handled. I'm certain Tempest will answer some of these questions, just as Crescendo answered those from Hush Hush.
There are more fantastic characters in Crescendo too, and I'd highlight two I have had fun reading. Scott Parnell and Marcie Millar. Oh, I hate Marcie Millar alright - there's no use denying that. Her character develops more in Crescendo, and we understand a lot more as to how she came to be Nora's archenemy. At points I thought she was going to redeem herself, but she never does, and worse still, taunting Nora seems to be her regular past time. She is evil. I felt Nora's emotions about Marcie and Patch strongly, and I stubbornly refuse to like Marcie!
Now - Scott is a different case. Scotty the potty, how cute is that? He is an absolute delight of a character and I'm glad he's a strong presence in the book.No one can ever be better than Patch, but Scott does terribly well :) He's arrogant, but he seems quite unsure of himself, in a very very cute way - which makes him such a darling. Next to Patch, I am most looking forward to him in Tempest.
Speaking of the angel, Patch does a lot of disappearing in Crescendo. I was not happy about it, but it was necessary as Nora grows and develops a lot on her own. I also seriously miss Patch's bad boy image in Crescendo. I wanted more of his might-as-well-drive-me-insane lines and his general hotness. Then again he is a guardian now, right? He gets to behave :)
Crescendo is essentially Nora's story - it's about her journey to discovering herself and finding her place in the world. She makes mistakes, yes, but she grows more confident, more outgoing and infinitely matures more.
I believe no review is quite complete without talking about the ending. Crescendo ends explosively, and leaves a lot of questions unanswered, both implicitly and explicitly. This book gnaws at you. I kept turning the page in the vain hope that it will somehow procure the continuation I was so direly looking for, but that will have to wait until Tempest. Here's an interesting bit: just before the explosive ending, readers get a very brief sense of satisfaction which I'm sure everyone is yearning for since the first chapter. It's a second away from the chaos that is the cliffhanger, but caution: you might be tearing your hair out with it.
I loved Crescendo, though I am not as crazy for it as I was with Hush, hush. But then again, I was ridiculously insane with the first book in the series. I waited eight months for this book, but waiting a year for Tempest? UNBELIEVABLE.
PS. You'll find out Patch's real name in Crescendo! I found myself being ridiculously crazy about that name afterwards, so girls, your hearts beware!...more
Let me warn you, this review will hardly be coherent due to a severe case of swooning. I am still recovering from the melting galore this book had me in because oh my God, Anna and the French Kiss has everything I want in a YA romance ... and more!
Don't you just hate it when parents try to live their lives through their children? That is exactly what's happening to Anna Oliphant. When her father decides to enroll her in an American boarding school in Paris, Anna's life drastically changes. She is forced to leave her family, friends and a hot boy crush back in Atlanta to be the new girl in a class of 25 seniors in a foreign country. Pretty crazy, but trust me, the author makes it f-u-n. The book follows her adventures in the most romantic city in the world...with the beautiful Etienne St. Clair, whose mere name is already so sexy!
Anna is a wonderful character and a smooth, flawless narrator. She's endearing, extremely lovable and her narration is the perfect depiction of the awkwardness of not only being the new girl in a new school in a new city (and alone!) but also of the twists and turns of falling for the perfect boy, who just so happens to be unavailable. What I enjoyed most is the fact that Anna has a surprising amount of thoughts floating about in her head. I adore her mental dialogue and humour, and there are some laugh out loud moments in the book that should be noted by all. Anna is also a little sarcastic, perhaps patronising, at times insecure. Despite all these, she's such a natural character - every girl in her shoes would probably act and think similar to her. You will also love the secondary characters in the book. Anna's clique - Meredith, Rashmi and Josh - are a colourful bunch! There are also the classic characters - the bad, irresponsible parent, mean beautiful school queens and the bullies. And Etienne St. Clair. I swear, he is an honest-to-God dream boy. Despite the fact that he is taken, he is simply too irresistible. Anna certainly thinks so!
Throughout the book we see the complex web of friendship-only-or-is-it-something-more interaction between Anna and Etienne. There is a lot of hints, chivalrous actions, smiles and teases to decipher and decode! Strikes a chord, girls? I'm sure you remember those high school days where every action of the boy you had your eye on is turned inside out, analysed, assessed, and sorted into 'he-likes-me' and 'he-likes-me-not'. Anna goes through the exact same process, and who doesn't enjoy the ride? Anna and the French Kiss will have you sighing, clicking your fingers, giggling, and rooting for this couple!
The book is as much about romance as it is about adventure. Anna's life is Paris is certainly not only about romance, and her adaptation to the new lifestyle is well-described. There is the language, of course. The book has a lot of French phrases, which are quite fun to figure out. There are also references to Paris landmarks which would make you want to be there. Then there is the culture, which Anna has to adapt to as well, by learning to get over stereotypes and misconceptions. We see how her acceptance in Paris coincide with the blossoming romance between Etienne and her.
The plot is crafted perfectly. I mean, what better to cure homesickness with than love? In the city of Paris itself? This book just oozes romance! And I shall end with a really cute quote that is so totally this book:
This novel is without doubt exemplary in terms of its depiction of teenage life. I vastly enjoyed Keris Stainton'Reviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
This novel is without doubt exemplary in terms of its depiction of teenage life. I vastly enjoyed Keris Stainton's accurately portrayed teens, especially the protagonist, Della. I found the train of Della's thoughts as realistic as it could possibly be, and personally, I thought at many points her thoughts and actions would reflect mine exactly, had I been put under the same spotlight. It was so easy to relate to Della's fears and insecurities, her naivety, and her particular tendency to exaggerate and assume the worse.
I love Keris' portrayal of Della's relationship with the people around her. Her tenous relationship with her sister is natural, as is her embarrassment about her ultra-cool albeit slightly strange parents (dare I say!). Her bond with her best friend is unquestionable - I simply adore how Della and Maddy are completely at ease with each other and free to interrogation one another on various subjects. Not to mention that Della's unrequited crush turned requited love with Dan Bailey is honestly cute. The progression of their relationship is well-depicted and Dan's easy, laid-back personality complements with Della's slightly reserved attitude. I especially loved the way Dan brought her out of her shell with his outlook on issues that matter to her.
Which of course leads me on to delight about the characters. Della aside, my favourite character would be her dad - cool, laid-back and a totally fun secondary character, I wish he had more scenes!
I must say however, that the plot was not as mysterious as I had expected. My initial impression was that the book would focus mainly on Della's predicament about her lost diary, but it isn't exactly the case. I would have wanted the tension and mystery to have been built up more and further developed. Having said that, when the plot does focus on the mystery of Della's lost diary, it becomes pretty mortifying - Della's darkest secrets are so embarrassing to be made public, I cringed for her. It actually kept me glued to read more of her horrified reactions.
In retrospect, I believe that the British setting was a very strong factor in making me relate to the book so well. Since most of books I read are based across the Atlantic, Della Says felt closer to home. Honestly, its relativity soared when I saw Primark on the page! Of course, British or not you would surely enjoy this delightful treat!
Della Says: OMG! is a thoroughly enjoyable read which appealed to my inner teen. Really liked it!...more
With the saturation of the YA market with futuristic and dystopian adventure novel, reading Zan Gah was a fresh diReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf
With the saturation of the YA market with futuristic and dystopian adventure novel, reading Zan Gah was a fresh distraction. When Earthshaker books asked me whether I wanted to review the book I could never have said no even if I wanted to. I'm an aspiring archaeologist, and the fact that Zan Gah features adventure with my archaeological weakness ... you get the point.
Zan Gah is a fast-paced, vivid and riveting read that excited my adventurous, archaeology-crazy self. The prehistoric landscape at which the adventures of Zan Gah was set was richly depicted and impressively pictured. Never was the description overpowering - it was just a delicate balance of the right words, which supported well the prehistoric setting. At certain scenes, I could almost see it as vividly as if I myself were part of Zan Gah's adventures and misfortunes; there were times I felt as if my ears have been filled with war cries and drum beats and my heart racing even though I was quite at peace reading on the lounge. Such is Allan Richard Shickman's talent in story-telling that I, a reader from the faraway future, almost tangibly experienced the adventure and appreciated, not to mention completely envied, the beauty of the unrestrained nature of Zan Gah's time.
Each of the characters in the book were well drawn and were given sufficient attention, so each of them grows to be relatable, admirable, individual and most of all alive. Personally it is this fact - that I found the characters so wholly described and personified that they take on life - that made the adventures in the book so engaging. I also vastly enjoyed each of the clans and the respective culture that is introduced to the reader as Zan Gah interacts with them. Best of all, I value the brotherhood that drives the hero - the bond he shares with his twin, Dael, but also with his family, friends, Rydl and Chul, and neighouring comrades.
Although the book starts off slow and have few and ignorable inconsistencies with its pacing, I found that the tension was set well and Shickman's ability to pull the strings together and let go of the tension at the most crucial point in the plot proves well to its readers. The writing style reminds me of Philip Pullman, the master story teller whose works I can only praise. Indeed, Shickman's Zan Gah is well suited suited for both the young and the old, and everyone else in between.
Having said that however, I must also mention that the cover completely deprives the book justice. One look at it and I would never have inched closer to it on a bookstore shelf. Such beautiful, award-winning book deserves more than the less-than-flattering cover. Although an important aspect of the plot, I think the lioness is not the definitive part of the novel, so I keep wondering why it is featured so prominently on the cover. More so, the cover makes the book look as if it is a children's picture book, which is completely misleading as it is very well capable of catering to the older generation.
Nonetheless, do not let the cover deter you! Zan Gah is an exciting adventurous read sure to entertain both the young and the old....more
Kimberly Derting's debut novel is a nothing less than a masterpiece. Wonderfully expressed, The Body Finder mersmReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Kimberly Derting's debut novel is a nothing less than a masterpiece. Wonderfully expressed, The Body Finder mersmerises readers with ease. Violet Ambrose's special ability is both disconcerting and fascinating at once - and believable. Derting has pulled of writing about her abilities well. It is an intricate weave of thrill, mystery and romance, incorporating into a beautiful story that I could only praise. The mystery component and the romance factor are equally important and delicately weighed, balanced out expertly such that where the mystery takes a backseat, the romance takes over.
Delivered in both the perspective of the protagonist, Violet, and that of the hunter - the serial 'killer' - it sets up a vivid, chilling account of the mysterious disappearances around Violet's county. The suspense is palpable - as I was reading I was very much engaged in every bit of fear and fright that surrounds the plot. The suspense and uncertainty of events in The Body Finder would literally grip you until the last pages of the book. I wasn't quite certain how it would end - and that, my friends, would literally make you want to just bloody get to the end - after which you would sulk (like I am now) because it's such a wonderful book and what are you going to read now? It cannot end!
The romance is impeccable - Derting has detailed a sensitive, believable, even flustering love story that would surely delight every reader. Violet's attraction to Jay Heaton - her best friend of all people - and her attempt and failures at managing this attraction, is something young adult readers would relate to. The painful possibility of rejection and unrequired love, not to mention the ruining of a life-long friendship, all of which Violet has to consider in her every reaction to her endearing best friend/crush displays a certain sensitivity that Derting possess. And she has executed romance in this book so wonderfully, I almost wanted to pray for my personal Jay Heaton. Believe me, just the romance part itself makes the book worth every penny.
I loved all the characters in the book. Violet Ambrose was a very unique individual - however Derting has never made her unreachable to her readers. Violet has maintained normality, even relatability throughout the novel. Jay Heaton - oh my - pictured as a perfect bestfriend (at times, too perfect) is endearing, humorous and dreamy. The secondary characters were all in their own merits, loveable. I personally admire how Derting incorporates family bond, friendship and general human affections into the unpredictability of the book.
The Body Finder is a definite must read for thriller and romance lovers alike - Derting has managed to strike a delicate balance between the two, and you will never ever regret reading this. Fantastic!
Ladies and gentlemen, you'd want to read this book. You ladies will sigh and swoon over and enjoy the romance beReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Ladies and gentlemen, you'd want to read this book. You ladies will sigh and swoon over and enjoy the romance between soulfinders - and the gents can note down a few pointers from the Benedict boys. I was yearning for good YA romance novel when I started Finding Sky and I got exactly what I needed. It was the cure to and signalled the end of my reading break!
When I mention 'good YA romance', I'd like to emphasise on 'good'. I don't favour romances without substance and am often critical of those whose transition from attraction to love is lightning quick - Finding Sky is neither of those. Although primarily a book about soulmates, you won't find the characters falling head over heels in love in the span of a few pages. The romance isn't sappy or boring, nor plain or forgettable. It highlights the most important aspects of romance in a way that is real and tangible to every reader - trust, comfort, acceptance. The romantic tension arrives in a different form; I welcomed the break from the usual and the stereo-typical.
The narrator, Sky Bright, is one of the few characters I can personally relate to. Joss Stirling has captured exactly how it feels to move out of your comfort zone; believe me, I have been there myself. Her descriptions of Sky's thought and emotional process is spot on, never straying or exaggerating from just the precise feeling or thought. The author's description of trauma is vivid, real and true. Without the jargon to weigh it down, it is portrayed in a way that is accessible to every reader. Interestingly, the themes and motifs of this book is channelled through Sky, so in that sense she is very diverse character indeed. Of course, a special girl needs a special boy - enter Zed Benedict. Zed is a peculiar boy - he is broody, mysterious and a bad boy at the beginning. But as the book progresses and the reader unravels what it is that makes Zed so mysterious, we see a complete change in him. This turnaround underscores the concept of a soulfinder and results in a courtship between him and Sky -a courtship so romantic it easily surpasses many YA romance books out there.
Finding Sky is written impeccably well. The literary devices - particularly the metaphors and similes - used are fresh and brilliant. The contrast between the British usage and American usage of English words and phrases are also distinct and well-highlighted. Towards the end, it falters, but it can be explained through Sky's adaptation of the American usage, given that she is in fact already across the pond.
I have minor complaints - for instance, the tension in the plot is present but could be stronger. There are also quite a few sub plots I wanted to be explored further (not to mention a few more kisses between Sky and Zed), but I am hoping for a sequel because although it ends neatly, I am not quite ready to let it go!
With an emotional and psychological edge to a very interesting concept of meeting one's soul mate, this romantic debut will delight many of you readers out there....more
I was blown away by this novel. It was such a unique read that I was mostly oblivious to every element of change tReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf
I was blown away by this novel. It was such a unique read that I was mostly oblivious to every element of change the busy high street around me had undergone. Not even shopping managed to tear me away from this book. It was such a captivating novel.
What I thought the greatest strength of this novel is Echols' heavy characters. Meg and John are one of the, if not the most complex characters I have encountered. Echols' attention to details allows for full attention to her protagonists, a feat not many authors are able to execute. The depth to her characters goes beyond the supercificial and extends on to so many levels. They are well drawn and distinguished without the deprivation of genuine humanity. Best of all, their emotional and psychological intensity makes them a cut above the rest.
Meg's voice was fiercely rebellious and her tone inherently explosive, that combined with the dialogues and exchanges which characterises John in a completely differently light, comes an inevitable romance that can only be Echols' unique story. Surprisingly, Meg maintains to be a very relatable, very endearing character; one that you may not agree with, but you can never dislike.
My reading experience was one of awe and blind guesses. I found the storyline and pacing different from much of the other novels I have read. The criss-crossing of various elements of the story resulted to a fantastically developed story. There are many twists in the plot that occured at different times - all of which garnered the same shock factor and equal appreciation. I was taken aback and challenged at certain points of the novel; it really was an engaging read.
I found Going Too Far a novel of wonderful surprises and challenging twists and turns, all of which builds this novel to be something of quality. The ending was very satisfactory, much like an account and tangible proof of the lengthy transitions and changes the characters undergo through for and because of each other. Before I forget to mention, Going Too Far is also a novel about a damaged psyche, trauma, fears and inhibitions - its motif include psychological understandings and much more.
I like it so much I even inspected zoomed in on the cover - and I think that little eyebrow piercing is digitally added. :D...more