Why do people strive to be perfect? It's part of human nature to want what they can't get, and Hannah is like that. A...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Why do people strive to be perfect? It's part of human nature to want what they can't get, and Hannah is like that. All she wanted was to be a part of something, and she ended up facing a terrible nightmare instead. Being the only child of beautiful celebrities pressures Hannah more than anything. But she's neither perfect nor beautiful, still everyone expects her to be someone, and that want, combined with grief, makes Hannah's life spinning out of control. She became bulimic, desperate to lose weight, to feel good, to feel beautiful. She needs help, her father needs help, but is Hannah strong enough to get back on her feet again?
It pains me to read about Hannah. She was supposed to be a cheerful 8th grader, bright and full of dreams. She even had this little notebook where she lists all the reasons she has to be happy, and yet that wasn't enough to get her through the moment her mother died. I wanted to say that there is no one to be blamed but Hannah herself, but her father became alcoholic instead of supporting her through a rough time, and if only Hannah feels the least bit confident about herself then she wouldn't have entered such a toxic friendship with her so called friends in school. Being bulimic is the only way for her to cope with all the emotional stress she was going through.
With her mother gone, her Aunt Izzy became the shining light in her life. Izzy was anorexic and she almost killed herself with it. More than anyone, Izzy knows what it feels like for Hannah. Hannah stayed with Izzy in Ghana and the experience changed her, and with all the things she lacked, she slowly realized how much she should be thankful and appreciate what she has, even herself, instead of destroying it. It was a wonder how different you see yourself through other people's eyes. Jasper liked Hannah for who she is, even at her worst moments, and Modesta, Philomel and the rest of Tafi Atome loved her for being the creative, passionate American teenager that she is. Nothing fake, nothing forced, just plain appreciation and love coming from them, and that's what made Hannah heal. I guess the saying "all you need is love" is true. Love and understanding are two powerful things that can create miracles and change lives. And in Hannah's case, loving herself was the key. She was bent on trying to create a "perfect" Hannah that she almost lost the real her.
Hannah's struggles felt like my own, and I didn't need to experience it in order to feel the emotions laced in every word Katrina writes. It's a story about a struggle to overcome a lot of things. Fear, bulimia, a future without her mother and a whole lot of things that aren't entirely happy, but I had to read slowly to savor the story word for word. Reasons to Be Happy stirred up a lot of emotions inside of me. I was a bit teary eyed in the end.
Reading Reasons To Be Happy is a reason to be happy in itself. Katrina Kittle's book shows a teenage girl's struggle against self-image, bulimia, but more importantly, it celebrates life and all the little things that makes us happy. A valuable lesson this book teaches: Learn to love yourself. Powerful, emotional, with characters that will touch us and endear them to us in a lot of ways, Reasons To Be Happy is worth a read.(less)
In Solstice, the world is dying, and Piper's in the middle of the slow devastation of the Earth. She'd seen the horro...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
In Solstice, the world is dying, and Piper's in the middle of the slow devastation of the Earth. She'd seen the horrors of what the extreme heat can do in Austin and everything the government does worsens the Earth's condition instead of helping it get better. On top of that, she's been under the shadow of an overprotective mother all her life, and they're running away from a father she didn't really know. What Piper isn't aware of is that the secrets that surround her may also be the key to saving the world she'd live in all her life. But Shayne and Reese, the two new guys at school hounding her, make it seem like choosing one over the other makes it a matter of life and death not just for her but for her home.
For all her flaws that were made obvious throughout the book, Piper is a likeable character. But I did have a hard time relating to her especially when her feelings just swings back and forth easily between the two guys. When she was with Reese, she longs for Shayne and when she's with Shayne, Reese would randomly pop up in her mind and she would swoon for him. However, her almost instantaneous shifts of feelings shows the readers the struggle within her.
P.J. Hoover was able to mold mythological characters into believable teenagers of today. If Gods and Goddesses were certainly living in modern times, this is how I thought they would behave. The modern Ares still possess the arrogance of the God of War, and Hades retains his somber, withdrawn but strong qualities that made him the Lord of the Underworld no matter what time he is in. I do think I fell in love more with Hades, with the addition of Charon as well as Cerberus who will also charm the readers!
Though I wish for more emphasis on the fact that the world might be ending, to feel more urgency that it was indeed falling apart, P.J. Hoover was able to make it an integral part of the story strong enough to make it a driving force that moves the plot along.
I loved every single moment I've spent as the plot unravels right before my eyes, piece by piece, one secret at a time. Solstice is a page turner, a story that you just can't put down, can't stop reading until you reach the end. Readers will journey through the depths of Hell together with Piper, and face the terrifying fact that the world is on a meltdown of huge proportions.
Reminiscent of P.C. Cast's The Goddess of Spring, Solstice is a Young Adult novel of intense romance in a modern world still surrounded by myths, Gods and Goddesses. The world about to come into an end serves as a great backdrop of an olden tale with a modern twist. Solstice is a fantastic blending of mythology and dystopia and true to its word, they did meet.
I highly recommend this book to fans of mythology based books who are searching for something new, something romantic and intense and hot, with lovely writing and a great flowing pace! (less)
Celia has haemophilia. I initially thought it was just that, that the story will revolve around a girl who was growin...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Celia has haemophilia. I initially thought it was just that, that the story will revolve around a girl who was growing up and has finally decided she will live the way she wants to, that she wouldn't let her sickness control her, but I learned that The Truth About Celia Frost is much more than that.
This book made me do a lot of guessing. Maybe it has a paranormal edge to it? Or perhaps a mythological connection? But no, it came down to life and death, of science and people trying to play God. My imagination went far off as I read through. I love how it's something I was totally unprepared for, that it's something more than I expected it to be.
Celia's life went through one whirlwind of a change ever since that fateful moment when she was almost stabbed. She went from an immature teenager wanting to break free of her hermit-like, mundane existence with only her and her mom to a girl who is determined and not afraid to show the world who and what she is. Sol is a great companion and a friend to Celia, and his life, in contrast with Celia is what helped her understand hers more.
I think a lot of people will have misconceptions and will eventually misunderstand Celia's mother. I did and I felt a little taken aback when all the bad things I've thought of her (that she was a mother who has utter disregard for her daughter and only thinks of herself) were put out in the open and justified, but slowly, readers will understand why she became that way and that all that she had done for Celia is in her best interest.
One thing readers should take into account while reading this is that appearances can be deceiving. People who you expect to be good aren't really what they seem, and those who you think are bad will surprise you in unexpected ways. Like Frankie, the private investigator hired to find Celia and her mother. My perception of what is good and what is bad was tested quite a bit by this book.
The Truth About Celia Frost is a fast-paced, quick read. Engaging and thrilling from page one up to the end, with twists and turns happening so often readers wouldn't know what hit them by the time they finish. It's a breath of fresh air, something new to look forward to aside from the usual dystopian and paranormal books coming out these days. A gripping debut for Paula Rawsthorne which I definitely recommend to everyone!(less)
Maddie is a privilege teen who just wants to get away from it all. A mother who wants to sweep her away to Tuscany, a...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Maddie is a privilege teen who just wants to get away from it all. A mother who wants to sweep her away to Tuscany, a father who wants her to go to Harvard and a grandmother who wants to bring her overseas, like a thing to brag about to her peers. On top of it was a cheating boyfriend and an overly demanding bestfriend. Maddie longs to live the simple life she had when she was little. Her paths crossed with Anna, an Amish girl who wonders what it will be like to live like "Englishers", in the city, to explore the life there. Anna and Madison look alike, and each wanting to experience the other's life. And so a switch was made, and it was the beginning of a week that will change Maddie and Anna's life forever.
Amish life is completely different from that in the city. You can see the contrast in Anna and Madison's life as they try to live the other's. The big things that matter and the small ones they took for granted made Anna and Madison re-examine their choices and actions and ultimately, their decision if they truly want the simpler life or a life in the city. In times of doubt, they found strength in God. Madison had a fresh perspective in Anna's life, and living Madison's made Anna realize how much she lived being Amish.
Anna's life in the city wasn't uneventful, as she had a taste of modern living, and pursued Jacob, a boy who opened her eyes and made her appreciate being Amish more. Jacob questioned everything and even though Anna loved him, it was clear he wasn't intent on being Amish. Meeting Malachi made Madison think of what it might be to be truly Amish, but in the end, she loved her city life more. The saying "you don't know what you got 'til it's gone" is appropriate for both Anna and Madison.
I am humbled by the things I learned in this book. Amish people tend to be frowned upon even today, but even if they are different, they live their life the way they want. It might be strict and rigid but reading about their life gave me a new understanding of their ways, and if anything, my respect for their way of life grew.
Double Take is an insightful read. A coming of age story, humorous and funny at times but filled with lessons we could use in our lives at one point. It tells the readers to appreciate what they have. Teenagers will relate well to this book, and I hope a lot of people get to read it as well. A familiar storyline resembling the Prince and the Pauper, filled with truth and morals we can all relate to. (less)
People react differently to change. Understandably, Ally Queen is one of them. At fifteen, she had left behind all th...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
People react differently to change. Understandably, Ally Queen is one of them. At fifteen, she had left behind all the things she had known, friends, school, home, in exchange for a mundane and boring existence in the countryside. Ally knew she was never quite fit to live life in a quiet, small place, because she was different. Tall, flat as a board and awkward, Ally misses life in the city, on top of her insecurities she struggles to cope with her mother's "sickness" and school wasn't really the best place to be. She had a genius brother with a world of his own and a father who doesn't quite know what to do when their mother suddenly wants to stay away from them
Ally is an interesting teenage girl. It's always nice to dive into a character's heart and soul, taking a peek into her life in her own perspective. There was a lot of negativity in Ally's move to Melros, add to that her being conscious towards her puberty and being a "woman". She never quite understood how her mother's sickness will affect her family. She was confused and hurt that her mother was taking a break from them, her family. What kind of mother does that? Ally felt unloved on top of it all, and it all adds up to the reasons she thinks it's wrong to live there.
High school wasn't much better. She is a smart, witty girl, who doesn't want to be noticed. She must not have realized it but her long walks to the beach and swimming out the sea has helped her change her outlook towards living countryside. And of course, there is Rel. Rel, who stood up for her when the news about her mother's sickness became a reason to mock her. Rel, who was annoying and made her appreciate her life and her family.
It was a bit difficult to understand a few parts since there are a few Australian words I don't know. But it was nice to learn about a few of them. I think 'arvo' is my new favorite word, and it makes me want to eat Killer Pythons. Makes me want to go hiking, to swim, to start fishing, to live in a beach. Makes me want to eat blueberries, hang out in a deli and just stay in the beach, soaking the sun.
Deb Fitzpatrick has a certain eloquence in her writing that endears her and her characters to the readers. Ally certainly is not a perfect teenager, but the realness of her situation and the honesty of her reactions to her problems is what makes her such a great read. One moment I pity her, another getting irritated, but when I finished the book I just loved her. I think Deb's writing is just beautiful. Simple and refined. Serious and sometimes funny. Have You Seen Ally Queen captures the dynamics of a family. turning it into an extraordinary reading journey.
Slowly but surely, Australian authors like Deb makes me realize how much talent there is in Australia, especially when it comes to writing. This is another great example! (less)
If you think the Greek Gods are demented, then I take it you haven't met Athena?
World, meet a Goddess who has gone off the deep end. The Goddess of War, Athena. And she really does mean war.
Let me just say this: Athena is one disturbing Goddess. You read stories where Gods and Goddess are supposedly detached from a lot of things and emotions, but Athena just brings the word disturbing to a whole new level. She's cunning, cruel and pure evil inside out, but her character stayed true to being a Goddess of Warfare, Strategy and Culture, which unfortunately made her almost infallible. Almost, but not quite. I hated her for all the ways and means she can break down a person, and for all the holds she has on even the most powerful people in existence. She's the perfect antagonist, and she's a Goddess!
I loved Ari then, I loved her even more now. The true strength of Ari's character was brought out in A Beautiful Evil. She was broken and put back together in the most horrific and painful of ways. There was only suffering and despair waiting for her throughout the novel, so I can only imagine how strong she had to be mentally and emotionally to get through all of it. How she was able to endure the physical, emotional and mental assault of Athena was astounding and admirable, and just made her one of my most favorite heroine ever. Ari's the perfect blend of a kick-ass heroine who can also be emotional when she needs to. Ari doesn't pretend to be strong, in fact she spends quite a lot of time worrying about her powers, feeling lost and confused and fearing what Fate has in store for her when she turns twenty one. But she's persistent and she would do anything for those she loved, even if it means sacrificing herself. She knows how to fight back and she's not one to go down without a fight!
Ah, Sebastian... Sebastian. How can I describe you without letting out a sigh and swooning? His character finally unraveled in this book, and I am impressed with what I saw. Sweet, caring Sebastian who stayed by Ari's side even when he was fully aware what Ari is and will become. I loved his 'we'll face it together when the time comes' attitude and he's a steady force and a rock to lean on when Ari gets lost. One of the reasons I loath Athena in this book is seeing the way she manipulated and tortured everyone into the brink of death, robbing them of their choices to become what they want to, and that includes Sebastian. He went through A LOT for Ari and for New 2 and what he has become in the process makes me feel a little bit skeptical but then again, I loved this warlock-vampire from the first time I've read of him. Let's see what happens.
Ari has found great allies in this book, new and old and I loved all of them! Violet is making a comeback, and Henri is still his surly, French self. I want to see more of Menai, and a few Greek Gods and Goddess made appearances which gave the book more of a mythological feel to it. The few but heart warming scenes between Ari and her father, Therion, gave me a little bit of hope while reading through. It wasn't easy to continue reading especially when you think Athena is single handedly destroying everything and it all seemed like a big part of entertainment for her.
Once again, Kelly Keaton impressed me with the way she was able to blend bits and pieces of mythology to the present, making New 2 and GD a very fascinating backdrop against the war between the Gods and the monsters they have created. New Orleans was reinvented into a place where Gods walk among people, where the aftermath of destruction gave birth to an otherworldly place and bewitching inhabitants of all kinds, both dangerous and harmless, live alongside each other.
With epic battle scenes and countless fleeting romantic moments, Kelly mastered the craft of creating scenes where one moment I feel terrified and angry and sighing with love and contentment the next. Filled with explosive, heart stopping action scenes and numerous twists and turns that made me devour this book in a flash, A Beautiful Evil is a great follow up to Darkness Becomes Her. Characters you loved in Darkness you will love all the more in this sequel, and you will be wishing the characters you hated in the first book completely dead in this second book. Kelly Keaton re-invented mythologies and wrote a rich, captivating story the second time around! The first book was good, but the sequel is even better! (less)
The Bettarini sisters are back, and this time, they have their mother in tow. After convincing Lia and her mothe...moreFull review posted at Amaterasu Reads
The Bettarini sisters are back, and this time, they have their mother in tow. After convincing Lia and her mother to go back in time to see Marcello once more, they arrived to Castle Forelli a few weeks later. Gabi was forced to leave when a serious injury caused her to be on the verge of death, but now, her mother joins them. Siena is eagerly anticipating to see the She-Wolves who defended them and a new danger awaits both sisters.
Once more, we readers are re-acquainted with all the characters in Waterfall. This time, double the suspense, double the action, double the intrigue. Gabi and Lia only wanted to go back to their own time, and suddenly they find themselves exalted as heroes, fierce warriors who finds themselves thrust amidst danger and politics of an era a few hundred years before. More challenges were brought forth when the sisters realized they were at the brink of war with Firenze, and that they were weeks, maybe days away from the start of The Black Plague. A disease that wiped out thousands of people, not only Marcello and Luca were in danger of being infected, but both the sisters as well.
Just when I think the series couldn't get any better, Lisa Bergren has managed to raise the bar a little further. If anything, Gabi and Lia's adventures on this book cemented the fact that they are saviors, heroes of a land they have come to love. Lisa must love testing her characters for not only did The Bettarini sisters get to fight a powerful foe, but another one much more devastating, an invisible killer that threatens to wipe out everything they have learned to cherish. The maturity, strength of character and perseverance of both Gabi and Lia were once again showcased in stunning fashion in Cascade.
While this is Gabi and Lia's story, readers will get to see more of Marcello and Luca. And if you thought these boys who grew in the face of war couldn't get any more charming, you're wrong. The Forelli cousins will bewitch more readers in this lovely sequel. Marcello and Luca faced dire situations that gave them a more solid character, the hero of our heroes. They were men who were capable of enduring even the plague and the countless dangers and perils of war for their beloveds. My admiration for both Marcello and Luca grew in this book. Near death experience became the norm in this book and with the knowledge that they could die anytime, brings a whole new level of intensity in Marcello and Gabi's relationship. And finally, we get to see a great progress in Lia and Luca's side as well.
A few new characters were introduced in the story. Lia's mother, the scientist, settled comfortably into the plot that it became natural for her to be there. There was no doubt where the Bettarini sisters got their prowess, with such a remarkable woman as a mother. Gradually she came to understand what it was that endeared the 14th century to her children. And a key character, Rodolfo, came in a time of need for the Bettarinis. I'm not sure if his story arc will be pursued in the next book, but maybe he can give Marcello a challenge for Gabi's hand.
Waterfall had all the right ingredients that made it a great book, but Cascade easily topped that and gave us more than what we have asked for. Full of adrenaline pumping action scenes, daring escapes, breath taking plot twists, political intrigue, and dangers of a time long forgotten, time travel became a lot more entertaining through Gabi and Lia's adventures. Stellar writing, Lisa. Kudos for crafting another wonderful book!
Do not miss the chance to read one of the best series ever written this year. Grab a copy of both Waterfall and Cascade. If you have not loved the characters as you will your own friends and endeared them to your hearts, I'm sure Cascade will do it for you. I highly recommend this book!(less)
I will not deny that I have fallen in love with the book just after I've finished reading the summary, and along with that comes setting high expectations for it. Reading re-tellings of one of Shakespeare's most famous work has always been a favorite of mine, and reading about his brother is a new experience even for me.
Miranda wants to become Juliet. She craves for it, and she has been doing just about anything to prepare herself for the part. She wants to get it so much that she decided to cast a spell for fame, but the only problem was, the spell conjured up someone famous instead, or someone related to one, Edmund Shakespeare, The Bard's younger brother. Now as Edmund, an actor himself, struggles to make sense of how to live in a place 400 years ahead of his time, he was suddenly part of the cast as Romeo and Miranda's become Juliet. But is Edmund really not setting foot back in 1590's England?
As much as I find the plot and the whole idea behind the story, I did not like Edmund. I know boys from the 16th century do not behave the same way as boys in present time do, but all the same, he works his charm on girls excessively, gets more emotional too often and is too flirtatious even in today's standards. I felt bad for Miranda for feeling left out and ignored. You would have thought that being Shakespeare's younger brother and having several sisters, he'd know more about dealing with women. But his character, as a whole, is a bit interesting though irritating, despite the obvious and very bad flaws. Exploring Edmund's character is quite a challenge, I am not sure what to expect since very little is known about him in real life, and here he was, being written about by Douglas Rees.
Miranda's just your average teenager whose life revolves around the theater. She's got a supportive mother and an absentee father, but Miranda grew up loving The Bard's works. Who would have thought for a second that she'll fall in love with his brother? I was as frustrated as she was when Edmund was turning a blind eye towards her. Drawing strength from various Shakespeare heroines, Miranda is this vibrant girl with a genuine love for acting. Although she spent quite a lot of time obsessing over Edmund, I think Miranda was mostly the one who got me through the book.
My other problem with this is that I found myself wishing for a better ending. I don't think Miranda's feelings could have changed that easily. Granted, a year could have done wonders for her, but I'm still torn over how I should feel with the conclusion. It was sad, abrupt, and a bit unexpected. It's like you're gearing up for a resolution on Edmund and Miranda's relationship and then suddenly something completely different happens.
The Juliet Spell is a unique, romantic story with a dash of Shakespeare's infamous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It has familiar elements from The Bard's story, of love between two people from different places and different times. Edmund, whether the readers like it or not, will work his charms on the readers, and you'd think Miranda is a modern, unconventional Juliet worth reading about.
I really want to like this book more than I did, but I can't seem to agree with some of the characters.(less)
Em Bailey's chilling psychological YA thriller debut is sure to make readers think twice about letting people get clo...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Em Bailey's chilling psychological YA thriller debut is sure to make readers think twice about letting people get close too much. The bonds of friendship is stretched tight up to the breaking point in this shuddery tale of one girl's identity and her struggle to find out who she really is deep inside.
Olivia Corbett's life is a wreck. She used to be best friends with Katie, the most popular girl in school. She used to be pretty, outgoing, with a happy family, but after the "Incident", Olive doesn't even recognize who she was anymore. Shunned, different, fat, crazy, on medication, with a brother having nightmares every night and a mother left by her husband. All she has is Ami, and she sure doesn't want anyone else getting close, especially the new boy in school, Lachlan, who thinks he knows who she truly was inside. How could he? Things were fine until Miranda arrived. Miranda, the rumored killer. Soon popular Katie is fading into the background, and Miranda's stealing everything away from her, including her life. Now Katie's dead and Miranda is still there, waiting for her next victim. And now she has her sights set on Olive...
Olive wasn't crazy, that I'm sure of. Extremely paranoid, but not crazy. People tend to obsess about how other people perceive them, and in Olive's case that drove her to the edge of her sanity. She had a difficult time dealing with her emotions, and what she had become when she was friends with Katie. She knew she was wrecking lives, not just of her friends but also of her family. Maybe she was partly to blame for what happened, but what was important was that she tried to change, and I admire her for that.
Surprise came into the form of Ami. She was a particular twist in the story I wasn't anticipating at all. It's always a delight to be able to read a book where surprise plot twists appear out of nowhere. The unpredictability adds to the charm of this book and the fact that the characters are highly flawed. It makes you feel the realness of each and every single one of them and adds to the real life aspect of the book.
And Lachlan, oh Lachlan, where do I start describing you? He's the lifesaver, literally. He rescued Olive from all the evils of her life. For someone as unstable as Olive, Lachlan is the stability she needs. It's a given that he's gorgeous, but he's strong and understanding and he sees Olive for what she really is. He's the kind of guy you wish was real because he's not interested in the superficial beauty of a girl, instead he you for the person you are inside.
A valuable lesson this book teaches is to be wary of choosing who you'll be friends with. Olive watched as Katie wasted away in Miranda's grasps and she almost fell for Miranda's madness as well. From the mousy, new kid, Miranda slowly took all that Katie had. It's chilling to the bone to read of a person who's manipulative streak appears in full force. For Miranda, words held power, and she may not be an alien, but she's certainly a 'shapeshifter'. A real menace. She twists and bends and shape a person the way she likes them to be, someone inferior to her, and kill them with her words and ideas, often toxic and deadly. She plays with emotions. She toys with people's lives. She gets satisfaction in the demise of her so called friends. I cannot believe such a person can exist.
Shift is one of the most intense YA psychological thriller I've read this year. This book is not for the faint hearted. Shift is a spine chilling tale about the dark and distorted side of friendship and all the things that could possibly go wrong. It takes the readers to a gripping ride into the ugly mind of the viciously wicked. Shift will mess up your mind. It will frighten you. Fear is a great motivator, and that is what you will mostly feel while reading this book. But don't worry, as this book is not just about the evilness of one's heart or the ugly side of friendship, but also of family and first love and a story about how we look at ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how we love ourselves.
A healthy dose of creepiness combined with a generous amount of volatile moments and emotions gave birth to this terrific novel. What a way to introduce Em Bailey to the writing world!
Em Bailey is an author to watch out for! Shift is a masterful and mind blowing debut! Believe me when I say that this book will just not give you the creeps, but it will make you take a close look at how you form relationships and probably make us a little wiser and more cautious of forming bonds with the right people. (less)
If you think Anna and the French Kiss is fabulous, then you'd be delighted to know that Lola does not disappoint!
Lola and the Boy Next Door has all the familiar Stephanie Perkins style we have all come to love. The magic of her writing, I have to say, is still there. But I am pleasantly surprised to find out that Lola has something to offer that is not in Anna. It's like two worlds colliding and having this two completely different story lines meshing together. Yes, the lovely French boy and the film geek is back, and they play a big part in Lola and Cricket's story.
Two years ago, Lola fell hard for her next door neighbor, Cricket. Two years ago she also had her heart broken, and just when Lola thought her life was going smooth, Cricket comes back along with the ghost of the past. But Lola's different now, right? She's got a cool rocker boyfriend, Max, whose way older than she is, and the Bell twins arriving next door shouldn't bother her. So why is Lola afraid of letting the Bell twins come back into her life now? And why does Cricket seem so different yet so familiar?
Lola's family is so dysfunctional! Dysfunctional, but perfectly normal. She has two fathers, and she's proud of having Nathan and Andy in her life. They're gay, but they're the best parents one can have. I think nothing about Lola or her life is typical, but despite all of that she came out as this unique, intriguing person with such a strong appeal.
I didn't know it would be possible to love the whole book so much and not be a fan of the protagonist. Lola wasn't the best role model there is out there, and I often find myself disagreeing with a lot of her decisions in life, but that didn't stop me from adoring her a little bit. Lola is a very complex character, with a lot of issues. But she's got a lot of spunk, like a younger version of Lady Gaga. She expresses herself through dressing up, she's creative, oftentimes adorable even. But Lola is painfully crappy at one aspect of her life: Love. Max is one walking disaster she should have seen a mile away. And I have such a thing for pining for the underdog, the other guy, which is Cricket.
Cricket, on the other hand, is a different story. It was painful to read about him. He's this genuinely nice guy, maybe too nice to the point that he just get stepped on and took advantage of by everyone because they knew they'd get away with it. Cricket's life and along with his family revolved around his twin sister's dream. The Bell siblings are all talented, but Calliope is exceptional. Cricket thinks he's not. He's the type of person who sees the good things in everyone except for himself. I think I agree with Lola in her assumption that Cricket is too good for her. But love is anything but perfect, and whatever Lola lacked, Cricket compliments, and vice versa. It just felt so unfair at times about how Lola seems all confused with her feelings, leading Cricket on and Cricket has to suffer all the time. It doesn't help that he's also painfully shy and naive, most of the time. But Cricket Bell is a guy who is attractive for all the unusual reasons. Lanky, extremely tall, has a penchant for wearing striped pants and yet so achingly attractive!
Lola and the Boy Next Door just seem to have it all. Quirky characters, as evident with Lindsey, Lola's wanna be detective best friend, the best gay parents in the world, a homeless mother who isn't as heartless as Lola thought she is, jealous twin sisters, tons of great and not so great childhood memories, sparkly dresses, automatons, loud music and a heart warming, fantastic story.
Stephanie Perkins has a knack for torturing her readers with such a complicated and difficult love story. It's a wild, excruciating roller coaster of emotions, frustrations, misunderstandings, and making tough decisions before finally seeing the light and getting your own happy ending. Love isn't easy, and the journey to happiness is rough, with bumps and twists and bents along the way, and Stephanie Perkins wrote about that in such exquisite fashion. Exquisite, I tell you! Peppered with her trademark hilarity and heart melting, breath taking moments, Lola breaks the curse of second novel flops. It's just as good as Anna, and it reminds us of every single thing we loved about Stephanie's writing.
Now all we have to do is wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After!(less)
I've been searching for a YA fantasy book that will make me love the genre again, and finally here is one.
Dragons, Faeries and Humans, three of the most fascinating creatures to write about, and Janet Lee Carey has just crafted a book that blended all three in one marvelous story!
Epic romance. I think I love that world already.
There are a lot of things in this book that I enjoyed a lot. The flow of the story has picked up from page one and had some slow moments toward the middle, but it's a steady cruise towards the end. What made me gobble this book in one sitting, I think, is how engaging Janet Lee Carey's writing is.
The romance in this book is epic in a lot of ways. I love that the author did not craft a character that highlights her looks or her beauty because she needs to for a guy to like her. Tess is pretty, yes, but the years she has spent at the hands of an abusive father left her looking less than perfect, add to that the torture she received when she was accused as a witch. I consider her beautiful because of those battle scars. She survived and it's a proof of how strong she is, and for me that's what makes one beautiful. Being able to stand up even when you've been scarred, beaten, tortured. Speaking of flawed characters, Tess is an example of a character which will take you time to like. She wasn't certainly likable at first, whiny at times, often stubborn but she developed a lot from that scared girl fleeing for her life to one that can unite a kingdom divided because of their race.
Dragonswood is filled with characters who will surprise the readers. Garth, the former faerie king, the dragons, even the Crown Prince and the witch hunters, all of them are worth giving a second look. Tess's and the rest of the characters' life were never easy, as some people shun them, in fear of what they are and it was shown throughout the book. Even so, they were able to find happiness in their own way. I guess that's one of the things I've learned in this book. There's always beauty in everything, may they be bad or good, as long as you look for it hard enough.
And who would have thought combining dragons and faeries in a story will make such an interesting read? I certainly didn't, and you can tell how highly imaginative and rich Janet's writing is to be able to tie these vastly different creatures convincingly in one story.
Dragonswood is a highly engrossing read. Janet's writing has the power to pull the readers into a magical world filled with intrigue and mysterious creatures co-existing with each other and the complexities living together can bring them. It's a different world altogether but one that is fascinating. With flamboyant faeries, wise, powerful dragons and humans at a time where magic is feared, Dragonswood is set in a time of uncertainty where one girl holds in her hands the future of an entire kingdom. It's a great adventure worth reading!(less)