I love Mindy Kaling, and really enjoyed Why Not Me? I thought it provided a good insight into her life, especially around The Mindy Project, which I aI love Mindy Kaling, and really enjoyed Why Not Me? I thought it provided a good insight into her life, especially around The Mindy Project, which I absolutely adore. I also liked the bit about how she thought about becoming a Latin teacher if she didn't make it in Hollywood. I love the creative bits of e-mail and texts exchange between that Mindy and a teacher. She's so funny! ...more
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February wthis review appears on Ashelynn's Bookshelf.
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February when I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical re-telling of Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl. Ottoman Empire, violence, and a girl who is badass? HELL. YES. Sign me up.
Now, let me preface this review by saying And I Darken is a long book (nearly 500 pages) and it starts off slowly. It’s also not a plot-driven story, but a character-driven story. The first 60 or so pages are just of Lada and Radu growing up in Wallachia. By page 69, they have arrived at Edirne in the Ottoman Empire, where they are pawns in their father’s trade for protection of his throne in Wallachia. If their father is to break the treaty, Lada and Radu will be killed. I mean, how awful would you feel if your father cared so little about you but realized you were valuable only by securing his throne?
In Edirne, Lada and Radu meet Mehmed, the third and least favorite son of the Sultan to the Ottoman Empire. They become friends as they grow up in the Ottoman Empire together. Lada is forever longing to go back home to Wallachia. Radu loves Islam and the Ottoman Empire and believes he is home. And as they grow, feelings also began to develop. Radu and Lada both fall for Mehmed.
Yes, this means Radu is gay or potentially bisexual as his sexual identity is never mentioned on the page. He only seems to have feelings for Mehmed though.
Siblings falling for the same person is like my favorite trope, guise.
However, Mehmed doesn’t share the same feelings toward Radu – at least not in And I Darken. Mehmed instead has feelings toward Lada and an intense relationship blooms between them. I loved their passionate scenes.
The characters in And I Darken come to life on the page; Lada becomes friends with Nicolae, a Janissary who is “a member of an elite force of military professionals, taken as boys from other countries, converted to Islam, educated, and trained to be loyal to the sultan.” (White, 480-481.) Radu becomes friend with Lazar, another Janissary, but Radu met Lazar in his father’s palace in Wallachia. Nicolae is also from Wallachia. The tight friendships make this story come to life because, again, it’s character-driven, not plot-driven. I’ve seen some reviews of people saying there’s too many characters, and that may be the case for them, but it wasn’t for me. There is a whole cast of characters, but I found it easy to keep them apart in my head because each character had an influence on Lada and Radu’s story. They weren’t throwaway characters. The characters all have a role, especially those in the Ottoman Empire, including the concubines in the Sultan’s harem. There is also a glossary of characters at the end on page 476.
And I Darken is told between Lada and Radu. I think this helps with appealing to a bigger audience because Lada is extremely violent and selfish. She could be seen as an unlikable narrator. Radu is sweet and innocent, and his chapters brought light to what could have been an extremely dark book. It’s still a dark book – the title says it all.
It’s also good to note that because of the period (1450s ish) and because of the extreme violence, this book isn’t for everybody. There is physical violence (and right away – Lada bites a cousin because he and his brother are beating up Radu) and sexual abuse including: grabbing a breast and a near rape scene.
I would recommend And I Darken to readers of White’s previous books (especially those who loved Mind Games), fans of dark, gritty, and complex stories, and fans of historical fiction a la His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. I am extremely happy that And I Darken is the first book of a trilogy, and I am eager for the sequels....more
3 by Hannah Moskowitz is a provoking story about a polyamory couple, and one that I really enjoyed. It was a quick readThis review also appears here.
3 by Hannah Moskowitz is a provoking story about a polyamory couple, and one that I really enjoyed. It was a quick read and the perfect palette cleanser between the fantasy streak I’ve been on.
3 is set in Southern Florida, and it makes sense that the protagonist of the story, Taylor, would be of Cuban ancestry. However, I never thought that she was Cuban beside her mother calling her “mija” once in awhile and Theo mentioning Cuban art in her house.
Theo is of Brazilin ancestry. Taylor’s best friend Aanya is Indian.
I mention this because I appreciate the realness of 3, but also because aside from being mentioned that they are of these ancestries, there is no description. I did not picture Aanya, Theo, or Taylor as their each respective ancestries. Also I suspect since I know a white girl named Anya, and unless the character’s race is described on the page, readers will picture white characters.
3 is pretty much all dialogue. I am not one of those people who picture a movie when they are reading, so it doesn’t really bother me when a story is 75% dialogue. It makes for a fast read. But when the story is 75% dialogue and readers get snippets of “Theo is Brazilian,” you tend to not really agree with that. I wish there was more character descriptions and that it wouldn’t be such a mind-reeling instance of “I guess I could pass as a sister of a white girl and an Indian girl.”
However, despite the few spelling and grammatical errors, and the mostly dialogue story, 3 is a good story about a polyamory couple. The author Hannah Moskowitz states that it’s a queer polyamory couple, but Taylor’s sexuality is never addressed on the page. Nobody’s sexuality is. Josey and Taylor grow close in the relationship, Taylor thinking they are sisters and girlfriends (which is sweet) but that is where their relationship ends. Theo and Taylor actually touch and kiss.
I did love Taylor’s character growth with Josey. I loved Josey. She was probably my favorite character in 3. I enjoyed the relationship that Taylor had with Josey; it felt like a close female friendship relationship. Their just together scenes were my favorite parts. Like, I don’t think I can express how much I love Josey and how much I love Josey and Taylor together. Like I’m just going to write stories about Josey and Taylor together foreverrrr.
Also something I have to address: I felt in love while reading 3. My heart would flutter and it felt like the beginning of a relationship. That was a nice emotional touch throughout the story.
I loved the story, I love the polyamory couple. It’s not a topic that is usually found in YA literature – and this is actually my first YA story about polyamory. It’s refreshing to see these representations on the page, and I would love to read more. But as it always comes up with polygamy, a character asks if it’s “like Mormons,” and that pulled me out of the story. Mormons are not polygamous. Say it with me: Mormons are not polygamous. That show Sister Wives? They are not Mormon. Polygamous Mormons were separated from the church back in the 1800s. And it’s something that really annoys me, as I have Mormon friends and family, and stereotypes are never cool.
3 is also in need of serious edits. It’s self-published, and from the blog post Hannah Moskowitz wrote about it, I have a feeling she self-published it on an impulse. I love the cover. I loved the story, but know it could have been better if it had gone through an editor. If the author is serious about doing some self-published works, I think it would be worth it to invest in a freelance editor. As it is now, 3 reads like one of your friend’s manuscripts who is looking for feedback.
I would still recommend 3 to YA readers who are looking for a refreshing, quick read. The representation of a polyamory couple is really important, especially a queer one. But it is important to note that the queer part isn’t ever addressed. I think all of the errors in 3 can be overlooked because the story is that good. Anybody who is curious about how polyamory is addressed in YA should check out 3 by Hannah Moskowitz....more
I really enjoyed Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series (although I haven’t read tThis review of Passenger also appears on Ashelynn's Bookshelf.
I really enjoyed Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series (although I haven’t read the last book because I suck at reading series) and I was excited to pick up Passenger, which is about time travel. If you know me, you know time travel is one of my favorite subjects and I devour books about it.
The ability to time travel in Passenger is really unique, in which the person has possess the genes to travel through time. So not everyone is able to time travel. Those who can time travel have to find passages – and the passages only go to a certain period, like say America in 1776. It’s the same day, just the year and location change. I love that concept.
I also love that the book is written in third person, and the story is narrated between Etta and Nicholas. YA is dominated with first person, so Passenger is a nice break from the constant “I.” I also think it’s extremely hard to do a well dual POV book in first person; in third person, I never have problems with figuring out who is narrating the scene.
Etta finds out during a concert – she’s a violin prodigy – that she possesses the ability to time travel… by travelling through time. She is summoned by the head of a family, Ironwoods, who are one of four families who can travel through time. Etta obviously belongs to one of the families, but because of her mom, Rose, Etta doesn’t know the truth – like who her father is, or time travel, or anything. Grandfather, head of the Ironwood family, summoned Etta to him because he needs her to find an astrolabe that Rose hid – and she left behind a cryptic note that only Etta can read. Also Etta has only a few days to find it and oh yeah, her mom has been kidnapped by the Ironwoods.
Y’all, this plot is the best. I love cryptic notes. I love that it’s like a giant puzzle piece.
Etta and Nicholas, who is her companion and the bastard son of one of the Ironwoods, race through the passages as they decode the message Rose left behind and also slowly figure out that hey, maybe it’s not a good idea to give the astrolabe to the Ironwoods.
Passenger has intrigue and secrets, and Etta unravels the story behind her mom’s childhood and she also learns about the four families who can travel through time. Also we learn about Nicholas, who is Black and was a slave. Nicholas’s time period is the 1700s, so Passenger examines privilege and hardships Blacks had in the Americas, even those who were freed – which we find out that Nicholas is free, and that he has to carry Freedom Papers when he’s in his original time.
Also, Nicholas is somewhat of a pirate and I love that.
I love the world that Alexandra has built, and that there are passages that take you through time. One minute Etta is in America, and then she is in England during WWII. I found the concept of time travel so interesting in Passenger.
And the cover is probably one of the best YA covers I have ever seen. I absolutely love the cover.
Passenger kept me hooked until the end, but y’all, this isn’t a short book. Alexandra Bracken writes long, and I enjoy that about her books. Even though Passenger is nearly 500 pages, I still read through it quickly and enjoyed every second of it. I love the romance between Etta and Nicholas, I love the action and stakes. And even though I think the “protagonist doesn’t know this about herself” trop is overdone, I think it works well for this story.
I recommend Passenger to those fellow time travel loving book nerds out there, or those who just want a story with lots of action, intrigue, and romance....more
Excellent writing advice book. I'm in the middle of a rewrite and this book really clarified a few things for me. Would definitely recommend it to myExcellent writing advice book. I'm in the middle of a rewrite and this book really clarified a few things for me. Would definitely recommend it to my writer friends!...more
Y'all know I love middle grade stories, and guise, Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi swept me away. Tahereh'This review also appears on Ashelynn's Bookshelf
Y'all know I love middle grade stories, and guise, Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi swept me away. Tahereh's writing style is unique, and the narration for Furthermore reminded me of The Series of Unfortunate Events (which is a childhood favorite of mine.) I know with her writing style, most are turned off by the story - but I loved the little tidbits of the narrator inserting themselves into the story, for example:
"Alice couldn't have known what Oliver was thinking -- so I really shouldn't tell you, either -- but I think we know each other well enough now to take care of each other's secrets." (Mafi, 191)
It wasn't on every page, or even every chapter, that this narration happened, but I enjoyed it because it felt like the book was reading to me, and being read to is such a wonderful thing. It also worked so well for the middle grade story.
I also loved the world of Furthermore. It was so unique. Oliver gets a "pocketbook," which Alice wonders why he is needing a woman's bag, but Oliver shows her that it's a book made out of people's pockets. It's simple things like that that turn the world of Furthermore into a unique and strange place. One I wouldn't want to be in (the horrors!) but one I enjoyed reading about. I also loved the world of Ferenwood and liked the idea that colors are magic, because well, I think colorful things are magical, and the more colorful you are, the more magical you appear. Also, Alice eats flowers! And I thought that was perfect. It adds to the worldbuilding of Ferenwood.
I felt for poor Alice, too. I resonated with her so much. She is an outcast in Ferenwood because of her lack of color. I was an outcast in school because I was the strange little child that liked to read. Alice performs a gift for the Surrender, and is absolutely humiliated when it doesn't go so well, and it was so well written that even I was humiliated. I wanted to cry right alongside Alice.
Alice's character growth was great. She really learned a lot by going through Furthermore to find her father. I also loved her companion, Oliver, who I thought was a terrible, no good bully in the beginning, but learned to love as the story progressed.
Furthermore is a wonderful tale of friendship, and magic. I recommend it to those who love middle grade, especially The Series of Unfortunate Events....more
I love a quiet book. I also love Leah Clifford, so it isn't a surprise that I fell head over heels in love with Vial Things. And like any good book from Leah, Ploy is mine and you can't have him.
The world in Vial Things is interesting. Allie can bring back people who have died with her blood. Of course, there's a window of time where Allie can save the person and Vial Things starts with Allie being called to a job where the body has been dead longer than the window of time, so Allie can't save the person. It's a good way to introduce the magic and what Allie can do.
Vial Things is different from Leah's first trilogy, A Touch Mortal. This one is written in first person and the story alternates between Allie and Ploy, each narrator getting their own chapter before switching back. It's how I like to read books in dual POV. But it's also alike to her first book with the same genre, and of course, death playing a huge part for the story.
The story swept me up right away; I had read the first chapter when I had bought the book and set it aside, like I usually do, but when I approached it again a few weeks later, I gobbled it up within a few hours. Vial Things is a delicious, quick read, full of adventure and romance. It has all the right ingredients for what I enjoy: blood, magic, a snarky girl, and a boy with secrets. The setting of Fissure's Whip is very vivid - I really felt like I was in the story with Allie and Ploy. The characters are so real. (Like I said above: Ploy is mine and you can't have him.)
I was also so curious when Ploy was introduced to the story. I had so many questions: who was this boy? What did he want? How did he know Allie?
The story takes a sharp turn, one I won't tell because I audibly gasped and want the readers to also audibly gasp and be like, "how could you!" This story is full of twists and turns, and I loved each and every one of them. I also really loved chapter 23. You'll have to read the book to find out why.
I recommend Vial Things to readers who enjoy a thrilling action story. And I am excited to tell you that the story will continue! There's nothing I love more than a good story with sequel(s) to follow. It just makes me giddy. ...more
Haven't read it yet, but I'm excited to. I identified as bisexual throughout high school and a majority of college. I understand how confusing sexualiHaven't read it yet, but I'm excited to. I identified as bisexual throughout high school and a majority of college. I understand how confusing sexuality may be, and I'm also excited to read about bisexuals. (For clarity: I identify as "queer" now because I am not sure what my sexuality is.)...more
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo was a tale that snapped me up and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s a quick read,Review is also posted here
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo was a tale that snapped me up and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s a quick read, around 270 pages, and I had to know what was going to happen to Amanda and Grant.
This book is remarkable because it’s about a transwoman written by a transwoman, and the girl on the cover is trans. In the acknowledgments, Meredith Russo thanks Flatiron Books for listening to her suggestion of keeping trans people involved at every available step. When it comes to #ownvoices stories, it’s a good reminder that marginalized people should be included at every step of the book’s process, not just stopping at the author being #ownvoices. Publishing, I would like to see more of this happening.
Now let’s get to the story. Amanda is the new girl in a small, southern town and lives with her father, who is having a hard time accepting Amanda’s change. The story starts with tension because of that aspect, and I enjoyed the growth between these two characters. The relationship Amanda had with her dad was one of my favorites, along with the relationship Amanda has with her friends, Layla, Chloe, and Anna. I did not like Bee. At all.
I loved the first interaction Amanda has with Grant. They’re in the cafeteria, and Grant asks to sit with Amanda because his friend Parker thinks Amanda is fine. Grant has come to talk to Amanda for his friend. That is a totally relatable teenager thing to do, and it reminded me of my own high school days when my friends would go over to the cute guy I was crushing on.
But it also comes crashing down when Grant asks for Amanda’s number (for Parker, remember.)
“You want my number?” I put my hands in my lap. Blood pounded in my temples. People who looked like Grant had never spoken to me without secretly planning to hurt me. For so many years I’d been on the wrong side of too many jokes, too many pranks, too many confrontations. I’d been knocked down a hundred times in a hundred different ways. “For your friend.” (Russo, 15.)
The secret that Amanda is trans isn’t kept from the reader. It’s pointed out early in the story (I mean, it’s in the blurb), and because of this, you get an understanding of Amanda’s fear. My own heart pounded when I read that passage, and I feared for Amanda. I’ve read countless stories of transwomen violence in the news and right away, I didn’t want the same thing to happen to Amanda. Even though the whole reason why Amanda is in Tennessee is because of violence that had already happened to her.
Russo does an excellent job of making the reader connect to Amanda. Even though she is trans, and most of the readers will be cishet, we understand what it’s like to want to fit in. That first scene between Amanda and Grant draws the reader to connecting to Amanda by having a seemingly normal teenage thing happening (Grant asking for her number for his friend) and then we get an understanding of the fear a transwoman lives with. I think this is one of the most important scenes in the book, and it was one of my favorites.
I also loved the little scenes of what Amanda was like before the transition. This is not a story about the transition, and we do not need stories about that, but the snippets before the transition are nice to have because it gives more depth to Amanda’s character. There was more than one scene that made me close my eyes and take a deep breath before I could continue with the story. These scenes are powerful; Amanda is suicidal, so the emotions are right there at the surface.
Russo’s writing is simple and straight to the point. I did make an update on Goodreads that stated, “I’m really enjoying this one. The only thing I don’t like is how short some of the chapters are, and how the next chapter bounces to the next day/end of the week. I want more."
The reason I pointed that out was because I kept being thrown out of the story when it would happen. The scenes before the transition would usually be powerful, like Amanda having a fight with her father. I didn’t feel like Amanda (or the readers) could process the emotions evoked from the scene before the transition happened, and I was always wondering what happened next. How did Amanda and her father make up? Did they just ignore the fight had ever happened and continued with their lives? It was the only problem I had with If I Was Your Girl.
I love YA contemporary. I love quick reads. If I Was Your Girl filled both of those niches, and I would recommend it to any reader who loves realistic stories and/or wants to read a happily ever after transgender story. Meredith Russo has landed a spot on my auto-buy list, and I am excited to see what else she writes.
Content warnings for If I Was Your Girl: suicide, rape. Please be careful if choosing to read this one. This next part isn't really a spoiler, but kinda is, so that's why I'm hiding it. (view spoiler)[ I didn’t know about the almost rape scene, and I did have to set the book down for a little while after reading it because it hit close to home and my anxiety had spiked to the point where I was shaking all over. (hide spoiler)]...more
I might come back to this - it's still on my nightstand, but right now, a month after starting it, I'm DNFing it. I just am not interested in finishinI might come back to this - it's still on my nightstand, but right now, a month after starting it, I'm DNFing it. I just am not interested in finishing the story. I don't care about the characters, or the story, or anything.
It's a shame, too. I love retellings and had a lot of hope for this one....more
I really do enjoy Aprilynne Pike's books. I pre-ordered GLITTER after viewing the cover (how gorgeous is that cover!) and then instantly fell in loveI really do enjoy Aprilynne Pike's books. I pre-ordered GLITTER after viewing the cover (how gorgeous is that cover!) and then instantly fell in love as I read it. The world of GLITTER is immense, a spectacular blend of fantasy and science fiction.
Danica, the main character, is immature and selfish, but when you are supposed to marry a King who is violent, and your only choice of escape is through a drug, would you do that? I could honestly say I probably would. Dani at least attempts to keep her best friends safe, but in the end, she loses control and everything starts to spiral.
I didn't quite like the romance between Dani and Saber, but that is all me, I think, not on Pike. My other problem is how the book ends - I need the sequel asap! I would definitely recommend this book to other fans of Pike and YA science fiction/fantasy. ...more
I don't think I can write a review that adequately reflects how amazing The Hate U Give is. This book is so important and comes at such a needed time.I don't think I can write a review that adequately reflects how amazing The Hate U Give is. This book is so important and comes at such a needed time. Black Lives Matter and this book expresses that so well.
I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with Starr and her family. I got angry at the way Khalil was treated, especially when the officer's father went on live TV and painted his son as the victim. We see this too many times in real life: an officer shoots a Black person, and then the media and white people spin it so the officer is the victim. The officer is NEVER the victim. Full stop. We need to recognize that Black lives matter, too, and stand up for them.
I strongly urge everybody to read The Hate U Give and think about the way America and white people treat Black people.
I am such a huge fan of Gayle Forman. Late last night, I started LEAVE ME and was absolutely enchanted by it. I couldn't believe how selfish and rudeI am such a huge fan of Gayle Forman. Late last night, I started LEAVE ME and was absolutely enchanted by it. I couldn't believe how selfish and rude Jason was, and didn't understand what Maribeth saw in him, but he redeemed himself wonderfully. In true Forman fashion, the book ends openly, leaving the reader to envision the perfect ending. The characters were all brilliantly written; I love the friendships Maribeth had made in Pittsburgh. I really hope to read more adult fiction from Forman. I'll be handing this book out as Christmas presents this year....more
Before purchasing Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, I read a few paragraphs online. I think I might have read the entire first chapter, but I knew fro Before purchasing Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, I read a few paragraphs online. I think I might have read the entire first chapter, but I knew from the first page this was a book that was going to whisk me away to a city floating in the sky. A city that perhaps was corrupt and dark instead of perfect. Perhaps it was supposed to be perfect, but deep down it was ruined.
I’m sorry, I had to.
Morgan Stockhour, the main character, is a girl who is set on finding out what lays beneath the surface of the perfect-ness of Internment when a murder, the first in generations, rocks the floating city. She’s a girl who is always dreaming and because of that, she’s able to trust the guy who is being convicted of the murder. She doesn’t trust him, and honestly, I was scared for Morgan. What if he was the bad guy and she trusted him? It was pretty much all I could think about.
I’m definitely a fangirl of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
How can I accurately describe the wonderful feeling Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell left me in? Or eveI’m definitely a fangirl of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
How can I accurately describe the wonderful feeling Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell left me in? Or even when I listened to the sample on Audible, and realized I had to have this book? GUYS. I’m seriously not sure what to do with my life, except buy a hardcover copy of Fangirl and mark my favorite passages so when I’m having a rough day, I can flip to those easy and be insta-happy.
I was browsing through audible and listening to samples to see what I wanted to listen to when I stumbled upon Fangirl and listened to it, and knew I had to read it because right away I connected with Cath. For me, it was super scary to go to the dining room alone. The whole moving onto campus and having to figure out how to live was scary. Because Cath’s and mine fears were the same, it made it so easy to connect with her—and right away.
And you know what, I absolutely adored this college story. I adored that Cath was separated from her twin sister Wren and forced to be her own person. I adored that Reagan, Cath’s roommate, was almost the exact opposite of Cath and yet they still became the bestest of friends.
And Levi, oh Levi. You melt my heart with your charm. I swear, he has to be the most beautifully and charmingly written man of YA. He is the perfect boyfriend. I would so love to stick him in my pocket, or on my shoulder where he could whisper charming words into my ear.
The other minor, but also important characters, are so very well developed. Nick, the douchebag canoe, Professor Piper, the encouraging fiction writing professor, Cath and Wren’s Dad, who has a whole mess of problems. I loved (and hated some of these characters) while listening to Fangirl.
Wren. Aside from Cath and Levi, Wren has to be one of my favorites. And it took a while to get to know (and like) Wren. Wren makes a lot of mistakes in Fangirl, but she does come around and becomes her sister’s best friend again, which HELL YES, I loved. I grew from disliking Wren to absolutely loving her and placing her on near the top of my all-time favorite characters.
Seriously, I loved Fangirl. I loved that the narrator, Rebecca Lowman, drew me in right away. The Simon Snow experts were read by Maxwell Caulfield and I thought he did a great job, too. I wasn’t hooked on his voice, though. It might have been too low and British-y for me, but whatever, I rolled with it. His parts weren’t as long as Lowman’s, less than a minute at the end of each chapter (I *think* it was each chapter. There might have been some chapters with no Simon Snow at the end.) I liked how Rainbow Rowell wrote it, since the fanfiction and Simon Snow had a huge part with Cath’s life. We got to see a glimpse of that world, and that was a great idea.
Overall, I want everybody to read this book. You have one thing to do, and that’s buy this book and sit in your closet and don’t do anything until you have devoured every single world of Fangirl.
I finished this one late last night and really liked it. Dossam had sort of a feminine voice in the beginning (or maybe I'm just used to reading throuI finished this one late last night and really liked it. Dossam had sort of a feminine voice in the beginning (or maybe I'm just used to reading through Ana's perspective in this world?) I did like what it brought to the table--I don't normally read the novellas, although I'm not sure why. I absolutely LOVE this series which is the main reason why I did buy and read Phoenix Overture.
ALSO hello, Li is a guy. Originally a guy, which shocked me at first but then it all started to make sense, like OF COURSE LI was originally a guy.
I loved this one; I hope there are more novellas (in fact, I want more novels in this world!) It's such a unique and well developed world that I could spend all my years in it. Bring on the last book of the trilogy, I think I'm ready! ...more
I love this book. I loved it from the very moment Hafsah sent it to me and I read the first sentence. It's such an unique story, and the planet LissaI love this book. I loved it from the very moment Hafsah sent it to me and I read the first sentence. It's such an unique story, and the planet Lissa lives on reminds me of mars--if mars had toxic air. ;) I can't wait for it to be released so you can read it.
When Julie finished LETTERS TO NOWHERE, she let me read it--and I fell in love with Karen and Jordan; I fell in love with their story, too. While LETTWhen Julie finished LETTERS TO NOWHERE, she let me read it--and I fell in love with Karen and Jordan; I fell in love with their story, too. While LETTERS TO NOWHERE is contemporary, it'll still appeal to fans of the TEMPEST series, imo. LETTERS TO NOWHERE isn't just a sad book, either. There's laughter. It's about Karen learning to move on from the life she's always known and into a life that is scary and new. LETTERS TO NOWHERE is the book that confirmed it for me: I'm a huge fan of Julie Cross and will read anything she writes. ...more
At forty-one pages, it's a quick read . . . and you wouldn't expect the level of emotion from it, but holy shiz, there's a lot of emotion in this one.At forty-one pages, it's a quick read . . . and you wouldn't expect the level of emotion from it, but holy shiz, there's a lot of emotion in this one. My heart is still aching. ...more
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren enchanted me right away; told in dual POV, the two voices are diPlease check out this review over at Book Brats!
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren enchanted me right away; told in dual POV, the two voices are distinct and clear and dragged me in and hooked me. I love a good voice. I read Beautiful Bastard quickly; I had to know what happened. I had to know if Chloe and Bennett ended with a HEA. Also, I’m a sucker for a guy named Bennett. It’s one of my favorite names ever.
Sadly, after I finished Beautiful Bastard and started thinking about it, I noticed all the flaws I didn’t see when I read it. Chloe is a class-A bitch. Bennett, too, is a class-A bitch. Or bastard. (Oh WAIT, the title is called “Beautiful Bastard.”) For no apparent reason, they are both so snarky and nasty to each other. For. No. Reason. These characters drove me up a freaking wall with their antics; I hated them at points, but yet somehow I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted them to stop being so nasty to each other and just fall in love.
The sex scenes are hot, yet… it’s the only reason why there’s even a book. And yet, it’s not really a book. Had Bennett not raped (because let’s face it, Chloe only consented because he was touching her) Chloe, she wouldn’t look at him in a different way. He wouldn’t have looked at her in a different way. Sure, later on in the book we learn their backstory, but still: the sex scene happens in the first chapter. It’s thrown at us, when they have no connection other than they hate each other, and he practically rapes her. When she comes to her senses (after going down on him) she storms out of the conference room.
What’s the plot? Take out all the sex scenes and it’s what… Chloe and Bennett trying to overcome their feelings for each other? What feelings? There were no feelings other than hatred until they fucked, and even then it was still a lot of hatred.
And now for the thing that bothers most people (but apparently not a lot, since it keeps happening…): Beautiful Bastard is Twilight fanfiction. Megan has talked about publishing fanfiction on this blog, on her Twitter, Goodreads, etc. and I have to agree with her: it’s morally wrong. Beautiful Bastard is the only published fanfiction I’ll ever read, because mostly I was curious about why S&S was making such a big deal about this one. I was curious how this one would rate towards Fifty Shades of Grey (which I haven’t read and will never read. Sorry, I like my BDSM *actual* BDSM.) Here’s my opinion about publishing fanfiction: it’s wrong. You are taking someone’s idea, that’s copyrighted even, and creating a story, a continuation of the previous story, and making money off of it. Where is the original author’s cut of the money? I’m disappointed in Stephenie Meyer for letting this happen. Even though I’m not a big fan of Twilight, it’s still better than all the Twilight fanfiction being published because let’s face it, Twilight is at least somewhat original (because not all ideas are unique).
VERDICT: If you don’t care about ideas being original, or the characters not having a connection—or just love a book that sweeps you away without much care, Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren is the book for you. It’s definitely for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey. ...more