1. Gretel, Gretchen Gretchen is such an amazing heroine! She aches for the sister she left to the witch, however as th...more6 things I thought about Sweetly:
1. Gretel, Gretchen Gretchen is such an amazing heroine! She aches for the sister she left to the witch, however as the story progresses, she grows stronger and more determined than ever to find out the truth surrounding that years-old mystery. It's her courage and initiative that made me lover her, because she's definitely not just some damsel-in-distress looking for an out of the danger! Instead she races towards it, facing it head-on. She even learns how to shoot a gun.
"Behind the glass are bright, ripe pieces of fruit dipped into chocolate—white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, dotted with nuts or dusted with cocoa powder."
Sweetly is full to the brim with rich descriptions of mouth-watering delicacies. I swear I could smell the warm chocolaty scent of the chocolatier and taste the lemon tartness Gretchen was experiencing as I was reading this!
3. Sophia Kelly, the Patron Saint of Candy Sophia is the bubbly, cheerful and carefree owner of the chocolatier, yet there's another side of her that she only lets loose when she thinks she's alone—a huge intense grief. She holds many secrets, and this sadness we see through Gretchen's eyes is enough to lure readers into sympathizing with her. However, as much as I liked Sophia, it's also this knowledge of an obvious secret she's hiding and the constant melancholy we coincidentally happen upon that unfortunately makes the plot fairly easy to eventually map out.
4. She keeps it real! What I loved most about Pearce's storytelling was how much she kept to the original story of Hansel and Gretel whilst still making it completely unique! There's a lovely balance between the original and the retold that made Sweetly such a pleasant and enjoyable read. You know the story, yet Pearce spins and weaves it into a whole new tale all of it's own!
5. The romance. I really enjoyed reading about Gretchen and Samuel's relationship—it was sweet, realistic and contained absolutely zero insta-love! While Samuel isn't entirely likable at the beginning, his growing closeness with Gretchen however, will eventually soften you like a melted marshmallow :-)
6. Unless you wait till the end... ...there's honestly not a lot going on. Sweetly is more of a mystery than an action-packer though that's not to say it's boring, because it's definitely far from it! It's not exactly slow-paced, but the real action happens towards the end of the story, and that's when it gets jaw-dropping-ly good. Yet even with the lack of action, the plot still manages to captivate you enough so that the journey towards that thrilling conclusion doesn't seem as long as you might think it to be!
-- in a nutshell Just like Sophia is the Patron Saint of Candy, Pearce might just be the Patron Saint of retellings! Though it certainly does have it's fault, I fell in love with this new take on Hansel and Gretel Predictable yes, however that doesn't mar the enjoyment level of it and it's still fun to figure out and watch how everything ultimately comes together in the end. Fan of fairytales? The paranormal? Or even just a nice simple, no-nonsense romance? Then I think you'd love this!
Nothing gets me more excited than a new murder mystery coming out and since this was one of the very few I knew...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
Nothing gets me more excited than a new murder mystery coming out and since this was one of the very few I knew of being released this year, I jumped at the chance to finally read it! Yet, as much as I wanted to obsessively love it, unfortunately me and Slide just didn't quite fit like the perfect puzzle pieces I had hoped for.
-- Plot A book can be predictable and still be hella-amazing yet for Slide, I'm afraid it took the wrong turn too quickly. A few chapters in, and I was already pretty confident I had the killer nailed on the head! A good mystery makes you think hard and wrack your brain for solutions and get major headaches trying to piece everything together. Unfortunately, Slide exploits none of these traits and instead of becoming increasingly curious as to who the killer might be, I found myself going in the opposite direction!
Slide is also subject to a fair amount of coincidences that seem too unlikely to happen if applied to real life circumstances. One particular example had me pulling my hair out in frustration! Vee needs to be holding onto something important to a specific person to be able to 'slide' into them and I grew incredibly annoyed at how Vee somehow managed to get those important somethings whenever Hathaway felt like showing an important scene from someone else's perspective. I get that it needs to happen but why make it seem so obvious and contrived?
-- Characters Slide relies heavily on the characters to pull off a convincing mystery, which is why I was so incredibly disappointed with them. They're all pinned to the stereo-types of fictional high school--there's the popular mean girls you admire but secretly hate from afar, the delinquent guy who prefers to keep to himself, the jerk head quarterback. I just feel like I didn't get to know any of them enough to really relate or care what happened to them!
Vee herself wasn't without her faults--she was entirely too opinionated in regards to the killer. So say she accidentally slides into one of her class mates--woohoo! She's found the number one suspect to the murderer! And wow, suddenly everyone in the bloody school is suspect, even those who've been with her through thick and thin. Le sigh...
If there's one good thing I can say about Slide though, it's that I really did enjoy Vee's relationship with her little sister, Mattie. Honestly, I didn't like her at the start but as she and Vee grew closer, I have to say some of their scenes were rather touching.
-- Overall I hate to say it, but Slide just didn't work for me. While the concept of using the sliding ability to figure out a mystery is at first intriguing, that dies down a bit when you realize that there isn't a whole lot of suspense and the writing feels rather childish in comparison to most young adult books. However, I think it'd definitely work for readers who don't care for dissecting the plot and about trivial things like coincidences and predictability!(less)
Pure is one hell of a roller-coaster! It's amazing at times, but has a slow beginning, gets freaking brilliant,...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
Pure is one hell of a roller-coaster! It's amazing at times, but has a slow beginning, gets freaking brilliant, then fades to a dull series of events. Never have I ever felt as conflicted as I do for this book!
Pressia and Partridge are decent leads. They're brave, strong and determined to get through the toughest obstacles! However, for the most part, you feel disconnected with them until the novel picks up at the end. I don't think it's necessarily their fault, like I said, they're likable, but writing in third person and also in present tense is a pretty hard feat to accomplish. That being said, we don't only have Pressia and Partridge's POV's but two others who I don't even know why are there! I feel like I was looking through too many different pairs of eyes and it made it harder for me to relate to our two main characters.
A lot of people have mentioned Pure to have a lot of too-good-to-be-true coincidences and I'm not going to argue. Pressia and Partridge live in a large post-apocalyptic world yet they somehow manage to meet all the people they need to meet and find all the clues they need to finally get to where they want to be in the end! A few coincidences I can take but Pure is built up of so many that it went way beyond the point where I drew the line! This was probably the biggest downfall for me.
But fear not! Pure does have it's redeeming qualities. It's a romance, yes, but Pressia's been living in a world where the need to survive overcomes the need for a love life and so the romance takes a back seat in this! It's not at all predictable and though I am a HUGE romance fan, I enjoyed how it wasn't focused so much on the lovey-dovey scenes. Pure is more about family more than anything and I liked that. Plus, the end is where it really gets interesting, if not a bit tragic, and you'll find that the ending would be perfect even without a romance.
The stand-out of Pure for me was undoubtedly the world-building. It's grotesque, gory and sometimes makes you want to empty your stomach of your recently eaten dinner, but I think that's what makes it great! It's scary to see what our world could become, with the surviving humans bearing such realistic deformities. Baggot doesn't shy away from the horror's of a post-apocalyptic world like most other's. It's one of the more believable worlds out there just because of how easily you can picture it in your head!
Overall, Pure is a bit of a hit-or-miss really. If you're willing to get past the agonizingly slow start, and persevere right to the end, you'll be happy that you finished it! Because it does get better, I swear. And if you liked the world-building in books like Under the Never Sky, then you'll probably like the world in this one too. Though, the world in Pure is a whole lot more graphic, I warn you. (less)
The Story After her brother's sudden and mysterious disappearance, Allie isn't the person she once used to be. Sh...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
The Story After her brother's sudden and mysterious disappearance, Allie isn't the person she once used to be. She drinks, she cuts herself and she's arrested three times within a single year. But her last arrest is the final straw for Allie's parents, who ship her off to Cimmeria Academy, an elite boarding school built to deal with students like her.
However, Cimmeria Academy isn't all that it seems to be -- instead of a school for delinquents, it's home to prestigious, wealthy students and the mysterious Night School whom no-one is allowed to talk about. And on the night of the Summer Ball, when the school is set on fire and a student is killed, Allie is forced to face the truth -- the school is dangerous and she can trust no-one, not even the charming French student, Sylvian nor the dark, brooding, Carter. For everyone seems to be hiding a secret, a secret about Allie's past that leaves her dead in the middle of a mystery she's determined to uncover.
The Characters Allie Sheridan has a lot on her shoulders, but she carries the weight of it all with just about as much strength as you'd expect from a girl who's been arrested three times! It's fun to read the story through her eyes as Daugherty includes just the right amount of wit, humour and teenage tendencies within the narration to make her such a believable and relatable character. Though new problems and discoveries are continuously thrown her way, especially the bullying she experiences further on in the book, she holds her head high and faces them head-on.
As well as Allie though, there are a lot of secondary characters that I came to love! What's amazing about Daugherty's writing and characterization is that even when a character is caught doing something horrible, she manages to redeem them all through other various actions. From Jo to Lucus to Rachel to Jules! Each character has their own depth, their own story that leaves Night School on a whole other level compared to other books. Also, there's the boys! The sweet-talking, Sylvian with his delicious French accent and Carter, the seemingly bad-boy-player of the book. Two completely different persona's -- one a knight in shining armor and the other clad in an atmosphere that most would be wary to trust, yet they'll both immediately steal your hearts right from the beginning!
"When everyone is lying, who do you trust?"
That catchline? It fits Night Schoollike a glove. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of characters that I adored, but many of those characters have moments in which you're left to think "What if...?" because of just how well Daugherty weaves her story. The endless twists and turns completely threw me off the trail of the suspect and by the end of it all, I had no idea who was innocent or who was guilty!
Plus, these days mysteries don't tend to have that element of surprise and intrigue that makes a mystery so engaging. Instead they're usually embedded with terrible fore-shadowing and predictable twists, so I was glad to find that this isn't one of those books!Night School carries itself with an air of trepidation, that feeling of knowing something strange is happening yet you have no idea what exactly is going on. When you're still hanging onto every word the story has to offer because you're desperately trying to piece everything together right up till the big reveal at the end.
The Conclusion Night School is one of those near perfect books that you'll want to read over and over again, with every re-read leaving you just as curious and intrigued as you were the first time! Whilst the cover may be deceiving into making you believe it's for sure going to be about vampires, it's definitely not. Instead, you're presented with a normal, real-life mystery with that atmospheric tinge of something just a little bit more eerie than a simple murder mystery. In addition, the ending leaves just enough of a cliffhanger to leave readers desperately awaiting the next book because I can assure you that I most certainly am!(less)