Originally Posted on RJ Does Books! About a quarter into reading this novel the meaning of the title “Beastly Lights” clicked and it began to make sensOriginally Posted on RJ Does Books! About a quarter into reading this novel the meaning of the title “Beastly Lights” clicked and it began to make sense or at least my own interpretation of it made sense. I feel like in some ways this was a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast with just a tinge of Snow White thrown in, with Freya becoming Belle and Liam assuming the role of “the Beast.” In many ways the stories are parallel to one another, for instance: Freya is kept “prisoner” in Liam’s place like Belle was, She is forbidden from entering a specific area of the apartment, Liam is brooding and mysterious and somewhat hot-headed. The “Snow White” element comes in with the fact that she is hired as his maid and is obligated to clean his home, even if she isn’t the most organized herself. While this novel isn’t being touted as a retelling, it’s quite clear there is some sort of influence at play here, one that I appreciated given that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fables.
There were only two faults I found with Beastly Lights when reading this novel. The biggest issue was the length. I felt that this novel was a tad bit too long for such a clear-cut story, and would have been best suited as two separate novels or edited down some, rather than one massive novel. This is my own opinion, of course. I completely admire and respect any authors (such as Theresa Jane) who are able to crank out such fascinating tales with such intricate detail and offer their readers an extended stay in the world alongside their characters, however after a while there were some moments that became a little laborious to keep up with in my own reading experience.
The other issue is that I sometimes struggled to find appeal to the main characters. Particularly in the beginning with the two of them yelling at each other all the time, and Freya even yelling at the moving guys even though the one that deserved the attitude was Liam. I get it, she was angry that her brother “lost her” to Liam in a game, which is a little odd. I felt it would have been even more interesting if Freya lost the bet against Liam herself and thus, would create even more delicious tension than her brother gambling her away like she was an object instead of a person. Freya sometimes also said or did things that were a little sketchy and discrediting of her overall position as a likeable main character. It’s a little hard to win me over when the main character comes off as rude and/or whiny or a few seconds short of a tantrum. I’m glad I powered through, however, as I eventually grew to like the back and forth between Liam and Freya and did find myself come to root for them in the long run.
Theresa Jane has a knack for creating an interesting story and her wonderful ability to give realistic and relateable life to these characters is worth noting. Freya and Liam aren’t overly stereotypical and while both of them have their minor faults, still make for great characters in an overall enjoyable novel perfect for some cozy reading before bed....more
I’ve only read a few dystopian novels, but I know that there was a boom of them after The Hunger Games reignited iOriginally Posted on: RJ Does Books!
I’ve only read a few dystopian novels, but I know that there was a boom of them after The Hunger Games reignited interest in the genre since George Orwell’s 1984, and The Maze Runner kept the interest going while Divergent threw its hat into the ring for a short while as well. However, after a while one can only read so many dystopian tales before they all become a blur of the same plot, and the same type of characters just with different names. However, Ignite is a novel that could very well fit within the status of the aforementioned novels in that it features an incredibly unique world unlike another that I’ve read, realistic and fascinating characters that are distinguishable from one another, and a thrilling story that rarely goes stale. I found it not only refreshing but also interesting to see a dystopian London. Maybe I may be a little biased here because I adore England and I can’t say I’ve read many novels that feature England as a backdrop.
Jacks, Corry, Zira, and Jeremy are interesting and noticeably different characters, however I feel that the novel could have been just as effective had two of them been the main narrators while the others were demoted to background characters who interacted with them, or even just keeping Jacks the main narrator of the story. I appreciated the different voices, personalities, and experiences and they did contribute some agency to the overall story, but after a while felt just a touch too crowded.
Creating a villain that is both realistic and has the merit to be considered truly villainous and not just simply misguided and/or misunderstood is a hard job to do. Danielle Rogland does a fine job at creating a somewhat devious antagonist in Donovan. Maybe he isn’t the best example of a villain and sometimes felt on par with the level of villainy Mother Gothel had in Tangled: You know they’re supposed to be evil, but rarely see it or believe it. Despite a flawed villain and a little too many main characters, Rogland’s Ignite defines itself within the dystopian genre well enough to stand on its own. At the heart is a fascinating story that is worth the read to those who love dystopian novels, kickass non-conventional female heroines/rebels, and English settings. This was an enthralling first novel in what feels like a series and I’m intrigued to see how things work out.
RATING: 4/5 ------------------------ DISCLAIMER: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review from the author, and/or authentic and authorized publishing or promotional affiliates. Receiving this complimentary copy for my time and review did not influence or persuade my review in any way whatsoever. This review contains my honest and accurate reflections and analysis of the novel featured and discussed in this post. — RJ Does Books!...more
If I Fix You is a book that leaves a lingering impression on you long after the last page is turned. I'll admit at first IPosted from: RJ Does Books!
If I Fix You is a book that leaves a lingering impression on you long after the last page is turned. I'll admit at first I was a little skeptical when reading the prologue by wondering if the conflict in this novel would be sustainable and interesting enough for the length of the pages without me experiencing back-and-forth/will-they-won't-they exhaustion. However, as soon as things took off I couldn't help but stay up and finish the last half of the book in one night.
When reading any novel I usually have a checklist for books that I utilize when reading—nothing too formal just a simple few traits most books I enjoy seem to have in common. If I Fix You hit several of these traits. Does this book have characters that aren't perfect/"chosen ones"/stock characters? Heck yes! Flawed characters are more interesting and relate-able, at least in my opinion, and Jill, Sean and Daniel were definitely far from perfect and boring. Do I care about the characters/world/plot within the first 50 pages? Yes. I mean it took a little longer to fully get on board with the characters but I got there and found them to be genuinely likeable.
There was something devilishly delicious about the tension between Daniel and Jill that I liked (even though I knew it was unethical) To me, they had more chemistry and gravitas than Jill had with Sean—before and after the incident—and made the most sense given that the two "fix" each other despite Sean having more weight and importance in the story than Daniel. Then there was the relationship between Jill and Claire, her best friend. I felt it to be somewhat odd that Jill felt comfortable telling a stranger of what was bothering her and not her best friend who practically begged her to tell her so she could help. Nevertheless, Claire was a dedicated friend who cared about Jill—possibly more than Jill even thought so herself. Of all the relationships between Jill and those surrounding her in this novel, the one that was the most developed and interesting was the one she had with her father. Their bond was so strong and was unparalleled to anything I've read before in the YA contemporary genre. Abigail Johnson's ability to create a tangible parent-to-child relationship deserves to be commended and acknowledged as that is a difficult element which she has beautifully mastered in this debut.
Now on to the plot of this book: If I Fix You is a story about love (in many forms), secrets, as well as forgiveness and learning to move on after a traumatic incident causes a rift between Jill and her friends and family. It is a novel with a certain rawness that is able to transcend this novel from a run of the mill contemporary to a cinematic-like drama in literary form that both warms and tugs at your heart when reading it. It isn't the most shocking scandal, but rather a mother who wasn't exactly maternal (more selfish) and a misunderstanding followed by jumping to conclusions and letting it fester without confrontation to find a resolution. However most teens are irrational, so I understood why Jill became so angered and traumatized from what she experienced.
In closing, Abigail Johnson's If I Fix You is a raw and emotional read that will trigger a response from you as you hurt and heal alongside Jill on her journey of forgiveness. Definitely worth the read!
Rating: 4/5 ------------------------ DISCLAIMER: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review from the author, and/or authentic and authorized publishing or promotional affiliates. Receiving this complimentary copy for my time and review did not influence or persuade my review in any way whatsoever. This review contains my honest and accurate reflections and analysis of the novel featured and discussed in this post. — RJ Does Books!...more
I received a copy of Kresley Cole's first book in her widely adored series, The Arcana Chronicles for review some time last month. I'm not unfamiliarI received a copy of Kresley Cole's first book in her widely adored series, The Arcana Chronicles for review some time last month. I'm not unfamiliar with Kresley Cole, I do own a few of her adult fiction romance novels that I still need to read. From what I've gathered Poison Princess is her first foray into the YA world, and after I received the request and read the synopsis I knew this book would be right for me.
Poison Princess has a very inventive theme. There aren't many novels out there that deal with Tarot cards and I felt that in times when reading was a little straining, this kept me going because I wanted to see where it would go. I mention straining only because there were some somewhat less exciting parts of the novel every now and then for me during reading, especially in the beginning. Which is understandable since 1) this is the first novel in the series and 2) you have to set up the world, characters, and story.
I loved the world that Kresley built. It's very hard to set up a believable world that is literally in shambles, but the world before and after The Flash definitely had their own unique distinctions. Paired against a wonderfully refreshing theme that separates this series from the wave of others in the genre, it's easy to see why many adore this series.
In regards of Evie and Jackson, I feel that if I dug deep inside the novel there would be some redeeming qualities. They aren't one of my favorite sets of characters, but I've also read far worse in other novels I couldn't even finish. Jackson has romantic qualities but I feel that his actions and overall persona are counterintuitive of a true romantic love interest. I do love when characters have somewhat of a complexity to them as it helps in adding dimension, however I feel it wasn't the most forgivable or justifiable in this case. Evie is somewhat of a popular girl who is rich and privileged and there is a bit of a whine to her character. It's only natural that she wouldn't be as resourceful and a strong survivalist like Katniss in the wake of destruction but necessity and desperation can humble even the strongest of egos. I felt, overall, disconnected to the majority of the characters.
As I've mentioned Poison Princess is inventive in its theme and is a great first book in what I've heard is a phenomenal series. Despite the few flaws I encountered, I did still think it was enjoyable and entertaining and would one day like to read the rest of the series. I can see why Kresley Cole novels come with high recommendations. The love and talent she has for writing is evident, and I am even more eager to read the other novels I own that are written by her. I would like to thank the author, publisher, and Sullivan + Partners for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review....more