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HelEinir

HelEinir's Books

"Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous authors is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste." -Voltaire, Candide

Currently reading

ホリミヤ 7
Hagiwara Daisuke, Hero
Truthwitch
Susan Dennard
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Karen V. Kukil, Sylvia Plath
Out of The Easy
Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys

Year One

Year One - Nora Roberts Nora Roberts + Fantasy + Apocalyptic setting

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL DECEMBER??!!

Rebel Belle

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins It's so weird to be giving a book 2 stars and yet knowing that you might one day, mayberead the next one.

This book tried way too hard to be some sort of tribute to BTVS and I don't know what else (X-men?), and didn't quite manage to pull it off.

There was no depth to the characters, they were so unremarkable that I sometimes had trouble knowing who was saying what if it wasn't explicitly pointed out to me because everyone's voices were so similar. Not even to the overachiever Main Character, Harper, who was supposed to entertain me with her funny commentary, wits, and badassery managed to stand out.

The humor wasn't great. I might have laughed a couple of times and not because of the many 'trying-way-too-hard' jokes inserted in the dialogue. (That bit about the lipstick at the beginning of the book? I almost dnf'd right there)

The "romance" was tropey to the max, which on its own is not bad, but the author abused the rivals-to-lovers trope (Not a spoiler because this is right there in the book's blurb) and it felt forced when MC Harper already had a perfectly nice boyfriend who couldn't be more sweet.

The bad guys who wanted to kill/turn/help the other MC (David) were ??? (This actually made no sense. They first wanted to kill David because of "X" and then all of a sudden, with little to no explanation they want to help David because of the same reason they wanted to kill him in the first place? What's up with that?

I don't know, this book was sort of a very predictable, over-simplistic and not that funny read with a plot that could give so much more than what it was.

BUT it was sort of entertaining and a super fast read and, again, I miiiiiiight read the second book...one day.


Heroes Are My Weakness

Heroes Are My Weakness - Susan Elizabeth Phillips This book has an unfortunate title, summary and cover. Why do they always give SEP such crappy looking covers? And what's up with the title? what was she thinking? Whyyy?

Anyway.

Of the few books that I've read from this author this might be one of the best.

So very few authors out there know how to write genuinely quirky and hilarious characters like SEP does, and Annie was one of the most delightful yet. In fact, I don't think I've ever disliked a single heroine of hers, they're all so funny and likeable.

"I'm pretty fearless," Annie replied. The puppets in her head fell all over themselves laughing.

"I Scamp, otherwise known as Genevieve Adelaide Josephine Brown, declare it a beee-u-tiful day!

She opened the door of the dumbwaiter, lowered her head, and uttered in a soft, creepy moan, "The horror..." The words uncoiled like a hissing snake. "The horrrror..."

She wanted to curtsy. To run. To tell him she didn't really need that governess job after all.



Lmao. I loved her. She made me laugh so much, and her puppets were adorable. Also, the baaaanter. The banter in these books is always the best, how can anyone not love both of the main characters when their interactions are laugh-out-loud funny?

I hate that Theo is presented as your typical asshole hero in the summary but he's really nothing of the sort. Not even in the first couple of chapters when he's not making the best of impressions, I still could tell he wasn't a jerk. It was more him trying hard to be a jerk than actually being one.

I think what set this book apart from the other ones I've read by this author were all those plot twists at the end. There was plot twist on top of plot twist on top of plot twist and I was like what the hell?? since when does SEP pull off stuff like this? I was genuinely surprised because I only saw like the first one coming and the rest just hit me out of nowhere. SO much was happening and it was so good.

And that's why that damn cover, with that stupid title and that crap summary do not make this book any justice.

By Your Side

By Your Side - Kasie West That ending was kind of... underwhelming, but man was this a super cute read.

It seems Kasie West is either hit or miss with me. I absolutely loved "The Fill-in Boyfriend" and couldn't even get through other two books of hers. I am glad I was willing to give this author another chance because I really liked this book.

So it wasn't a 5 star read, but it was a more than enjoyable all in all, with a plot that was very straightforward. It was adorable, the drama wasn't too much (which I appreciate in this case), all characters were likeable, and I didn't want to strangle any of the teens in this novel *gasp*.

Consider this 4.5 stars.

Black Diamond

Black Diamond - Ali Dean DNF @ 75%

I just can't bring myself to care for this asshole of a love interest no matter what his excuses are for acting like the King of the world. Goodbye.

Untitled

Untitled - Jessica Shirvington Oh God, what happened?

Book one was so good. Then this came around and I just... what?

Maggie's character was utterly destroyed by all the romance the author insisted on packing in this novel. The author turned a badass and independent girl into this awfully immature, lovesick stranger. I just couldn't stomach Maggie's character. She was absolutely pathetic and kept giving me second-hand embarrassment.

Look, I don't mind romance in my books. In fact, I actively seek books with elements of romance; I looooove romance... when done well, and this was a mess of clichés and declarations of love every other page, and drama with chest banging and lone tears slipping down cheeks, it made me sick. This was SO over the top I have notes in my kindle that read "Jesus Christ / Voooomit / wtf / omg for fuck's sake / it's like a freaking SOAP OPERA, STOP."

It was awful, awful, awful.

Maggie and Quentin were so dramatic about everything regarding their "relationship" and by everything I meant the same issue, over and over again.

It was so stupid the way their trust "problem" was handled.

60%+ of the book they spent wondering if the other truly loved them. Especially Maggie. Quentin would literally tell her she was his everything and not one minute later she'd be wondering if he still liked her, if he would forgive her, if she still had a chance with him. Oh God, why won't he just tell her he loves her. Oh wait... he did, several times, and she was just BLIND to it.

It's like she had some weird form of amnesia caused by all the lovey dovey 'he's the most wonderful person in the world, I don't deserve him' crap in her brain.

Quentin:
"It almost killed me seeing you that first day, Mags;" [...] I didn't know if you still want me,"

Maggie 2 seconds later "Gee, maybeI still have a chance with him."

Quentin throws tantrums of epic proportions when he gets jealous, he keeps dropping the most obvious hints that he's insanely in love with her and still, dumb, lovestruck Maggie spends most of the book wondering if her feelings are actually reciprocated. If she can be forgiven.

Gtfo. Spare me the martyr act. We don't have time for this crap.

They were both fucking absurd and it took SO MUCH of the book.

"I'll always choose you! I'll always want to be with you. I know I ruined everything you believed in, but you ruined me too!" I banged at my chest like a mad woman.

"We were one another's true match, and the science behind the tech proved that true matches were fiercely prossessive and protective of one another."


I thought Maggie wasn't a believer of the system? Didn't she think the extents that true matches would go for each other were absurd? But suddenly it matters SO much that they are a true match.

The author was so into this soap opera mindset that she literally put things on the page that made no sense but made everything so much more... dramatic.

"Quentin was putting walls up I had never seen before"


QUENTIN HAS BEEN A FREAKING OPEN BOOK 95% OF THE STORY, WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.
He had literally just confessed how he felt about his jealousy and his insecurities and she's like... "omg what are theeseee waaalls"

???

This was crap.

There were some good moments towards the end of the book (where I assume the author remembered there were other things at stake in her book other than the one relationship) and the action was still decent. Gus remained a great character...until the end... and that's why I'm not giving this book one star. But man, was this a slap in the face after that first book.

Talk about second book syndrome (definitely not something you want in a DUOLOGY).

Disruption (Disruption #1)

Disruption (Disruption #1) - Jessica Shirvington
Never forget. I know that you know.


*Screams*

Weeeeell. Damn. Where do I begin?

I wasn't expecting my first five star rating of the year to come this soon. I certainly didn't start reading it thinking this book would be a five star (and for the most part it was a solid 4 had it not been for the last couple of chapters), but here I am, getting all the feels and super excited to read the next one

This book is action-packed, funny, fast-paced, and has some good twists (that you may or may not see coming) at the end.

At first glance Disruption offers your average YA dystopia/sci-fi thrills. I must admit the premise isn't all that great or sounds all that original. See, a good author doesn't even need a fantastic, super out-there idea to make their book great (Yeah, I'm bitterly remembering the Scorpio Races here and how great ideas don't spare a book from being sucky. The opposite is also true); all I need really is to be moved by the story and for the author to make me care and keep me interested. I'm not going to say the characters of this book break the mold or anything (it's hard finding that anywhere in YA), but damn if I didn't enjoy reading about them.

First you've got Maggie. Your literal kickass heroine (don't worry, she's already kickass when the book begins if you're impatient or want to be spared the whole 'average girl turning into a warrior' bit). She's strong, driven, smart, cunning, kinda (or a lot) selfish...

"I'm not going to lie to you, you rate high on the bitch scale. You're mean, calculaed, unforgiving --the list goes on, but under all of that... there's a good person."


But she's also caring and loyal to a literal fault.

Maybe I'm desensitized after all the YA I've read, but I kept thinking "I've read waaaay worse. Yeah, definitely way worse than her." I actually didn't think she was all that bad and it definitely didn't hurt that we were seeing everything unfold through her POV. See, what made Maggie different, to me, from other "badass" YA heroines with a rough exterior was that, while she could be a bitch, she always, always seemed to have good reason to be. She also wasn't a bitch and took pride in it (thinking it made her awesome and sassy) or, conversely, she wasn't a bitch and tried to justify it with weak-ass reasons that made sense only to herself (like so many other heroines out there), I thought she was pretty damn consistent in her thought processes, what she believed was for the best, and was mostly always logical about everything she did, which I appreciated a lot.

Maggie reminded me a lot of Eve Dallas (From the In Death series by JD Robb). She's a tough bitch, and she doesn't mind people calling her names or misunderstanding her actions, but at the core she's probably one of the most loyal and dependable people you'll find out there. She doesn't understand relationships well enough, but she does her best to reciprocate, and without even realizing it, she gives those truly close to her everything she has.

So... uh... yeah I liked Maggie.

Quentin was sort of a surprise. I expected an entitled rich kid, but what I got was a Gansey type of character (from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, who is another bookbf. Credit where credit is due). He was kind of a contradiction, at times I felt like the author didn't know where to place him and he was kind of all over the place. On one side you have the rich young man with a slight superiority complex. He's always had it all handed to him and even though he's not an outright brat about it, you can see it in glimpses here and there, mostly at the beginning of the story. But he's also... humble? ( I know, I know! what? either he has superiority issues or he doesn't) I'm going to say he's more down to earth than he lets on at first.

Quentin is such a sweetheart though, and I wasn't expecting him to be so when he was first introduced. I do think that he fell for Maggie way too fast and sometimes his devotion to her came off as way too strong. That may be excused by some of the revelations at the end of the book but still, you've known her for a few weeks, come on.Anyway. It doesn't mean his toosweet words never affected me. He's a charmer.

Yeah the romance was a little bit ... too much at times, but I'm not going to say I didn't go "aww" more than a couple of times.

And Gus, omg, I loved this guy. He's brutal in his banter with Maggie. I must admit I sometimes wasn't sure that he didn't actually want her dead. His and Mags friendship was so refreshing to read (yeah, yeah, I'm weird. I mean they pretend to hate the other, that they're there just because they have no other option, and yet they're such good friends. It makes my heart go squeee). I definitely want to read more about Gus. I love nerds with a sharp tongue, lmao.

What I enjoyed the most in this book?

Probably the banter and the bits of dialogue that had me cracking up even in scenes where I had no business laughing.

"Activate the mines."
"Activate the what?"
"I told you we were going to die,"

"Shit!" he yelled,
"What?"
"I can't remember where all the mines are,"
"Did you hear that, Maggie? He can't remember where the mines are!"


Those twists at the end that should not have caught me by surprise gave this book that extra star from my original rating. I mean. COME.ON. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHY? One of them I saw coming miles away but the other... What.the.hell.

Do I recommend? Hell yes! That is if you like dystopia, sci-fi, kickass heroes and heroines, funny banter and dialogue, great action scenes and some swoon-worthy romance to top it all off.


The Serpent's Promise

The Serpent's Promise - Breeana Shields Hello, Deven, welcome to my book boyfriend list.

Okay. Let's be honest. The story and the characters in this book are nothing super unique or special or even that original. Not even Deven, my new book bf (I just have a weakness for sweet, gentlemanly guys).

But that doesn't mean a book can't be enjoyable. A lot of YA books these days are having a hard time finding anything in their stories that set them apart and it's a tough genre for that kind of thing as books come along in trend waves and they're all just a slight variation of one another.

You know what, though? Ultimately what matters to me is that I find the story entertaining, that I don't want to strangle the characters and that the story FUCKING MOVES ALONG (I'm eyeing you, Maggie Stiefvater) and Poison's Kiss delivered all of that. The pace was fast, the characters were (if not the most original) bearable and interesting enough.
Marinda wasn't kickass but I appreciated her honesty and even though she almost got sucked into the martyr complex of other misunderstood assassin heroines, she was grounded enough that she knew that she wasn't the only one having it rough.

Marinda was selfless, caring, honest, brave and down to earth for the most part and I appreciated that so very much.

Deven was sweet and there's so much more about him that we need to learn still, same with Iyla, who I don't think is half as bad as they make her out to be.

Mani... uh.. Mani was... okay...

So I don't very much care for siblings in YA fantasy/dystopia/etc. They're always the same: fragile, adorable and naïve things whose only role is to be the MC's primary weakness. Can we get rid of this trope already? Can we stop using little brothers/sisters as fodder to the big bad guys in these stories. I'm just tired of it.

Anyways, I appreciated the diversity in this book and the fact that so far, I haven't seen one single white character yet, that's something new, even in stories heavily influenced by different cultures.

I definitely will keep an eye out for the publication date of the next book.

the princess saves herself in this one

the princess saves herself in this one - Amanda Lovelace
a) poetry is
____________.

-anything you want it to be.


Apparently yes, yes it is, and this is a revelation to me.
I also thought that at least a pinch of talent was needed to be a poet.

Am I a poetess now? Is my mom?

When I finished this (and it didn't take more than maybe an hour at most) I wasn't sure how to rate it at first, not wanting to hurt the feelings of an author who clearly has been through a lot. Good thing that it's hard to be anything but honest at 2 a.m, otherwise I might have been more generous when I don't think this particular piece of work deserves it.

I don't doubt the author's feelings are genuine and that she did her best to convey them in... what she and a bunch of other people pass off as poetry.

I might have seen one or two pieces in this collection that could be called actual poems but the rest just read like somewhat connected every day thoughts trying way too hard to be deep and convey emotion and failing at it. Things that twelve year old me would have written (or did write, actually) in her diary and put more effort into. I was reminded of the Myspace emo fuckery of 2006 (second time in as many months that I'm reminded of Myspace by a book, that cannot be good) and the little quotes (and passive aggressive messages) we were able to put as our statuses on msn. (Man I feel old now)



"i would like to eat
one meal
without feeling
ashamed"

-healing is ongoing


"i hate you."
- his version of "I love you"



If those are the standards for today's poetry then I should go ahead and publish my diaries from ages 12 to 15; you would have a hard time finding the difference. I might just need to build enough of a reputation on social media first and have a fanbase big enough that will eat up whatever I feed them.

I'm not saying some pieces of this aren't relatable or that there isn't worth or value to be found in the author's words (having to look hard sometimes), there's just no real quality to her work, nothing that makes her stand out, and again, this, imo, cannot be called poetry (if you want to go super technical you might be able to argueit is), it's even lazy at times. If this is what poets aspire to be today then the bar has been set way too low and our very impressionable generation needs to rectify that...

ASAP

"your happiness
comes before
anyone else's
happiness.

-The real meaning of self-respect."


Guuuys, really?

It almost makes me angry to see that all some people need are the words "Poetry" and "feminism" in a couple of shelves to be immediately predisposed to rate something way higher than it deserves.

The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
"Tell me what it's like. The Race."
"What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood."


Too bad that's not actually what the book is about, at least not 95% of it.

Before reading this book I didn't understand why those I follow gave this book low ratings when it has such a good premise. How can anyone, especially an author that is respected in this genre, ruin it? Surely people were being extra harsh. I just didn't get it.

Now I do.

You can totally fuck up a fantastic idea by not actually bringing it into the book until the very last few pages of it. Which is what MS did. You thought this would be an exciting read? HA. Joke's on you, readers.

This is the story of a girl who decides to join a deadly race of horses with rabbies for a crap reason (which becomes a slightly more okay reason by mere coincidence once she had already joined) and then proceeds to WASTE her time away before the races, moping, going around describing streets, rooms and clothing and the incredibly dull island she lives in, wondering about other people's lives, wondering about Sean Kendrik, november cakes, houses and farms...oh, and being angry at her brother.

You thought you'd see some exciting moments as she *prepares* for the races. HA, WHO NEEDS PREPARING WHEN YOU'RE A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE WITH A FIERY PERSONALITY.

HARD WORK IS FOR LOSERS.

Okay, deep breaths.

This book promises so much and delivers so little, if at all.

I don't understand the high ratings from other readers, I truly don't. The writing is nothing special, the characters are bland and uninteresting, the plot moves painfully, oh God, excruciatingly slow, and the Scorpio races don't even happen until the last couple of chapters of the book (which, on its own, is not a bad thing, except that the races took a backseat to other irrelevant scenes and minor plots for 90% of the book, that's insane), and the romance is absurd, ABSURD. There's no chemistry between *Puck* (btw, shit nickname that she says she doesn't care for but then insists other people call her that) and Sean, there's nothing there but the author forcing them to have something when she didn't bother to build anything solid for these two characters to base their "relationship" on. Listen, I usually don't mind insta-love, a lot of YA has it and I've made my peace with it because it can be good, even great if handled properly. But Puck and Sean don't even have that insta-love spark other book couples do, they meet, they seem indifferent to each other, they speak a couple of times (not even profound talks, at that) and then they're kissing and Sean is risking Corr and his future for this girl who didn't even bother to actually train before the races?

This book was a HUGE let down. It felt like a waste of time and I kept hoping it would get better because I had the same feel of boredom and nothing happening when I was reading "The Raven Boys" but then it picked up and things got so good I forgot about the painfully slow first couple of chapters. Sadly, nothing of the sort happened in the Scorpio Races, it just got worse, picked up the pace a lil bit at the end and then it was over and I was furious.

The ending, which was kind of okay (and the sole reason I added a star to my original rating) was cut off abruptly, as if the author couldn't be bothered to give you an interesting moment for all your effort of sticking with this mess of a plotless story.

Now, I know it makes sense that the races would take place toward the end of the book as it is what the whole story is supposedly building up to, the problem is... that wasn't really the case? You can't say there was any build up as Puck didn't even bother to actually get ready for the races.

We spend over 300 hundred pages of the book reading about Puck doing everything BUT prepare, if she even TRIED training a couple of times, that's a couple of times too many. Instead, we have to read 300+ pages of Puck complaining about her brother's imminent departure, how poor and hungry she is, having random/irrelevant flashbacks, and describing her surroundings in painful detail even if NOTHING was happening. Wait, but she was watching other people actually train, which the author makes a point of mentioning is just as important, probably because she was too lazy to actually write an action scene.

Puck's negligence towards the races was infuriating. Then a day or two before the races, and ONLY through Sean's advise, is she like "Oh, yeah, I should probably train on the beach and get used to the other horses around me" .... TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, moron... and it was just that, because conviniently (God forbid we get some exciting moments before the actual races) something happens and she's robbed of that last training day. UGH.

Maybe my anger is too fresh for me to be writing this review but I just know if I leave it for another time I won't bother at all, because part of me thinks this book doesn't even deserve the effort.

I'll just list off the problems I had with this book.

1- Puck Connolly and how different and special she thought she was with her nickname, and her abusing that damn trope that makes a girl in tune with what boys think just because she grew up with brothers *rolls eyes*, her crap initial reason to join the races (and btw, why did she want her brother to stay longer if they talked a grand total of two times before the races anyway, what was the damn point?) and the fact that she didn't bother to prepare for them and still won . Screw that so much. Also, what was with that ominous first bit of the book when she makes a big deal about being a Connolly. Her family was no more special than any other on that island so why the big speech about Connolly's coming first and how they were different. Oh right, Special Snowflake syndrome, I almost forgot.

"I'd always thought I was above being fascinated by anyone but myself"


Puck in a nutshell.

2. Gabe Connolly and his weak reason for wanting to leave, and just being a crap brother and excuse for the MC to do something stupid.

3. Finn is just there to fill up space. Actually, several characters are there for the sake of being there and probably just helping the author fill the book with more about nothing. Perhaps his sole purpose was doing that one thing at the end of the book that made him slightly relevant. I liked him but I don't see why he was absolutely needed.

4. Puck is the only girl her age we ever see around. Every other woman is older. What's up with that? Maybe she should've been given another sister if we absolutely had to have the extra characters, right? Or maybe a best friend. Oh but that would make her too normal and girly. Who needs more girl characters standing up for themselves and changing the rules when Puck is more than enough for the entire island? My bad.

5. The races. The races make no damn sense, they're just there for the sake of of deadly entertainment, which is what any dull island needs, and probably for bringing tourism and money to the dull people of the dull island (which the characters address and try to make the races sound like they're so much more than that, yet the story doesn't really provide anything substantial to think otherwise). The rules around the horses and the whole spitting deal and drawing lines on the sand seemed more like the author dumping random ideas that had no real reason behind them. They were weak, uninteresting and ridiculous (especially the spitting bit).

6. The romance. Or rather the fact that there was actually none and they didn't really interact until halfway through the book, spoke a couple of times, had a couple of dull moments together and then suddenly, because fuck logic, they will do anything for each other and Sean would RISK his beloved horse so that the idiot girl would have a chance in the races.

7. The ending. The fact that a lot of those people put time and effort into taming their horses, actually preparing and risking their lives, just so Puck could win on the author's whim. If anything, at least Sean should have won. But who cares about hard work and consistency when you're the main character and a GIRL against stupid men who treat you as an inferior. Winning through sheer dumb luck and fiery righteousness will show them.

I don't recommend this book to anyone. Not unless you have the patience of a saint, and don't mind only a few pages of action.

毒姫 1 [Dokuhime 1]

毒姫 1 [Dokuhime 1] - Mitsukazu Mihara Good manga so far. The art style is gorgeous and the plot is interesting.
Brutal and beautiful. There was one particular scene in the very first chapter that actually made my jaw drop. Man, this can get bloody and graphic really fast.

I wish I knew what is going on with those three Princes, especially Kait, he's...such a weird boy. Is he a bunny murderer? why doesn't he like speaking to others much? how old is he? isn't he supposed to be the same age as his other two brothers? why does he look like a little kid then? why do the three have the same mark? what's their story?

So many questions. I'll probably have to read another volume today. Can't be helped.

Promises in Death

Promises in Death - J.D. Robb This was one of those "In Death's" that stands out. There are so many books in this series that after a while you forget about more than one of the cases, they were fun while they lasted, good stories on their own, but you move on and forget about them.

I will remember Promises in Death. Not just because of the victim and all the characters that came together to bring her justice, but because I felt there was a very strong focus on the relationships in this book, which some ID's lack, tbh.

Loved it.

Teach Me to Forget

Teach Me to Forget - Erica M. Chapman This book wouldn't have a plot if someone had cared to get Ellery a good grief-counselor and made sure she stuck with him/her until they were certain she was alright (The fact that someone as transparent as this girl managed to fool her therapist into thinking she was "fine" is beyond me).

It's been a while since I last read a book that tried so hard it gave me second-hand embarrassment so badly that I almost gave it two stars out of pity. The writing, the characters, the plot (which although not terribly original had the potential to go places and was the sole reason I picked this up), everyyything.

I got halfway through the book and I had over 80 notes on my kindle along the lines of "wtf is this" because I just couldn't believe some of the dialogue and scenes. At that point, I just gave up. I have other books I'm still reading and this book wasn't worth putting them aside just to give it more of a chance to get me to take it seriously. I skimmed through the rest because I kind of liked Colter's character (although what he saw in Ellery is beyond me) and wanted to see where that would go but... yeah.

This book is awful. The attempts at humor are lame, the "banter" isn't funny, the writing tries too hard with metaphors that sometimes make no sense, the MC's POV is cringe worthy. It feels like all her thoughts should have Evanescence's "My immortal" (great song, but you know what I mean) playing in the background. This isn't "Dark" or deep. The subject matter isn't even handled properly.

The author focused more on trying to get the reader to believe this girl

Every touch, sound, smell, feeling is a thousand times more intense to Ellery than it should. And I get that MAYBE the author was trying to show us how her grief had affected her entire life. But God, it was sloppily done, repetitive, and sometimes even kind of ridiculous.

"I slam my locker closed, distracted. It echoes, so I cover my ears, dropping my book on the ugly, blue-tiled hallway floor." (Good god, why don't you put your hand to your forehead and faint right there)

"The laughter bubbles up in me like a scream." (huh...)


"He reaches for my hand. Needles. It feels like needles are coming out of his fingers, piercing my skin." (it's just skin contact, calm down)

"The tones continue to crescendo into a thunderous wake, the room shaking underneath me." (this is a freaking choir she's describing)

"My steps on the cement echo in my head like I'm stepping on steel drums."(ugh)

"My stomach jerks with the loud music and my head spins at the miffled voices and bass jammed together" (it's a damn HS party, chill the hell out)



Sometimes though, her thoughts are just stupid and ridiculous and way too self-involved. (This is what I'm referring to when I say even the writing tries too hard.)

"He's always been a quiet guy, surly, kind of crusty around the edges, like burnt toast." (lmao, burnt toast)

"The way everyone looks at me like I'm an elephant in the middle of a glaggle of geese" (In this scene literally nobody is paying her any special attention, but there you go anyway)

"The phone crackles with his breathing. It sounds intimate, like something I shouldn't be able to hear" (now breathing is intimate)

"The ride is smooth, like we're riding on piles of money." (wuuut? hahaha)


Ellery's character is so ridiculous it gave me hard flashbacks of 2006, when the Emo culture was at its peak and people thought it was cool to get tattoos of music lyrics (this girl, btw, almost gets an entire song tattooed on her back). She is all the stereotypes of a super emotional, special snowflake, nobody gets me, I'm a tortured soul, surely nobody's ever felt the pain I have, the world would be better without me, oh btw I'm not your regular girly-girl, teen.

"She's dragged me to the mall. I know. I know. I'm a girl. I'm supposed to love the mall."

"The three slutketeers are not going to welcome me into their party." (Not even remotely funny)

"Most girls probably want to kiss guys."

"He's not my type at all. He's not rough around the edges. He's a goody-goody."


Lmao, that last one was particularly amusing because she says it as if every girl liked good guys and she's special because she wants somebody "rough around the edges" or whatever. AHAHAHAHA. Her head is so far up her special ass she doesn't realize her 'bad boy' type is literally a trope.

Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk to her character. I get it, she lost someone important, she felt guilty, she was sad. But man, she was a selfish, super dramatic jerk who kept thinking she was special and that nobody else could possibly imagine what she was going through.

Everything in her life is bleak. Everything sucks. Everything bad is her fault.

This girl, btw, has a best friend who absolutely adores her; a mom that tries her hardest to show her how much she loves her and worries about her; a cute guy who, against-all odds, somehow has taken an interest on her; and a new friend who is trying her damnedest to figure her out.

Like, she has people, she's not alone. But I get it, grief and guilt are bitches. And just because you have people who care doesn't mean your problems disappear and everything's good.

That still doesn't justify why she has to complain about everything and be a bitch to those closest to her. At one point she says she's sure her mom would rather have her dead than her sister. When her mom has done her utmost to show her love. That really pissed me off. She just tries to find ways to play the martyr.

"When my heart's mission is to stop beating, I can't let anything get in the way, not even Mom and her big words I never thought she'd use."


It also didn't help that the book was choke-full of all the hated tropes in YA that give this genre a bad rep and some more.

Slut shaming.
Girly girl shaming.
Good guy shaming.
Parent shaming.
Cute guy is always leaning against something, making him look extra cute. (rolls eyes)
Cute guy is somehow attracted to this girl who has been nothing but an ass to him. (because we're all masochists.. wait... this is kinda true. Huh.)
Cute guy has a relatable tragic past.
Still, don't try to understand the main character. Nobody can.
I'm too speshul and much of a tortured soul to be with anyone.
"I'm trying to figure you out but I can't."
Everything in the world is my fault.
I hurt myself because it's the only way I can feel. (Literally says this)
Cuts her head SOMEHOW on a headstone, curls up on the ground and sleeps next to a grave, so someone can find her and she can be all "Leave me alone, I'm fine."
I have a crush. These feelings are somehow unfamiliar to me. Could it be true love?
"Don't you fucking say her name!" (Don't-say-dead-loved-one's-name-out-loud trope)
Dad walked out on her family.
Can't get over daddy issues.
Googles dad so she can feel even more sad and cry herself to sleep.
"I'm not a fucking charity case."
"I can't lose you too."
Nothing anyone ever does for me is good enough.

The main character was ridiculously emotional, everything was a hyperbole, everything was sooo freaking extra it made me think back to le old days of Myspace. That's right. Myspace. Where people would take pics of themselves crying, mascara running down their cheeks, next to posts of "relatable & deep" lyrics or cringe worthy poems about how hard life is, how they're broken and nothing could fix them.

Ellery gets a a tatto with these lyrics.


"Now my bitter hands cradle broken glass of what was everything"

"All the love gone bad turned my world to black."


*Screams* Give.me.a.breaaaak.

But no, seriously, the book tries so hard to be deep and dramatic and angsty, it's hard to take it seriously. And this is a serious subject.

It's not that she CONSTANTLY says/thinks stuff like:

"I try to ignore the empty feeling that descends on me."

"I want it to hurt. I want to feel the pain."

"The chill feels good. I deserve to be cold."

"The more pain the better."

"It's all my fault."

"I'm selfish and I deserve to die."

"The bridge loomed in the distance. Mocking me with its height" (*snorts* now bridges mock you)


But she also thinks of another classmate/friend who is struggling with the same issues as a kindred soul, a case study, maybe he can help her figure out a way to do this, at least somebody understands her, gasps, maybe they can go together, but oh, if he dares go before her. No. No.

Also, it doesn't tell you straight away what happens. It tiptoes around the subject with flashbacks. The MC keeps telling you it's all her fault, there was an accident, somebody died. Oh, where have I seen this before? We learn pretty fast who is dead, of course, but the actual accident is this thing that keeps coming to her in flashbacks so half-assed they didn't cause any sympathy from me. It was also, of course, not really her fault but yet she acts as if she had actually taken a knife to her sister.

I've read YA books that deal with suicide, bullying, rape and other hard subjects in a way that makes you actually feel for the character without the need of repetitive and overly dramatic scenes.

Want some personal recs off the top of my head?

[b:I Swear|10798394|I Swear|Lane Davis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1346677164s/10798394.jpg|15711097] by Lane Davis

[b:Thirteen Reasons Why|29844228|Thirteen Reasons Why|Jay Asher|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462990678s/29844228.jpg|2588213] by Jay Asher

[b:Some Girls Are|6624871|Some Girls Are|Courtney Summers|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1317791700s/6624871.jpg|6819111] or any other book by Courtney Summers (she's an amazing YA author, her books deal with hard topics and she's actually able to pull off humor quite easily)

[b:By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead|6609549|By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead|Julie Anne Peters|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1433120290s/6609549.jpg|6803515] by Julie Anne Peters (Basically the MOSTLY THE SAME plot... but you know, better executed.)

Just... Honestly, don't waste your time unless you love a good trope fest and a super annoying main character.

Eien no With

Eien no With - Saya Miyauchi I am sobbing so much right now. I'm not even joking, I'm a mess.

What a rollercoaster of feelings.

This was such a bittersweet story, more sweet than bitter though.

If you ever want to have a good cry, choose a manga with a dog as its MC.

The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase - Jonathan Stroud This was a really fun read, I enjoyed the characters (mostly), the ghosts, the cases and the "mystery". The banter between the kids was fun at times, and at others it was a little too immature or outright offensive (I'll get to that). But maybe that's to be expected of... 14/15 year-olds? (I want to know why the author couldn't be bothered to tell us their actual ages, was it part of the "mystery"?) The book was a little too vague about some relevant stuff but it went into long descriptions and scenes that ultimately carried no weight in the story. I know it's super petty to be bothered by something like the characters' ages when it's made clear they're no older than 16, but bother me it did.

One of the things that stopped me from giving it a higher rating was the writing. It was awfully simplistic, there were more than a couple of typos in my Kindle version and the descriptions never made much sense in my head, so I had to completely disregard them at times because it was too much of a bother trying to figure out what the author was trying to convey.

These things considered, I could've probably given this book 3.5 stars, maybe even four taking into account this has been shelved as middle-grade and it might be my own damn fault that the writing and characters didn't appeal to me that much. So yes, I could've rated this book higher, but you know what? Giving a book that fat shames its characters 2 stars is already way too generous. Un-fucking-forgivable. When was this published? *checks date* Okay, are you kidding me here? I am so angry right now.

My biggest problem with this book was, by far, the treatment of George. I couldn't, in good conscience, give it more than two stars even though, yes, I enjoyed the plot. Maybe I've been very careful with the books I've read, or maybe I've just been super lucky, but I don't remember anyone being this fat shamed in any other book I've ever read. At first it was easy to overlook, because the character was being introduced and I assumed the author wanted us to have a clear image of who he was, how he presented himself, etc. But slowly it became glaringly obvious that even the author was being a bully towards George's character.

Shouldn't the author know better than to go around fat shaming characters so blatantly; especially if this book's target audience is children and teenagers?

The fact that George was fat/pudgy/plump/big was pointed out several times every other page. But it didn't stop there, on top of the reader being constantly reminded that he is fat, it's also implied or outright said that he's not easy on the eyes, he dresses awfully, his appearance is sloppy and oh, right, he gets confused with the help very easily, because... lul he's fat and unkempt.

'Tell your boy to bring the sugar too'
'My boy? Er, yes. Off you go, George. Teas all round, please.'


Lucy is actually so put-off by George that she gives us this gem soon after meeting him:

'But George Cubbins? No. He bothered me. I made heroic efforts not to get annoyed with him that first day, but it wasn't humanly possible.
Take his appearance. There was something about it that acted as a trigger to one's worst instincts. His face was uniquely slappable -- a nun would have ached to punch him -- while his backside cried out to heaven for a well-placed kick. He slouched, he slumped, he scuffed his way about the house like something soft about to melt. His shirt was always untucked, his trainers extra-big, the laces trailing. I've seen reanimated corpses with better deportment than George.
And that flop of hair! And those silly glasses! Everything about him irritated me.'


Excuse him for being a teen, fat, and having poor eyesight. Good God.

And it's not the only time his appearance makes her angry, oh no. She's also repetitive about it.

'His flop of hair, his glossy, shapeless face, his silly little glasses: everything about him made me livid.'


You hear that? It makes her livid

Of course, Lucy was also quick to draw comparisons between George and Lockwood (who is tall, slim and handsome, and of course, she finds him easier to get along with).

'Well, it isn't hard to guess which colleague I favoured, as I lay awake that night under the attic eaves. On the one hand: Anthony Lockwood --vigorous and energetic, eager to throw himself into ech new mystery; a boy who was clearly never happier than when walking into a haunted room, his hand resting lightly on his sword hilt. On the other: George cubbins, handsome as a freshly opened tub of margarine, as charismatic as a wet tea towel lying scrumpled on the floor. I guessed he was never happier than when surrounded by dusty files and piled plates of food.'


It's hard growing fond of Lucy after that, but she's a 15 (???) year old girl, I can give her a pass and hope she eventually matures. We are all shallow to a degree, after all, and I don't expect a kid to be tactful, especially in her private musings.

The author though, seemed unapologetic about his descriptions and is eager to use any excuse to remind you that George is a bland looking big guy, with crap fashion sense.

I got quickly tired of lines such as these:

"He closed the door and scratched his pudgy nose." (His nose was described as pudgy at least 3 times, three times too many after having established that he's fat. Why is it absolutely necessary to call his nose pudgy every time it is mentioned? why?)

"George stamped his great fat feet"

"...had his floor-plans spread out on his ample knee;"

"Now he picked it up and, with a chubby finger, indicated a point on the main wall of the house"

"George puffed out his ample cheeks."

"No, you just nudged it with your BFF! That's Big Fat Foot, by the way"

"Pity I can't close that fat mouth of yours here, Cubbins."

"He prodded the floor-plan with a stubby finger."


How many of those adjectives are unnecessary? Well, considering these are just a FEW examples of the kind of George-related descriptions you'll find in this book, I'd say A LOT. MOST OF THEM.

Why can't his finger just be a finger? why can't his feet be just feet? Why can't we have a part of his anatomy mentioned without the words fat, pudgy, chubby or ample in front of every single one of them?

Am I being too harsh on the author's writing though? Could it be unintentional? Well... let's not forget even his clothes get the stink eye, because the guy can't have a break.

"Lockwood wore a long brown leather coat that emphasized his slimness and easy stride. George worse a hideous puffy jacket with high elasticated waistband that emphasized his bottom"

"George crammed his head inside his foul green bobble-hat."

"He wore and enormous pair of saggy blue pyjamas that were at least three sizes too big for him, and decorated with garish and ill-conceived spaceships and planes."


Even when Lucy is trying to give George a compliment (in her head, because God forbid she actually talks nice to him) she precedes it with this other gem:

'With his glasses off, his eyes look small and weak - blinky and a bit baffled, like an unintelligent sheep that's taken a wrong turn.'


Really??!!!!

And if you think Lucy was the only one taking jabs at poor George and that Lockwood was somehow better... well, he actually kind of is... but it didn't stop the author to make his own character go randomly OOC so he could write this.

'... So what if he's got strange eyes? George's are pretty odd too, and we don't hold it against him.'
'Thanks for that,' George said. 'I thought they were my best feature.'
'They are --that's the tragedy of it.'


Ha-fucking-ha-ha.

And these are just some examples of many, many more.

We'd been exposed to a whole range of sinister mists, sounds and odours, not all of them courtesy of George.


Oh so the fat guy is also smelly. Why, of course.

'This one's my room, and that's George's. I'd tread with caution there. I once walked in on him doing yoga in the nude.' With difficulty, I drove the image from my mind.


Couldn't have missed the opportunity to make a naked fat guy joke, could you?

Also, of course George can't stop eating and that's mentioned a lot, in any case you didn't think it important enough to remember.

He pushed the plate my way. "Please. George'll only eat them all, else."

"Tell her about the biscuit rule," George said "Tell her, Lockwood. We'll have to get this straight or else there'll be hell to pay."

There was a profound silence, abruptly broken by an enormously loud rumble from George's stomach. Plaster didn't actually fall from the ceiling, but it was close.

'Sorry,' he said cheerfully. "Famished. I think I'll have another doughnut, if you don't mind. Any takers?' No one paid him any heed. He reached out for the plate.


Hilarious. Just Hilarious and not cliché at all.

But okay, so he's made fun of and looked down upon, but at least he's smart and a pain the ass about it. So... it's okay?

No.

The awful things said and thought of George were always treated as harmless but the whole thing crossed a line very early on when it became repetitive and increasingly ill-natured. He was mocked in ways that would've made any other person feel awful about themselves and that is not okay, no matter how George faced the insults or if he never seemed to mind very much. I don't care if he wasn't charismatic like Lockwood or that he gave Lucy a hard time. The way he was treated can never be justified. What could've been a slip said in good nature once or twice, became ugly and cringe-worthy, pretty fast.

Despite all of this I am probably going to read the next book (I am hooked, I admit. Especially after that last chapter.). This book came out in 2013 so I'm hoping the author got enough feedback about this issue (I cannot be the only one bothered by it) and eventually rectified it.

George is obviously an important character and I want to think he can't possibly be the butt of everyone's joke for too long, maybe he'll stand up to Lockwood and Lucy at last, and Lucy will be forced to be less of a jerk in her POV. I also want to chalk a lot of the things said about him to the author wanting to channel the immaturity of these kids, although it's hard to excuse the way this book was written.

So yeah, two stars for the fat shaming, but I might still read the next book, hoping things change.


Heartless

Heartless - Marissa Meyer This book can easily be worth five stars to most people out there, it is, after all, a good read full of vivid imagery, great characters that will make you fall in love with them, and mouth-watering desciptions of food (more specifically, desserts). Warning: don't read this book on an empty stomach!

I enjoyed the book, but I found it took me forever to get through, and those mouth-watering descriptions were a little too much at times. Honestly, I got tired of the talk about food and bakeries pretty fast. I liked Cath well enough, but even before anything went wrong I could see glimpses of how selfish, immature and cowardly she was, and that made it hard for me to see things her way and sympathize. She wasn't even a character I could pity as I feel she got exactly the ending she deserved, no more, no less. It was, to be absolutely honest, the rest of the characters that moved me, that made me root for them and who ultimately broke my heart. Not Cath, never Cath.

What bothered me the most at the end was She mourned Jest as if he had been the most important person to her in the world, as if no one else in her life could possibly be of value to her if he wasn't around. She said she would have married anyone, would've done anything, sacrificed Mary Ann even, if it would bring Jest back to her, and yet... she willingly risked his life not one chapter earlier just to "try" and save Mary Ann, someone she didn't value enough to even keep as a friend afterwards. Let us also not forget she was going to leave Mary Ann and her parents behind (with the threat of the Jabberwock still around) never to see them again; so why, God, why did she suddenly feel the urge to play the noble hero for someone she ultimately didn't care about that much? She wasn't even talking to Mary Ann anymore when she left, their friendship wasn't that strong, at least not on Cath's side; the moments Mary Ann messed up Cath was quick to turn on her. So Cath's decision to risk it all for Mary Ann, lose Jest, and then stop giving a crap about everyone around her, infuriated me.
Cath went against all warnings and predictions, risked and lost the one person that supposedly truly mattered to her, for someone she willing to cast away anyway? Oh, give me a break.
I also hated how quick she was to blame others for her misfortunes, she hardly acknowledged her own screw ups and if somebody slipped and blame could be placed somewhere else then she'd eagerly jump at the opportunity (and shame them on top of it!). Basically, she was an awful person in that regard long before her heart was broken.


Literally everything that went wrong in Cath's life was her own doing, for being indecisive, impulsive, reckless, naïve, for not having the spine to go after what she wanted. Every.single.one. of her misfortunes could have been avoided, even the biggest tragedy in her life coud have been easily prevented as she already knew what would happen, she was even told what NOT to do to avoid it. Cath had the future she always hoped for handed to her on a silver platter more than a couple of times, all it would've taken was a little courage and follow through, and yet, in the end, she was more than happy to give anyone who tried to help her the finger only to shoot herself in the foot immediately after and then wonder who had dared pull the trigger.

In the end I couldn't sympathize... I was hoping, wishing I would, but it couldn't be done with a character like Cath. I was frustrated, angry and tired by the end of the book... but maybe, just maybe, that was the author's intention all along. Perhaps I was never supposed to feel for the Queen of Hearts.

Moral of the story: If you're going to have your cake and eat it too, at least make sure the pumpkin is good.

What

I'm obviously not as good at these as Lady Margaret...