Tag Archive | bookstagram

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

23201647_1584530964946131_1083387079_nBook: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #6
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5

“I will cherish it always.
No matter what may befall the world.
No matter the oceans, or mountains, or forests in the way.”
  
 Tower of Dawn, the 6th installment in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, turned out to have so much more depth and growth than I was expecting in terms of world building, character development, as well as one of the most interesting and well thought out Empires I have ever read about. It took me nearly two months to read it, which had nothing to do with the book itself. A busy schedule and the daunting length of the book really took a toll on my reading speed. Though, I enjoyed Tower of Dawn’s constant presence as I dragged it everywhere I went.

Tower of Dawn follows the events of Queen of Shadows and has a parallel timeline with Empire of Storms. Instead of seeing Aelin and her crew, we are sent to a journey to the Southern Continent with Chaol as he seeks out the best healers to cure him from an injury that has changed his life. We learn so much fascinating history about the Southern Continent, the Khagan’s family dynamic, as well as vital information that can change the course of the war. Nesryn accompanies Chaol on this journey to her homeland, and they both have set plans for themselves and each other. But the more they’re informed about the events taking place back in the Northern Continent, and as new and old characters get introduced into the narrative, such as Yrene Towers, they find that their paths don’t turn out the way they imagined.

In terms of the overall pacing of the book, I definitely found the beginning to be a bit slow as a lot of information about the Khagan’s Empire, his children, and the Southern Continent were thrown at us. As I mentioned before, though, I found all this world building that Maas thought out and executed to be so fascinating to learn about, that I truly just embraced the info dump.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Well am I ever overwhelmed at the prospect of the amount of point of views there will be in the final Throne of Glass book. Not to mention the amount of ships…

Having read the bonus scene with Nesryn and Chaol on the ship to the Southern Continent, as well as remembering the events that took place between them at the end of Queen of Shadows, you could imagine how ready I was to see this ship set sail in Tower of Dawn. While considering any previous Sarah J. Maas book, it’s not that surprising that the paths of romance consistently change. I have to say though, the main two ships in this book had me hooked to the story.

With Chaol being my favourite character from the beginning of this series, I was so excited that he was getting his own book, especially since I missed his presence in Empire of Storms. Chaol goes through an emotional journey throughout this book. His injury was a huge part of it, but he was also dealing with self hatred as his past actions were constantly haunting him. Yrene Towers is of course appointed to heal him. Though their relationship starts off bumpy, I found their banter to be hilarious. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of Chaol’s healing process, and whether or not by the end he was going to fully recover. I didn’t know what I wanted the outcome to be. There were so many twists and turns, with him recovering fully and then getting injured again. By the end I think what was most important was Chaol healing emotionally and mentally and accepting his injury for what it is, not believing that he was any less because of it.

“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,’ he said softly. ‘It never was. And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.”

I knew nothing about Yrene going into this book since I haven’t read The Assassin’s Blade yet. This resulted in not being too excited when I was introduced to Yrene, but that first impression was quickly forgotten as her character really made a huge impact to the depth of the story. There isn’t a shortage of badass women in any Sarah J. Maas book, and I found it heartwarming that Yrene Towers was a badass herself, but in a different way. She wasn’t skilled with swords and she didn’t partake in ending lives, but she was one of the most caring, nurturing, and selfless characters I had the pleasure of getting to know.

“He didn’t understand-how she could be so delicate, so small, when she had overturned his life entirely. Worked miracles with those hands and that soul, this woman who had crossed mountains and seas.”   

I knew where Chaol and Yrene’s relationship was headed early on because I got spoiled, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy their development any less. In fact, knowing that they were going to get married made me curious, excited, and invested in every interaction they had together. Now that they’re married and now that they have a physical bond to each other, I’m eager to read more about them in the final book.

“Will you marry me, Yrene? Will you be my wife?”

We were introduced to so many new and intriguing characters throughout this book, but I would say Sartaq was by far my favourite. I knew from this moment:

“Nesryn dragged her attention away from the prince, even as she felt Sartaq’s keen stare lingering like some phantom touch.”

That something was going to happen between Nesryn and Sartaq, and I was ready for it. I absolutely loved reading about the ruks and Nesryn adapting to Sartaq’s true home; the environment that made him who he was.

In terms of their romance, can I just say that Sartaq is so smooth at flirting it’s not even funny. I mean:

“And I’m relieved to see that the reality lives up to the legend.”
“You had doubts?”
“The reports left out some key information. It made me doubt their accuracy.”
“What, exactly, did they fail to mention?”
“They didn’t mention that you’re beautiful.”  

One of my favourite scenes in general had to be Sartaq and Nesryn fighting the kharankui when they trapped them, even though those demon spiders gave me the creeps. It was horrifying and yet… we got a declaration of love out of it, and I’m a sucker for those in near death experiences.

“I loved you before I ever set eyes on you.”

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the dynamic between the royal siblings in the Southern Continent’s empire, yet some parts of it were confusing to me. Such as the siblings genuinely mourning their little sister’s death but also claiming they were willing to murder each other if one of them was pronounced heir and another tried to get between them and the throne. Of course by the end it’s resolved as Sartaq is named heir and a sort of peace falls over the siblings. This makes me wonder if it all was an act considering every generation before them practised in this tradition.

Tower of Dawn is definitely not a book to skip as so many shocking revelations about the war were revealed that will be important in the final book. This is yet another Sarah J. Maas book that has not disappointed me. I’m so grateful that I decided to pick up Throne of Glass a few years ago and I’m so excited to pick up any future book by this talented author.

Advertisements

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | Book Review

22773318_1573407309391830_1355000906_nBook: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Standalone
My Rating: 4.75/5 Stars

“There are monsters in the sea.”   

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was truly a gift. One that was able to relieve me from a two month drought from reading. I really didn’t know what type of book was going to be able to help me overcome a reading slump, but it turns out an adorable, relatable, emotional, and fandom based read was able to do the trick.

We follow Eliza Mirk, an 18 year old high school senior who loves her online life and despises the other life she is forced to live, the offline one. In her online life she is Ladyconstellation, the creator of the popular Web Comic, Monstrous Sea. No one knows anything about her, save for her username. Her anonymity allows her to be someone separate from Eliza Mirk, someone who is able to interact with people, who is able to have friends. Her family doesn’t understand the concept of the online world and online friends. Nobody in school wants to go near her because of her reputation of being “weird”. Then she meets the new kid, Wallace Warland, the most famous fanfiction writer for Monstrous Sea. The two bond over their shared interests and their understanding of each other. And despite Eliza pushing some of her boundaries as she gets to know Wallace better, she isn’t ready to reveal her famous identity to him just yet.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a protagonist like Eliza, and because of that I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character as much as I did with Eliza. I saw a lot of the way she thought, described, and reacted in social situations similar to my own experiences, and it was honestly refreshing to read. I understood Eliza, I’ve heard those constant doubts winning battles in my mind the way she described. And despite her situations being different from mine, it still felt familiar.

This book was so close to 5 stars for me, but there was a certain point where I wasn’t a fan of the way Wallace handled a certain situation, causing his wants coming before Eliza’s health and well-being. The rest of the book I loved, though.

I loved how comic samples and drawings were included throughout the book as well as little mentions of the plot, settings, and characters from Eliza herself, slowly weaving together a balance of sci-fi in an otherwise mundane story.

There was a lot of fandom involvement, which I had a lot of fun reading about and reminiscing on my own fandom experiences. There were also some important concepts that were brought up that I really appreciated. Such as being pressured to take a career path that will make you lots of money vs. a career path that will make you happy. I understood Wallace’s struggle with wanting to be a creative writing major but getting disapproval for it. Another concept that was brought up was self worth. Specifically in Eliza’s case, where the state of something you create does not determine your self worth. This definitely made me think.

And of course I need to talk about the adorable moments that had me smiling from ear to ear. Eliza and Wallace’s relationship developed beautifully. Their friendship slowly turned into something more, and the cute, shy moments they had to get them to that point was giving me all the feels. I was loving every minute of it.

YA contemporary is a genre that I have been avoiding for a while so that’s why I was hesitant to pick up Eliza and Her Monsters, but this book was so different from what I was expecting and I’m glad I decided to give it a try. I can’t wait to pick up more books by this author as well as try out YA contemporary again.

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy | BOOK REVIEW

Image result for the mistake by elle

Book: The Mistake

Author: Elle Kennedy

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“And just in case my reaction to your idiocy didn’t make it clear where I stand with us, then let me spell it out for you.” I whirl around to scowl at him. “I love you, you stupid jackass.”

I enjoyed reading The Deal, the first book in the off-campus series. It was a great break from continuously reading fantasy and emotionally draining books. The Mistake was no different. I laughed and cried. Picking this second book in the series up had always been in the back of my mind, and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a chance despite never wanting to read companion novels in the past. What I love about these books is that they are fast paced, steamy romances. They obviously have their fair share of angst and cringy descriptions thrown in there, but they’re highly enjoyable reads to dive into when you’re experiencing a reading slump or need a fun and quick read.

The Mistake follows John Logan in his third and fourth year of college. He’s on the school’s hockey team and he and his teammates are well known and idolized around campus. Logan hasn’t been in a relationship in a while and doesn’t really plan on getting into one until he meets a freshman named Grace when he accidently shows up at her dorm. They start hanging out, and though Logan is usually just into hook-ups, he finds that it’s more than that when it comes to Grace. He genuinely likes her and reality sinks in when he makes a mistake that drives her away. This whole dispute leads to his senior year of college and he’s far from giving up. He’s determined to not only get her to forgive him but to agree to date him.

I loved Grace’s character more than I was expecting to. She didn’t have the most outgoing personality, which I could usually relate to, but that didn’t stop her from taking matters into her own hands by not allowing anyone to make decisions for her. Logan’s character was great too. He is obviously an attractive guy who used to sleep around, but as the book continued we really got to see what’s under the surface, what demons he’s battling, and what a caring and loyal person he is to his friends and family. I gave The Mistake a 4.5 star rating, which is slightly lower than my rating for The Deal. Even though I enjoyed this book a lot, The Deal still remains my favourite in the series so far.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir | Book Review

Book: A Torch Against the Night

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Most people are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time. But you are no swift-burning spark. You are a Torch Against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.”

When I read An Ember in the Ashes last year I was taken by surprise because I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Fast forward a year and I was skeptical to start the sequel, despite anticipating it’s release for a long time. But again I was surprised at how much I underestimated the book. I found it to be even better than the first.

The long wait for its release did leave me forgetting bits and pieces from the previous book, so I had to reintroduce myself to a lot of the world’s magical elements and society, which included the structure and conflict regarding the Scholars and the Martial soldiers, in order to understand what was going on.

I gave this book a 4.5/5 stars. Though it’s not a “perfect” rating, my thoughts and feelings toward A Torch Against the Night are mostly positive. One of the reasons behind my enjoyment of this book was because the experience of switching back and forth between reading the book myself and following along with the amazing audiobook was one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had. It had a level of intensity and enjoyment that held my attention from the very first page. The POV alternated between Elias, Laia, and Helene throughout the book. I wasn’t too sure about it at first because I didn’t really like Helene in An Ember in the Ashes, which goes back to being one of the reasons I was skeptical about starting the sequel since I wasn’t looking forward to reading her chapters. I just remember feeling frustrated at her loyalty to the Empire as she didn’t understand why Elias felt differently than her about Blackcliff Academy and how they drilled ruthless, murderous soldiers into all their students. I actually started listening to the audiobook when Helene’s chapters came up because I wanted to get through them faster, but eventually her character and her story became really interesting to me.

There were many twists and turns for all the characters; many things that completely took me off guard, but that’s what made the book fast paced. It barely had a dull moment and I couldn’t stop flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The book starts off right where An Ember in the Ashes left off and there’s literally no room to relax because the action starts off right away.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Elias and Laia are on the path to Kauf prison; their mission is to save Darin, Laia’s brother. Even though Elias has never met her brother he agrees to help Laia save him because the crucial knowledge that Darin possess could save the Scholars from being completely wiped out by the Martial soldiers and the Empire. One thing that I wasn’t expecting to remain a huge obstacle throughout the whole book was the poisoning of Elias thanks to his villainous mother. I thought the cure to save him was going to get in the way of their journey for a short period of time, but Elias unfortunately suffered throughout the entirety of the book, which lead to that huge sacrifice at the end that I still have mixed feelings about.

As they made their journey, the world expanded as we saw many places and got introduced to new characters, such as Shaeva, Afya, Harper, Mamie Rila, and the creepy Warden.

Regarding Keenan: That was quite the twist… and I totally saw it coming. I actually shipped him with Laia in the first book because there wasn’t anything really happening between Laia and Elias for me to be onboard with. Even in A Torch Against the Night, when Keenan got re-introduced, I was okay with either of them being with Laia (even though I slightly changed my mind and liked Elias better). Then little hints were being dropped here and there, and even though it seemed far-fetched to think that Keenan could be some kind of enemy, when it was revealed I wasn’t really surprised. I found the whole thing to be rather creepy actually, especially with the fact that he and Laia slept together. He manipulated her in order for her to give the armlet from her mother to him out of love. Something that was mentioned that I found interesting was that he wouldn’t have been able to take it from her if he didn’t love her in return. I’m wondering if this will be an important factor that will make an appearance in the future books.    

Romance is obviously not a focal point in this series, and usually I would want it to be more present in any book I read, but I found this story captivating enough that I didn’t really mind its small presence. But the funny thing is, despite its small presence, this book literally had a love square. There was Elias and Keenan who were both into Laia, and then there was Helene who was jealous of Laia being with Elias because she was in love with Elias.

I also think that Helene and Harper have the potential to become a romantic thing in the future, but I think I need more convincing if that’s the path that will be taken because of the fact that he literally tortured her in an interrogation at the beginning of the book. Obviously he was taking orders but that still doesn’t sit well with me.

All the twists and turns in this book left the potential for an amazing third book in the series. Such as Darin and Laia finally catching up, Darin healing and later begin making weapons for the Scholars, Elias’s new situation, his and Laia’s relationship, Keenan maybe coming back, and the fact that Elias and Harper are brothers! I’m really looking forward to the next book but unfortunately there will be another long wait for its release.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | REVIEW

fireheartBook: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

“But letting that glimmering, lovely light before him die out . . . In his ancient, bitter bones, he could not accept it. She had offered him a home.”

Empire of Storms, the 5th instalment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, was a whirlwind of epicness, battles, romance, and attractive territorial fae warriors. I personally had no idea what to expect from this 700 page book, meaning that I was able to (for the most part) avoid spoilers as best as I could, which doesn’t usually happen. But there was the occasional direction of the storyline that I was able to guess right because of the amount of foreshadowing happening throughout the book. I had some problems with a few characters and at some points didn’t seem to enjoy Maas’s writing, finding her descriptions to be repetitive and just frustrating to get through. I surprisingly enjoyed and cared about the storylines of the side characters more than the main ones, which sadly means that I wasn’t really excited about the majority of the book as I kept trying to get through a number of chapters in order to get to the POVs of the minor characters I cared about.

EoS opened up its world in a way that we’ve never seen before. The world expanded right in front of our eyes as the main crew met up with old characters and visited a wide range of lands in order to plot and plan, ensuring that their side of the dark war, that’s inevitably coming, isn’t a fool’s task. All I can say is that I’m excited and a little frightened over what’s to come next in the final installment of the Throne of Glass series. It’s been a long journey, but there’s still a lot more epicness to come.

For the continuation of this review I will be talking about my spoiler thoughts and feels.

I think splitting this review up by ships is the best way to go because almost every character in EoS was matched up with someone…

Lorcan and Elide: I want to start off by saying that the highlight of this book for me was the Elide and Lorcan chapters. I had no idea before I began this book that I would be sailing on a new ship, but there I was from the very first chapter being excited at the possibility of these two characters getting together. I was loving the “we have to pretend we’re married trope, leading to the awkward sleeping arrangements trope” that Sarah included in their story. I was laughing at how Elide completely baffled Lorcan. He’s a 500 years old dark fae warrior who found himself impressed, surprised, and a little frightened by this teenage girl. I thought their little makeout session was great despite the uncomfortable location and atmosphere they were in, and when Elide sacrificed herself to save him… his reaction was so heartbreaking. Just the idea that Lorcan has probably never had anyone care for him, let alone sacrifice themselves  for him, really made that scene so much more meaningful. It was definitely a defining moment in their relationship. Also, props to Sarah for including the difficulty of Elide getting her period because it was realistic and relatable!! And can we just talk about how Lorcan tore up his shirt for her to use as pads? He seriously reached a whole new level with that thoughtful gesture.

Aedion and Lysandra: I was rooting for these two to be a thing from QoS, and even though they still aren’t a couple in EoS, I don’t really mind because their relationship isn’t being rushed. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some great moments throughout the book. I think one of my favourite parts of EoS overall was when Lysandra turned into a sea dragon at Skull’s Bay and battled all those sea-wyverns. That was completely epic! And Aedion was watching the whole time (as were everyone else) worried for her and pissed off at Aelin for putting her in that situation. Even that post-battle scene on the beach really stuck out to me. He waited there with her for hours until she had enough strength and energy to shift back into her human form. I really hope that their relationship strengthens in the last book and that Aedion puts aside his anger towards her so that they could work as a team. They had similar pasts, and I think they really need each other (even as just a friend) to be able to heal and move past the scars they possess.

Dorian and Manon: Where do I even begin? I was so excited about what was going to happen between these two from the moment I read their first meeting in QoS. They were honestly the least likely characters to get together in my mind, but that obviously changed. Now I’m not sure at this point where their relationship is headed. Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t really seem like Manon’s thing… But she’s had so much character development over the last 3 books that anything is possible at this point.  It’s guaranteed that she and Dorian are lusting for one another though. I must admit, I honestly never liked Dorian from books 1-4. I didn’t understand the hype surrounding his character, but EoS somehow changed that for me. I absolutely love him now. He’s just a precious and powerful cinnamon roll and he needs to be protected at all costs.  On the topic of Manon, I don’t think I’ve ever went through several emotions at once than when Astrin was about to get executed. I literally went from crying and being angry at the idea of her dying, to being surprised as I rooted for Manon to take her grandmother down.

Rowan and Aelin: This is what I’ve been dreading the most to talk about. I was so for Aelin and Rowan becoming a romantic couple in HoF & QoS, but my feelings have changed drastically. I didn’t want to admit it to myself throughout half this book, but the reality is I just really don’t care about their characters, individually and together. This is a pretty controversial opinion considering there are so many readers out there who love them, but I also know I’m not alone on this opinion because I’ve read reviews with people who have had the same. So basically Rowan is an okay character, I don’t love him or anything, he’s just there. But I literally lost count on the amount of times Aelin annoyed me throughout this book. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just didn’t feel any connection with her at all. She was always so angry, moody, and full of herself. It was honestly exhausting to read her chapters. And I just didn’t feel anything towards her relationship with Rowan. The fact that they’re mates and that they got married didn’t give me feels. I don’t know what else to say other then I just couldn’t bring myself to rate this book higher than 4 stars because Aelin and Rowan obviously played a huge role in this book, as they are the lead characters, resulting in no way of escaping them. If I felt this way towards a side character, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with the book because they wouldn’t have been the main focus. There is still room for improvement, perhaps my mind will change with the final book, but at this point I don’t see myself ever shipping them.

Overall, I enjoyed certain aspects of Empire of Storms more than others and despite the fact that this book was not my favourite in the series, I’m still curious to see how Sarah J. Mass will end her story in the final instalment. She is one of my favourite authors and I will continue to read all the books she releases. I guess my expectations have just been really high ever since I read A Court of Mist and Fury.

 

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder | Book Review

touch-of-power

Follow my bookstagram at stephiebooks

Book: Touch of Power

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Sorry. An overdeveloped nurturing instinct comes with being a healer.”

Touch of Power follows Avry, a twenty year old healer who has been on her own for 3 years; hiding from people who blame her kind for being responsible for the outbreak of the plague. This lead to angry mobs executing them because of it, which resulted in our protagonist, Avry, being the only healer left. Right before Avry gets executed herself, because her powers were discovered after she healed a little girl, a group of men rescue her. They have been searching for a healer for two years to heal their friend, who has the pledge and is put in a temporal stasis so he wouldn’t die while they searched. But is being forced to travel with these men against her will any better than being thrown in prison to await execution? Many adventures and encounters with different groups of people out to get Avry occur, which leads her to believe that perhaps she is in safe company with these men, especially once she starts to consider a few of them as her friend.

I knew right when I read the summery of Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder, that it was the kind of book I was going to enjoy. My expectations were definitely met, but that didn’t necessarily mean I didn’t have some problems with it. I never read a book by this author before, but I’ve heard numerous times that “Poison Study” is really good! I have every intention of reading Poison Study now that I have read Touch of Power and enjoyed her writing and story. Touch of Power drew me in from the first line and didn’t let go until the end. It was addicting and I gave up hours of sleep just so I could read “one more chapter…” (As any good book has persuaded an avid reader to do.)

For about the first quarter of the book I completely despised Kerrick, with good reason too. He was a complete jerk; hitting Avry and acting all cold and emotionless towards her. I was actually a full on Avry and Belen shipper at the beginning, (am I the only one?) He genuinely liked her a lot from the very start, this doesn’t mean he romantically liked her or vise versa, but I just thought that kind of relationship between them might have worked out. But that idea quickly changed in my mind when Kerrick eventually warmed up to me, but I was still a little hesitant about him. Usually I’m all about the angsty male lead with a haunting past who has never had someone break through the cold ice shielding his heart, until he meets that one pain-in-the-ass individual that he begins to care about and doesn’t know why. Although this book was for the most part following this trope, I feel like the transition between the “I hate you,” to the “I love you,” was a very fast and weird one. Don’t get me wrong, it was a slow burn relationship development for sure and I was excited about it, but there was a point where I thought the development that was building up immediately jumped into a “being in a relationship” status. Maybe I’m the only one who thought this?

But that’s not the only reason I didn’t give this book a solid 5 stars. A part of the story that completely turned me off was something that bothered me a lot: The main character was influenced and manipulated by a crazy man who kissed/touched her without consent. It was absolutely disgusting and I have no sympathy for the guy. If he acted like a decent human being, maybe his tragic backstory would have been more heartbreaking. But he’s the antagonist of the story and he’s done a list of horrific stuff, but his enjoyment of manipulating girls with his magic so they couldn’t fight back from his pursuits is at the top of the list for me.

But putting these couple of negative opinions aside, for the most part there was many things I enjoyed. Avry was a great protagonist. She didn’t allow anyone to boss her around, her healing power was interesting to read about, and her stubbornness made her extremely determined to do whatever she wanted. What I loved most about the book was that around 95% of it consisted of Avry and the group of men traveling to their destination. It took months! One thing I’ve always loved is road trip books and Touch of Power is the fantasy version of it.

Overall, I got really invested in this book so I’m happy that I decided to pick it up. It was such a relief because it helped me get out of a really long reading slump. The main characters were fun to get to know and the whole magical & political aspect of it was really interesting. I highly recommend it if my summary of the book sparked an interest in you. I know for sure that I’ll be picking up more of Maria V. Snyder’s books in the future.

When We Collided By Emery Lord

wheen.jpg

“Maybe we were dying planets, Jonah, being drawn into the darkness. When we collided, we bounced each other back into orbit.”

This is a 2.5 stars rating from me. I feel really bad about this, but I just had a hard time getting through this book. I persevered and didn’t give up, but there was just too many times when I wanted to put this book down and never pick it up again. I thought for sure I was going to DNF this book, but I hate it when I leave books unfinished, so I kept going, even though my determination deprived me of reading another book for over a month!

Now I hope I don’t sound too harsh because I didn’t completely despise the book. There were reasons that kept me going. I was interested in certain aspects of it, like Vivi’s unique personality and the fact that the book included mental illness, a topic that is very important, but from my experience, hasn’t been very present in the YA books that I’ve read.

What I didn’t enjoy though was the romance, which sucks because the romance is the number one thing I look for when I choose a book to read.

I didn’t feel the connection between Jonah and Vivi. I didn’t believe they romantically loved each other or that they were actually a couple. There was no chemistry and it just felt really forced. It might also be because their relationship was very instalove…

These two characters collided during very difficult times in both of their lives. Their relationship was about meeting and unexpectedly helping put a positive impact in each other’s lives. This still could have happened if there was no romance, if their relationship just developed as a friendship. It would have still worked out!

I want to talk about why Vivi’s personality intrigued me so much. She is so different from most of the protagonists that we read about these days. She’s outgoing, has a unique and crazy sense of style and voice, and has a strange way of thinking and describing things:

“Don’t even ask me how my wild brain works, which points connect to the other parts, but the interconnectedness makes me think of bureaucracy.’

“I know you’re not just daydreaming about riding a pink pony to your job as a cupcake taster.”

“I’m a fountain of truth, splashing past each concrete tier until I hit the bottom and spout right back to the top.”

Anytime I read her chapters I was completely stunned.

I appreciated Jonah too. The brother that took care of his little siblings, with his passion for cooking, and having to grow up too fast.

These hardships that the characters went through was what had my interest. I wanted to know if/how they would overcome and accept the darkness in their lives.

Some of Vivi’s chapters were really random, and I guess it just has to do with her character and personality, but at some points I was like… what?
I mean one chapter she’s looking for her dad, then the next she’s on a crazy artistic mission, then she’s looking around town for clues about numbers that spoke to her…
It was fun and weird in a way… like what is Vivi going to do next?
It always remained a mystery…

I felt for the characters though. What they were going through had me tearing up at times, especially during Jonah’s chapters. Right off the bat we know what is going on in Jonah’s life, but it takes awhile to see past Vivi’s strange but welcoming presence and understand what is going on beneath the surface. We don’t even know what type of mental illness Vivi has until almost halfway through the book!

This obviously wasn’t my favourite contemporary book, but I still appreciated the story and I feel like I have a piece of it marked in my soul. (Vivi was here).

I just wish it didn’t take me a long time to get through it.

***

My bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephiebooks/