When I Cast Your Shadow Book Review

When I Cast Your Shadow.jpg

Number of pages: 384

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 1

Release date: September 12th 2017

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher (Macmillan-Tor/Forge) for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I really wanted to love this book, but try as I might I didn’t. In the beginning, I even forced myself to laugh and tear up where I knew I should be laughing and tearing up. In the end, too many things went wrong for me to enjoy it.

Firstly, the characters are written very young. If Ruby and Everett’s age hadn’t been explicitly stated, I would have pegged them for 12 years old at the maximum, and 6 years old at the minimum. I think Ruby and Everett were supposed to come off as super innocent, but they ended up sounding far too young for their age instead. I was a really innocent 16 year old surrounded by other innocent 16 year olds, so I know what an innocent 16 year old sounds like. Dashiell’s voice also reads more like a 17 year old than a 22 year old. It didn’t help that the Bohnacker siblings called each other Dash Dot Dot, Ruby Slippers/ Ruby Ru, and Never Ever far more than they used their actual names.

This book tends to ramble. The characters will be having a conversation, and the conversation will go another direction. Then, they will return to the previous topic for no reason. This made it difficult to follow. The chapters also seemed to share every thought that went through that character’s head. There are some thoughts that are just unnecessary to include. I’m not sharing every thought I had while reading When I Cast Your Shadow, because some of my thoughts are not necessary to indicate to someone whether or not they should read it.

There also isn’t much of a plot. Dashiell basically just poses Ruby for no reason. We find out later that there was technically a reason, but the book itself makes a case for why it is a terrible one.

The villain is not only basically non-existent for the majority of the book, but he also isn’t very well done. We are told that they can feel how evil he is, but there is nothing in this book that actually proves it. “I feel his badness” (not an actual quote) is not a good enough reason.

Ruby and Dashiell have a weird relationship. Ruby is infatuated with Dashiell in a really un-sibling like way. It’s actually kind of disturbing to read from her POV because she is so infatuated with her brother.

The romance on Everett’s side wasn’t much better. It’s one of those “she would never notice me, since she’s amazing and I’m a geek”, “I’ve always noticed you, Everett” deals. That’s not even the best part; this ridiculous romance is crucial to the “plot”. It dictates not only Everett’s decisions throughout the novel, but the love interest’s as well.

Overall, I wanted to love When I Cast Your Shadow, but it had too many issues I could not ignore, earning it 1 star out of 5.

Advertisements

Books I’m Taking to University

I move in tomorrow, so I thought I would share the books I’m taking with me to university. I have pre-orders of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Tower of Dawn, Invictus, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns coming in the mail, so pretend those are on this list as well.

Old Favourites

 

I’m only bringing 4 old favourite: the Six of Crows duology, A Crown of Wishes, and Under Rose-Tainted Skies. I’m bringing the Six of Crows duology because it currently holds the #1 spot on my favourites shelf, I’m bringing A Crown of Wishes because I love the banter between the two main characters, and I’m bringing Under Rose-Tainted Skies because I find mental illness novels comforting.

Books I haven’t Read

I organise my shelf by preference, so I stack all of my unread books on my desk. This made them a whole lot easier to pack. Other than a few nonfiction novels I’m not sure I’ll ever read (they were gifts), and a Jane Austen novel I’m not sure I want to read (also a gift), I’m pretty much bringing the whole stack.

A Thousand Splendid Sons.jpg

Paperweight.jpg

Daughter of Smoke and Bone.jpg

Imaginary Girls

Rocks Fall Everyone Dies.jpg

Song of the Current.jpg

A Million Junes.jpg

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.jpg

Eliza and Her Monsters.jpg

Born a Crime.jpg

I think 14 books isn’t going too overboard. How many of the books I have yet to read have you read? What did you think of them?

 

Favourite Book of the Month: August 2017

I’ve always wanted to do a TBR and wrap-up, but between summer and my strange method for picking what to read next, the format isn’t a good fit for me personally. Enter this new series I’m trying out where I’ll be saying the best book I read that month. I’m a fairly hard reviewer to impress, so hopefully I will rate a book high enough each month to continue making these. Plus, it’s nice to be positive on For the Lover of Books once and a while.

I promised last month that every book I read on the week of July 24th would be eligible for this month’s post, since I had to write my favourite book of the month post in advanced. That means that Geekerella, Counting Wolves, The Walls Around Us, and all of the books I read in August could have been chosen as my favourite book of the month for August.

I actually finished a book right before I started writing this that I gave 4.5 stars, so this is a harder decision than it was initially going to be. I think I’m still going to go with my initial choice, not simply because I don’t actually have a review up for the book I just finished, but because the other books was the slightest bit better.

Without further rambling, I present my favourite book of the month of August, Geekerella by Ashley Poston. You can read my review of it here.

Geekerella

What was the best book you read in the month of August?

Out of the Easy Book Review

Out of the Easy.jpg

Number of pages: 346

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 3.75

For the most part, I really enjoyed Out of the Easy. If I were to rank Ruta Sepety’s books, Out of the Easy would be between Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea, with Salt to the Sea being my favourite so far.

The most important ingredient in a good historical fiction book is the characters, so it’s a good thing the characters in Out of the Easy are so well done. Josie’s voice practically jumps of the page off the page, and the side characters all have distinct voices as well. But the best part is the fact that the prostitutes are treated like human beings. I never thought I would see the day where YA, a genre where the popular girls who oppose the beautiful-but-don’t-know-it protagonists are often called whores for no reason, would treat prostitutes like human beings.

I think the reason Out of the Easy is so compelling is that Jo is easy to relate to. At one point in our lives, most of us have wanted “out” of something, just as Jo desperately wants to escape life in “the Big Easy”.

Out of the Easy is also a much lighter book than Sepety’s other two novels. Yes it features murder and all that fun stuff, but it isn’t like Jo is stuck in a labour camp or in the middle of a naval disaster. She’s simply stuck in a less than ideal situation.

While Out of the Easy was emotionally compelling for the majority of the novel, with roughly 100 pages remaining it starts to lose steam. We know who the killer is (in fact we’ve know it all along and it’s not that important to the story), and we know if Josie got into Smith. The story loses the small amount of tension it had and never really gets it back. Without that tension, the emotional scenes aren’t as powerful, and there’s no clear reason as to why you should continue reading.

I also found the story to be missing an indescribable “something”. I was laughing and tearing up, but there was just something missing that was stopping me from loving it.

Overall, Out of the Easy was an enjoyable and relatable novel, despite it losing steam near the end, earning it 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Who Am I Tag

I was tagged by Michaela from Journey into Books, so thank you to her for tagging me. You can read her answers here.

WHAT DOES MY NAME MEAN?

From what I remember, Moira is the Irish version of Mary. I am forever grateful that my parents didn’t use the traditional Gaelic spelling, since most people can’t pronounce it the way it is.

WHAT IS MY MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE (LINK)

Apparently I am an INFP.

Personality Type

WHAT IS MY ZODIAC SIGN? (LINK)

I know I’m a Taurus, but I’m not sure I care enough to find out what that means about me.

WHAT IS MY HOGWARTS HOUSE? (LINK)

I don’t really like the quiz that is linked, but I got the results I normally get. I have gotten Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw an equal amount of times on Pottermore, and I normally get high percentages of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff with almost no Griffindor and Slytherin. As a result, I normally just call myself a Ravenpuff and leave it at that.

WHAT ARE MY LEARNING STYLES? (LINK)

I normally don’t like these learning style quizzes because I either would do all of the things listed, or none of the things listed (and you normally have to pick one of the options). However, I don’t mind the one linked. According to the linked quiz, here is the breakdown of my learning style:

Visual 14

Aural 13

Read/Write 14

Kinesthetic 12

AM I LEFT OR RIGHT BRAIN DOMINANT? (LINK)

Apparently I use my brain “equally”, using 59% of my right brain, and 41% of my left brain.

WHAT IS MY BLOOD TYPE?

My mom says I’m AB+, so I’m the universal recipient.

WHAT CAREER AM I MEANT TO HAVE? (LINK)

The quiz says I’m supposed to be a writer, which I’m sure is a common result among bloggers.

WHAT DIVERGENT FACTION DO I BELONG IN? (LINK)

Apparently I’m Divergent. Yay for not being genetically messed up (please tell me someone else suffered through the final book in the Divergent trilogy).

WHAT DOES MY BIRTH ORDER SAY ABOUT ME? (LINK)

According to the linked website:

“The Firstborn

Stereotype: Natural leader, ambitious, responsible.
Why it’s true: The eldest, for a while, has no competition for time (or books or baby banter) with Mom and Dad. “There’s a benefit to all of that undiluted attention. A 2007 study in Norway showed that firstborns had two to three more IQ points than the next child,” says Frank J. Sulloway, Ph.D., the author of Born to Rebel. Firstborns tend to be surrogate parents when other siblings arrive, hence their protective and responsible nature.
When it’s not: Parents can set high expectations for a first (or only) child. “When he feels like he has disappointed his parents or can’t measure up, he may veer off in another direction,” says Kevin Leman, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of The Birth Order Book.”

I don’t really find this to be accurate for me. My brother is only 1 year younger than me, and my sister is only 3 years younger than me, so I never really had all of my parents’ attention. Also, I never had any pressure put on me by anyone but myself. My being happy is all that matters to my parents. Finally, I am most certainly not a natural leader, and I’m really not that ambitious.


I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m not feeling the best, but if you found this tag interesting please feel free to do it.

 

The Canary Club ARC Review

The Canary Club.jpg

Number of pages: 325

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 1.5

Release Date: October 19th 2017

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I requested this one on a whim thinking I wouldn’t get accepted. I was genuinely interested in the premise, but I thought the setting of the 1920s wouldn’t work for me. In the end, I think everything but the setting ended up not working for me.

Let’s start with possibly the most controversial of my gripes: Masie. I have a lot of issues with her characterization, but one in particular stands out; she comes across as far too modern. The thing that put me off from the beginning was the long paragraph near the start of her first chapter where she railed against her oppression as a woman. I’m not condoning the oppression of women in any way (I quite like my rights as a Canadian female), but I see this sort of thing far too often in historical fiction books. It feels like the authors making sure readers know their opinions on the oppression of women. But here’s the thing; I’m not reading historical fiction to learn about the authors feelings on how women were treated in the past. I’m reading historical fiction to see what life was like in *insert time period here* in *insert country here*. If I wanted to know how the author feels about life as a woman in 1920s New York, I would follow her on Twitter. Yes, there would have been women in the 1920s who genuinely railed against the oppression they faced (and power to them), but people in the past did not rail against their oppression as often as is represented in YA historical fiction, and that is where the issue lies.

Then there’s Benny. In terms of historical accuracy, he appeared to be well done. My issue with him is rather that he is not a very realistic character. It feels like the author made a list of all the characteristics she would want in a partner, and Benny was made. I don’t think I can pinpoint a bad quality Benny has, and that’s an issue.

The romance between Masie and Benny is one of the most glaring cases of insta-love I have read in a long time. They basically look at each other for the first time and are infatuated.

The other problem I had with the romance is that it messes with Benny’s characterization. Benny is set up as someone who cares a lot about his family, but as soon as things heat up with Masie, he doesn’t really mention his family agian until he’s saying goodbye at the end.

The secondary characters also aren’t done very well. It is clear from the way everything is set up that if you don’t like Masie and Benny, you’re not going to find another character to connect with. The rest of the characters are completely forgettable, including Masie’s father, the reason there is any semblance of a plot.

Speaking of the plot, nothing ever really happens. The whole book is centered around the romance, but since they are infatuated at first glance, there’s not a whole lot to it. There’s no watching them fall in love with each other, as their every thought is already focused on the other.

Overall, The Canary Club features nothing to recommend it, earning it 1.5 stars out of 5.

Cover Changes and Matching Covers: A Discussion

A Reaper at the Gates.jpg

I was scrolling through Twitter one day while I was away, and I noticed that there was a cover reveal for A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. Naturally, I clicked on the link, but I was immediately confused. Why had the cover design for this series changed for the 2nd time?

As I stayed on twitter, I soon found out from the author herself why the covers had changed. Knowing the reason behind the change, I am so glad Sabaa Tahir was able to put more POCs on YA covers. This didn’t change my opinion on the design of the covers, but I still support the author 100% on this change.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t like the new covers. This has absolutely nothing to do with having matching covers, and everything to do with me never having liked covers of similar design. I have come to realize I really don’t like having people on the cover, especially when they are featured in poses like the ones on the new covers (I think it looks more like a video game than a book). I will still buy the 3rd and 4th books in the series. Covers don’t change the words inside, and I have never been one to need matching covers.

This cover change did however spark outrage among others. I saw countless tweets complaining about not having matching covers, but even more tweets complaining about the people complaining over not having matching covers. This influx of anger and complaints helped give me the idea for this discussion.

The other thing that helped give me the idea for this discussion was the Tower of Dawn cover.

Tower of Dawn.jpg

When I first saw the cover announced on Instagram where Sarah J. Maas said they designed it to match the rest of the series, I wondered whether Sarah J. Maas and the publisher had ever actually seen the other covers. While the rest of the series features an illustration of the protagonist, this featured a shield that looks as if it’s made of plastic. This cover design was especially disheartening given that they had an opportunity to put a disabled character on the cover of a book, and completely blew it, any opinion I saw mirrored throughout the bookish community.

I’ve given my opinion, now I want to know your thoughts. Do you agree with these cover changes? Do you need to have matching covers, or are you okay with having mismatched covers? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m especially interested to know if you do need matching covers why that is the case.