Geekerella Book Review

Geekerella.jpg

Number of pages: 319

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

Rating (out of five stars): 4.5

I expected not to like Geekerella. Truth be told, I thought I had reached my contemporary capacity. I’m also not truly a part of any fandoms, so I assumed I wouldn’t get it. Sure, I have books that I love, and I would love to have all the candles, jewelry, etc. that has to do with those books and characters, but I don’t really show it other than in my reviews. I’m going to put out a warning for all the cynics out there; if you don’t want a slightly clichéd happily ever after book, I say skip this one. It is a Cinderella retelling after all.

The characters were really well done. I don’t read chapter headings, so when I started chapter two, I was surprised to find myself not in Elle’s head anymore, meaning Darien and Elle had very distinct voices. In my mind, Elle overshadowed Darien a bit, but not enough for it to be terribly noticeable. This may be because I cried twice during Elle’s chapters within the first 100 pages alone, and I’m not much of a book crier.

In fact, the range of emotions I went through, especially near the end, was interesting. I went from tears welling in my eyes, to engrossed, to slamming the book against the bed and annoying my sister. I even had to take breaks because I couldn’t bear to continue on.

Geekerella proved me wrong. It showed me I’m more of a fangirl than I thought I was. Everything about Elle’s love of Starfield spoke to me. I have gone through needing fictional worlds to escape some not great situations.  When you’re busy hoping and wishing you could go to Hogwarts, or any other fictional world, you don’t have to remember what’s happening to you in the real world.

I also loved the changes to Cinderella, especially the magic pumpkin food truck. What’s not to love about greasy, vegan, pumpkin-based foods? I’m also glad that Elle’s stepsisters didn’t both hate Elle just for the sake of hating her. I’m sure Chloe thought she had a valid reason, and I was overjoyed when Cal redeemed herself.

Overall, Geekerella loses some points for being kind of cheesy, but it makes up for it with great characters and interesting twists on the original tale, earning it 4.5 stars out of 5.

House of Ash ARC Review

House of Ash.jpg

Number of pages: 320

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

Rating (out of five stars): 4

Release Date: September 26th 2017

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher (Amulet/ABRAMS Kids) for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I really enjoyed House of Ash. I had a few problems with it, but I will probably end up purchasing it when it comes out, which I would not do if I didn’t like it.

House of Ash sounded perfect for me. It’s a YA paranormal fantasy with historical elements, and it shows a character dealing with a mental illness (more on this later). It was surprisingly gripping after the first few chapters. I would read ARCs on the bus on the way to school, and I-almost-missed-my-bus-stop-reading levels of gripping were experienced. I even had tears well up on occasion, which is pretty rare for me.

I really wish the side characters had been more developed. I want to know more about Sage and Avi and their relationship with Curtis. I also want to know more about what Curtis’ dad was like before he became seriously ill. Mila and Curtis are great, but I want more of the other characters.

On the subject of Curtis and Mila, the romance felt a little under-developed, but I can still see where it came from. They are both broken people who found each other and are determined to save the people they care for, including each other, despite living in different centuries. I get it, and I get that it’s hard to develop a romance across centuries, so it makes perfect sense the way it is, but having personally read a lot of YA books I want a little more development.

House of Ash is set in the fictional town of Willowhaven, Ontario. Living in southwestern Ontario, I always find it interesting when authors chose to set things here. I’m not sure if there are any towns like it in Ontario, so I’m curious as to what inspired the author, but I can kind of picture a run down, but once beautiful town here.

Let’s talk about Curtis’ mental illness. Before we get into this, I am not an expert on mental illness. I do struggle with depression and undiagnosed social anxiety, but I do not struggle with what Curtis and his father do.

The longer I’ve taken to write this review, the more I have accepted Curtis’ dad’s mental illness. At first I was worried someone would read House of Ash and think all mentally ill people were violent (Curtis has violent tendencies as well), but then I remembered there are people out there like Curtis’ father. However, I’m still iffy on Curtis’ mental illness. For starters, I’m confused as to if he is actually mentally ill. Because of events too spoilery to share, Curtis appears to not be mentally ill at the end of the book. The whole thing could be some sort of metaphor, but it seems unlikely given that the fantastical elements of the book seem to actually take place, rather than being hallucinations.

On the other hand the fear and defeat Curtis feels towards his mental illness is so raw, real, and accurate it brought tears to my eyes. The powerlessness I feel because of my mental illness(es)  is so similar to what Curtis felt, that I can’t help feeling conflicted on whether or not to call this a mental health novel.

Overall, I enjoyed and appreciated House of Ash, but am a bit conflicted on some aspects of it, earning it 4 out of 5 stars.

Books and Music Tag

Thank you to Mandy from Book Princess Reviews for tagging me. If you don’t already follow her, click her blog’s name to go check out her blog and give her a follow. She’s constantly posting reviews, tags, weekly memes, and her own series called The Princess Read every Saturday. If you have ever wondered what your favourite Disney princess would read, it’s the series for you.

THE RULES

  • Tag the creator of this tag (Debbie @ Debbie’s Library) and the person who tagged you
  • Pick 5 songs (or more) that you just have to listen to whenever they are played
  • Pick the books or characters that you think fit that song the best, and explain why you picked those books or characters
  • Tag some friends

Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons

Rachelle from Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge fits this song pretty well I think. Throughout the novel she struggles to hold on to her humanity. She also struggles with loneliness and forgiving herself for the horrible wrongs she has committed to stay alive.

The Take Over, The Break’s Over by Fall Out Boy

I almost went with the Dregs (Six of Crows) for this one, but I think Lada from And I Darken and Now I Rise by Kiersten White fits this one a bit better, especially with lyrics like “we don’t fight fair” and “don’t pretend you’ll ever forget about me”. Lada is going to rule no matter what she has to do to get there.

Your Obedient Servant from Hamilton

In The Rose Society by Marie Lu, Adelina really starts to become the anti-hero she’s meant to be, just like Burr in this song.

Counting Stars by One Republic

Weirdly enough, I think this one fits Amar’s perspective in The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi well. I think it’s hard to really explain this one unless you’ve read it.

Say Goodbye by Green Day

This song has the same “Let’s destroy the corrupt government” vibes I get from Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I also think it fits what we see of Ketterdam well.

I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m writing this the night before I leave for South Africa for 3 weeks, so I’m a bit out of it, but if you want to do this fun little tag, please consider yourself tagged.

Do you agree or disagree with my reasoning? If you disagree, what book do you think fits that song better? Do you listen to any of the songs listed?

Favourite Book of the Month: July 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’m currently writing this on July 24th as I go on holiday in South Africa for three weeks as of July 31st (the day this post will be scheduled for). As a result, I will be making any books read this week eligible for my favourite book of the month for August. I don’t like doing it like this, but I have no idea if my relatives even have internet, let alone if I will have access to it.

This is probably the easiest favourite book of the month post I have had to write. April was difficult because I had so many 5 star reads, and I almost couldn’t do one for May and June. I only have one 5 star read for the month of July, and it 100% deserves the title of my favourite book for July.

Without further ado, I present my favourite book for the month of July, Now I Rise by Kiersten White. You can read my review here, but I recommend you read the first book in the trilogy, And I Darken, before reading this one (I’m not linking my review of And I Darken because I’m rather embarrassed of it, but it can still be found on For the Lover of Books if you really want to read it)

Now I Rise

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

Counting Wolves ARC Review

Counting Wolves.jpg

Number of pages: 216

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

Rating (out of five stars): 3

Release Date: August 14th 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’m going to do an updated review for Counting Wolves once I get my hands on a finished copy and find the time to read it, because I think this one deserves a second chance. I think the reason this is only getting 3 stars is mainly because I kept expecting it to be something it wasn’t. The synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound like a fairy tale retelling adventure type book, and the first few chapters make it seem like something it’s not.

Let’s get this out of the way; this is a mental illness book, plain and simple. That is not a spoiler. If that is intended to be a spoiler, I will think twice about supporting this author. I’m not going to share with you what Milly’s mental illness is, not because it would spoil the book for you, but because it’s really not necessary for me to do so, and I cannot speak to the accuracy of the portrayal. However, as a person with depression, I can say that the character with depression was well done based on my experience with the illness. I cannot speak on the representation of OCD, PTSD, or bipolar disorder (I am also going off what is stated in the book for the diagnosis of the characters).

The first chapter opens with a scene in a high school that is frankly over-described. Within the chapter, it seems like the author is trying to set a fairy tale esque tone for the novel, but this dies after the first few chapters. This is where my perception of what I thought the book was trying to do got in the way. I thought the fairy tales would have more meaning than they did, especially the ones thrown in along with commentary from Milly on the moral of the tale, leading to confusion on my end. Some of the tales included simply did not need to be there.

From what I remember of being 15, Milly as a character was well done. At times her voice was young, while at other times she was fairly mature. She also makes mistakes and experiences a lot of growth in Counting Wolves.

Overall, while it almost made me emotional a few times, my perception of what Counting Wolves was about made the novel less enjoyable, earning it 3 stars out of 5. I will give it another try at some point in the future.

Re-Reading Old Favourites: A Discussion

If you’re friends with me on Goodreads (you can send me a friend request here), you know that I started reading a book I loved in Grade 7 (I mixed up the grades on Goodreads, but it doesn’t really matter), Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey. (Did anyone else participate in the Red Maple awards that year?) I had just finished Jane Eyre, and recently finished a disappointing paranormal fantasy book, so I thought it was time to revisit it. Sadly, I was incredibly disappointed by it. I remembered how I felt when I first read it /what I should feel reading it, but I felt nothing. I could also see how poorly done the characters were.

I have come to realize how much my tastes have changed. When I was really young, I only read contemporary books. As I grew older, I fell in love with paranormal fantasy. Now, it seems that I prefer high fantasy and the occasional historical fiction or contemporary book. I kind of attribute this change to not being able to write the medium book I had wanted to write for years.

This brings me to the discussion part of this post. Have your tastes in books changed drastically overtime? If you tastes have changed, would/should you go back and read favourites from years ago? I would love to know what you think in the comments. This experience has me hesitant to read books I used to love.

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On an unrelated note, I will be in South Africa, likely without internet, from July 31st to August 21st. I have posts scheduled, so please continue to interact with them during this time, but I will likely not be able to respond to comments until I am home. I promise I will get to everyone’s comments by the end of the week of the 21st. If you want to get my reviews early, I will be posting any scheduled reviews on Goodreads as they are written this week.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts Book Review

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

Number of pages: 242

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

Rating (out of five stars): 2

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

I have always loved paranormal fantasy. Sure a lot of the books that fall into the category are not exactly high quality literature, but how can you not love reading about witches, ghosts, and other dark and broody creatures. When I was younger, I read the Suddenly Supernatural series, and I wanted to be a medium more than I wanted my Hogwarts letter, and I’d been waiting for that letter since I was 8. Paranormal fantasy got me through a lot, so when I first heard about The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts when browsing Goodreads giveaways last year, I knew I had to read it. Luckily, as the second book is coming out soon, the publisher put the first book back on Netgalley.

I wanted to love this so much, and I did love it for the first 20%. It was fun, and I could ignore the glaring plot holes. I wasn’t expecting it to be the greatest book I’ve ever read, I just wanted something enjoyable. Sadly, by the 50% mark plot holes had become decidedly less fun.

There are so many things that went wrong for me. Firstly, the writing really wasn’t good. It is completely understandable, as I believe this is a debut, but my brain can only make up for “chunky” writing for so long. It was kind of like when I read social media post with poor grammar. I normally have to read the posts 3 times before I get a sense of what the person was trying to get across, but I’m still a little confused.

The plot holes ranged from insignificant to large. On the larger end of the plot hole scale, it doesn’t make sense that ghosts can’t get to Kat because she says she doesn’t believe in them. She clearly believes in them since she reminisces over her time with them as a child often. The plants and rocks protecting her makes relative sense, and unbelievers not being able to be effected by ghosts makes sense as well, but Kat is very obviously a believer. They should have been able to get to her far easier than they were able to in the library.

There are also instances where Kat does things like judge the extent of her powers after just learning she has them. How on earth do you know if to what extent you can do a spell when you just learnt you’re the family chosen one/reincarnation? I’m not even going to get into the whole reincarnation thing, and how it kind of helps push a 17 year old and a 20 year old into a sort of romantic relationship. They appear to be friends in the synopsis of book 2, but that is not the vibe I was getting while reading.

The characters were also poorly done. I can’t tell you a single characteristic of any of the characters, excluding Toria, and even then all I can say is that she’s impulsive. None of them had distinct voices.

Overall, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts was disappointing. Despite being fun for the first 20%, it ultimately fell flat, earning it 2 stars out of 5. I think I’m going to ignore my TBR and read an old favourite paranormal fantasy book now.