Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Writing style: 6/10
Character building: 5/10
My Opinionated Review
Intriguing and emotional-heavy story but disappointing characterisation
Swear on this Life is a gripping and emotional story with a wonderful premise but flawed execution. This book made me feel, and cry, and root for the characters so much. It was a beautiful and heart-wrenching love story that would be worth my highest rating if not for quite a few disappointing outcomes. Nevertheless, despite the negative aspects, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
The book is about Emi, a struggling writer that does not seem to be able to get published, stuck in a passionless relationship with her ex-athlete boyfriend of 7 years, and having trouble dealing with her traumatic past. So when she starts reading a new bestseller by a mysterious writer J. Colby, she is shocked to find the book to be about her. This brings a lot of painful memories, tears, and anger towards the author – her first love who she has not seen for 12 years.
This book really has many wonderful aspects. First, the premise of the story. I thought it was brilliant. The reader gets to read the book inside the book, transferring them to Emi’s painful past and the wonderful friendship between her and her childhood best friend and first love, Jace. The reader also gets to experience the present timeline, seeing Emi as a grown-up woman trying to deal with her feeling towards her story that is put into words, and her anger and longing towards the writer who cannot be anyone other than her best friend who has been MIA for 12 years ago. This dual timeline gives the story mystery, especially since the reader is introduced to the past through a work of fiction, that is sometimes just an interpretation of one perspective and not necessarily what actually happened.
I really felt the connection between the main characters. These two had a tough and cruel childhood, they took care of each other and loved each other when no one else did. I felt every single thing that Emi felt while reading her story, and it was heart-breaking but truly wonderful at times. Moreover, it was exciting to see how these two people will react when finally coming face to face after years of silence. It was delightful to see the two different journeys that the main characters took, both hopeful and emotional. It really made me feel.
However, I have to acknowledge the problems with this book. It is my second book by Renee Carlino, and I am again faced with the same problem as I was when reading When We Were Strangers. I liked one timeline but found the other one a bit boring. In this book, the fictional novel was really well-crafted and emotional. Characters made silly choices and mistakes, but considering their traumatic experiences and a young age, it was understandable. However, they did not seem to change one bit during the 12 years they spend apart, I saw zero character development, they acted childish and immature, and most of the time I just did not understand their behaviour at all. The long awaited moments seemed anti-climactic and unreasonable, without much emotion. The characters’ portrayals and their actions failed to have any coherence. Especially with so much build-up and emotional trauma, the present story came out flat. The ending was an utter disappointment, and I can just say that I expected much more.
I feel like if I have read this book a few years ago, I would have appreciated it more. But when you read a lot, it becomes very easy to distinguish well-executed books from poorly-executed ones. It is sad that this story must fall into the latter category as it showed signs of potential. In no way it is a bad book, since I found it extremely difficult to put down, plus it did make me cry. I am actually angered to see such an interesting premise and a long build-up be flushed down the toilet.
All in all, I did like this book. I cried, and I laughed. But some of the characters’ actions were really out of character, and some decisions did not make sense. Plus, the dialogues were really boring. It is disappointing to see good premise being poorly executed, yet I still think it is a compelling and decent contemporary romance, better that a lot of similar books that I’ve read. So if anticlimactic endings and characters acting like teenagers when they are in their late twenties do not bother you, then this book really will be a wonderful read.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you think it is a great contemporary romance, or do you have examples of the better ones? I eagerly await your thoughts.
- David Gray – Flame turns blue
- Counting Crows – Round Here
- John Paul White – Ghost in this house
- Sara Bareilles – Breathe again
- Wilco – True love will find you in the end
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
World Building: 8/10
Writing Style: 9/10
Character Building: 8/10
My Opinionated Review
A Heart-Breaking Story Run by Emotional Heaviness
Tiger Lily is the kind of book that I would call a hidden treasure. When I started reading it, I really did not know much about it. But it surprised me in the most wonderful way with the beautifully heart-breaking story, raw emotions, immense creativity, magical world-building, and most of all, a writing style that speaks to your soul.
The story is a retelling of Peter Pan, and I definitely loved this tale much more than the original one. Although it takes place in a magical world of Neverland, the fantastical aspects of the book were easy to forget since the story explores real issues that are easily relatable and always important. Moreover, the unique narration makes it such a beautiful and really sad story which stays with the reader for a long time to come. Although the main character of the book is Tiger Lily, who is a young girl on the verge of growing up, we see her wild nature, rebellious personality, and hidden vulnerability through the eyes of a fairy Tinkerbell, who does not participate in the story much, she is merely an observer. Tiger Lily lives in a tribe where her desire to hunt and run wild is not easily understood, and in order to suppress her wild nature, she has to fulfill an old promise that her father made by marrying a boy who is brutal and nothing like her. However, her clear path towards marriage is disrupted when she meets Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. With them, Tiger Lily is allowed to run wild, be happy, and feel much more than she ever thought she was capable of. Therefore, Tiger Lily tries to find a balance between her life in a tribe and her hidden one with the Lost Boys.
After attempting to describe the book, I realised that it became an immensely difficult task to do so. The greatness of the book comes not from the plot or the wonderful characters (however, they do add quite much to the story), but what really makes the reader connect with it is the hidden feeling behind every sentence. You do not merely read the scenes, you feel them. And you recognise the unfairness as well as the beauty of the world in the little moments that are impossible to describe. With Tinkerbell’s ability to read thoughts and emotions of people she is observing, the reader is made aware of the emotional state of different characters, this narration adding so much to the story as a whole.
I do not want to spoil anything more about the story, so I will not be going into more detail. However, I will tell you this: I loved how the story is always bittersweet. We get really magnificent moments of happiness, but we see the sadness hidden behind it. We see both the good and the bad sides of all the characters. And we are given an ending that makes you wonder if it was one of the most beautiful happy endings or the most heart-breaking ones.
Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough. More like this one should exist. Whether you are a fan of fairy tales or not, whether you adore fantasy or not, this book cannot be put into the frames of merely one genre. It is all and none at all. And most of all, it is not read but felt.
It is officially 2017 now, and since I am trying to get back to blogging after a few months of absence from this platform, I knew that looking back on my reading year of 2016 was the best option. I was torn between the top ten books and this survey, but the latter looks a bit more challenging, and I want to dedicate more time for my official come-back post. Maybe I will do the former post as well later on, maybe not. Although I will be completing only the first section of this survey, it still leaves me with quite a lot of difficult questions ahead. So I better get started now…
Before I start, I just want to credit the creator of this excellent survey, allowing readers to reflect on their reading of the previous year. Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner is the one hosting this wonderful survey, and I could not pass the opportunity to participate.
2016 has been a good year for me reading-wise. I have read 60 books, surpassing my Goodreads challenge of 50, with quite a few exceptional reads.
I am not a person who ever re-reads the books (with Harry Potter being the only exception, and it happening years after reading it in the first place), so I can only share my number of the new books (at least for me).
2016 was also a year when I rediscovered my love for fantasy, mainly YA, realising that it is not really silly at all, but can be really intense, creative, smart, and magical. So, therefore, fantasy was the dominant genre of the books I’ve read in 2016.
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Although 2016 has gifted me with many great reads, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover comes as a true winner. This book affected me deeply, changing my perspective of things I was so sure I would never change my opinion about. It is a very emotional read, which surpassed any other book that I have read in the previous year, and none of the others could simply measure up to this one.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Whether it is as a result of every incredibly great thing I have heard about this book prior to reading it, or that the storyline was the one I have heard before way too many times, Eleanor and Park just did not do it for me. I guess me being late to the party was at play here, and I wonder if my opinion would have been different if I have read this book earlier, being unaware of the hype surrounding it.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Not that astounding plot-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed this book. Truly, when I started Clockwork Angel, my expectations were quite low, since I thought that The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare was pretty mediocre. But I got so attached to all these characters and so invested in the story, that it ended up surprising me a great deal.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I believe this book will appear on numerous questions in this post as it impacted me greatly. After reading it, I pushed all my friends to read it as well (and it is not an ordinary task since my friends do not read that much). I do believe that this book should be read by everyone, and will be the one I will be recommending to everybody for years to come.
5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
It is quite a difficult question since series was my thing this year, but I will try to choose wisely.
Best Series I started would have to be The Infernal Devices, proving me that authors should be given second chances. Although I do not think this series is that outstanding quality-wise, but it definitely sucked me up to the magical world and did not let go.
Best Sequel would have to be Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. To this day, I cannot stop feeling utterly disappointed by the turnout of the progression of the series. Although I and the series have more of a hate rather than love relationship, this book blew my mind, delivering everything a reader can hope for from a sequel.
The Best Series Ender without a doubt is The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. I don’t believe I have ever read a more satisfying ending, where everything I wished for was delivered to me, without a drop of more or less than required. It made me hurt, it made me laugh, and overall, it was the perfect end to a truly wonderful series.
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?
I guess I will go with Marissa Meyer. She delivers insanely intense storylines, creates highly compelling characters, produces an incredibly entertaining plot, and makes sure you do not spend a minute bored, even if the book is more than 800 pages long!
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Science fiction is a genre I do not consider to be for me. I was never a star wars fan, and all the space stuff does not really peak my interest. Nevertheless, Illuminae convinced be that sometimes it is not a bad thing to get out of your comfort zone. This book had everything – action, love, intensity, and most of all, creativity – both in the storyline and in narration.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I have to go with Wolf by Wolf for this category. Not only this book came as a total surprise, but throughout the whole read, it has kept me on the edge of my seat. It was definitely one thrilling ride, filled with many twists and turns on every corner.
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Although I do not tend to re-read books, I have a feeling that I will be getting back to this one someday. It might not be in 2017 precisely, but I do believe that I will need to read this powerful novel again.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Even though the book was quite disappointing, the cover was not.
11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Although I am not as mesmerised with Sarah J. Maas as half the world seems to be, and do not consider ACOMAF to be the best book ever, Rhysand still has to be the most memorable character of this year. The character’s development was truly magnificent, and if not for the insane hype surrounding this book, I might be able to love it a bit more.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
No competition there, Renee Ahdieh has a gift, and throughout the whole book, the whole series in fact, I could not stop admiring her way with words. The Rose and the Dagger is a wonderfully written masterpiece, and I highly recommend it.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Again, I go with this one, but what can I do, it did change my life. It is funny how you go your whole life thinking you definitely know the situation and the appropriate reaction to it, and you really don’t. It also helped me realise the reason behind my flawed relationship with my grandfather, and why it will never get better. But enough with being cryptic. Just read this book if you haven’t already.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
I mean, I was supposed to read this in school, I guess it took me finishing university to finally get to this one.
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”
–Colleen Hoover, It Ends With Us
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest (92 pages) Longest (832 pages)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I just did not see any plot-twists coming in this one, everything was so intense and ground-breaking. The next book also shocked me quite a lot, like how can a book series go so downhill.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
There have been quite a few pairings that got me crazily invested in the books this year, but I have to go with Arin and Kestrel. I loved how their relationship progressed, how they were developed as characters, but not just for the sake of romantic angst, and how the relationship was resolved. I will have to go with the relationship that makes me happy, not the one that will anger me forever *cough Chaol and Celaena cough*.
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Will and Jem, enough said. The whole parabatai bond in this series was the most beautiful thing, and more authors should focus on friendship bonds.
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Catcher in the Rye, I guess. Usually I am the one that does the recommending. I have started like 3 books based on the suggestions of others this year, yet I have not finished any of them. Probably best if I stick to finding the books I want to read myself.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Arin from The Winner’s Curse series. His character was amazing, and I did want to go with someone other than Rhysand.
23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Pretty sure I have not read any. I am usually late to the party.
24. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Marissa Meyer has done wonders with her series, especially the world build-up.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I smiled so much while reading Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda that my face really started to hurt. This is such a feel-good book, with a highly entertaining main character, that it is just impossible not to love this one.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
Since I am quite a cryer when it comes to books, it would be like 50% of my reads. So instead I will just go with the one that made me cry the most. And surprise surprise, it is my favourite book of the year! I guess I just really love the books that destroy me emotionally.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I’ll Meet You There is definitely the hidden gem that I found this year. The story was so beautiful and tragic, and it just made me feel. It was a great romance of second chances and finding silver linings during the darkest of times.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Yup, this one again. Totally crushed my soul in the best possible way.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
It definitely was the most unique Beauty and the Beast retelling that I have read, for sure. Cruel Beauty builds a mesmerising world, mixing fairy tales with ancient Greek mythology, and it is something I have never seen before. Plus, the story is very compelling, making it a really great read.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Don’t even start with me on this one, destroying one of my favourite series. It had so much potential, and everything was flushed down the toilet. I need some time (like years) before I am calm enough to continue with the series (probably just to be able to rant about it more).
So here it is, my reflection on the books that I have read in 2016. I know I have not completed the survey fully, but I feel like this post has been long enough. Otherwise, I doubt I will go to sleep today. Also, I guess my writing skills are a bit rusty after a few months of absence.
So these are my opinions. I would love to hear if we share any of the same ones, or if you disagree with me on some of my choices. Most of all, I just want to wish you a good reading year in 2017!
It is good to be back.
Ugh I have been way too absent from the blogging platform, and I really miss it. Hopefully, I will be back to writing reviews and doing book tags soon. I really miss writing.
The reason for my incredibly long absence is this – I did not have Internet for almost 3 months. It is getting ridiculous now, it does not feel like 21st century at all. I mean, moving to London felt like moving to the modern age, not backwards.
I had a wonderful time in Bali, it was magnificent, and very hot, and I did not need the internet there at all. However, I am back in the real world now, where I have the urge to connect.
Well, now I am just making excuses. I stated writing this post over a month ago. I guess ‘ve just been busy. London is expensive, finding a job is really tough in a big city, and it was impossible to concentrate on any other task other than applying for work. Well, after a few months, I am still without one, and I do miss writing, and most of all, reading. So I guess I am officially back to blogging, and I hope I can maintain a frequent posting schedule.
I guess after 3 months of not having Internet, I stopped using it. Now I just hang out with friends, or go to watch films at the cinema (I am not that rich, I just get to go there for free).
I hope some of my followers will still remember me.
Blogging more will e my new years resolution, as I find myself being back to this platform, after spending New Year’s Eve not leaving my house and watching my sister puking her guts out. Hopefully the rest of 2017 will be better.
I hope you all had a better one than me, drinking gin and tonic at home alone, eating mini quiches.
Well, it could have been worse.
2017, here I come.
“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince)
“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince)