Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World Building: 8/10

Writing Style: 9/10

Character Building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 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.

Book Playlist

  1. Tom Odell – Constellations
  2. Feist – Cicadas and Gulls
  3. Finding Neverland Cast – When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground
  4. David Gray – Sail Away
  5. Angus & Julia Stone – Crash and Burn
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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 4/10

World-building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character-building: 6/10

Enjoyment: 4/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: This is a review for the third book in the Throne of Glass series. You can find the reviews for the previous two books here:

Throne of Glass

Crown of Midnight

Heir of Fire is the third book in the epic Throne of Glass series, taking Celaena to a new journey of making peace with what she truly is. It is such a different book compared to the first two, with the use of a completely different storytelling method by bringing quite a few different plots into one book and introducing new characters’ perspectives. Although it continues to be Celaena’s journey, multiple perspectives give this book new angle and new insights.

After the mind-blowing revelations and action-packed events that took place in book two, Celaena endures on a new journey to a far away land, where magic still exists, Fae are mighty powerful creatures, and new challenges are awaiting the heroine. In order to be able to understand the enemy better, she seeks her Aunt, Queen of the Fae. But answers do not come easy, and Celaena must endure incredibly tough training in order to gain control over her magical abilities. Back in Adarlan, Chaol and Dorian have to face new issues and choose what side they are on.

There were quite a few good things about this book. The introduction to new lands and the magical Fae abilities were needed for a long time. I really liked how Maas focused on different characters, making their individual storylines develop, and transforming these supporting love interests into leads. I also really respect the author’s decision to present the reader with the long training process, indicating that nothing big can happen overnight, and accepting a part of yourself you have been denying for many years is not easy, and takes much strength and endurance.

Nevertheless, this story felt like a filler book, making me want to skim-read at quite a number of times. While I believe that Maas really grew as a writer, the book left me with so many mixed feeling that by the end of the book I could not help but feel disappointed.

At first, I was excited to see how all the characters were going to develop separated from each other. And objectively, I loved many things in this book. I loved that the author is very bold, and is not afraid to give the reader pain, ruin friendships and relationships and show dangerous characters who make mistakes and learn their lessons slowly. I loved that nothing happened overnight, and it took vast amounts of time to prepare for battling such great evil. I was sad to see the rift between the characters from the first book, but understood why it happened, and respected Maas for not giving the reader a happy painless story. I loved that she understands that in war, nothing is white and black, and that choosing a side or accepting who you are do not come easy. She created a believable story in such a magical world.

Getting to know the Fae world and learning more about Celaena’s ancestry was great. I loved seeing Chaol and Dorian having their own storylines and developing so much as individual characters, although the rift in their friendship saddened me a great deal. I loved seeing Celaena accepting who she is, and finding someone that understands and accepts the part she was so eager to hide. I loved the last few chapters especially, so much has happened, so many things were revealed, and by the end, I have loved every single character, and understood their point of view, no matter how different it was.

However, this book was boring. Oh boy, there were so many chapters where nothing happened, so many new characters that I did not care about (And if you have not read the book, minor spoilers ahead). First, the witches. It took me ages to get into the story, I just did not care what happened there. And although by the end of the book I happened to love Manon very much, but for the most part of the book I was trying really hard not to skim-read her chapters.

Second, new Dorian’s love interest. She was not a bad character, but she was not an interesting character either. Although I saw the necessity of that storyline by the end of the book, that Cinderella type angst did nothing for me. I wanted to see more of Dorian working with his magic and mending his and Chao’s friendship instead of seeing all this unnecessary angst.

Then it was Aedion. I think I enjoyed his introduction the most. He was a perfect combination of a strong and cunning douche and a loving dedicated cousin, and him and Chaol working together was one of the most entertaining storylines in the book.

And then it was Rowan. I have heard so many good things about his character before reading this book, and although not knowing anything about him besides that he is amazing, I had quite high expectations about his introduction. The more I read, the more I liked him, I loved how he pushed Celaena and helped her accept who she is, loved how over time. He and Celaena developed such a strong bond, and I believe that he was quite a necessary addition to the story. However, I do not think that he is THAT amazing. I mean, he is great and all, but I still enjoy other characters like Chaol and Dorian more. For now, I love how Maas is putting friendships above romance, but I am so afraid that Rowan is going to become yet another love interest for Celaena (and she has enough of them already) and ruin this beautiful parabatai-like bond that Rowan and Celaena have going on now.

The thing that I like the least is the growing rift between the main characters from the firs book. Although I did not enjoy Chaol’s character as much in Heir of Fire as I did in previous books, I still believe he is the best character here. I still can tolerate Celaena and appreciate her bad-ass-ery , but somehow her endless assassinations are easily excused while Chaol’s fear of what magic can do and refusal to accept only one side (whether it is abandoning his city and accepting a very dangerous new queen or being loyal to a cruel King) gets so much judgement.

Hopefully, the story will get better as there is so much potential for it to go upwards or downwards, but I will be hoping for the best. With six books in the series, the filler book was to be expected, and although it required quite a lot of suffering, now I like the new characters very much. I liked that there wasn’t that much focus on romance, as I find it silly when characters spend more time obsessing over their love life than war. But I still hope Chaol and Celaena will find their way back to each other. Also, I expect for more focus on bromances, since there are so many great ones here.

Overall, I did not enjoy this book that much. So many characters were completely transformed, and the new ones did not hold my interest. However, the impressive world-building and complex plot makes me believe that it will get better.

What did you think of the book? Are you a pert of the people who absolutely love the series, or the ones who dislike it? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Book Playlist

  1. Twenty-One Pilots – Stressed Out
  2. Pink – Just Like Fire
  3. The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine
  4. Red – Let It Burn
  5. Civil Twilight – Fire Escape

 

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

5 stars

Plot: 10/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 9/10

Enjoyment: 10/10

Overall: 9/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: This is the second book in the Throne of Glass series. You can find the review for the first book below:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight is such a strong sequel to Throne of Glass, displaying Maas’s development as a storyteller and as a writer. While the first book in the series was entertaining, but quite predictable, with this one, it was impossible to guess where the story was going. Filled with action, impressive character development, love, betrayal, and mind-blowing revelations, Crown of Midnight definitely sets the bar high for the following books to come.

In this book, Celaena works as the champion for the King she despises, kidding her deceptions under the King’s nose. Fighting for her freedom as well as the freedom of others, she is in constant danger, especially since she is not the only one fighting for justice, and is forced to choose where her true loyalties lie. It is a book exploring the line between friend and foe, what people are willing to do in war, and most importantly, the battling with your inner self. The story is fast-paced, filled with wonderful romance and heart-wrenching tragedy, never giving the reader a break to catch their breath.

While the first book, although entertaining, followed a very clear and obvious storyline model, where everybody knew how the book is going to end, in Crown of Midnight everything came as a surprise. It had everything: character development, action, mystery, romance, friendships, loss, heartbreak, and much more. From the first page, I could not put this book down, I wanted to hug it at times, and then throw it to the wall at other moments. The book was so beautiful and I loved it, loved the characters and the romantic plot so much. Then my heart was ripped out and it was horrible, and I loved every minute of suffering! Any author that can make the reader feel such great and differing emotions gets my respect. The plot was so much stronger that in the first book, I loved how many surprises the book introduced.

I also think that one of the best Maas achievements with this sequel was focusing on all the characters separately. I absolutely loved the development of Dorian’s story, he became a fascinating character instead of being a boring love interest, and I hope we get to see more of his plotline development.

Furthermore, the romance in this book was just perfect. In the first book, I wasn’t sure if I would like any romantic plots, especially when there is so much going on, but this book just made me root for Chaol and Celaena! And it was (SPOILER) heart-breaking to witness their mere couple of week’s happiness tragically destroyed.

Moreover, I love how much attention Maas pays to friendship development. The heart-breaking twist of the story brought out anger and sadness in me, and it was a perfect addition to the book, making the characters feel real and led by emotions.

I love books that do not have clear lines between good and evil. You can see good characters making mistakes, and understand the supposedly evil side’s point of view. Maas perfectly displays that war is not white and black, and a lot that happens is grey.

Whether the end twist was very obvious or I spoiled it for myself before and did not remember it, it did not come as a shock to me. However, I am excited to see where the characters will go after so many revelations. With so many twists in this story, knowing the main outcome did not affect my liking of the book at all.

Overall, Crown of Midnight is one of the strongest sequels that I had pleasure reading. With already established rules of the magical world and the existing connection to the characters, the book brings out a lot of feelings from anyone who reads it. Whether you enjoyed Throne of Glass or not, the rich storytelling technique and a captivating plot make this book a must-read.

Book Playlist

  1. Digital Daggers – Head Over Heels
  2. Howe Gelb & A Band Of Gypsies – 4 Doors Maverick
  3. David Gray – We Could Fall In Love Again Tonight
  4. Kaleo – Bang Bang
  5. Mumford & Sons – Broken Crown

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review

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Ratings

5 stars

Plot: 9/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 10/10

Enjoyment: 10/10

Overall: 9/10

My Opinionated Review

“No mourners, no funerals”

Six of Crows has taken up one of the top spots in my favourite reads of all time – it just left me speechless. I have enjoyed it immensely, and instantly bought a new copy of it to give it as a gift to my friend. I feel like I need to share this brilliant piece of writing with everyone!

Set in a Grisha world created in Shadow and Bone, it is a twisted and fast paced story, keeping the reader at the edge of their seat straight from the beginning until the very end. It was my first book by Leigh Bardugo, and although I cannot say much about her previous works, this text is an excellent piece of writing, which does not require you to read the Shadow and Bone trilogy. It involves a team-up of six very different characters, who are full of issues, driven by selfish reasons, and involved in criminal activities. There is an impossible heist, a huge sum of money promised as a reward, magic, and, most importantly, magnificent and complicated dynamics. Bardugo certainly has done wonders with this story, creating the most captivating characters, a magnificent plot, and a rich story world.

The book has everything that I enjoy in reading:

  • An entrancing plot, where you have no idea where it is going, you fear for the characters, but that makes the journey much more enjoyable.
  • Complex but utterly fascinating characters. They truly are horrible people, but at the same time I could relate to every single one of them, and kept rooting for their success and survival. The story is told in five different perspectives, and it is done brilliantly, that although we get a fracture of insight of every character’s schemes and feelings, every single ploy still surprised me. I am just in awe of how well-crafted the characters were.
  • And the romance! This is what I call romance well done. It does not overshadow the story, giving the reader only breadcrumbs of a love story plot. But I kept eagerly anticipating the romantic scenes, and when they came, it turned me into a giddy girl. I mean, I never start shipping characters so quickly, but in this book, I did. Matthias and Nina’s story was the best part of the book, besides all the other wonderful elements. Really, I just can’t choose. But what surprised me the most was Kaz, or the existence of his feelings and exposed vulnerability. His amazing portrayal and care for a certain Wraith have to be the most thought-provoking character development.
  • The writing was splendid, everything was showed and not told, and the multiple perspectives resulted in the complexity of the story, without ever turning it clumsy or confusing.

Ok, I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I believe it is best to go into it without knowing much about it. I knew next to nothing about the plot or the grisha world, and it did wonders for me. I am so devastated that I have to wait months until the sequel’s release, but happy at the same time that I finally have a series where I look forward to the new book. Haven’t felt it since the Harry Potter series as I usually either start reading series when they are finished or get bored with them. But I realise now that I am in love with the fantasy genre again, and this book just proves how amazing this genre can be when done well.

Definitely one of the best books that I have read this year. I have decided to read it in a busy time in my life, so it took me 10 days to finish it. But I am so glad that I got to live in this story for so long because somehow it made the book much more special.

I highly recommend reading this book. It displays a perfect balance between entertaining and torturing the reader. Filled with so many surprises and magical moments, it is quite a wild ride. And did I mention the characters? Their dynamics are the heart of the story. I will not forget this book for a long time.

What are your thoughts on this incredible masterpiece?

 

Book Playlist

  1. The Civil Wars – Devil’s Backbone
  2. Kris Allen – Lost
  3. Ben Cocks – So Cold
  4. Jamie N Commons – Devil in Me
  5. X Ambassadors – Unsteady

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Book Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 6/10

World building: 8/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 7/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

Throne of Glass is a promising start to the series that have been the talk of the book world these past few years. Although it got a little bit too melodramatic at times, I really liked the premise of the story, and I see the potential of it getting better. It is an action-packed story, filled with badass characters, rich world-building, and a lot of potential for future improvements.

I will not bother telling much about the premise of the book since these days it can be compared to not knowing the premise of Harry Potter or Game of thrones. The story centres around the female protagonist Calaena, who is freed from slavery to become a candidate in a competition in becoming a King’s champion. Despite her young age, she is a well-known assassin, and must face the hardest of challenges to earn her freedom. She is ready to do anything to escape her enemy’s grip, but unlikely friendships with a king’s son Dorian, a captain of the guard Chaol, and a princess of another land Nehemia forces her to reconsider her plans.

I was quite afraid to read this series as it has been receiving so much hype lately, and I often tend to be disappointed in overhyped things. Although there were quite a few elements that bothered me, the story really hooked me straight from the beginning, making it impossible to put the book down.

Minor spoilers ahead.

The competition plot seemed a bit too ‘hunger games’ at first, but I did enjoy it for the most part. Although the author uses a typical structure, indicating a pretty obvious outcome, the cliqued plotline works in entertaining the reader. The plot was probably the weakest part of the book, but it was satisfactory enough, and since it is the first book in a six-book series, it worked as an opener for a complex story.

I really enjoyed the main character, since she is very different from the characters I am used to. She is not a good, misunderstood girl, no, she is a badass assassin who is also in touch with her femininity. Her characterisation had multiple layers to it since no one thing defines her. She is guarded, but flirty; strong, yet vulnerable; and a badass fighter, yet a girly lady. Nevertheless, there were quite a few moments when I found the character’s choices to be quite annoying. With so much at stake, all her distractions with silly things seemed rather unimportant.

This book also includes a traditional love triangle plot. I can admit that love triangles do not bother me that much when they are done well. I really like the romantic side of the story when the main focus is not on the love story, but on the action, and it leaves the reader craving for more. In this case, Calaena and Dorian’s supposed romance did not bring any feelings out of me. From Dorian’s side, Calaena is still an assassin, and there was not enough build-up for this instant connection to develop. Dorian just seemed a bit of a boring character overall, and his presence did not have any vital role.

Chaol, on the other hand, was the best thing about the book. I found his characterisation so well-crafted and enjoyable. His normalcy and lack of specialness made me get attached to the character really fast. Moreover, his dedication to the people he cares about, his moral compass, and his sense of obligation, made the character very appealing. Plus, the hints towards his and Calaena’s future romantic relationship warmed my heart, and I will be anticipating the further development of this romantic plot.

Overall, I really think it was an engaging book, filled with well-developed and multi-layered characters, and a promising plotline. I look forward to reading the next book since I see much potential for the main storyline’s improvement.

If you have not yet read it, I suggest you do, since this series has quite an important part in the book world. However, with all the existing hype, prepare for Thorne of Glass to be not as spectacular as it is made to look like.

What are your thoughts on this insanely popular series? Let me know.

 

Book Playlist

  1. James Bay – Scars
  2. David Gray – Alibi
  3. Hurts – Devotion
  4. Keaton Henson – Small Hands
  5. Imagine Dragons – I’m So Sorry

End Of Days by Susan Ee

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 7/10

Writing style: 8/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 6/10

Overall: 7/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: This is a review for the last book in Penryn & The End of Days trilogy. You can find the reviews for the first and second book here:

Angelfall by Susan Ee review

World After by Susan Ee review

End of Days is the last instalment in Penryn & The End of Days trilogy. It is a thrilling, action-packed conclusion featuring an intense confrontation between humans and angels in this apocalyptic fantasy saga.

The story picks up straight after the actions in World After, having Penryn and Raffe reunited and fighting towards the piece between the angel and human race. However, the piece is not that easy to achieve, especially when working with the enemy. Penryn has to make hard decisions in regards to her feelings to a certain angel and her dedication to the human race. It is a thrilling ride, filled with action, fighting, politics, trust, and betrayal. The author takes the story straight to hell and back, and tests the beloved characters in the most devastating way.

When thinking about the plot of the book, I could not find a single thing that was bad. The story is full of interesting twists, intense fights of survival, and moments that I did not see coming from miles away. And yet, I cannot shake the feeling of disappointment. In regards to the storyline, it had everything that the last book must possess: action, revelations, an epic showdown, a final stand, development of romantic and non-romantic relationships, and, of course, death. But what the book tragically lacked was the feeling.

I guess Susan Ee lifted my expectations with the first instalment too much. It was so good, that the last book, although quite decent, felt like a disappointment. Since Angelfall had so much vigour and tragedy, I expected a bit more from the last book in this trilogy. It was sad to see the series go out without a bang.

The seemingly good action did not draw out that many emotions out of me. Everything just seemed too weak. And although I thoroughly enjoyed the big showdown between the angels and the humans, I was expecting a lot more. Those scenes indicated so much potential, that could have had much greater impact if written with more emotion.

The second, and probably most problematic thing in the book, was the whole relationship between Penryn and Raffe. I loved those characters so much, both separately and together. They became one of the best, most passionate and heart-wrenching relationships in any book series. And the whole forbidden love angle never ceased to exist. Therefore, when having so much angst and separation anxiety, you expect some big emotionally draining moment of declaration of love. But it doesn’t happen.

For such a roller-coaster relationship that was the forbidden love story between Raffe and Penryn, the ending felt a bit anticlimactic. The expected epic and powerful moments never came, and since the ending scene in Angelfall or the sweet reunion in World After delivered very emotional scenes, the lack of feeling in the last pages of the book left me quite frustrated. For a love story that had immense build-up and angst, I hoped for more epicness, drama and pain.

I truly did not have a problem with the book until the very end. The author would start a very shocking or intense moment, with so much potential for trauma, and end it too quickly, without exploring the emotional impact further. My hopes for everything paying off in the end, were flushed down the toilet. I guess the masochist in me wanted to feel more pain. And although I am quite satisfied with the ending, it is not the kind of resolve I will be remembering for long.

Overall, End of Days has everything it is required from the last book in theory. But it fails in making the reader feel much. Compared to the first instalment, it is quite a disappointment. However, my fresh connection to the characters resulted in me really enjoying most of the book.

I still recommend reading the series but be prepared for Angelfall to the heart of the trilogy.

Have you read the series? What are your thoughts on the last instalment?

 

Book Playlist

  1. Half Moon Run – No More Losing the War
  2. Jetta – I’d Love to Change The World
  3. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
  4. John Paul White – What a Way to Go
  5. Andrew Ripp – When You Fall In Love

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Book Review

anna-and-the-french-kiss

Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 6/10

Setting: 8/10

Writing style: 7/10

Character building: 6/10

Enjoyment: 5/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

Anna and the French Kiss is a cute, funny and realistic romance story, with imperfect characters finding their own perfect world. It is very different from the usual contemporary romance: no misogyny, no over-the-top declarations of love, and no insta-love nonsense. It is a pure, simple, and very relatable book about love, life, and finding your place in the world.

This book is about Anna and her journey towards becoming an independent adult. Forced into going to spend her last high school year in an American boarding school in Paris, she has to deal with leaving her family and friends behind, and adjust to a new culture, new people, and an unfamiliar place. However, after befriending a group of students, she starts developing new relationships, gaining independence and self-identity, becoming a new and improved person, and realising that Paris might be quite an amazing place. This isn’t just a romance. It’s a story about growing up and finding your place in the world. It gives insight on both positive and negative aspects of life.

I loved the realistic portrayal of teenage life Stephanie Perkins gave to the readers. It was not just a romance story, it was life and struggles that come with it. Filled with disappointment and happiness, mistakes and forgiveness, and most of all, giving a perfect point of view of a girl trying to fit in in a foreign city, I found the story to be very relatable, since I am a foreigner myself. Plus, who doesn’t love a romantic Paris setting!

However, the most important part of the story was the romantic plotline, and although I found both of the characters honest and entertaining, the supposedly cute love story did not draw out many emotions out of me. There was nothing wrong with this book. Objectively, I see all the reasons why many people adore the story. But after hearing so many great things about it, my high expectations prevented me from really appreciating it. It was realistic and cute, and I respect the author for writing such a simple story. However, this simplicity ensued a very average outcome.

The main problem that affected my rating of the book was the lack of connection that I felt towards the characters. I ended up enjoying the life aspect of the book much more than the romantic plotline. St. Claire was a well-crafted character, very different from the usual love interest. But I just did not manage to really connect with him. I did find his and Anna’s misunderstandings quite amusing, it was very similar to what happens in real life. Yet, it just wasn’t anything special.

Despite not enjoying the book as much as I have hoped for, I still feel that more books like this one should exist. Actually giving a realistic point of view about romance and life in general, without those stupid over-the-top needy love stories, Anna and the French Kiss becomes a delightful break from the unnecessarily dramatic books. Nevertheless, considering so many good things that I have heard about this book prior to reading it, it came to me as a bit of a disappointment.

I still recommend reading it is you want something cute, simple, and refreshing. It might be your cup of tea despite it not being mine.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this romance, and your reasons for liking/disliking it.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Eagles – New Kid in Town
  2. Francoise Hardy – Tous les Garcons et les Filles
  3. Hélène Ségara, Joe Dassin – Et si tu n’existais pas
  4. Andy Williams – Moon River
  5. Twenty One Pilots – Can’t Help Falling In Love

 

 

World After by Susan Ee

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 7/10

Writing style: 8/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 7/10

Overall: 7/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: World After is the second book in Penryn & the End of Days trilogy. For a review of Angelfall, first book in the series, visit

Angelfall by Susan Ee review

World After is an enjoyable and satisfying sequel to Angelfall. However, it does not possess the same quality and intensity as the first book. Although with flaws, it is still an utterly enjoyable and action-packed story, displaying many twists and terrifying moments, as well as powerful scenes, and taking the war between humans and angels, as well as Raffe and Penryn’s story, to the next level.

The book begins straight after the intense ending in Angelfall: Penryn is waking up from her paralysis state, scaring many people with her ‘resurrection’. She is now with the resistance group, trying to ensure the survival of the human race, as well as get used to her sister’s drastic change. Separated from Raffe, who now embarks on his own journey thinking she is deceased, Penryn has to undertake a new mission of survival, filled with tragedy, horror, surprising reveals, and separation anxiety.

Upon starting this book, I had worries about the progression of the story. Since the first instalment was a young-adult fantasy masterpiece, the second book felt much weaker and disappointing. The main reason why this story lacked feeling and captivation was the separation between Raffe and Penryn. The majority of the story focuses on Penryn’s journey alone, and although the beloved angel is never forgotten, the lack of passionate and witty dynamics between the two main characters played a vital part in flagging the storyline. The reader was rewarded later on, plus, the plot never seemed boring or action-less. Still, the absence of delightful character dynamics affected the quality of the book tremendously.

Despite all the disappointing feelings that the sequel has brought out of me, I still very much enjoyed it. The plot, although not as strong as in the first book, had all the right elements, surprising and horrifying the reader along the way. Moreover, absence always makes the heart go fonder, and the separation between Raffe and Penryn worked out quite well in the end, resulting in a lot of angst and longing, and a heart-shattering epic reunion. Since it is a trilogy, I am quite impressed how the author is portraying the forbidden romance, never giving the two lovebirds a break, and torturing the reader with the absence of romantic scenes. It results in the romance never being boring.

I do miss the witty Raffe though. I know, the whole tragic and terrifying plot prevents the character from being too happy. Still, Raffe in Angelfall was a delight, and I wish he would have made an appearance more often. Having said that, I did enjoy the character development. Seeing his attachment to Penryn, and breaking quite a few of his believes because of his feeling for this human girl, was a satisfying factor.

It was also quite refreshing to see Penryn interact with her family. In the first book, it was made clear that the character was ready to do anything for her sister. Yet, we got very little interactions between them. World After explores the Young family bonds in more depth and allows Penryn to develop as a strong heroine by herself.

I am not sure whether it is an already established connection to the characters, an epic romance, or a really captivating premise, that made me love the story despite noticing all the flaws. Nevertheless, I believe this sequel is definitely worth reading. Although it does not possess the strong points of the first book, the plot remains to be intense and surprising, and the characters and the dynamics between them – complex and remarkable.

It is a highly addictive trilogy. There is no way to take a break in between the books. I guess, binge-reading the series adds to the enjoyment since the connection to the characters is fresh and not forgotten. I definitely recommend this trilogy but warn you to prepare for the first book being the strongest one in the series.

Have you read this series? Tell me what are your thoughts on this trilogy, and whether you like it or not.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Apocalyptica ft. Ville Valo and Lauri Ylonen – Bittersween Symphony
  2. Raveonettes – War in Heaven
  3. Sarah McLachlan – In the Arms of an Angel
  4. Ben Howard – End of the Affair
  5. Frances – Don’t Worry About Me

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 8/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 9/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

Cruel Beauty was a surprisingly captivating story. I have not expected to like this story as much as I did, especially since I was never planning to pick this book up. But this well-written blend of Beauty and the Beast retelling and Greek mythology has completely sucked me in and would not let me go until I finished the story. I was confused half the time, hardly understanding what is going on, not even trying to guess how it is going to end, and half the time getting lost in a passionate, dangerous and complex romance. This book is nothing like I have ever read before, it was so different, so weird and so mysterious that somehow, everything seemed to work perfectly.

The story is about Nyx, a young girl who is promised to be a bride of a monster that has been terrorising the town she lives in. Her mission is to do whatever she has to until she kills the beast. Since she is one of the twins that were chosen for sacrifice their life for the future of the townsfolk, Nyx has quite a lot of bitterness and anger bottled up inside her. Of course, after the marriage, her seemingly terrifying husband is not what Nyx was expecting, taking her on a journey where she has to make really tough decisions and sacrifices in the process.

I will not attempt to describe the book in more detail since I believe it is worth going to the story blind. I just want to ensure you that the first impression of this novel might not be the greatest, but sticking with it pays off later on.

It is so refreshing to read unusual Beauty and the Beast type of story, where the heroine is not simply an altruistic innocent girl, but a complex strong character, having her moments of heroism as well as darkness. Nyx was a wonderful female lead, full of witty remarks and rebellious spirit, strong and loving, but also filled with hate and resentment. Moreover, the Beast was not just simply misunderstood, but a character who was able to show heroism as well as villainy. He was complex, he was evil and yet he was not, and nothing was so simple. It was just refreshing.

The dynamic between Nyx and Ignifex was the most entertaining part of the book. Although I often have problems with some kind of enemy lover storyline where the love interest actually indulges in bad actions, this time, the romantic plot brought me only joy. Mainly because the heroine actually acknowledged that Ignifex is a monster, she was aware of his impurity, and aware that she was no angel as well. And having such a strong and self-aware female lead completely changes the dynamics of the allure of an enemy-lover type of romance. Because all the power was in Nyx’s, not the Ignifex’s hands.

Apart from all the good and captivating storylines, there were quite a few moments that just seemed a little bit too weird, even for this book. The completely twisted weirdest love triangle type of thing, the constantly changing mystery of a house, and very complex historical/magical background that was hard to follow. Yet somehow, everything made sense and the things that did not – did not matter. This is how the enemy-turned-lover books are supposed to be written, with passion, and colourful dialogue, and equality ground from both sides. This is also how a great fantasy book is supposed to be created, where it is impossible to guess the final outcome. I have trouble fully understanding the ending, and the whole book world, even after finishing the story.

Overall, my low expectations of the book left me completely surprised and enchanted with the story. I have laughed and cried, was entwined in mystery and passion, and overall, glad that I decided to read this story. If more authors would create such strong and complex female leads…

It is a weird story, it does not have the expected plot and does not follow the familiar structure. But after you get used to the weirdness, the book has so much to offer. So whether you love fantasy, or a captivating enemy-lover type of romance, or just like the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I would recommend picking this underdog up.

Book Playlist

  1. Snow Patrol – What If The Storm Ends
  2. Hozier – Arsonist’s Lullaby
  3. Sophie Zelmani – Stay With My Heart
  4. David Gray – The Other Side
  5. Regina Spector – The Sword & the Pen

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Book Review

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Ratings

5 stars

Plot: 9/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 8/10

Character building: 9/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

My Opinionated Review

Angelfall by Susan Ee is an example of a well-done fantasy apocalypse novel. Everything worked in this story. The fantastical element of angels was not new in any way, and yet Susan Ee has managed to portray them in quite a different light, expressing all their glory and horror. She created a strong and compelling heroine, who is tough in a believable way. And she crafted a wonderfully horrifying apocalyptic world, where quite a number of scenes downright shocked me. Although this book is directed to the young-adult audience, this novel is definitely not light.

The story takes place in California, San Francisco, and the surrounding area. Six weeks ago, the angels have appeared and started the destruction of the world. The place that is was before is completely destroyed, with street gangs trying to take control, people, ready to do anything in order to survive, and any previous development – totally forgotten. The world that the author creates is so fantastical, yet it felt real. Susan Ee has crafted the horror of apocalypse quite perfectly and did not leave any details of what horrible things and tough decisions people have to make in order to survive.

At the heart of the story, we have Penryn, a wonderful, tough, and snarky female lead, who had my admiration throughout the whole journey. Growing up in a troubled family, with her mother being crazy and talking with the devil in her head, an absentee father, and a wheelchair-bound younger sister, she has to take the adult role and become responsible for her family’s survival. However, her insane mother has prepared her for these tough conditions of how to survive the apocalypse. Penryn has had all kinds of combat and self-defence training, making her able to stand her ground, and quite skilful in this dystopian world. After witnessing a group of angels remove the wings off one of the fellow angels and flying off with her younger sister, Penryn is ready to do anything to reunite her family. She ends up teaming up with the snarky and powerful, yet now wounded and wingless angel Raffe in search of her sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed Penry’s journey and her dedication to her sister. She had to face quite a few challenges along the way, leaving her in despair. Yet she always came out strong. She is good, but not too good; tough, but not too tough. And loyal to the bone. Moreover, all the imperfections that she had, made her a much more complex and compelling character.

There was plenty of action going on throughout the length of the book. The story took so many twists and turns, making it impossible to guess where it would go next. This unexpected bundle of twists and turns and really horrifying moments has assured an intense journey. I definitely have an immense respect for the author for never being afraid to push things too far. It was never unrealistic and made the horror of apocalypse much more easy to imagine.

However, my favourite part of the book was the dynamics between Penryn and Raffe. The all-powerful angel was quite easily the most entertaining character, and with his charming witty personality, cocky confidence, and powerful warrior status, has filled the story with complexity and enjoyment. It was satisfactory to see him all strong and powerful. And it was even more pleasurable to experience his joking and witty remarks, shining some light and happiness on the overall terrifying plot.

The romance between these two characters was utterly pleasing and addictive. The forbidden love story between and angel and a human girl is always a guarantee for a wild ride. And it was handled so well, with the realness and humanity o it. There were no epic declarations of love, or much romantic development overall. The forbidden love factor was never forgotten, but the subtle hints and the lack of full-romance dynamics just made me ship these two characters so much harder.

Overall, Angelfall is a strong fantasy novel about angels, that is not afraid to embrace the darkness and horror. The wonderful character building and complicated relationships are handled so well, that the fantastic world becomes very believable. The complexity of it all delivers the reader a wild and intense ride, shocking completely at one moment, and then giving some hope later on. Moreover, the unusual type of storytelling really makes the reader feel in the middle of all the action.

I recommend it for every fantasy lover. It has action, complex characters, horrifying, yet captivating plot, and a highly-addictive romantic relationship, with a lively banter between the main characters being the heart of the story.

Book Playlist

  1. Scorpions – Send Me an Angel
  2. Imagine Dragons – Lost Cause
  3. Sarah McLachlan – Fallen
  4. Ingrid Michaelson – Can’t Help Falling In Love
  5. Calexico – Bloodflow