The English Wife by Lauren Willig

I saw this book and was immediately drawn by its beautiful cover. And after I read the premise of this story, I knew that I had to give it a shot. It has been so long since I’ve read a historical fiction novel, and this was the perfect chance for me to get back into the genre.

34945222Summary (Goodreads): Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?


My Rating:   3 star

Review: This was a really interesting read and I quite enjoyed all that it had to offer!

I love the way the author blended multiple genres into one book. There was a great historical background that served as the perfect platform for this mystery story that explores the depth of love and romance and secrets in a marriage. Everything worked in harmony, and it was unexpected for me so I really enjoyed it!

I also loved that the story was told from 2 different points of view. One story took place in the past and was told from the perspective of Bayard’s wife. The other perspective is Janie’s as she tries to figure out what happened in the end. I loved both of these characters as they each struggled in their own unique ways and had very different personalities. Both the past and present story lines were interesting, but I found that the present was a bit slower in pacing and not as exciting. This was, however, necessary in order to build up the intrigue and the various plot twists, and to give the story depth.

There were quite a few twists and turns and a number of characters that were pretty mean and nasty, which I really liked. I love having characters that are easy to hate sometimes because it makes me want them to be the evil-doers at the end of the book. It certainly added to the intrigue and left me guessing as to who was responsible for the death of Bayard and his wife!

The romance in this novel was done superbly. I loved every single bit of romance in this novel and I wish I could expound on this but it would ruin the story. Suffice to say, this novel deals with some romance elements that are not usually seen in historical fiction books and it is done very well!

I actually loved the ending because it took me by surprise and wrapped things up smoothly while still leaving it slightly open-ended.

There are only a few points of criticism that I have. For one thing, there are too many names that sound similar. Georgie, George, Georgiana … it was easy for me to get very confused. I don’t think all of these names should have been utilized, and I definitely think the author could have simplified it. The other weird part about this book has to do with the ending and the character responsible for everything. The ending seemed at odds with their behaviour at earlier points in the book. While I liked that the author chose to pin it on this person, I wish that the author had made it make sense with the character’s behaviour early on – or at least not make it so at odds with the end!

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book and the various twists and turns it took. It was a great way for me to get that dose of historical fiction while reading about romance and mystery. I’m giving this a solid 3/5 stars and I’m looking forward to what else the author has in store!

Happy reading ~

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Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill

This novel had me excited for a number of reasons. For one thing, it had such an interesting and (slightly) disturbing premise! And this novel takes place in Toronto, where I’m from! I have been seeing it everywhere in my local bookstores so I really wanted to go out and get a copy. Here are my thoughts:

Summary (Goodreads): Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that’s what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Kensington Market, where it sometimes buys churros and shops for hats. Jean doesn’t rattle easy, not like she used to. She’s a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving business, and Toronto is a fresh start for the whole family. She certainly doesn’t want to get involved in anything dubious, but still . . . why would two different strangers swear up and down they’d just seen her–with shorter hair furthermore?

Jean’s curiosity quickly gets the better of her, and she visits the market, but sees no one who looks like her. The next day, she goes back to look again. And the day after that. Before she knows it, she’s spending an hour here, an afternoon there, watching, taking notes, obsessing and getting scared. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the market’s only park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she’ll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants–the regulars of Bellevue Square–are eager to contribute to Jean’s investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, it becomes apparent that her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate stranger than death.


My Rating: DNF

Review: I rarely DNF a book. But this one … I just couldn’t do it.

I think my major problem with this novel was the way it was written. At first, I found the rambling voice of Jean to be intriguing, as it let the reader understand the way her mind worked.

But then it got old. Worse, it got boring. And this is with there being scenes with action to them.

I found myself very confused as to what was happening, and who was talking, and just … I couldn’t figure out the point of it all. Does Jean have schizophrenia? She certainly seemed like she had the symptoms.

Even though this novel had an unusual premise and I saw quite a few people give it 5 stars, I just couldn’t push through. I need my novels to make sense and not go off in multiple directions that don’t necessarily make any sense. I may come back to this novel at some later point in time, when I actually want to push through and give this book another chance. But for now, it is staying in the DNF pile.

Happy reading ~

Tradition by Brendan Kiely [BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY (US Only)]

Once again, I’m participating in an awesome blog tour, this time hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club! I’m so excited to be working with them to bring this awesome book out to everyone!

36373518.jpgBook Title: Tradition

Author: Brendan Kiely

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy, an elite prep school where history looms in the leafy branches over its brick walkways. But some traditions upheld in its hallowed halls are profoundly dangerous. Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook and its old-boy social codes behind. She wants freedom, but ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends are determined to keep her in place.

Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook, but the hockey scholarship that got him in has given him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches, whose mantra rings in his ears: Don’t disappoint us. When Jamie and Jules meet, they recognize in each other a similar instinct for survival, but at a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn’t be higher.

As Jules and Jamie’s lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and remain silent about the school’s secrets intensify, they see Fullbrook for what it really is. That tradition, a word Fullbrook hides behind, can be ugly, even violent. Ultimately, Jules and Jamie are faced with the difficult question: can they stand together against classmates— and an institution—who believe they can do no wrong?

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373518-tradition

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1481480340?tag=simonsayscom

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tradition-brendan-kiely/1127208788?ean=9781481480345&st=AFF&2sid=Simon%20&%20Schuster_7567305_NA&sourceId=AFFSimon%20&%20Schuster

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tradition-13

The Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tradition-Brendan-Kiely/9781481480345?ref=grid-view&qid=1523363168209&sr=1-2

This story is told from dual perspectives, and I really loved this part of the story. Both James and Jules are going through their own struggles at Fullbrook. James is struggling to figure out the nonchalant way people act about wealth and how they use their money to solve all problems. I really liked James’s character, who is slightly timid and is scarred from his own past experiences. He knows better than these privileged students: money can’t solve everything. I didn’t love Jules’s character as much because I found her a little too in-your-face. Of course, I didn’t want her to be someone very submissive, but at times, I found her attitude to be a bit … annoying, and perhaps not the best way to describe a feminist.
I also wish that James and Jules had a stronger friendship. At times, the story felt like it was telling two separate tales – which is really fine, because it would have worked well and connected well at the end. However, the author kept expressing that they were good friends. If this had been established better, I think my rating would have gone up.
I absolutely loved the writing style and flow of this novel. It was tense and engaging and it took the reader to places that could be uncomfortable, but were ultimately necessary in order to shed light on topics like consent, privilege, assault, and respect for others. Yes, there are other books out there that also speak about these issues. But I think that the more books that bring this to the forefront, the better. The novel handles these issues with delicacy and does a fine job of getting people to really understand what it must feel like for those stuck in similar situations to Jules and James.
This is a thought-provoking and gripping tale and I urge everyone to go give it a shot! I’m giving this book a solid 4/5 stars! 4 star.png

Check out these amazing blogs that are also a part of this tour!

Tour Schedule
May 1st
May 2nd

Book Freak Out

The Book Duchesses

May 3rd

We Live and Breathe Books
Living A Hundred Lives
Literary Meanderings

May 4th

Diane’s Book Blog
BookCrushin

May 5th

Blossoms and Bullet Journals
A Dream Within A Dream

May 6th

Confessions of a YA reader
YA/NA Book Divas

May 7th

Camilla Reads
Jill’s Book Blog


And now…. for the GIVEAWAY!

฀Prize: 5 copies of TRADITION by Brendan Kiely (5 winners will be chosen)

฀US Only

฀Starts: 5/1

฀Ends: 5/10

Click here to enter – this is a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all those who enter!

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope [BLOG TOUR]

I’m so stoked to be a part of the blog tour organized by St. Martin’s Press and the author!

Song of Blood & Stone_cover image.jpgSummary: Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Here is an excerpt from this book:

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year. The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts. His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her
head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ing in, his muscle memory offended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a
confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?
Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle. The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari
army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.
“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­self. There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth. “You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the effort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the
gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ant to look at. He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.” She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him. “You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.
“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said.
“I doubt that.”
Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again.“The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”
“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.” She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless. He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.” Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to
find shelter.” She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and
began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.
“What is that?”
“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.” He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”
“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”
“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

Be sure to check out this book – it is out today! If you like fantasy and clashing kingdoms, then this is a novel worth checking out!

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – The Shadow Game #1

This book has been making the rounds EVERYWHERE and I seriously cannot avoid it any longer. It is just far too intriguing and too many people have been raving about it for me to ignore it. So here I go!

30238163.jpgSummary (Goodreads): Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.


My Rating:     2 star

Review: So I really wanted to love this book but I didn’t. While there were some elements that I really liked, there were others that I found less than appealing.

I found the idea behind this book to be really unique and interesting. Granted, I have never read Six of Crows and everyone is saying that this book shares many similarities to it, but this had a very noir vibe to it and I loved having a very different fantasy setting than the usual kingdoms.

I only wish there had been better worldbuilding! I wanted to know more about the Mizers and the way society came to be, but I either found that the author was too vague or just dumped all the information at one go. There was no smooth delivery of information and the story suffered for it; when I wanted more information, I didn’t get it and when I didn’t need the information, I got it. It also meant that the amount of information was too much to process, so I would forget details and wonder why certain things worked in a certain way in the book.

Initially, I really liked Enne and Levi. I thought they were both very unique characters. However, that opinion didn’t really stick for too long. As the story progressed, I didn’t really see how these two characters were supposed to connect when they kept doing their own thing. Each of them was handling their own separate crises that were connected through only the thinnest of plot lines. Enne was handling her issues quite well on her own, which is something I really liked because most novels make the heroine incapable of doing anything on her own. But then this meant that Levi was really not too necessary. There were all of these mentions of what Enne and Levi are supposed to be but I never actually saw any behaviour that matched it.

I also really didn’t like the romance. At first, I enjoyed the way Enne and Levi interacted with each other. However, the feelings of romance and attraction between them were too far-fetched for me. I just couldn’t understand how their emotions for each other were so deep so soon.

Overall, I thought this novel had a really unique premise but I didn’t think the execution was up to the mark. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel – Themis Files #3

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

FINALLY! THE LAST BOOK IS HERE!

The Themis Files is one of my top science fiction series of all time! I really just love the writing style and the way the story takes so many different twists and turns! I was super stoked when the publishers let me know that the third book was ready to review, and I read this in March because I just couldn’t wait until May! Here is what I thought:

35820656Summary (Goodreads): In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.


Review: This novel left me feeling bittersweet for all the right reasons.

The story takes place 9 years after the previous book, but there is the expectation that the reader still remembers what happened from before. So if you haven’t read the previous books or you don’t remember what happened, READ THEM FIRST!

This story is once again told in a series of case files and interviews. This is a format that some may not like but I actually love it. It is just such a unique way to tell the story and it is surprising how it conveys a lot of emotion and allows the reader to connect and understand the characters. The writing style has always been one of my favourite things with this series and it continues to be so in this book, as well.

The plot for this story is slower than in the first book, but it is more than made up for by the depth of the story and all of the different connections that are made. There is so much that goes on in the story that there really is no need for a ton of action. I love the idea of the aliens, how the story mixes in politics and philosophy with science fiction, and the way the characters have grown and developed.

The only thing I didn’t like about the story was the introduction of a new character: Katherine. Now, the author has created some pretty zany characters who seem to lack depth at face value but are a lot more calculating or deep underneath. However, Katherine’s character was just too wacky for me and there wasn’t enough time in this one novel to give her any depth.

But overall, I loved this novel. I don’t want to give too much away because anything I say will be a spoiler. But this is a series worth reading. If you like science fiction and are looking for an interesting spin on a classic alien/robot story, this is one you don’t want to miss out on! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

 

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I was super excited for this novel because it sounded like such an amazingly dark retelling of The Little Mermaid. I’ve always loved this classic tale and I have been hearing raving reviews so I knew I had to give it a go! Here is my review:

34499221Summary (Goodreads): Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


My Rating:  5 star

Review: I cannot praise this novel enough: this was definitely a book worth reading! Everything in this novel was absolutely perfect and I don’t have a single complaint.

The tale is told in alternating voices, one being Lira’s and the other being Elian’s. They are both wonderfully drawn-up characters with so much complexity that it becomes very easy for the reader to connect with them. I love that they both grow and change as the novel continues and their interactions with each other were spectacular. Clearly, they are going to be each other’s love interest so I knew I was going to get romance. But let me tell you, the romance angle is done so very well here! There are no pesky love triangles, no unnecessary drama. Their feelings develop in such a natural and unique way, and I absolutely loved it. I was rooting for them from the beginning!

The writing was just beautiful. The author had some amazing worldbuilding and there was so much attention to detail! Every kingdom had its unique feature and the author made it all memorable with her beautiful descriptions. As I was reading, I could picture everything in my head and it just came alive.

This really was the Little Mermaid reimagined. It started off dark and stayed that way throughout. I could definitely make out the elements that were similar to the classic tale I love but so much of it was made unique that it felt like I was reading a completely different story. Balancing the classic element with the infusion of new components is a tough feat – but the author nailed it.

Clearly, I loved this novel. It is an amazing story with wonderful worldbuilding and memorable characters. If you like retellings or if you like fantasy or stories with pirates and mermaids and sirens and dark elements, then you have GOT to check this book out! I’m giving it a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Bookish Pet Peeve #3: Useless Protagonists and the Special Snowflake Syndrome

Every book has a main character or a group of main characters. These individuals drive the story forward. Their personalities and their future directions are what makes a reader love them and connect with them. My favourite thing in the world is to connect emotionally with the main character(s) and experience the journey along with them.

But there are some books that feature the worst kind of MC: the useless ones.

We’ve all come across these characters at some point or the other. They have absolutely no personality, cannot figure anything out, and can’t seem to do anything on their own.

AND I DESPISE THEM

I’m not going to call out any books here, because that wouldn’t be nice and I’m trying to be nice, but every time I read a book and I face a character that is like this, it makes me want to scream.

I like badass characters that can handle a fight, that can handle betrayal, that can handle everything that their world throws at them. If the character has resolved to go on an adventure, then I want them to put their adventuring boots on and rise to the occasion. I absolutely hate when the character just sits there, moping all the time, waiting for someone else to figure things out, someone else to step up and do everything for them.

Because when this moping and this waiting-for-someone situation occurs, it makes me ask this question: why am I even reading this book?

I don’t want to spend my time trying to form a bond with a character that literally does nothing to help themselves. It’s the way I feel sometimes with friends who continue to make the same mistakes/do nothing to improve something in their lives, but then keep complaining about it – I have no patience for that (okay, I have more patience when it’s my friends but not for a character in a book)!

I’m not saying that the MC has to be perfect. Please, make the MC flawed, make them stubborn, make them do stupid things! But make them self-reliant. Don’t let them wait around for others. Because then I care more about the side characters than I do the main one.

The worst part of all of this is when the author tries to hide this aspect of their MC by using the special snowflake effect. For those of you who may not know what the special snowflake effect is, it’s actually a syndrome where you attribute some “specialness” to the character and so, treat them differently. To me, this is the easy way out in a story. When you have nothing to really help boost your character in terms of their personality, you throw all of these abilities at them, as if to tell the readers “See, this is why you have to love and care about the MC!”

Now, I do like when my MC is different. I don’t necessarily mind when my MC is the “Chosen One”… but that doesn’t excuse them from having no backbone. I usually characterize novels as utilizing the “special snowflake syndrome” when they don’t give their characters anything else other than these awesome talents. It just leads to poor character development, and then I’m not as invested in the story.

So I’m done ranting … but now, it’s time to hear from all of you!

Have you encountered the special snowflake syndrome? Or how about characters that are just plain useless?

How do you deal with books like this? Are they automatic DNF’s or do you push through anyways?

Let me know in the comments!!!

The Girl I Used To Be by Mary Torjussen

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I am definitely on a roll right now with the thrillers! Most of the books that I have been reading for this month are thrillers and it has been quite interesting to see the trend in this genre, and how different authors go about trying to tell a tale that is unique and twisty enough for readers! Here is my review of this thriller:

Summary (Goodreads): The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she’s furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse…much worse. The problem is she doesn’t remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night–years ago–that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach…


My Rating:  2 star

Review: Unfortunately, this book just missed the mark for me. I think the premise was really interesting. However, I didn’t think the story was told in an interesting way.

The story is split into Part 1 and Part 2, and Part 1 is entirely from Gemma’s perspective. Right away, I pegged the person behind her paranoia (even though I didn’t know the motive). Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I was excited to see how the author would tie things together. However, it took way too long to get to it. The story moves along very slowly and I found myself quite bored with the story. I wanted that feeling of heightened tension and the dread creeping over Gemma … but I really didn’t get much of that at all.

Part 2 was a lot faster in pacing, which was a relief since it also contained the revelations. Now, I don’t think the actual thought process behind the revelations was bad, but the way it was delivered didn’t really work for me. It was a little too easy for Gemma to figure out who was behind it all, and I really felt as if the author told me rather than showed me.

The other negative part of this novel was that I didn’t really feel any connection to the character. Gemma was okay, but lacked a lot of personality. Most of the novel was about her husband not stepping up and helping her, and while I sympathized with this, it made her come off as one-dimensional. There is a revelation in Part 2 about something that happened to her, and it took me aback because I don’t think the author created any hint of this traumatic event so it seemed like it came out of nowhere and didn’t really fit with her character.

Overall, I think that this novel had an interesting story idea but missed the mark in terms of execution. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth [BLOG TOUR + REVIEW]

Welcome to my stop on this awesome blog tour for Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth!

Secondhand Origin Stories coverBOOK INFORMATION

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Publication date: 15 March 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Book links:
Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33834837-secondhand-origin-stories
Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/dp/197839781X/


Review: This was quite an enjoyable superhero novel! If you like anything to do with superheroes, then this is worth checking out!

I really liked how much diversity is in this story. I usually don’t point this out when I’m reading a book but I thought the author did a spectacular job incorporating it into the story. It added so many more dimensions to the characters.

I also really liked how character-driven this novel was. I’m a sucker for good character development, and this book definitely delivered on that front! All of the characters changed as the story progressed, and I loved that they were able to self-reflect and grow as individuals. Also…. SUPERHEROES! I loved that this novel featured them in such a unique way. It was great to view them as more than just saviours, but as humans, too.

As I had mentioned, this is a character-driven story. This means that the plot moves quite slowly. This was the only drawback to the novel; I wanted it to be a bit more fast-paced. However, I was willing to forgo that since the story had such amazing themes and characters in it.

I had so much fun reading this novel and exploring the multitude of issues it brings to the surface with the diverse cast of characters! For those reasons, I’m giving it a solid 3/5 stars!


Be sure to check out all of the other amazing blogs on this tour!

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

23 April (Monday)

24 April (Tuesday)

25 April (Wednesday)

26 April (Thursday)

27 April (Friday)