Posts Tagged ‘paranormal romance’

Ink – Amanda Sun

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing us a copy of this book!

WARNING: There are some minor spoilers in this review. You have been warned. HUZZAH.

You know that saying, don’t judge a book by this cover? Well I’ll admit it, I wanted to read this book because of the cover. But really, can you blame me? This cover is gorgeous! I mean look at that beauty!

So things were looking good for Ink. That is, until the romance appeared.

Summary

Katie is the new girl at high school. She meets the mysterious yet beautiful Tomohiro. He turns out to have supernatural powers. They fall in love.

Cons

Cliché

Does that summary remind you of anything? Say, I don’t know… every bad paranormal romance to exist ever?  Stripping away the Japanese element and the supernatural power in question; we have your boring, high school romance where nothing happens except our oblivious main character obsessing over some random jerk she just met. And the first half of the book, with the odd supernatural occurrence, was just Katie thinking about Tomohiro. And then talking to Tomohiro. And then staring at Tomohiro. And then thinking about him some more. And it got boring very quickly.

The Relationship

The only time I actually felt that they had some sort of romantic connection was near the end of the book, at which point it read like a school crush. Except we are supposed to believe, by this point, that these characters are so in love with each other that they would die for one another. Their relationship moved unbelievably fast.

The Characters

Katie felt very bland, as her whole personality seemed to consist of being in love with Tomohiro, which left no space for us to see anything else about her. And none of her other relationships seemed real because of it. Unfortunately, the minor characters had barely any screen time with Tomohiro taking up all of Katie’s thoughts. However, I will say that Katie, at least, had some common sense, which is more than I can say for most of those lead female characters out there.

And Tomohiro was creepy as hell. Sure he was certainly a lot nicer than most of the guys in paranormal fiction (*cough* Patch Cipriano *cough*), but the one attempted rape scene certainly changed my opinion about him. I know it was an act, and I know he didn’t mean it, and I know he was doing it for Katie’s good, but holy waffles did it make me uncomfortable. I mean, was he not the slightest bit worried about how Katie would feel afterwards, almost being violated by someone she thought she could trust? I didn’t get any inclination that he felt uncomfortable trying to rape her. And I didn’t understand why he could have just told Katie, straight up, that he was too dangerous to be around. Nope, his first resort was sexual assault. Creepy.

The minor characters really were lacking in personality. Jun was flirtatious. Yuki gossiped a lot. Tanaka… was there. Diane was sweet. There was a very obvious lack of subplots in this book, which would have helped greatly to make them more developed characters, however we know almost nothing about them and therefore they were mere cardboard cutouts of people.

The Writing Style

It was, honestly, nothing special. A lot of clichés used. Someone would say something, and Katie would tell us what they meant, even though we knew what they were talking about each time. It felt as though each fact was being repeated two or three times for us just in case we missed it, which felt unnecessary to say the least. However, the writing did flow nicely and the book was very easy to read, so I’m not trying to say that the writing was bad at all. It was good. It just could have been a lot better.

Jumping to Conclusions

Katie sees her drawings moving on the page, and then sees Tomohiro standing near her. She assumes that he is causing the drawings to move.

That seems like a pretty big conclusion to jump to for a girl who does not believe in the supernatural and barely knows this guy who she suspects to be making her drawings murder weapons.

Pros

The Setting and Paranormalcy

It’s nice to see a writer set something in a different country, and obviously know what she’s talking about. I don’t know much about Japan (apart from what I’ve learned from anime) but her facts did seem very accurate and the culture was fascinating to read about. And it did help me learn some more Japanese, which is always a bonus. And the supernatural element? Awesome. Drawings coming to attack you and cutting you yet having no control over it – a brilliant concept but also a nice new take on the old myths. My favourite parts were probably the gruesome yet beautiful images of the ink: pooling out of canvases and people; mixing with blood and to the ground, then suddenly disappearing in the next second.

The Humour

It was very sparse, but when it was there, it did make me smile. It wasn’t forced, like a lot of humour in books tends to be. And if there had been more of it, it would have made an even more enjoyable read and developed Katie’s character a lot further.

Quotes

  • “My heart was glass–easy to see through, simple to break.”
  • “They tell you you’ll forget how it used to be. You’ll get used to it, that it’s better to move on. They don’t realize you can’t. You’re not the same person anymore.”

Overall

A brilliant concept yet it was ruined by the unnecessary romance, and the bland characters. However, it was an enjoyable read and the setting and supernatural elements really enhanced the experience. 2 1/2 shuriken stars. Read it if you want a new, good, paranormal romance, or are looking for something quick and easy to read. Or if, like me, you’re a sucker for gorgeous covers.

Unearthly – Cynthia Hand

SOME SPOILERS!

Before you judge this book based on what other popular angel books lurk out there, listen to me. This book is not what you think it’s going to be. I know a lot of you are going to be expecting what I was expecting (cough hush, hush cough). Or perhaps on of the other books in the angel section of YA  (e.g. Fallen, Halo) that I have never read, but I have also heard from very popular opinion that they resemble hush, hush. (by the way, that’s not really a good thing.)

If you want a summary of my hush, hush review, here it is “Ew. No. Get away from me. No. Wrong. Bad. Stop.”

However this book is what happens when authors get it right.

Summary

Clara is an angel, and has found her purpose in life is to save this beautiful, amazing boy that she’s been seeing in her dreams, however lots of stuff happens that gets in the way.

Cons

Cover

This is both a pro and a con.

The covers for the book, while beautiful, are also misleading, just because I’ve learned to distrust covers of girls in long dresses looking forlornly at something. After all, both hush,hush and Wicked Lovely had beautiful covers, but were not so beautiful on the inside as they were on the outside. Factor in this pretty cover with the blurb about angels on the back and you’ve got a very cautious Weishi looking at it and wondering why she’s putting herself through this.

On the other hand, that is a really nice cover.

Writing Style

The writing style wasn’t hard to read, or very awkward to read. When I first started reading, I felt like she used way too many short sentences, where there could have potentially have just been commas. It felt very strange reading the description in this short, blunt, voice with lots of tension even when she was just chatting to her mum or doing mundane tasks. Perhaps it’s because I expected the writing to be very flowery and flowing at first, but then it turned out to be the opposite. Either way, I would have preferred a more descriptive and interesting writing style.

This will be associated with THOSE books

This is probably going to go in the supernatural romance YA section, where there are hoards of terrible books (I cannot say that with complete confidence as I try to avoid most of those books in that section, but I assume that a lot of them are written more because of the trend than to tell an interesting and unique story). This book deserves to be classed somewhere else with good books, not surrounded by horrible, awkward and repetitive novels about emotionally abusive relationships that are portrayed as good, and incredibly stupid leading characters.

Pros

Clara

Clara is a believable girl, for being a quarter angel.

She’s really pretty, but she knows she’s really pretty, which is a relief in YA Fiction. Most of these female characters must be close to blind as they never see their complete obvious attractiveness. Clara’s completely embarrassed by her new hair because it takes away how pretty she is. And she’s not perfect!

She’s not this angel prodigy who’s supposed to save the world or whatever. She’s just this normal average angel. And she’s likeable. She’s actually likeable.

Well done, YA fiction gods! We have found a likeable character!

Love Triangle

The love triangle finally made sense. Cynthia Hand acknowledged this stupid magnetic connection excuse that authors use because they’re too lazy for actual character development.

Clara feels this magnetic connection towards Christian (ironic name, right?) because he’s her destiny. She’s meant to be with him. But just because she’s supposed to be with him, that doesn’t mean she wants to be with him. It’s like this completely irrational mega crush that she has on him, and she knows it feels more like lust than love.

Because she falls in LOVE with Tucker. Like, actual character development love, in this bunch of scenes that make the novel feel more like a Nicholas Spark’s novel than a Paranormal Romance. It spans over a time period, and is definitely not immediate.

Kay

Marcie Miller from hush, hush is what Kay could have been. She could have been a real sandwich about everything and a massive stereotype, and to begin with I really did think she would be some cliché mean girl. But as it is becoming a theme with this book, Kay was more dimensional. Not that Clara came to like her, god no they were horrible to each other, but Clara came to understand why Christian loved Kay (fun fact: every time I try to write Christian, I type Christmas first by mistake an have to go back and change it).Kay’s actually kind of nice, not this complete sandwich.

The End

Holy crap, that ending. That twist.

Oh my god.

I want the next book, that ending. Whoa. I really did not see that coming.

Quotes

  • “Tucker,” I say. “I’m so glad you’re still here.”
    I throw myself into his arms. He hugs me tightly.
    “I couldn’t leave,” he says.
    “I know.”
    “I mean, literally. I don’t have a ride.”
  • “I feel like Cinderella sitting in the middle of the road with a pumpkin and a couple of mice, while Prince Charming charges off to rescue some other chick.”
  • “I think he seriously believes that deflowering an angel could mean an eternity in fiery hell.”
  • “In fact, I’ve essentially given up on the idea of flight altogether and accepted that I’m going to be an angel-blood who stays earthbound, a flightless bird, like an ostrich. Maybe, or in this weather, a penguin.”

Overall

Hmm… What to give this one?

It’s more of a fun read than an amazing amazing amazing book, however it rose from the ashes of terrible paranormal romances and showed how it’s supposed to be done.

So 3 1/2 shuriken stars. Perhaps it wasn’t perfect, but it was exempt of all the problems that plague nearly all paranormal romances. And I’m actually very interested to see where this series goes.

Girl of Nightmares – Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)There are MEGA spoilers to both books. I wish there was a way for me to keep this spoiler free but it’s not possible. It’s really not possible. LEAVE! GO READ IT! I BEG YOU TO READ IT PLEASE READ IT!

A while ago, I posted this rant about what I hate in a lot of YA Fiction, though honestly it was mostly about the Paranormal Romance section of YA fiction, where I can barely ever find a book without these problems.

But I have found it.

I have found the paranormal romance which I absolutely adore and love and makes me want to cry because it’s over and why would you do this to me Kendare Blake how did you make me have so many feelings over paranormal romance, the one section of YA fiction that consistently continues to disappoint me and I can’t get over how much I love this series.

So a few months ago, I did a review of Anna Dressed in Blood, and while I was gushing (and having withdrawal from FMA:B, which I then got Yanni addicted to, and now she sings the theme tune to torment me because somehow she has gotten over the ending and yet it still haunts me to the brink of wanting to curl up in a ball and die because it’s over), it was the first book in a duology, and I was being pretty brief, as I have learned that the first book can go very downhill very easily. A lot of the first book was set up, so it was hard to review without knowing if all these questions would be resolved and if these characters would develop further.

So this review is going to be me just constantly ecstatic over why this is the best paranormal romance I’ve read and why you should all go and read it and why I spent about ten minutes rocking back and forth on the floor, staring into nothing, trying to get over the fact that I was never going to read about Cas’ pure sass again.

Plot

For those of you who are still here even though you haven’t read either of these books, then here’s a quick summary. Cas (the most awesome protagonist to exist in paranormal romance) falls in love with a murderous ghost (the most awesome love interest to exist in paranormal romance), and then loads of stuff goes down and it’s really awesome.

NOW PLEASE LEAVE BEFORE I RUIN THIS BOOK FOR YOU PLEASE JUST GO AND READ AND EXCERPT AND IF YOU LIKE IT THEN BUY IT OR BORROW IT OR SOMETHING I DON’T WANT TO RUIN AN AMAZING SERIES FOR YOU.

For all of you still left, hi, I’m guessing you’ve read Girl of Nightmares (OR GET OUT AND GO READ IT PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU NOT TO READ ON WITH THIS REVIEW), so you don’t need a plot summary, but there are probably a few left who still haven’t read it (PLEASE READ IT), so let’s give a summary anyway.

Cas is having nightmares and visions of Anna, and what looks like her committing suicide and getting tortured over and over again, and then goes to try to save her from it.

Cons

I would like to say the ending but I can’t because the ending was amazing even if it broke my heart.

And I may have teared up because I love these characters so damn much and Cas why do you have to go and be so noble and awesome but of course you would because you’re Cas Lowood and damnit. (on a side note, apparently it’s spelled dammit, but I really hate that spelling, so I’m going to ignore it.)

Oh yeah!

Did it remind anyone else of Doctor Who? Like the suicide forest scene was kind of like the weeping angels, and the bit with Anna at the end reminded me of when Ten leaves Rose but there’s like other Ten in Journey’s End (I can’t remember which episode it is), but whatever, it might just be me watching too much Doctor Who.

Pros

I am saving characters for last, because that is a mega big gush over how much I loved them, so instead I’m going to try and cover all the ways bad books fail and how Girl of Nightmares prevails to kick their asses.

1. Likeable Main Character

I’m not going to go into this, since this is an entire list on it’s own, but Cas is pure sass. My favourite thing about the Anna series is that we get to spend all this time in Cas’ head, listening to his dry, funny comments about the stupid people around him and yet does not come off as obnoxious or annoying. But more on that later.

And he’s not a creepy abusive stalker, so that’s always a plus in YA fiction.

2. Likeable Love Interest

Anna, unlike most seemingly bad but actually nice and reformable paranormal love interests, is actually both terrifying and loveable. First, she kills. She’s not all talk and no action, she actually rips people apart and has a basement full of dead bodies of her victims. She’s gruesome with blood coming all off her and it’s bloody creepy, seriously, it’s gross and haunting and vivid. She’s pretty, but Cas isn’t in love with her just because he’s lusting after her  body, he actually loves her. You can tell how much he loves her, because even when she’s in her creepy goddess mode with black veins and bloody eyes, he still loves her (that and how can you not be truly in love with someone if you do THAT at the end).

3. The Romance

You actually root for Cas. It’s genuinely sweet and funny yet not perfect (come on, first she tries to murder him and then she’s also dead and he accuses her of murdering a jogger), but it’s also pretty interesting to see whether Cas loves her because she’s her, or because he’s got this weird fascination with ghosts, and she’s like the epitome of weird ghost stuff. He even says how boring living people are, this boy who’s entire life has basically been bombarded with ghost hunting and ghost killing and this gruesome interest in ghosts.

Also, come on, I don’t know how you can argue that their romance is not adorable. When Cas finds Anna, it’s not mushy or overbearing or whatever, it’s just adorable. They don’t have delusions that this love will defeat anything and is stronger than anything in the world and no one is as in love as they are (cough twilight cough), AND THEN THE END AND I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT WITHOUT FEELING PHYSICAL PAIN.

And it’s not driven by lust, it’s not insta-love (I think it was more a fascination for Cas that became love once he got to know her, it started with his fascination because he’s so in love with his ghost hunting life. At least that’s what I think it is), and Cas acts how an actual teenage guy would act if he was in love (at least I’m presuming, I don’t know, guys of the world please tell me if I’m wrong).

4. The  Scary Stuff is Actually Freaking Creepy

Oh my god. Some of this stuff is freaking messed up. Cas’ constant nightmares of Anna commiting “suicide” over and over again and when she had half a face and she was bleeding and cuts were appearing on her arms… that’s real creepy stuff.

5. The Writing Style

Not only is it perfectly suited to Cas’ voice, but it’s this perfect mixture of dry humour and gruesome images that are described gorgeously. For example:

  • “His skin is black as a struck match, cracked and oozing liquid metal heat, like he’s covered by a cooling layer of lava. The eyes stand out bright white. I can’t make out from this distance if they have corneas. God I hope they have corneas. I hate that creepy weird-eye sh*t.” (censored because we need to be at least slightly PG)

Also, Kendare Blake does not shy away from swearing (like we try to), because that’s realistic. We’re inside a seventeen year old boy’s head, I really doubt he doesn’t swear inside his head or out loud. But she doesn’t overuse it like a trope that’s trying to make Cas sound young, he uses it when average people would actually swear. AND he makes pop culture references, which add to his believability as a character (unlike some authors who you can tragically tell can remember what it’s like to be a teenager, but like twenty years ago so everything comes off as so damn dated)

6. The Covers

Unrelated, but oh my god the covers are gorgeous, I mean just look at them:

They are absolutely gorgeous. They never have to make second editions of this series ever, because these covers are absolutely perfect. The writing and the imagery and the colour scheme and the girl and the continuity, it’s all just perfect perfect perfect perfect perfect. And guess what, it actually relates to the content of the book. It’s not a girl holding a flower and a strawberry and looking longingly out to the reader, then actually about freaking badass fairy-zombie detectives (NB, this book does not exist, if it does then I MUST READ IT).

7. The Ending

God freaking damn the ending was simultaneously the best and the worst ending.

The best, because it was a damn good ending and the best scenario that could have come out of their situation. If Anna stayed, then she would just watch Cas grow old and die and their relationship would never last. The only other way would be for Cas to die and join Anna, and as much as he loves her, he’s not going to sacrifice everything he has for her because he actually (GASP) has common sense!

8. The Minor Characters

It is rare to have minor characters that are actually likeable and are there with their own story instead of just as a plot device.

Truth be told the books could have been told from Carmel, Thomas or Anna’s point of view (though they would not be nearly as good without Cas’ sass), because they each have their own opinion and own thing going on at that point. And, get this, they’re all likeable.

Even though Carmel deserts Cas and Thomas, you understand why. She never asked for a life in ghost hunting, she’s not suddenly going to give up her perfect grades and her set out future and stable career just to chase down adventure, she’s had her own life planned out and she actually has a choice of leaving it. She’s being selfish, sure, but she’s allowed to be selfish. No one in real life is completely selfless, because being that selfless is dangerous, because throwing your life away for someone else is unfair to you. Carmel is believable and likeable (and damn awesome in the end against the stupid Order of the Black Dagger). And she’s also not a stereotype (Marcie Miller you could have been this, look at what potential you had), she’s the most popular girl in school and she’s beautiful and blonde, but she’s also a badass and extremely smart and not a sandwich (which is my word for a different word that I’m not allowed to say on this blog).

And do I need to even cover Thomas? He’s awesome. He’s a nerd and awkward and still badass and awesome.

Even Jestine (who nearly became the third point of the love triangle from when I first met her, but then transitioned into something way more awesome instead) was a great character. She’s basically a girl version of Cas, except in a very different situation, and you see Cas’ rivalry and distrust of her and you don’t like her because of it, but at the same time you can see the exact same events panning out if Cas and Jestine swapped places, Cas would act exactly as Jestine does, and that’s what makes it really interesting. That and this constant paranoia I had over Jestine whether she was good or bad, whether she was going to back stab them or save them.

9. Parent(s)

Cas’ mum is actually nice.

I know, it shocked me too.

Most parents in these books are either dead or always absent leaving the house conveniently free for lots of making out sessions. But Cas’ mum is actually relevant, and though she doesn’t want Cas to do all this stuff, you understand why, I mean he’s her teenage son. She’s lost her husband to the same ghost that her own son wants to up against, but at the same time she knows that he needs to do this. She’s also funny and embarrassing and a badass. It’s nice to see a parent who isn’t this bland plank of wood that most of them are in YA Fiction.

10. Plot

There is a plot in the books. A plot exists. It’s not this random, thrown together thing just to add to the tension in the make out sessions, and the guy isn’t all seemingly heroic and saves the girl whenever she’s in danger (Anna kicks Cas’ ass easily), it’s both sad and intriguing and interesting and not overshadowed by the romance. Round of a freaking applause.

Theseus Cassio Lowood

He is officially one of my favourite characters to exist in YA Fiction.

I don’t have a list of favourite characters in YA Fiction, (I started to list some of my favourite characters, but I just can’t because the list is way too long and then I have about 10 from skulduggery pleasant and the book thief and it just gets too damn long, and then obviously Hayden and Leo and Todd and Viola and Zin and Tyson and no, stop, I can’t do this, it’s going to take forever), but Cas would definitely be somewhere on it if it existed.

If I could think of anyway to describe him, it would be like the best possible cross of Leo Valdez and Jace. Like he is a bit of a smartass, really kickass, angsty at times and arrogant at other times, but he’s also awkward and feels like the third wheel and is likeable and smart. The funny thing is, usually my favourite characters are the secondary ones (with a few exceptions) but it might be because Cas really isn’t the protagonist of this story, it’s Anna. The whole story is Anna’s story, it starts with her curse, and ends with her freedom. It’s all about  Anna, the entire plot, Cas is just a part of it (a pivotal point, but still a point), so maybe that’s why I love him so much. But without further ado:

Reasons why Theseus Cassio Lowood Is The Best Male Lead in Paranormal Romance

1. Even though he’s a self-admitted smartass, he doesn’t come off as obnoxious (at least, not unbelievably so).

2. He’s arrogant, and he has a right to be. He’s a freaking teenage ghost hunter. And he’s stubborn yet determined, which can sometimes make him irrational, but altogether the fact that he actually has faults make him a great character. LISTEN. CHARACTERS NEED FAULTS, AUTHORS. READ THIS BOOK AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.

3. He’s not selfish. He loves Anna enough to let her go (even though I wish he was selfish BECAUSE WHY CAS WHY JUST BECAUSE ANNA’S HAPPY DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL BE FINE AS WELL DAMN YOU FOR BEING SO DAMN NOBLE), because we see that even though he can be annoying and arrogant and cold on the outside, he’s really got this heart of gold on the inside. He’s willing to let her go and he can actually live without he, unlike some people. He’s not some crazed suicidal teenager just because his love is gone, he accepts it and he tries to move on, even though he loves her, because the thought of her being happy is all that he needs (Read New Moon if you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Bella and Edward are insane and way too suicidal over people they’ve only known a few months).

4. He’s not this over-angsty guy, and doesn’t just sit around all depressed about his dad dying. He has his moments, but those moments are believable and do not take up entire chapters of him just sitting around moping about how hard his life is. Instead, he deals with it by throwing himself into ghost hunting, not realising that he’s only doing so because he’s trying to fill this gap his dad made, by trying to live up to what he thinks he should be. And he angsts over something legitimate, come on, his dad got eaten by a freaking ghost.

5. He is not a creep. Thank you, YA Fiction gods, for giving me a character that’s not a goddamn creep, he isn’t a stalker or a weirdo (you know, apart from trying to murder his would-be girlfriend), he’s just a normal guy with a not so normal hobby.

6. He doesn’t over romanticise stuff, which is such a nice relief. His love for Anna does not make him this crazed-obsessed guy. He even hates how much he loves her, because he realises how soft he’s becoming and how it’s getting in the way of his ghost hunting.

7. He is a sarcastic, witty person who makes pop culture references. How can you not love him? He compares Anna to Neo from the Matrix, he’s compared to the ghostbusters and Buffy and he thinks superheroes are ridiculous in their spandex.

8. He somehow still remains the underdog, which makes me root for him. In the first book, we see that Cas is pretty awesome, he’s pretty exceptional, whereas in this book, we see more and more that he’s completely out of his depth. Everyone thinks he’s crazy for trying to go to hell just to save his girlfriend, and we see Jestine show him up more than once. He’s the third wheel, he’s not trusted by his friends, he’s seeing visions of his girlfriend murdering herself, he’s an outcast at school who doesn’t give a damn what other people think, he has no idea what to do, and we want him to win against all odds. Which just makes the ending make me want to cry more.

9. He’s smart and has common sense. We’re not told he’s smart, we just know he is because he acts smart. Unlike characters we are constantly told are smart with perfect grades and ivy-league schools but have no working brain cells, Cas actually thinks things through instead of jumping to idiotic conclusions (cough Nora cough).

10. His sass is like the best thing in the entire world. I don’t know if sass is even the right word to describe it but I don’t care because The Sass of Cas just sounds way too good. His inner commentary is what makes the book, which is why I’m kind of worried about the movie, since we’re not going to be inside Cas’ awesome head and that’s what made me love it so much. I want to see a sass-off between Cas, Jace and Valkyrie. Someone please write a fanfic and make it happen (the only reason I don’t include Skulduggery Pleasant is because come on, we know he’s like the king of sass in YA/Children’s Fiction).

11. It’s the most damn heartwarming thing that Cas finally finds friends. We see that even though he loves this lifestyle, it can be damn lonely, and you can kind of tell that Thomas and Carmel might be the first real friends he’s ever had, the first genuine friends that he can trust, because he’s let himself become cut off from the world, and he’s finally finding a place where he fits in.

Quotes

  • “Every time I question him about the feasibility, he smiles at me like he’s Yoda and I’m just a dumbass without the Force.”
  • “I don’t care what your name is,” she hisses. “And I don’t care who you are. If you don’t get him some help, I will burn your f*cking place down.”
  • “All this faux flattery. It’s not enough to make me forget he’s a dick. Admittedly, though, he’s sort of a charismatic dick.”
  • “He almost killed my friends. F*ck that guy.”
  • “Chef?” Carmel exclaims. “I could give a sh*t about a chef. I’m going to find the most expensive thing in that kitchen, eat one bite, and throw the rest on the floor. Then I’m going to break some plates.”
  • “Jestine and I lock eyes. She’s going to look away first. Even if my eyeballs have to completely dry out.”
  • “You’d better eat that,” she says.
    “I’m taking it easy on my stomach,” I protest. “Come on. It just had a knife in it.”
  • “I want to cross my arms and say things like, “Don’t come back if you’re not going to stay!” and “If you think that nothing’s changed, you’re wrong.” But she probably heard all this stuff from Thomas already. I wasn’t the boyfriend. I don’t know why I feel like I should get the chance to yell at her too.
    Jesus. I have become the thing they call the third wheel.”
  • “Without a word, we start to walk together down the long hall. I’m so pent up and irritated with this place; I want to kick down the closed doors and break up a prayer circle, maybe juggle the athame with a couple of candles just to see the horrified looks on their faces and hear their screams of “Sacrilege!”

Damnit I need to stop adding quotes before this gets out of hand. It’s just a really damn quotable book. I could give you a hundred more, (better yet just make you read the entire thing if you’ve stayed this long and still haven’t read it), but let’s just add one more so my heart can shatter:

  • “What?” she asks, but I don’t answer. Instead I kiss her, one time, and try to tell her in that single gesture everything that she’ll forget as soon as she turns away. I tell her I love her. I tell her I’ll miss her. And then I let her go.”

And with that, I can feel something inside of me crying.

Overall

It was pretty obvious from the beginning, wasn’t it? 5 shuriken stars. Please read this. Not only one of my favourite book covers to exist, but one of my favourite YA books to exist. It blows away all other Paranormal Romances. It is a completely brilliant series and I love it so much but at the same time please, Kendare Blake, please. Please write something else about Cas. I beg of you. Maybe a third book in the series would not make sense, but a short story or a spin-off or something, anything, would be amazing.

I beg of you.

Or an alternate ending so Anna comes back to life and her and Cas get married and have kids and everything’s happy again because there are tears in my soul. There are entire rivers of them running through my heart. Freaking hell, I did not realise this ending would traumatise me so much but it did, guys, it really did.

hush, hush – Becca Fitzpatrick

I’m going to put a little warning here. A WHOLE LOT OF SPOILERS, for one thing.

I rant like crazy in this thing. I get so frustrated and annoyed and, basically, I’m horrible to this book. I really didn’t want to be this mean, but every time I tried to hold back, more ranting came out.

If you remotely like this book, please don’t read this review, you’ll hate it. I promise you, you will. I’m not nice to this book. So if you don’t want to hear it, go on a different review, or even click the little X button. You won’t want to hear me rant about how much I didn’t like it.

For the rest of you that’ve stayed, I apologise in advance for this. 

So you know it’s bad when you’re reading a book and you’re counting down the pages until it’s finished. You’re so relieved that the book has ended and you have survived it. It doesn’t tear your heart out (Like Kingdom of the Wicked) or leave you feeling so alone in the world now that it’s over (Monsters of Men). You feel like you’ve finally escaped it. And then you make a review and rant about it because that’s the only reason you got through it in the first place.

I’m going to put this plainly, it was like a very very horrible, very creepy (but in a bad way) version of Twilight + The Mortal Instruments. Twilight, for obvious reasons, boring girl, meet in high school, fall in love with supernatural creature thing, action only starts in the last few chapters, and so on. The Mortal Instruments because it talks about Angels and Nephilim and all that stuff. And Patch is a “bad boy” (Jace kinda was, until he got full of so much teen angst).

Summary

Patch is a fallen angel (SPOILER: Even though they tell you on the blurb). Nora and Patch fall in “love”. Oh, and there’s some random guy in a ski mask as well, who’s not very nice.

I literally can’t think of anything else that happened.

Pros

The cover is pretty. I mean, look at it! It’s all moody and cool and stuff. I do have a problem with my edition (I’ll get into that in the Cons), but this one is really nice!

And um, well done Becca Fitzpatrick for making a load of money? I had to put that in there to say that I’m not insulting her as a person, good for her being successful and living her dreams, but the book… That’s a whole other story.

Cons

A small thing before we start.

Why does everyone wear Levi’s in this book? There is so much product placement, I have a feeling that they were paying Becca Fitzpatrick to do it.

The Usual

Dialogue = UGH. No, not good. Sometimes I was like, yeah, this is ok. Other times, BLEH. IT WAS SO SO SO SO SO HORRIBLE. Everything sounded so set up and fake and just made me feel so BLEH.

Writing Style = NO. The description was so forced. At the beginning, I swear that was one of the most awkward descriptions of characters ever. No one describes themselves as a smoky eyed brunette. NO ONE. Or all legs like a barstool. Unless it was supposed to be like that so Nora could come off as a really arrogant girl. Speaking of which…

Characters = Ok, I’m going to be frank. If I don’t like characters, I will usually not like a book. There haven’t been any exceptions to that yet. (Maybe The Death Cure, but that still bothered me, and it honestly wasn’t to this scale. At all. It’s like comparing your phone vibrating to an earthquake.) I seriously hated every single character in this book. They were all so annoying and creepy and shallow and stupid. I dare you to find a single character in this book that didn’t annoy the heck out of me. More on that later.

Setting – Not very original at all, because we learn basically nothing. At least in the Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare takes the time to explain all this stuff about Nephilim and what happened and all this really really awesome background. This? Patch is a fallen angel because he fell in love with this random girl, so they got rid of his wings.

Plot – No. Predictable and annoying.

Ok. Let’s go.

Cover

I said I thought the cover was really good, right? But my problem is that with my cover, I hated the quotes and recommendations. Usually publishers will put the best recommendations they can find onto a cover. That usually tells me a lot. If you look inside the Book Thief, (one of the best books in existence), you will find a ton of quotes. From reliable and well known sources as well. Let me see…

There are two pages worth of praise for the Book Thief, in tiny print. They are completely glowing reviews as well, from The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal… and a heap more. And all these reviews are so good. Here’s one of many “Unsettling, thought-provoking, life-affirming, triumphant and tragic, this a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told” – Guardian.

Now let’s compare this to hush, hush. The publisher’s chosen quotes are from these three sources. Publisher’s Weekly (which I’m pretty sure is a good pick, but I don’t know much about them), Sugar Magazine (bad choice) and BellaandEdward.com. Seriously. While I’m not trying to insult any of these sources, I’m just saying that they’re not particularly well known to be reliable sources of book reviews.

So I was already slightly put off by that, but I ignored it. The Hunger Games had a quote from Stephenie Meyer, but she writes utterly different books.

Let’s break this next bit down.

CHARACTERS

Nora

I figured we’d need to get to one of the problems straight away. Nora. I don’t know if it’s the author acting like this or Nora acting like this since it’s first person, but holy hell Nora is dumb. And she wants to get into Harvard. I’m sorry, but I doubt she’d get into Harvard. They usually have common sense and logic and the ability to, you know, actually work out stuff.

Nora, not so much.

She’s seriously dumb. And annoying.

Good god, is she annoying. And we’re supposed to admire this character? Her relationship with Patch is the most dysfunctional thing I’ve ever read that someone’s tried to pass off as a good romance. More on that later.

And she jumps to conclusions so fast, which I’m sure is a product of bad writing, not her being that idiotic. Because no normal person acts like that.

All I wanted to happen was Valkyrie Cain to show up and roundhouse kick her in the face or something. Valkyrie, please go slap some sense into Nora, and stop her from lusting over a to-be-serial-rapist. Then go and kill Patch, because damn he’s creepier than Caelan.

There must be some fanfiction that does this, please, because I would totally read it just to show Nora how idiotic she is, even though I don’t read fanfiction. Or at least some fan art. Come on, tumblr, there must be something.

Patch

If there was any character I’d read about that I presumed was a serial rapist, it would be him. He’s creepier than actual rapists in books.  (Like that guy from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He was creepy as hell.) He has the most cheesy pick up lines in the world. To ever exist, ever. And they’re supposed to be really hot? No.

  • “Say ‘provoking’ again. Your mouth looks provocative when you do.”
  • “Do you want to possess my body?”
    “I want to do a lot of things to your body, but that’s not one of them.”
  • “Soap. Shampoo. Hot water.”
    “Naked. I know the drill.”

Also, Patch tells Nora on their first meeting that he’s stalking her. He takes pictures of her and knows everything about her and he’s god, so annoying.

He says he likes girls if they’re intelligent, attractive and vulnerable.

WHAT.

VULNERABLE?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

If I didn’t think he was going to assault someone before, now I’m sure of it.

The “Love”

Notice the little “” around the word Love. That’s because what they have is not love. It’s LUST.

It’s a very obvious distinction, as well. Tell me one aspect of Patch that Nora actually admires, or loves. That’s pretty much impossible. And looks don’t count, looks are superficial.

One of the things I love about books is that it doesn’t usually matter what a character looks like, but it’s what they do and what they say that makes you love them. You can’t see the character, therefore you usually don’t fall in love with a character if they’re hot. For example, Todd Hewitt is one of my favourite YA Male characters in the universe and we’re never told once what he looks like. Seriously, nothing. No hair colour, eye colour, height, width, if he’s ugly or beautiful or childlike or anything. His actions are what makes him an amazing character. And him and Viola are the cutest and best couple that ever existed. Ever. Seriously, that’s love. Todd doesn’t love her because she’s beautiful or whatever. He loves her entire being and existence in general.

Take Percy Jackson. We’re never told if he’s good looking or not (at least, I don’t think we are until like the seventh book), but again, one of my favourite characters in the world. Percabeth is one of the best pairings as well, because Percy actually loves Annabeth. You can tell that he thinks she’s pretty, sure, but he admires her strength, determination, intelligence, wit and so on.

Then there’s Patch and Nora. Pora? Natch? (this is why no one should ever name their child Patch. I know it’s a nickname and he’s probably actually like the Angel Gabriel or Raphael or something, but still!) If you’ve read hush, hush, think about all the times Patch is mentioned and replace him with the creepiest misogynistic face that you can think of. Now the words sound creepy. Everything he says and does seems wrong, and you find yourself wondering why Nora is attracted to a guy like this. It’s only his good looks and rock solid abs that redeem him as a character in Nora’s eyes which is completely stupid and superficial and not love. LUST.

And it’s not a healthy relationship. Nora is terrified of this guy, with reason, too.

And seriously, what’s so special about this relationship that it’s love?

Patch threatens her, they make out once or twice, then suddenly they’re in love?

I get why it’s special for Nora. It’s her first ever terrorizing stalker who will kill her while she’s sleeping  “boyfriend”, but for Patch, there’s nothing special about Nora for him than any other girl he’s hit on. He treats her like he treats anyone else, and he probably gets into the pants of a ton of girls. But for some reason it’s said that he loves Nora.

The worst thing is, there was a competition about the best YA male, and one of the rounds was between Patch and Percy Jackson. Patch won, by a considerable amount.

The only question I was left with was, how?

How?

Vee

The worst friend in the history of friends ever.

EVER.

Nora gets assaulted by Elliot, and she calls Vee afterwards, being traumatised. Vee tells her it’s her fault for being paranoid and Elliot was drunk, and she has to go on this trip where Elliot will probably rape and murder her, because Vee thinks his best friend is hot.

I actually liked her to begin with, because I thought she was kinda funny. No. Not anymore. She turned into being obnoxious and annoying and I wanted to punch her whenever she appeared. She was the stereotypical ugly best friend who no one likes, who is there for the purpose of making our protagonist look even prettier.

She is the Jessica of this book. (No, even Jessica wasn’t this annoying in twilight, that’s too harsh.) She is the Leslie (Was her name Leslie? From Wicked Lovely. Eh, who cares.) of this book.

Elliot

He’s so weird. It’s again, probably the writing, but Nora asks him whether he does any sports, and he suddenly stops the conversation, pretends to box the air for a few seconds, then nearly hits her, and resumes the conversation.

What.

The.

Actual.

Heck.

And he suddenly goes from really nice and pleasant (which we’re told is the extent of his entire personality, even though he’s only said three sentences), to CREEPY AS HELL. And no one notices (apart from Nora, but that’s because he basically told her he was crazy)

Also, as soon as I read about him I knew he was going to be the Jacob of this book. So damn predictable.

AND, I don’t see why when Nora found out Elliot was interviewed about this girl getting murdered but wasn’t a suspect anymore, she got really suspicious and wary of him, but when PATCH THREATENS HER WITH A BLOODY KNIFE (it wasn’t actually bloody, I was just substituting that word for something a lot more crude) AND SAYS HE COULD RAPE HER AND ALMOST SEXUALLY ASSAULTS HER TWICE SHE STARTS  MAKING OUT WITH HIM.

I swear there is no sense in this relationship. And this is promoted as a healthy relationship, which is completely sickening. If I ever met a Patch, I would kick him where it hurts and run for my bloody life, while calling the police and MI5 and the FBI and Dr Who to sort this out.

Jules

Jules was my favourite character. He hated Nora and Vee as much as I did, and wasn’t there long enough to become obnoxious and annoying like every single character in this book. I’m not even kidding, find any random character (Minor or Major. Ha, that sounded like I was talking about Music Theory.) and tell me that they’re not annoying. Even the waitress is a… (can’t swear in this review, no matter how much I want to)… brat.

And then Jules had to turn into the stupid, stereotypical villain. He sounded like he was from a kids show, like Kim Possible (I had an awesome childhood)

OH GOD THERE’S A SPIDER IN HERE IN THE ROOM OH GOD OH GOD IT’S SO MASSIVE GO AWAY NO GO AWAY GET OFF ME

Goddamnit that was terrifying.

Sorry, back to the review.

Coach

What are you teaching kids? This is not how biology lessons work.

Marnie

Is that her name? I can’t even remember, that’s how forgettable she was. She was the usual stereotypical blonde, slutty, stupid cheerleading brat with too much make up and modelling jobs. Why are all the mean girls always cheerleaders? Why? Are cheerleaders that bad in america?

This seems cheerleaderist.

The Psychologist

Because I genuinely can’t remember her name. Was it Greene?

I saw that twist coming from a mile away. The author didn’t even make it subtle.

PLOT

Where was it? The Summary on my book was all about a massive, epic war between angels and choosing sides and so on. I saw none of that. I saw a girl getting terrorised and falling in lust with some hot guy, some hallucinations from ski mask dude, and… That’s about it.

There is a “fight” at the end. By fight I mean she stabs this guy with a knife in the leg, and runs off, then jumps off a ladder and it ends.

DIALOGUE

No. Not good.

When you read the flashbacks, they are the most stilted and awkward things you will ever read. People don’t talk like that. It was like a pantomime act, the way it was told. “Oh, because we’re FALLEN ANGELS, remember? *wink wink* And we have to do this stuff, and say it out loud even though that makes no sense *forced laughter*.”

The dialogue was passable between Patch and Nora at the beginning, but mostly because I was so creeped out by Patch, and it was so cliché. Cheesy is better than terrible.

WRITING

Good god, here we go.

First off, the writing is so cheesy and cliché, but even that’s not the worst of it’s problems.

Nora comes off as arrogant, assuming, paranoid, self-centred and downright stupid because of this writing.

She describes herself as beautiful, and her friend as fat. She skirts around the word, using voluptuous and curvy, but we know she means fat. It is so heavily implied.

She assumes that people must be jealous of her because Patch is “in love” with her, even though no signs suggest that.

The only reason she doesn’t want to go to a prestigious university is that she thinks they’re too snotty or something like that, it doesn’t even dawn on her that it might be because she’s so dumb.

She presumes that Patch must not exist because he doesn’t have a facebook account. Seriously. And because he hasn’t had a immunisation thingy.

AND THE BIT ABOUT THE SKI MASK.

No normal person, in Nora’s shoes, would presume that you’re annoying biology partner who hits on you is ski mask guy for two reasons.

1. You presumed you dreamed it
2. You barely know this guy
3. HE RIPPED THE DOORS OFF YOUR (replacing a very bad word with sandwich, because we have to try to be a little child-friendly. Hopefully if I’ve used too many bad words in this Yanni will edit them out)  SANDWICHING CAR. SANDWICHING BITS OF METAL OFF YOUR SANDWICHING VEHICLE. NO ONE DOES THAT. THE SANDWICH.
4. And since your biology partner is, you presume, just a sandwiching normal guy who doesn’t take mega steroids and isn’t Mr Incredible, there is no way you would jump to that conclusion. Unless you were Nora. Because Nora is an idiot.

Vee calls a bomb threat to the school, and the school does nothing but let the kids out to do whatever they want. That’s not how it works. All the description jumps to massive conclusions which I don’t know if they’re part of Nora’s character or just bad pacing.

Like how she presumes that it must be Patch talking into her head. And how Elliot must have killed that girl, even though the police said he didn’t. And how Patch must be an angel just because he has scars resembling some internet page. Small things like how she knows Patch has a deep and dark, mysterious past even though there’s barely any indication that he has one. Or that Elliot is so nice from nothing. It feels like cheating, because instead of showing us by development and scenarios, she just tells us straight up.

This would have worked in 3rd person, I guess, but in 1st it’s terrible.

But the main reason I despise this book with a passion…

Is that it basically promotes disgusting relationships like this. It tells girls to find guys that treat them like (trying to find another nice word substitute so I don’t get angry and swear) nothing, if they want the perfect romance. It tells girls to judge guys by how they look, and to be flattered by guys trying to rape them, because that’s just because they love them. It tells guys to treat girls like trash if they want to be liked, and to look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model, using terrible pick up lines, and be complete jerks because girls will find that attractive. The bestselling series promotes that.

It’s disgusting and ridiculous, but people fall for it. You don’t know how many reviews I’ve seen where people praise Nora for being smart and romantic and making perfect choices, where Patch is seen has sexy and admirable and sweet. They always seem to mention his good looks and “charm”.

This book does not only bore me, but it offends me. I feel like it’s directly insulting me. I feel like I’m reading a book promoting completely terrible relationships, bordering on abusive, and telling girls to find their own jerk because they won’t be whole without one. Just make sure he’s good looking and tries to get you in bed in every single chapter, but also tries to kill you.

In a society where we’re constantly trying to show people that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, this book is completely pushing back all these messages and showing us that only pretty people are let off the hook, then make fun of pretty people for being pretty at the same time. It’s offensive.

Quotes

I can’t think of any that I actually like, so here’s a random few thrown in that I found on goodreads.

  • “Keep in mind that people change, but the past doesn’t.”
  • “Guard your body.” His smile tipped higher. “I take my job seriously, which means I’m going to need to get acquainted with the subject matter on a personal level.”
  • “All this time I’ve hated myself for it. I thought I’d given it up for nothing. But if I hadn’t fallen, I wouldn’t have met you.”
  • “If you can’t feel, why did you kiss me?”
    Patch traced a finger along my collarbone, then headed south stopping at my heart. I felt it pounding through my skin. “Because I feel it here, in my heart,” he said quietly.”
  • “Call me Patch. I mean it. Call me.”
  • “He was the worst kind of wrong. He was so wrong it felt right, and that made me feel completely out of control.”

Overall

I can’t even give this 1 shuriken star. I don’t know if I can even give it half. I can’t think of a redeeming quality for this book, because I’m even starting to go off this cover.

1/4 of a shuriken star. I don’t even have a star category this low for it to go in. Sorry Becca Fitzpatrick, but your book just didn’t do it for me. Read this if you are a massive fan of Twilight, Wicked Lovely, Fifty Shades of Grey (No, I’m not talking from personal experience, before you ask. And no, I will not read it, I don’t want to get mentally scarred) or books are completely to do with how pretty the people are, not who the people are. You might like this.

For the rest of you, don’t even dare. You’ll probably scream in frustration at every other page like I did, and no one else will understand your pain. You’ll force yourself not to throw the book at the wall just because your library would kill you for getting it damaged.