A Different Kind of WWII Novel||Book Review

tyneford

“It’s the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford’s young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford—and Elise—forever.” Continue reading “A Different Kind of WWII Novel||Book Review”

Let’s Talk About Love | A Discussion

As Young Adult readers, we’re quite familiar with romances in books. Actually when I first started to blog again I was actually pretty irritated by all of the romance (which is odd because I can read shojo manga for hours). Most of the time I felt that when I started reading YA again it was now becoming a marketing and selling tool. I felt that it was no longer something that was genuinely born from the story, but something shoe horned in to sell more copies. Call me a snob or whatever, but I would rather read something that’s so incredibly genuine that I don’t bat an eye at the romance (or how this romance comes to be) whether than recognize that a well written romance was there, but only for copies being sold. 
Now a little more context, I had a really bad slew of novels that were just filled with really bad romance so I was getting sick of it. 
But that’s not really the point of my post. I wanted to talk about things that are constantly criticized in novels:
Insta-love and Love Triangles

What about them? 
To be honest? I don’t really mind either. Hell I don’t really mind a harem. As long as it is genuine and not something that’s so campy and tropey.  
Insta-Love:
Shit, sometimes you just click with someone and the next thing you know you’re best friends for life or you’re in a perfect and normal relationship. It doesn’t happen very often from my life, but I’ve experienced the kind of just spark with some people. Sometimes you just get someone right off the bat and with that you build a great relationship. 
Now, this doesn’t mean the relationship goes on to be void of obstacles, squabbles, and even the occasional silent treatment. It just means that there’s a connection that’s strong from the beginning and that there’s a foundation already laid–but there’s still a journey to be had. I love slow burn romances and relationships, so while two people might automatically have a connection (good or bad), where they go from there is the important part of me. 
For instance, what if a MC automatically finds some kind of romantic (or platonic) draw from a person and pursues? They think they’re in love with them, but then they find that the person has all of these layers and demons, etc. etc.? That’s what I care about. I don’t really care if the person is like “OMG I LOVE YOU” already (though granted, it can be v. annoying. I’m looking at you Cal). I mostly care what the person does with that emotion. 
What do I not like? I’ll call this the “Romeo and Juliet” syndrome. When two characters are so infatuated and automatically in love with each other to kill people (or each other in the case of Shakespeare) in the name of love. I think this is what gripes most people about insta-love. It’s this sudden devotion. Where does this devotion come from? I want it explored and tested.
Love Triangles:

“Alexa, you… do you like love triangles?”
Fuck. 
Yeah.
I love love triangles. Blame it on me watching a lot of kdramas when I was in middle school or reading a lot of shojo manga, but I love love triangles. I thrive on the tension that builds among the characters and usually the two love interests complement two completely different sides of our MC and it’s really interesting to see where the character goes with these endeavors. I mean I’ve been in the position where I’ve thought about falling for the dark, mysterious kind of character, but I’m drawn back towards a sweet and overly kind character. I mean sweet and spice right? 
The thing that I really don’t like about love triangles that can happen? When, for instance, the two love interests are guys and they begin to fight over the MC (as if she couldn’t make a decision herself). It’s incredibly possessive and that’s when I get a pit prickly. I don’t like it when two guys try to out alpha-male each other. It’s irritating and just so eye roll inducing, to be quite honest. 
I thrive on love triangles, if I were to be completely honest. Esp. when it’s between a very safe and “good” love interest and a not so safe “villain” love interest. It’s just a trope I enjoy reading and exploring, but again, it’s only when it’s built organically and it earns the romance. Maybe I picked this up while in theatre, but everything is earned somehow. Is this love interest seductive, but there’s also something rippling underneath that is begging to just be pulled out? Or is this love interest a stable, sturdy foundation in a world that feels like it’s crumbling apart? These kinds of things are important to me. 
Are you against these tropes in novels? Do you agree or disagree?

Ugh :( | Bound By Birthright Review

Title: Bound By Birthright
Author: Janeal Falor
Published: June 6, 2016
Goodreads!

Elven princess Arabella is set to marry the human Prince Phillip but her countrymen do not hesitate to express their anger with her parents’ attempt to improve relations with the humans. With death threats plaguing her, Arabella is forced into hiding.

When her sanctuary is usurped by pirates, Arabella goes on the run with humans who vow to help and keep her safe. She finds herself drawn to one of the humans, the dashing Robert, who steals her heart.

Arabella would like nothing more than time to get to know Robert better, but with pirates attacking and her wedding date approaching, time is one thing she doesn’t have. Arabella’s on a flight for her life and must reconcile with the truth—she can never be with the one she wants.

If only her heart would agree.

I got this off of Netgalley recently and decided that I should keep the fantasy binge alive and well while I’m at it. This story has a pretty interesting premise. Elven princess off to marry a human prince in the name of duty and diplomacy, plans begin to falter after an assassination attempt and being in the hands of pirates? I mean that sounds like a pretty good adventure not to mention some character building. I was pretty excited to get into this book. I thought it might be a little bit of a Pirates of the Caribbean feel. 
Unfortunately that didn’t really seem to be the case. The book started out okay I guess, but the assassination attempt is within like… two percent of the story. So immediately I’m bit confused. I don’t have any notion against being thrust into the middle of the action head on, but there was no build to it. It was kind of like “haha! I am here to assassinate you!”
I only got up to around 15% of the book before I had to put it down. Everything about this story was incredibly bland. It honestly felt like it was a rough draft or even an outline of a novel instead of a finished one because everything was so bare bones. It felt like it was the bare minimum for a story and a character and I couldn’t bring myself to read more or even try to care about the characters. The writing felt rushed and there wasn’t any real indication of characterization or description of… anything. Almost too much was left to the imagination. 
All in all I’m pretty disappointed by this book and I don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up again. I tried really hard to get into it, but nothing really grabbed me except for the pirates and even then that was a bit bland. 
*I was granted this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

What Just Happened? | The Graces Review

Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Published: Projected September 1, 2016
Pages: 432
Goodreads

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

What. Just. Happened????

I finished this book maybe ten hours before writing this post and I’m still asking myself this question. It went from this mystical, gypsy like witch novel to just shit hitting the fan everywhere. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t know it was going to happen. Honestly it felt like I was watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica ALL OVER AGAIN (which, if you haven’t, you should search it and watch it because then you’ll know EXACTLY what I mean). I finished the book and my head felt like a huge question mark. 
I got strung into reading this book because I thought it was going to be this kind of bohemian witch novel that was like “ooh are they into dark magic too?” but wow it was so much stranger than that. I honestly don’t know how to react to it. 
It’s painfully obvious while reading this book how River wants to feel accepted and loved. Her mother is pretty absent in her life (except for when her friend’s parents are like don’t see our kids and then suddenly she’s there? like aight mom of the year) and she’s constantly seen as this weird book worm kid that no one wants to talk to. I felt that because I’ve been in that position, but she had this incredible obsession with Fenrin, one of the Graces. She was absolutely in love with him and so she joins Summer (another Grace, I believe the youngest) and she decides to use a spell to draw Fenrin to her. 
That’s a rough summary, but honestly that’s what starts the whole thing. Girl loves boy, girl wants boy to love her, girl joins a witch coven to bewitch said boy. But then it gets weirder and suddenly things start to go very, very wrong. There’s this point in the novel where everyone thinks that everything is going to be okay and that they were going to be besties and I’m just kind of sitting here like “mmmmMMMM someone see the calm before the storm cuz I DO”.
And guess what. 
Shit. 
Hits.
THE FAN.
HARD.
Like people start disappearing, people start dying, people start threatening each other–it’s a whole mess everybody. It was so hard to keep up with because it kind of came from left field. I was like where is this coming from, what is happening, why is it happening? It was very, very crazy. 
The end was a little bit of confusion with a splash of disappointment. I thought it was going to go the route where River was gonna just be like peace, I’m out–but she goes back to the Graces and it’s kind of like everything ends with this nice tattered bow and I just couldn’t really buy it. I think it was supposed to be a kind of silver lining, but everything had gotten so dark so fast that I think it needed more time for that kind of closure. Which is really strange because I thought this book needed more but it’s already 400+ pages??? 
Anyway, this book overall is a very plot based novel. The characters weren’t flat but they weren’t incredibly dynamic either. We kind of jumped through so many events that it was hard to see what these characters were really like and since I’m a character driven reader it kind of hurt my experience of the book a little bit. If you’re into a more plot driven thriller, than this book might work out for you. Now it’s not magic like the Grisha or anything, it’s more like Wiccan type of witchcraft so it’s not super exciting with fire bolts or whatever. 
I didn’t really… hate this book, but I wasn’t impressed with it either. I was more confused than anything haha. Everything happened so fast that I wasn’t able to really have it sink in. In the end it felt a lot like that one song in Into the Woods where they’re all pointing fingers at each other and it was very, very panicky. 
It was alright but just… what?

*I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley. This does not affect my review or my opinions about this book.*