BOOK REVIEW: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Before I begin my review, I’m going to let you guys know that from now on, my reviews will be split into spoiler-free and spoiler sections. Alright, now that I’ve said that, let’s get to the actual review!

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Actual Rating: 2.75 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

SPOILER-FREE

First the Pros: The premise really intrigued me. I was so excited to read a book where the main characters fell for each other even though they were supposed to go for the girl (this is pretty obvious or at least mentioned in the synopsis, so this isn’t a spoiler). Also, this book was quite diverse, as it included a gay main character, as well as who I believe to be an African-American side character a bit later in the story.

The Cons: As soon as I saw the book on the shelves, I immediately picked it up. I wanted to read it as soon as I got the chance—I had been waiting for what seemed like forever to read this book.

Which is why I was so disappointed.

When I first started reading, everything seemed normal. As I kept reading though, I realized that I didn’t really like Caden. I felt disconnected from him. However, I went on because I just wanted to meet Dylan. Unfortunately, that didn’t really change anything.

The characters were quite… Flat. I suppose Caden changed a bit and Dylan’s personality developed more as we got to know him better, but I felt they were still quite generic, especially Caden (at least Dylan had layers). Nothing stood out to me. Even Juliet, the girl the boys were supposed to be competing over, was generic. She was the perfect intelligent, yet pretty, nice girl. The only characters I liked a bit were Natasha, Juliet’s best friend, and Natasha’s boyfriend, Trevor. They were the only ones who seemed to have depth. 

Now, another big issue I had with the book was the dialogue. It seemed incredibly unrealistic and forced at times. Yes, sometimes Caden’s words were scripted because he had to convince Juliet to fall for him, but it’s mostly the replies that bothered me. And here’s one from Juliet that really got to me:

“Oh, Caden, I’m so sorry to talk about dads after what happened to you. That’s the height of selfishness, complaining about a controlling father to someone who lost his. I’m so sorry.”

Caden’s response:

“It’s okay, Juliet, it happened a long time ago. I miss him, and I always will, but you don’t need to treat the subject with kid gloves. I had a dad I loved, and then he died. It sucks, but it happened.”

Okay—what teenager actually talks like that? Even if Caden’s words were scripted (and I don’t think they were), Juliet’s words definitely weren’t. Yet, she still said “that’s the height of selfishness.” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a teenager who would say that.

There are multiple examples throughout the rest of the book that causes the story to be a little less enjoyable because you know it’s not realistic at all.

As for the action in the book, it was too fast-paced. I felt like the author rushed through it to get to the end of the story. The book would have been much better if it was longer, or even split into a duology. The climax definitely occurred too quickly and took away from the story because I didn’t even have much time to absorb what big thing happened before the author moved on to something even bigger.

Don’t feel like you can’t pick up the book if you want to, though. Just because I didn’t enjoy as much doesn’t mean you won’t.

That’s it for the spoiler-free section. If you haven’t read the book, then thanks for reading, and see you in my next post! 👋

Now, if you have read this book, or you don’t mind spoilers, then let’s continue to the discussion.

SPOILER DISCUSSION

Let’s start with Juliet. I felt the main problem for this book was just how unrealistic it was, and this included Juliet’s easy acceptance that she had two guys who had opposite personalities after her. Sure, Caden is a Nice, but he was so nice that it was unbelievable. No guy is that nice all the time. Everyone has their moments, yet Juliet didn’t seem to see anything wrong with the fact that Caden was nice all the time.

Now, to the events that happened. When Caden told Juliet he was a Love Interest, she barely reacted. If I were her, I would have definitely been in shock. Juliet immediately agreed to help. Which is yet another unrealistic aspect of the book.

Also, when they took down the Stalkers and defeated the LIC so easily, I was incredibly disappointed. There was such enormous build up—the LIC had controlled so many Love Interests for supposedly centuries and when Caden and Dylan meet Juliet, suddenly they have the solution to all their problems? Suddenly they can take down the LIC just like this? *snaps fingers*

The takedown of the agency took way too little time. It wasn’t stretched out enough. The events just passed in a blur and then everyone was free.

Another, final, thing. Why did Dylan have to say that he really wasn’t gay and wasn’t in love with Caden? I suppose it created more drama, but it seemed a bit unnecessary to me. It actually reminded me so much of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not. When Juliet said that Dylan was in denial, I flashed back to when I was reading More Happy Than Not and the guy the main character was in love with kept denying that he was gay at all.

For some reason, there I saw similarities between the writing styles, and I did not love the writing style in More Happy Than Not. Perhaps that is also what took away from the story for me.

What did you guys think?

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The Book Cleansing

If you’re worried by the title—take a deep breath and relax. It’s not what you think it is. I am not getting rid of any of my precious books.

Rather, I’m returning the enormous stack of library books sitting on my nightstand that have been abandoned for a while now.

A month ago I had been on an enormous fantasy and historical fiction kick, so I checked out a ton of books of those genres, preparing to devour them. Unfortunately, that was also when my reading slump started. And those two genres are not what you read when you’re stuck in a reading slump.

Now, I’m not necessarily in the mood for fluffy contemporary, but realistic fiction (I’m fairly certain there is a difference), or even—dare I say—nonfiction. (This is influenced by something that I will be the subject of my next post.)

I have decided that I will return all the books and start over with new ones. Of course, I plan on picking up most of them again one day (minus one I DNFed which I’ll get to later). But, just in case any of you are into fantasy or are curious as to what books I’m returning, here they are (I will be linking them to their Goodreads pages):

  1. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
  2. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
  3. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  4. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
  5. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  6. Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra
  7. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  8. The Muse by Jessie Burton

Let’s get to the book I DNFed. Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra. Me choosing not to finish it has nothing to do with the reading slump I’m in. There were many issues that I could not look past. I read just the beginning before I gave up on it.

The premise had me intrigued: A girl with a speech impediment that allowed her to only speak “normally” (as in without a stutter) if she mimicked another person’s speech, struggling to find her own voice.

That fell completely flat for me.

Let’s start with something that had me feeling disappointed. Of course, I do not believe the author intentionally made this the message of the story, but here’s what I got: the main character feels worthless until—*gasp*—a man finally decides he wants her! Then, everything is okay. Then she’s alright in the world. All she needs is her “knight in shining armour.”

Here’s a paragraph taken directly from the book:

Only look at the man, I wanted to tell her. Francis Thornfax was the delivering angel I’d longed for, the shining knight come at last to my rescue. I’d hardly dared hope that Daniel might be right—that Mr. Thornfax might not mind my deficiencies, that he might be immune to society’s disapproval. And now that I’d heard from the man himself, this confirmation of his interest in me. The darkness barred me from a clear view of his beautiful face, those guileless blue eyes, and that full shapely smile—and I was grateful for the darkness. I felt I might say anything, do anything!”

It’s lovely that the man could look past the main character’s deficiencies despite the way society thought in the Victorian Era, but honestly? It was awful that the main character was satisfied with the first man who accepted her (never mind the fact that he just happened to be incredibly handsome). She should have wanted to fight her own way to acceptance, not just depend on a man she’d just met! Perhaps a tinge of romance would have been fine, but the book made it seem as if romance solved everything. As if getting a man was the main character’s solution to all her problems. (At that point I was so frustrated that I wanted to bang my head against the wall.)

This brings me to my second point. The romance. I thought the book was supposed to include mystery, but it was so unbelievably slow-paced that reading even one page felt like ten and all I read until I gave up was about finding the main character a man and Mr. Thornfax.

Ah, well. That is the end of my rant. Apologies if this post turned out to be rather long, but I suppose you could count it as partly an update on my reading and a review of a book.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Air Awakens by Elise Kova Book Review: PART 2

So, I may or may not have broken a promise… Whoops.

I know I said I would post every Saturday, but unfortunately I was unable to post yesterday, so now I’m modifying my schedule: I will post every weekend. That promise I can definitely keep. I will either post on Saturdays or Sundays.

Alright. I’ll be talking about the characters and plot here.

First of all, I want to bring up Aldrik. I thought he was an interesting character… Until he fell for Vhalla and turned into Mr. Nice Guy. Sigh. Then—I thought he was an interesting character once again! See, he didn’t just suddenly become nice. He was only nice to her. And even then, he was quite cold during the (slight spoiler) trial. He’s not a good guy. Far from it. He only cares about himself. Except when it comes to Vhalla.

Now, as much I appreciate he’s not like those cliché guys who were nice the whole time but “built up walls to protect themselves,” I didn’t think his and Vhalla’s relationship was very healthy. Though, that’s another part that made Vhalla so real. She trusted him so easily, was betrayed (sort of), then trusted him again. That’s human.

I’m not saying their relationship is as awful as Daemen and Katy’s. Because it’s not. But I do think they could use some time to communicate with each other. Because honestly, I do believe they belong together, but really, I feel like Vhalla is at the bad end of the relationship. Aldrik seems to have the upper hand because he knows more and he’s spent his entire life being manipulative. I think they should be equal.

But I just have to give a shout-out to the fact they didn’t kiss once in the entire book, yet you could still feel the romantic tension.

Now, moving on to Aldrik’s brother, Baldair. Man, I hated him at the beginning of the book. He was the epitome of cliché guys who are sooo hot and charismatic. Ugh. Then, when we actually got to meet him, I found him fascinating. I may be reading a bit too much into this, but he seems too nice. I’m conflicted. At first I thought: Hm… He’s way too nice. That’s suspicious. Then, I thought: Wait, is he actually this nice??? Then: No way, no one’s this nice. I think. Then: Okay. This guy cannot be trusted. I think. 

I just don’t know what to think about him. Well, I do. I don’t trust him. At all. The guy’s just way too charismatic. I wouldn’t trust a guy that charismatic.

Those were the two characters I wanted to talk about, so let’s move on to the plot.

Though the characters were very intriguing and real, I was not a big fan of the storyline. It was really cliché, which is why I originally was going to give the book a lower rating.

It was the classic: “I-thought-I-wasn’t-special-but-apparently-I’m-super-special-and-essential-in-winning-a-war-or-some-other-important-event.”

Sigh. How unfortunate. Also, I felt like there wasn’t much world building. We were barely informed of the war and I had no idea how the politics worked. We were only given vague explanations about… well, everything.

While the characters were well-developed, the actual story was neglected. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing either, as I felt some sentences were too choppy, or other sentences were mistakenly joined.

So, those were my thoughts character and plot-wise about the book.

If you’ve read this book before, then tell me what you thought in the comments below, and if you have not read this book, then tell me if you plan on picking it up or not.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

 

Air Awakens by Elise Kova Book Review

Now, before I get on with this review, I just want to say that this will be *slightly* emotional. And forgive me if I get a bit deep there. That said, let’s get to the review!


Rating: 3.75 stars (???)

I am learning that a rating of 1 to 5 stars for a book is not fitting. At the beginning of the book, I would’ve given it 2 stars, but as I reached the end, I would’ve given it 4. So, it evens out to 3.75. Logically.

But really, it doesn’t. Because there are parts of this book that I found ridiculous. There are parts of this book that I only found marginally good. There are parts of this book that I found amusing. Then there are parts of this book that reached me in ways I cannot explain.

It has been so long since a book has touched me in this way.

This book is not perfect. Far from it. There were many flaws – in writing, plot, and general events.

But that is not what is important.

What is important is that the main character was real. She was real, and flawed, and weak, and strong. The main character reminded me of myself.

At the beginning, I laughed at her weakness. At her ridiculousness. At her trust. But, as I continued, I realized something: That is what human beings are like. We are weak. We are ridiculous. We trust when we shouldn’t. But that is what makes us human.

We are not immediately strong at birth. We change. Evolve. Grow. And that is exactly what the main character, Vhalla, did. She was so weak at the beginning – but I should not have laughed because in that situation, I most likely would have acted the same way. The way she acted was not necessarily weak; she was thrust out of her normal life and into a world she had never known. Into a world she had once (and at the time still) hated. So, you cannot expect someone to act strong and powerful when that happens. Because if we’re being honest here – if a character acts strong and powerful after being thrown into such a situation, then it is not real. As much as we tell ourselves that we are not afraid, we are. If a person acts strong and powerful in such a situation, then that person is pretending. But that is how we make it through life. By pretending.

So, when we are forced to see the truth – forced to acknowledge how we truly feel on the inside, we shy away. We laugh it off. We shouldn’t.

In so many books the main character is strong and powerful and never weak, but that is our attempt at lying to ourselves. That is the way we wish to be. That is the way we are not.

It is wonderful to wish. But we shouldn’t be afraid of ourselves. We should face our weaknesses, or fears, our flaws – head on.

We are human. And we should accept that.


Whew. If you’ve made it to this part of the review, then kudos to you. I just wanted to share my true feelings. And if you want to hear my thoughts on the characters and plot—don’t worry! A part two of this review will be coming up soon today as well. I just wanted this part of it to stand alone because it’s really important to me. ❤

Winterspell by Claire Legrand: A Short Book Review

I’m not giving a synopsis this time because the review will be fairly short, but you can easily find it on Goodreads. I also won’t be putting the book cover (though I must say, the cover is quite stunning). That said, here we go!


Actual rating: ???

Well. I didn’t make it very far into this book, did I? I seem to be dnf-ing books more than usual. I normally finish books I don’t like just to see if they’ll get better. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.

But, I am noticing a trend here. I seem to be dnf-ing books with terrible romances lately…

I mean, I got through the insta-love in Girl Online, but only because the book was fairly short and the font was large. This book has tiny font and is fairly long. Not happening.

In a way, I feel guilty for giving up a book just because of the romance, but I can’t help it. The majority of YA books have romance. And when the romance happens, it appears constantly. Sometimes it even overshadows the plot. Even if it doesn’t go that extreme, the romance is always there. And the reader is made aware of that.

And I knew that was going to happen with this book.

Before I start ranting, maybe I should speak about the good parts. The writing, I thought, was quite complex and I liked the style. The story was very fascinating and I could tell it would be dark. Oddly enough, I liked the father. Because he had character.

I thought Clara, the main character, was kind of generic. She was special. She could fight. Blah, blah, blah… Also, despite those two things, she seemed quite weak. I know she would probably develop into a badass female protagonist later in the book, but she’s so squeamish and whiny in the beginning.

Now, let’s get to the romance. Or at least the beginning of it. It really bothered me. (Slight spoiler – honestly, this one doesn’t matter because if you read the book it’ll be obvious) Clara is attracted to a statue. Yes, the statue ends up being an actual person who was cursed, but before she knew that, years before she knew that, she was attracted to the statue. There is a name for when a person is attracted to a statue: Agalmatophilia. Ummm… I doubt the author addresses that in the book, which concerns me.

Also, aside from that, there was 100% insta-love. Clara and the statue-turned-human/prince (I forgot his name – oops) immediately felt a connection to each other. *smacks hand on forehead*

So, yeah. Not finishing this book. But, I suppose you could possibly like it for its storyline…


Thanks for reading! 🙂

P.S. You can also find my review of it on Goodreads.

A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Book Review

16059442Rating: 3.75 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

A lot of the reviews on Goodreads very positive—including the reviews of reviewers who are normally quite critical with their ratings. So, I was incredibly excited to read this book because if even those reviewers liked this book so much, then surely I would love it.

Well, I actually didn’t end up loving it. I’m not saying I didn’t like it; there were still many parts of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, if I’m being honest here, I skimmed through some of the first half of the book.

Now, I’m not usually a skimmer, except when I really am not into the book but am still considering giving it a chance. That’s what happened in this book.

Before I continue, I want to say that this review is going to have quite a few spoilers, so if you have yet to read this book and don’t want to be spoiled, then sorry, but you can’t read on. Hopefully you can read the book soon so you can read this review! Anyway, for those of you who have read this book or don’t care if you get spoiled, then let’s continue. 

First though, I want to bring up Cormac, Emma’s love interest. I won’t talk about the cliché-ness of their romance because it actually wasn’t as bad as the romance in a lot of other YA books, but I will start by saying that I wasn’t a big fan of Cormac.

First of all, he decided to ignore Emma completely after kissing her which is absolutely ridiculous—even if he had his reasons, which we will get to.

Second of all, at the beginning of the book, he was already coddling her because she was “weak” since she was a woman. I mean, later in the book he realizes that she’s definitely not weak, but he still constantly underestimates her even after she has proved herself time and time again (ironic if you ask me because that’s exactly how the Order—basically a group of witches who think they’re all high and mighty—treats him).

Lastly, even when we find out that Cormac only ignored Emma because the Order wouldn’t approve (to put it lightly) since Emma’s name was tainted and also because both he and Emma would end up in some sort of witch jail, he still won’t be seen with her.

That is positively absurd! They finally admit their undying love for each other (blah, blah, blah) and then he still does not want to be seen with her anywhere. Ever. I almost wanted to bang my head on the book after reading that.

Before I continue my long rant about why I didn’t like Cormac, perhaps we should get to the book itself first.

As I said earlier, I basically skimmed 50% of the book. Unfortunately, I felt the first half was quite boring. Nothing really happened. And even if something did happen, it didn’t have much action. For example, the beginning started with a murder, but it wasn’t that exciting. I was expecting something more from the murder, not just Emma (the main character) finding an injured girl who, when she checks back on her, turns out to be dead. A bit anti-climactic.

But, I definitely devoured the second half of the book. That was when the real action started, and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. There were cliffhangers at the end of nearly every chapter.

Would I say it was totally worth it? Maybe not 100% worth it, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on the book. Otherwise, I never would have gotten to the action-packed parts. I definitely do not regret reading on.

Now, let me finish my rant about Cormac.

I don’t care how much he loves Emma. Emma deserves much better than a guy who won’t be seen with her just to preserve his reputation. (Of course, there is one other reason, but still.)

I am still thinking of picking up the next book because though this one wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, it grew on me as I continued reading, so I’m thinking I’ll give the second book a chance—especially since it’s focused on Gretchen, who I really loved since she didn’t need a guy at all and just was super badass (but, I am aware that she will end up with a love interest anyway from reading the synopsis).

I know I was a bit harsh with this review, but there were still parts I enjoyed a lot. Maybe I wasn’t the most enormous fan of this book, but maybe you guys will like it more.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m super sorry about that! I’ve been really busy lately, but I’m trying to figure a posting schedule. I know I’ve been posting sporadically, but hopefully I can work out a schedule soon. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg Book Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.

I was really excited to read this book. Zoella (Zoe Sugg) is a really popular Youtuber and people look up to her, so I thought it would be fun to pick up the book she wrote.

Which is why I was, unfortunately, disappointed.

We’ll start with the positives. 🙂

I loved the fact that Penny had a blog. It was really fun reading her posts and the comments that were left under her posts. It was also quite inspiring and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside that she had so many followers who cared about her. Her blog, GirlOnline, drives me to appreciate having my own blog, where I can share my thoughts on books with you guys.

Also, I loved that the book mentioned panic attacks, as teens (and adults) suffer from them, and it is important that people don’t think they’re not as “serious” because they are.

(Slight Spoiler) Penny had to deal with hate from people online as well, so I’m glad the book addressed hate on the internet and a bit of cyberbullying.

Now, we have to get negatives. 😦

Something you should know about me: I cannot stand insta-love. AT ALL.

This case of insta-love was pretty terrible. I was really disappointed because I thought the romance could have been adorable and sweet—and yes, it was, but it was also extremely cliché. 

See, Penny and Noah (her love interest) make each other feel safe. The classic “no-one-makes-me-feel-safe-but-somehow-you-do” syndrome in a lot of YA books:

“There’s something about Noah that makes me feel safe to be myself.” 
Then, the always touching “the-one-person-I-can-truly-connect-to.”
” ‘ We spent most of the day together and we really connected. ‘ “
And finally, the best of all: “the-moment-we-fall-in-love-after-knowing-each-other-for-less-24-hours.”  

They’ve been together for “a whole one hour, fifty-seven minutes.” Then this happens. 

“There are some people you officially fall in love with, within seconds of meeting them.”

And after knowing each other for basically one week (maybe less): 

” ‘ I think I like you so much it might even be love too. ‘ “
In between, there are the cheesiest and most cliché scenes, including the ever-wonderful:
Moonlit Picnic.
The romance was incredibly unrealistic. It wasn’t as cute as it was supposed to be because many of the conversations they had were filled with extremely cheesy and cliché lines.

The romance basically took over the book, which wouldn’t have been too bad if it hadn’t been for the cliché-ness.

Whew. Thanks for listening to me rant.

I do not mean to offend lovers of this book or Zoella. Just had to let off some steam about the romance. I just really don’t like insta-love because it makes the book unrealistic and kind of ruins the effect.

Plus, the issues they had were quite cheesy and cliché too, unfortunately.

Therefore, I gave this book 2.5 stars out of 5.

But, you could still read this book if you want to.

Everyone has different tastes, so just because this book wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean it can’t be yours. 🙂