Friday, October 30, 2015

Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows… and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving… and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.


Rating: 1/5 stars


“I didn’t care about freedom. That’s not what I wanted. I just wanted Penn to look at me again under the silver moon while we danced, to take my hand in his and walk me through his magical garden once again.”


Perfected is a story set in a dystopian world where girls are bred to become pets of the high class. At sixteen years old, Ella is sold to a congressman to be the pet and playmate of his younger daughter, Ruby. Despite the promise of a life of comfort and being pampered by their masters, Ella will soon find out that the Pet’s situation is far from ideal and she’ll have to choose between the comfort she has always known and the freedom she never even considered as a possibility.

I started to read “Perfected” because I was granted access to its sequel, “Tarnished” through Netgalley. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the fact that there was another book before it (would it kill people to say “second in a trilogy” in the description??). So I picked up the first one in order to know what I was getting into and, if I’m being honest, had it not been for the fact that I still had that eARC, I would have DNFed this one very early on.

Perfected reminds me of The Selection by Kiera Cass and The Jewel by Amy Ewing in the sense that there are beautiful girls being, well… “selected” to become part of a higher class but nothing else really happens after that. There is no world-building, the characters are underdeveloped and they have no personalities or distinguishable traits, and there is basically no plot.

I still can’t believe how people can write books where nothing happens. You have an interesting premise here, people are bred and raised to be pets and all you do is have her admire dresses and fall in love with a guy she saw from a few feet away?

Ella was bred and raised to be a perfect pet. She’s quiet, obedient and has neither passions nor dreams besides serving her masters. She also has no feelings or opinions which was something that baffled me. Besides commenting on how lovely her dresses are, or that she likes playing the piano, we never really get a feeling from her. Never do we see “I’m happy that this happened this way” or “I’m so excited for this.” Nothing, her feelings are never there, she simply narrates what happens with no opinions or thoughts on her own.

It was not exciting to read from this girl’s point of view, because she didn’t have a point of view. She was not a character or a person, simply a narration that we were somehow supposed to root for.
As a pet, which is nothing but a fancy word for slave, I should want for Ella to be free, to have the chance at making her own decisions, to follow her own path instead of having to obey what other people tell her. They decide from what she looks like to when she’ll die and in the entire novel we never see Ella seeking for freedom, to escape her life as a pet. She’s happy being a slave.
Ella never questions her life until the really hot guy she’s into points it out for her, and even then she only does so because he tells her she should question, be mad and want freedom. But when she actually has a chance to be free all she can think about is going back to her masters because it’s what she’s supposed to do.

Ella’s attitude was constant throughout the entire novel. She has no character development despite all she has gone through, probably because she’s not even a character to begin with.
Needless to say that, as a Main Character she was a disappointment.

The world building simply wasn’t here. Ella doesn’t know anything from outside of the kennels, she was raised to be ignorant and she doesn’t even know how to read. Of course it’s all designed so that the pets won’t question their lives and place in the world, but it doesn’t help with the novel.

How did a law allowing humans to be bred and sold came to be?
How did the world change to let that happen?
What is the time frame by the way?
Why are only girls being bred and not boys?
Why are they sold at the age of sixteen?
Why were they all Caucasian instead of girls from different races?
Why was everybody Caucasian?
What happened to other countries? (This is more like a general question to all YA dystopian books, what happens with the rest of the world? Are we ok?)
Why does gluten-free recipes say it tastes “just like the real thing”? Don’t lie to me.

Ok, I got a bit off topic there. Let’s go back to another subject that bothered me, the romance:

The romance between Ella and Penn wasn’t believable or compelling. Ella sees him staring at her when she arrives and immediately she’s enthralled by him.

"When I finally turned to follow him, I noticed someone else standing in the doorway. I hadn’t seen him before because I’d been so distracted by the congressman’s story about the other pet, but there he was, leaning up against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest, his deep brown eyes staring right at me. I froze, and for a second the world went fuzzy around the edges. The only clear thing was this boy standing in front of me."

The girl had never even met a guy that was less than fifty years old for crying out loud, am I supposed that her being curious about a male near her age is true and undying love?

During the entire novel her body flushes, her face gets red, her heart beats simply by having the guy looking at her. I get that she likes him (even though she doesn’t even exchange a word with him before she’s so super-duper in love with the guy) but I just didn’t care about reading that when there were much more exciting things that we could be exploring and we never do.

Besides, I could never see the love from Penn’s side. He hates her at first (‘cuz it’s sooo romantic to have a guy hating you!!!) because she’s unnatural and yadda, yadda but the second he learns that she likes music he’s madly in love with her?

EVERYBODY LIKES MUSIC.

He seemed to be more into her due to some kind of rebelliousness toward his parents than anything else.


The book ends in a cliff-hanger and, although Ella doesn’t change at all during the entire novel, I’m hoping that she will in the sequel or it’s going to be a very painful read.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom - and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld - and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy - until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.
If she fails...

"Ava sauntered back to her table, her hips swaying outrageously as virtually every male eye turned her way."

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Welcome to The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, a retelling of the Hades and Persephone’s tale in modern times or at least, that’s what the blurb promised. WHERE IS MY MYTHOLOGY?

The goddess test started out well enough and I liked the writing, it was simple yes, but it flowed well and helped carry the story along. I was intrigued by the mystery at the beginning with Henry and the dead girl, twenty years before our MC is born. They talk about a prophesy, not much time left, everybody dying… you know, the usual stuff. I wanted to know what was going on and how the story would develop from there, what were the tests all about? How would Kate get into that mess?

Unfortunately, the story was a disappointment. Kate’s chapters start with her driving her sick mom home so she can die in the place she was born. Despite the efforts at originality, from this point forward, the story was just one big Twilight fanfiction, from the awkward trip with a parent, to the small town were nothing happens (and that our MC hates), to the small house with no neighbours around, the school where she inexplicably becomes incredibly popular for being new (complete with hot guys after her and mean girls trying to “fake” friendship with her). A bonfire, a trip and lots of nonsense.

I found Kate an annoying character. I know that I should sympathize with her for what her mom is going through, and I did like that she didn’t forget about her only relative the moment she laid eyes on the hot guy, her worry was constant. But still, she was a really annoying and mean person to people who were being nice to her. The second she meets her classmates she’s annoyed that they even breathe in her direction because they are not really that hot to bother anyway.

And not to mention that every girl she meets is a “slut” and therefore baaaaaaad.

If a girl was being nice to her, kate was convinced that she was a fake. If they paid her no attention like to any other regular person, then they were rude assholes. There was no in between, friendship between girls here doesn’t exist, the relationship Ava and Kate have is nothing but a plot device to prop up Kate and show just how good and pure she was by being friends with the “promiscuous” girl and telling her how to behave.

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As far as decisions go, well Kate wasn’t the smartest girl I know, to say the least. Her thought process left me baffled more than once, “yeah I’m sure that the evil person who said it was evil was in fact… good?” No, dude it’s right there!

I was looking forward to the mythological elements here, but the author does a blend of Greek mythology with Christianism and a bunch other things that simply made no sense, the “tests” kate has to overcome to become a goddess were based on the Seven Deadly Sins… dude, no. Not to mention that they were incredibly dumb and easy:

“So you borrowed clothes to your friend? BAM Holy mother of sweetness! Turn this child of love and sunshine into a goddess for her purity!”


The relationships between the Gods were nothing alike, their personalities (sadly) were all the same with no particularly meanness, greed, lust, nothing. They were all cardboards with no motivations whatsoever.

I really believe that this could be a fun and easy to read book, were it not for the annoying tropes and carton characters.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.





As you can see based on my one star rating (as if eighteen angry status update weren’t proof enough already), I did not enjoy Ignite Me. 

Now I know that this book is loved by many, and that’s great! I mean no disrespect with this review, merely to state my opinions on the series. That being said, and although I’m feeling pretty calmed now it’s quite likely that this will turn into an angry rant (as per usual) that means foul language, middle finger gifs and recommendations to the characters to go and pleasure themselves…

Yes, I’m that delightful but enough said! I’ll get into this review.

I can say now, and with great sorrow that this book, and in consequence the entire Shatter Me series is the worst case of romanticized abused I’ve had the displeasure of reading in any book, AND I have read Fifty Shades of Grey.

The story begins right after Unravel Me left off, Juliette wakes up after being shot by Anderson and discovers that the entire Omega Point, and therefore everyone she knows, has been destroyed.

By now we can stop pretending that this book is anything but a rather contrived and overly dramatic romance story than a dystopian book with an interesting plot and world-building. To say that the action and actually taking down the evul government takes less than ten pages is proof enough. The rest is spent developing the relationship between Warner and Juliette. That’s it, that’s… that’s all that happens here.

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For me the saddest part was that I honestly thought this series would be different. Everybody talked on how much Juliette grew as a character, that the broken and scared girl at the beginning would go through a lot and learn to love and accept herself. I can tell you right now, no such thing ever happened. Not only is this story all about “learning” to love your abuser, Juliette never truly grows as a character, she goes from terribly weak and wanting to die to simply wanting to get everybody killed by her own selfish reasons but running and crying every time things get though.

I ignored the signs, the little clues and hints (and the not so little too) that this was pretty much everything I dislike in books.
I ignored how Juliette was oh so perfectly perfect in every way, beautiful and flawless despite spending a year with no sun, little hygiene (and no tampons or pads apparently? Did she just like, bleed all over her cell? Why don’t we include periods in books?!) and barely any food. How she was so magically powerful and yet conveniently (and unreasonably) weak. How every single guy was attracted to her, hell! even the bad guy with no heart was in love with her.

It was all there! And yet I chose to believe that Shatter Me would be different, that we wouldn’t see this girl fall in love with her abuser but rather defeat him. 

When, at the end of book one, Juliette said that she had been surprised over how kissing Warner “Ignited” something in her, I wasn’t worried. Juliette had lived all her life believing that love meant abuse, hate, violence. Her parents beat her, locked her up and verbally abused her, calling her a monster. That was the kind of love she was used to, so it was reasonable for her to feel something akin to that when kissing Warner, the guy who had physically and verbally assaulted her because she was relating it to the love she had known for most of her life. I was convinced that after she arrived at Omega Point, met new people (nice regular folks who treated her like a person) and got to know herself, she would realize that love meant respect, not possession.

Adam was her first love, yes but if I’m being honest I never thought their relationship would last long. Juliette was simply too broken when she met him, she didn’t know who she was or what she wanted. When time passed she was bound to change, maybe their relationship would adapt, maybe it wouldn’t but, honestly, how many relationships that start at age seventeen last forever?
So I wasn’t disappointed when their relationship didn’t work, no but I was annoyed at how the author destroyed Adam and “improved” Warner to twist things around so we would ship Warnette.

As a matter of fact, we start Ignite Me with huge and ridiculous info-dumps, explaining how in fact, Warner was not the monster everybody thought he was, that he always had a reason for all the terrible things he did and how he was just a misunderstood guy, willing to be hated by everybody if that meant he could save lives.

It was the fucking dumbest shit I’ve ever seen.

Not only were the explanations dumb, contrived and so obviously set up to make Warner look like “the perfect guy” for Juliette, it also completely destroyed Warner as a character. 

I have a thing for villains in books, especially when the rest of the cast seems to be a bit lackluster, you can always count that the villain will be interesting (and if not then the book is pretty much doomed from the start), and in Shatter Me, Warner was somebody I simply loved to hate; he was insanely twisted. How he manipulated everybody and played with them, tortured them, it was really fucking sick, and his level of craziness added more interest to the story; he made the stakes higher because he was the ultimate enemy to defeat; the possessive creepy guy who wanted to own Juliette and break her even more. But he was smart, cunning and intuitive, so escaping from his grasp wasn’t so easy.

I loved to hate this guy, and it also gave me hope in thinking that this would not be just another case of romanticized abuse. You see, in most YA novels with villains that are meant to be love interests the guy is always brooding and distant, and an occasional asshole but usually, it stops there so that he’s not too sick and people will still root for him and the girl to get together. 
But Warner… man, Warner was a fucking psychopath, and I LOVED IT! I was convinced then that there was no chance for Juliette to fall for this bad boy.

I was fucking wrong wrong wrong.

When Juliette confronts Warner on all the horrible things he’s done, he says that everything he did, he did it for the love toward her and his mother.

Apparently, Warner’s mom has similar abilities to Juliette but reversed; when anybody touches her skin, she suffers incredible pain. At this point I was hoping Mafi would pull out a Cassandra Clare and make Warner and Juliette half siblings so we could end this madness but, sadly, my prayers were not answered.

So that was how Warner conveniently explained that all the time he spent with Juliettefucking with her mind, was simply to study her so he could find a cure to his mom! Remember how he creepily went through her most private thoughts by reading her diary even when Juliette BEGGED him to stop? It was just so he could relate to what his mom was going through! Duh. Of course we’ll never address what a huge violation that was, especially since he knew that Juliette didn’t want him to read that but, hey! Not taking a “no” for an answer is what perfectly describes a “good guy”, right?!


Remember how he made her torture a kid? It was all a simulation! Juliette should have known that the guy who kept her locked up, beat her, tried to kill her boyfriend, killed innocent people, manipulated her and assaulted her, wasn’t such a monster after all!! Even though he never told her it was a simulation…

And remember how he left Adam to bleed to death, dragging Juliette away as she screamed and kicked him away? Yeah well… we never get a fucking answer for that.

The explanations were dumb, and they completely ruined Warner. Remember that cunning, calculating leader? Turns out, he was a fucking idiot! Apparently Warner is appalled, yeah motherfucking appalled, that Juliette thought he was a monster!

He never told Juliette that she was in a simulation, and even though he claimed that many soldiers got caught up and forgot that the action wasn’t real, Warner was surprised she didn’t know the child she tortured had been a fake. So, which one is it?

Warner says over and over how he’s selfish and a monster, but he’s suddenly surprised that Juliette didn’t see him as a fucking saint? Way to go, idiot.
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Not to mention that, despite all the changes made to Warner he’s still a terrible choice for Juliette, or for any other girl for that matter.

We got all this lovely speeches (that I would have loved in any other novel, because they were pretty cool), about how Warner just wanted for Juliette to feel better, to have more confidence in herself and embrace who she really was; a powerful and capable woman who could be her own hero. But they meant nothing when his actions contradicted his words.

Remember how in Book one, he made her wear those tight dresses that made her feel exposed and vulnerable? Apparently, he just wanted her to feel beautiful!
But, the thing is, if he wanted for her to feel better, why not just ask her what clothes she wanted to wear? Why not just give her a bunch of clothes to choose from, pants, shirts, dresses, and let her wear whatever she wanted instead of forcing her into something she felt so uncomfortable in?
Because Warner assumes he knows better than her, he doesn’t really care about what she wants or needs, only what he thinks she does. If you care, you ask. You wonder what that person is thinking instead of simply assuming it.

Then there is when he reveals why he shot that soldiers for stealing supplies. Turns out he was killing his family, so he killed him to stop him having him lived a similar situation with his father before. What really bothers me here is, when Juliette confronts Warner for reading her diary, invading her personal space whatever he justifies himself by saying that he’s a selfish asshole with no morals:

“I have never claimed to live by any set of principles,” Warner says to me. “I’ve never claimed to be right, or good, or even justified in my actions. The simple truth is that I do not care. I have been forced to do terrible things in my life, love, and I am seeking neither your forgiveness nor your approval. Because I do not have the luxury of philosophizing over scruples when I’m forced to act on basic instinct every day.” 

But then when she talks about the guy he killed, the guy Juliette had no idea he beat his wife and children, he gets mad at her for judging him making Juliette feel sorry for him and hate herself for judging him.

“Judge me,” he says, “all you like. But I have no tolerance,” he says sharply, “for a man who beats his wife. No tolerance,” he says, “for a man who beats his children.” He’s breathing hard now. “Seamus Fletcher was murdering his family,” he says to me. “And you can call it whatever the hell you want to call it, but I will never regret killing a man who would bash his wife’s face into a wall. I will never regret killing a man who would punch his nine-year-old daughter in the mouth. I am not sorry,” he says. “And I will not apologize. Because a child is better off with no father, and a wife is better off with no husband, than one like that.” I watch the hard movement in his throat. “I would know.”

 I’m sorry—Warner, I—” 



That’s a classical manipulation technic right there, “Do you really think I would be capable of doing that?” When he has proved, over and over that he is, in fact, very much capable of such things. But he makes her doubt her word so he can have control over her, turn the conversation in other direction so she has to apologize to him.

The cherry on the cake (is that the expression?) for me was when he accused Adam of wanting Juliette to be weak… when he did the same thing himself.
We all know how Juliette was in the first book, how broken and desperate that poor girl was. Every day was a struggle for her, she had suicidal thoughts constantly, she thought herself worthless, a monster, she was miserable. And here we get Warner’s appreciation of her during those rough times:
“I was expecting you to be an animal, someone who would try to kill me and my men at every opportunity—someone who needed to be closely watched. But you disappointed me by being too human, too lovely. So unbearably naive. You wouldn’t fight back.” 

For someone who claims he wants Juliette to embrace herself and start loving who she is, he certainly doesn’t show it. Romanticizing what Juliette was going through is not cute or adorable, is fucking creepy and sick. Mental illness are not something to make you look cuter and “too lovely”, we read how this girl felt, I wouldn’t wish that to anybody and yet Warner, instead of being appalled that this poor girl was this way, he considers it something good, positive. It’s adorable that she would rather get killed than keep on living, that she hurt people who are trying to kill her to defend her life. 
That’s not being human, that’s a serious problem and Warner doesn’t see it that way.

Even when Juliette was being… emm, “strong” which was, according to him all he ever wanted for her, he’s not pleased unless she follows certain rules of his, not get hurt, not do this, not do that. Sure, he says he believes she’s capable of anything but when he’s walking behind her following her every move and doubting every choice she makes, his words mean nothing.

It was funny (not really) how the author had to destroy Adam to make Warnette happen, why not just let Adam be who he had been for the last two books and still make Warner and Juliette come together? If you have to change things so badly, destroy everything to make one ship work, then your ship is not very good to begin with. So here we are in Ignite Me, and Adam has been transformed into something we can’t recognize.

Adam in Shatter Me:
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Adam in Unravel me:
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Adam in Ignite Me:
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There is no in between, no slow passage or revelation that the sweet guy we got to know wasn’t so sweet to begin with. His personality is completely swapped over with Warner’s (but for some reason Juliette is not attracted to him then? Not gonna question crazy lady’s logic) making him jealous, possessive, abusive and pretty much all things Warner.

As for Juliette well, she was my biggest disappointment. I was really looking forward to this strong and confident woman, instead what happens? She suddenly wants to kill people and take over the world, because of REASONS.

I’ve always known, deep down, who should be leading this resistance. I’ve felt it quietly for some time now, always too scared to bring the words to my lips. Someone who’s got nothing left to lose and everything to gain. Someone no longer afraid of anyone.
Not Castle. Not Kenji. Not Adam. Not even Warner.
It should be me. 


WHY?? This comes out of nowhere and I just can’t, for the life of me understand why this girl who doesn’t even have high school education, who has no idea of how the world is, what the government is like and who has spent her last year locked up in a room going crazy, should rule the world.

But of course! Warner wants to help, and by help I mean question everything she does, and Juliette goes every time from creating a plan to following his orders.

Girl... power?... yeay?

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That’s not how I define I strong female character, you can’t just have someone spewing treats here and there but running o the arms of some guy when things don’t go your way!
Juliette thinks that, because she almost dies she knows better what it is to live, to be alive but her definition is flawed and nonsensical. She’s convinced that being alive is getting herself killed.

When she finds Adam again and less than a dozen of other members of the Omega point still alive, she wants to go back and fight, against thousands of soldiers with guns and training even though they are ten and all injured, and she doesn’t understand why Adam is being a weak bitch who ain’t down for suicide missions!

I’m blinking at him, stunned. “I can’t believe this.”
“You’re giving up.” I hear the accusation in my voice and I do nothing to hide it. “You’re just giving up.” 


She’s shocked that Adam won’t compromise his safety and the safety of his brother for her own fucked up whims. And she’s horrified that Adam is honest about how Juliette doesn’t know what it really is like to be alive, when in fact, he has a very good point.

“What do you know about being alive?” he demands. “You wouldn’t say a word when I first found you. You were afraid of your own shadow. You were so consumed by grief and guilt that you’d gone almost completely insane—living so far inside your own head that you had no idea what happened to the world while you were gone.”
You have no idea what it’s really like to live out here—no idea what it’s like to starve and watch your family die in front of you. You have no idea,” he says to me, “what it means to truly suffer.” 


Where is the lie here? And after he says it she’s just stunned! And waiting for Adam to take the words back because she can’t handle the truth, she doesn’t want Adam to be honest with her, she wants him to shower her with compliments and lies and tell her that she’s perfect, that’s why she wants Warner, because he sees an idealized version of her that she likes, flawless, perfect. She can’t accept that she’s wrong.
How can she rule and be a competent leader if she can’t even accept the fact that she makes mistakes? How will she be any different from the people from The Reestablishment?

I just can’t believe things went so wrong with this series, it was certainly nothing I thought it would be which is why I’m changing the rating. There’s no point, this turned out to be an overly dramatic love story filled with abuse, nonsense and bullshit, I hated it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Originals: The Rise by Julie Plec

Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you're immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they've escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus's attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus's volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?
 






Ahhh Julie, you’ve done it again. Take pre-established and well-liked characters and destroy them for your fanfiction, and people say you can’t make money off of that.

The Originals: The Rise is the first book in a trilogy based on the TV show “The Originals” which is, at the same time, a Spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. I know, but wear with me. It’s basically about the original Family, the first vampires ever created (yes, yes I know it was reckoned and it changed to Silas and what’s her face) and who are the creators of every vampire in existence in the TV show.

Now, I started up late with show I think when it was in its third or fourth season, and I did because some of my Tumblr friends watched it so I wanted to see how it was like. Overall, the story of the doomed love triangle between a teenager, Elena and two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon was entertaining but nothing amazing. Maybe the vampire fever was over for me but whatever the reason, I missed the show’s spark. I still loved some stuff, like Caroline Forbes my sweet precious baby (who was butchered by the lady in the wrecking ball) Bonnie the witch, who hasn’t had a plot whatsoever in this show for about four mothereffing seasons.

And, of course, the Original Family.
 
Look at them all dashing and awesome… until Julie Plec came along.
DAMN IT! WHY??

Look, for me the Mikaelson family was a welcomed relief from all the overpowering romantic drama. They were what I picture when I think of vampires; twisted, unapologetic, sassy, sexy, cunning and all kinds of awesome.
 

Their family dinamics were great, imagine spending a thousand years with your siblings. Their relationships were possessive, hateful, resentful but overall, they love each other more than anything in the world, despite what they have done to each other.

We had Klaus, the first and only werewolf-vampire hybrid, a product of his mother’s infidelity. A sweet and caring child despite his “father’s” abuse. After he discovers what he is and how his mother cursed his werewolf side to be hidden, making him weaker he becomes paranoid, always questioning his siblings loyalty and his place in their family. The things he went through to keep them all together, he went from caring to possessive, hateful and abusive, much like the father figure he grew to hate. His obsession with breaking the curse on him and creating more hybrids was what drove him for a thousand years. It was fascinating to see him destroying himself and his family in his quest for power and immortality.

There was Elijah, the more level-headed brother who always tried to keep them together. He was the bridge between Klaus and the rest, the one who tried to solve the conflicts that always came up. He was also awesome and fancy.

There is Rebekah, turned when she was only sixteen she is, in many ways, a spoiled girl… with the habit of killing and torturing when things don’t go her way but yes, a girl nonetheless. She is Klaus’ favourite sibling who always tried to compensate for what their mother had done to him, becoming herself a mother to him in a way, and the two have a very… well pretty weird relationship that stays that way because this is a kid’s show.

Kol, HE WAS A SARCASTIC PIECE OF SHIT, AND WE LOVED HIM. But he was taken away from us… BECAUSE OF REASONS.
 
Finn, he’s the oldest and kind of a momma’s boy. Never liked being a vampire so his siblings just staked him and left him in a coffin so he wouldn’t bother the rest and couldn’t try to kill them/himself. But he was still cool.
 

When it was announced that they would get their own show, you can imagine my excitement! I loved this family, and we only got a few glimpses of them in TVD but they made a bad episode worth the watch just to see them, imagine forty-five minutes filled with them! Oh man, it could have been awesome. It was supposed to be darker than TVD, more like Game of Thrones they said.

And then, the day comes when it airs and:

 

Way to go guys! Nothing makes people think “mature” and “dark” like special snowflake teenager pregnant with magical vampire baby.

But still I kept watching, we would still get the Original family and their story, right?!

All we got was OCC versions of Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah, and some weird ass plot about taking over New Orleans and being Royalty… because that makes sense. To be honest, the episodes were boring, I never cared about the plot (protect the baby we knew was never going to be killed and take over a city nobody gave two craps about), I disliked how women and POC were killed left and right (let’s not forget the incident when they requested women with large breast to play murder victims), and I never cared about Hayley, the poor pregnant werewolf.
In TVD she was the typical asshole who thought she was better than other girls because she wasn’t into “girly” stuff. She was dumb, backstabbing and selfish, but on the show she was re-written to be the perfect poor orphan whose parents never loved her. And…

She turns out to be a lost werewolf princess!!!!!

Even though Werewolves organize themselves over alphas and betas, and the strongest rule, somehow, they suddenly obey royalty who are not particularly smart, strong or superior in any way (Just check out Hayley for God’s sake).

Yeah, right. I was hoping that, mayyyybe her new plot of becoming Queen will make her a better character, but the misogynistic narrative was still there. Hayley is the second most powerful being in the world (because of MAGIC) and yet she always needs rescuing. In order to become Queen and have power the narrative always involves a guy (being pregnant by Klaus, having Elijah help her with his connections, having to marry and sleep with a guy for a ritual. Literally everything was written leading off to that direction; instead of making her take matters into her own hands she always needs a guy to guide her.). And honestly, Phoebe's acting skill didn't help.


So the show ended up being a disappointment, obviously but when the book series was announced I thought there was another chance to make everything better! We would finally get the story we wanted about this powerful family through history.

But it turned out to be Klaus wanting to be King of New Orleans and falling into insta-love with a witch/werewolf princess-ish. While Elijah just… goes around looking for a home to buy and Rebekah is OCC and sadly, dumb.

To be fair, it’s just like one of the show’s episode, I was just hoping for something different.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.



I had a hard time reviewing The Jewel because, well… how do you talk about a book where nothing happens?

The story is told in the first person from violet Lasting’s POV (Who the hell came up with that name? I just… I have a problem with this kinds of names, they are too ridiculous for me) a very especial girl… because of reasons. Who lives in a… mmm dystopian world? Where their city is divided into sectors, the one being at the center called The Jewel and it’s where all the royalty lives.
Violet was taken away from her lower-class family thanks to a genetic abnormality that allows her to carry babies for the royalty, since they can’t reproduce… because of reasons, even though lower class can have children and, if they marry into a higher class, women have to be sterilized… because of reasons. The day comes when she’s auctioned to one of the wealthiest families in the Jewel to carry their children and she’ll… emm… ummm… ahhhhh… walk around the palace and admire her new clothes?


What can I say? At about half of the book we are introduced to the love interest, a boy who serves as an “escort” to rich ladies in the jewel. For some reason, the attraction between these two is immediate, and even though the guy treats violet like crap, she can’t stop thinking about it because their gazes lingered.


After that she starts breaking down and despairing every time she doesn’t get to see him and by twenty pages or so they are in love!
But they can’t be together, Violet knows that their relationship could get them both killed and yet she’s constantly risking exposure because she’s afraid he stopped loving her… because they didn’t talk in a few hours…


All the characters, as well as the story were a bit lackluster. There was no depth to them, they had no personalities and were nothing but a bunch of walking clich├ęs; the evil older woman, the saint beautiful and virginal girl, the drunk idiot rich guy, the super gentleman dude, etc.

 Despite the terrible situation Violet finds herself in, she never does anything about it. We hear her monologue on how it’s not fair that she’s forced to carry other people’s children, but that’s all she does, she think “Damn this is not fair! Uh, pretty dress!” It didn’t make sense, and the fact that she hadn’t seen her reflection in years (because mirrors were forbidden in the “breeding house” she grew up in) was dumb beyond belief, clearly set up to have the typical “plain girl transforms into beautiful” in a make-up session in front of the mirror.


The book ends with a cliff-hanger, sort of. More like things get cut off in the middle of the action but I’m not sure if I’ll care to continue with it, I just don’t care.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Confess by Colleen Hoover

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…



Ok, I’m going to be totally honest here, since I had been slacking in writing my reviews I figured “hey, why not just do videos on the bunch of books i read but didn’t review so i can go by faster and improve my English?”

Turns out I can’t stand hearing myself stuttering and going back and forth in an endless cycle of “this book is about” “emmm…” “emmmmm…………” so screw it, I missed writing and using gifs which is why I’m back with this review. Sure, my writing is still pretty crappy too, but it’s the kind of crappy that I’m used to!

And speaking of crappy, I’m going to talk about Confess by Colleen Hoover (bet you didn’t see that comin’)

To be fair, I always consider that this author has a way to set her novels apart from other romance books, and I respect that. In the vast majority of books out there the plot is pretty simple: boy meets girl, they fall in love *insert mindless drama that makes no sense* LOVE CAN CONQUER ALL!!!!! <3<3<3<3 THE END

But with Hoover here, she makes sure that her characters have at least some history, they don’t just pop out of nowhere and start gazing into each other’s eyes and fall in love, no. They come from a somewhat complicated history, start gazing into each other’s eyes and fall in love *insert mindless drama that makes no sense* LOVE CAN CONQUER ALL!!!!! <3<3<3<3 THE END

So it kind of adds a bit more to the story but we are still left with the usual familiar tropes such as insta-love, “good, inexperienced” girl meets bad boy who has been into everyone’s pants but it’s somehow enchanted with this bland female character that has no personality nor self-respect. Add a “slutty” friend to show just how good and pure the MC is, a love triangle (if it’s with a friend, even better) and drama ensues.

Confess is told in two separate POVs, one is Auburn, our main character who lost the love of her life when she was only fifteen years old. Now at the age of twenty she’s in desperate need of money to hire a lawyer; what for we do not know, but that leads her to a studio where she meets Owen, a talented young artist and our other MC who is looking for an assistant for that very same day. 

We don’t know why or how, but it’s apparent that Owen knows Auburn and a little bit about her past. The thing is, he can’t say that since “confessing” that little secret coulddestroy everything.

The writing style was perfect, not magnificent but I had no problems getting into the story. Or at least I wouldn't have, had it not been for the dumbass characters. Sigh. 

The main problem was… well, this is mainly a love story, right? Our focus will be on these two people, how they meet, connect and fall in love. We have to be invested in the characters and relationships for the story to work and that just didn’t happen with me.

I had problems connecting with passive Auburn, who may I say only had sex once when she was fifteen (I really dislike the trope of virgin heroines). She had no character and no depth despite everything she had gone through. More often than not I ended up pissed off at her rather than at the situation she was in. She had a chance to make things work, to take matters into her own hands and do, for once what was better for her and yet she kept on doing nothing, somehow waiting for somebody to come and rescue her. Her passivity baffled me, and it pissed me off how it was used to move the story forward and create cheap drama. “I could do this thing and fix my problem!... Or I could just do nothing at all and make matters worse so that this problem can resurface in thirty pages or so.”

She’s the classic virgin heroine, so we are subjected to lines like this one:

What the hell am I doing? I don't do this kind of thing. I don't invite guys into my home. Texas is turning me into a whore

description

She has one girl friend, if you can call her that. Auburn doesn’t connect with her much because her roommate has “too much confidence in herself”. But she was the best part of this book, I wished it had been about her.

Now, if there is something that I hate, hate, hate, hate in books is rape used as a plot device. It’s more freaking common than we would like, the “handsome nice guy who saves the girl from being raped to show just how nice he is.” Or the, in a love triangle, when we have a “nice guy” not so nice and a “bad guy” not so bad, rape is usually used to show that the nice guy was not that nice to begin with and so the girl will go running back to the bad guy and beg him his love! Because after such a traumatic experience she’d only care if the other hot guy still likes her? Fuck that.

I hate it, and in this book rape is used as a freaking plot device that not only helps to improve the chances of the love interest, it also sends a very wrong message: If a guy likes you, you own him so you should let him take what he wants from you for him not to be mad at you.

I’m not fucking making this up, this is something that happens here and that was Auburn’s way of thinking, that if the guy raped her then maybe he wouldn’t be so mad at her for liking someone else and forgive her. MOTHERFUCKING FORGIVE HER. In the end, this issue was never addressed again, she forgave the guy and he walked away free, not even acknowledged as a rapist.


Owen, well he wasn’t so passive but he wasn’t much better either. He was what I imagine August Waters would be at twenty-one and, although I’m sure it would appeal to many, I fricken disliked that kid. Owen is a famous artist with his own studio at this very early age, an accomplishment impressive indeed. He was also a fricken annoying snob who looked down on every woman he ever dated.

It wasn’t very nice being inside his head and hear how he went on and on about how his ex-girlfriends were just too dumb to even talk to so they spent most of their time “not talking”. Dude, why the hell did you date them if you couldn’t stand them? So you could fill page after page of your obnoxious ranting on how all the sexy girls that threw themselves at your feet weren’t good enough for you?

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He annoyed me to no end, how he told Auburn that he was the only one that deserved to love her and told her how to live her life. He sounded more like an obsessive stalker rather than a fun love interest.

"And I need you to remember that anyone can make love. But I’m the only one who deserves to make love to you."

"He presses his palm against my heart. “And no one else deserves to be inside you if they can’t get there through here first.”"


Creepy as shit.


The relationship:
Then there is the matter of how these two people worked together, it’s romance after all! Right? 
The romance between Owen and Auburn was the major plot of this book and it failed to hook me because there was no chemistry between them.

What did these two see in each other? Dunno, I missed that spark. We get from Owen’s point of view that he has somehow met Auburn before, but she doesn’t remember him, so I could see why he would be a bit interested about her, but certainly not why he was suddenly so fricken in love with her after talking for a few hours.

Owen, the douche who every woman is never good enough for him, is suddenly madly in love with a girl with a courageous heart who “gets him”.

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Same goes for Auburn, despite all of her reservations and all the heartbreak she has gone through, she suddenly finds herself drawn to this guy she just met, so much so that when he doesn’t call her it makes her go into a small breakdown. If we consider all the time the two of them actually spent together it sums up to less than five days, FIVE DAYS and it’s an amazing all-consuming love that blah, blah blah.

One of my biggest issue with “Confess” that I saw it first happening in Never Never, is that the characters don’t communicate. Owen and Auburn each have a secret, and that is used to cause drama in the sense of “I can’t believe he did that.” Or “Why would she lie to me?” and yadda yadda which is particularly annoying since they are supposed to have this amazing love because the two of them understand each other like no one else does… and yet they don’t talk? How can they understand each other so well if, when it comes to the time of actually trusting the other person, they just won’t risk it? And the dumbest thing was, the secrets weren’t even that much of a big freaking deal! And one of them is never even revealed so, what the hell was the point of the whole “confess” novel?

I definitely liked how the author gave each of the characters a story besides the love part, but the whole book just fell flat to me.