~Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~
Girls had to believe in everything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.
I have no recollection of requesting this on NetGalley, but I read it anyway since I hate leaving books unread on NG. But this book just wasn’t for me.
In the wake of a popular high school student’s suicide, it sends tremors throughout a conservative town. Hannah befriends Lacey and, together, they form an intimate friendship, luring Hannah into a lifestyle of rebellion and violence, as they bond over their hatred of Nikki, the deceased’s girlfriend.
While the writing was enjoyable, I just found the plot too repetitive and it became tiresome. I haven’t read many books like these – those bad obsessive girls type of books. But this showed me that maybe it’s not my type. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the reveal and it’s ending – mainly because I didn’t expect Hannah to be capable of doing so. But there’s not much else I can say, I’m very picky when it comes to contemporary, and though the writing style was nice, I just didn’t find it enjoyable to read.
Kindle Edition, UK edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2016 by Little, Brown Book Group
~Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review~
Chasing Thunderclap haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to their band. With the death of a former band mate and on the edge of losing their new lead guitar player to an Ivy League college, could Chasing Thunderclap be no more by the end of summer? Hell-bent on keeping Bryan, their lead guitarist, in the band, the remaining members will do anything to turn his mind away from college. But as their plans crumbles away, each member begins to question whether this dream is worth following?
I’m not going to lie: I hated this book for the first 75% of this book. The behaviour of these boys actually disgusted me and they were so irritating. But I had to give the Caswell some props for making some distinction between the boys. I literally thought I was going to be stuck with five POVs with no idea who was speaking when. But the story of each boy was clear and different, and when weaved together, the novel was enjoyable to an extent. I liked the storyline but hated the characters. Haha, is that even possible? I really liked how the band had different meanings to each member. And how important the band was to their fans and that fuelled the boys to keep going. There’s a scene where a fan comes up to Bryan and tells him how their music saved their life, and that scene was so cute!
I was actually going to not even finish this book but I’m glad I kept reading because the ending was good. I don’t say that often but I liked how realistic it was. And it was good to see each boy finally decide what their position was in the band, and I agreed with each decision they made.
Kindle Edition, 315 pages
Published December 30th 2015 by Berried Alive, LLC
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
I’ll start with what I did like so it’s not lost in whatever comes next. The style of writing made it easy to read, it’s light and fluffy, and serious when it needs to be. Mercedes was an interesting main character, I didn’t like her, but it was nice to read a YA contemporary that’s quite different. Firsts make a lot of promises, and the potential was so obvious.
I wanted this book to be so about empowerment but it was so bad how lacking the empathy was towards the females vs the amount of care was taken into sympathising with the boys she slept with, especially since they cheated on their girlfriends with Mercedes. But I felt so bad for her when she receives the brunt of the abuse from the girlfriends.
Mercedes logic behind why she’s provided her service is understandable, but again it lacks any proper exploration until the very end where it’s delivered in the biggest info dump ever. She never once tells her experience to the girlfriends or attempts to clear the air on why she did it. I get that they’re extremely mad at her, but considering how strong she was in her justification of her own actions to herself, I just thought she would try at least. Like her reasoning makes sense, but at the same time, I was sitting there thinking, you’re sleeping with people who are already dating other people.
Also, the character of Faye felt so forced and was such an obvious plot device to put Mercy and Zach together. (Mercy’s like oh this new girl is hotter than me, Zach is obvs going to like her better than me, despite Zach being so blatantly obvious about his feelings towards Mercy)
I think the biggest issue I had with this novel was the message it sent about consent. Twice Mercedes tells boys to disregard consent, and completely misrepresents consent and confuses what is a very clear case of rape. And it isn’t really addressed and questioned.
Overall, a novel that was filled with potential. This novel is set in our modern world where women are valued as object based solely on their sexual availability to men. I understand where Mercedes was coming from, but this book wasn’t for me. Don’t be bogged down by my low rating, it’s good because the book does point out an important double standard about sexually active girls and teen boys and does portray a realistic and challenge to slut-shaming and double standards.
Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones.
“Trust no one. Always question what you’re told. Don’t believe the lies that people feed you, even if they’re your teachers or parents. At the end of the day you have to work out for yourself what’s right or wrong.”
I would just like to disclose that I love Darren Shan’s books. The Saga of Darren Shan inspired me to become an author and is one of my favourite vampire series ever. But I’m just so disappointed with this entire book, and I’m not sure if I want to continue the series.
The summary says it’s ‘a hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism.’ But honestly, it was all bullshit. As a Muslim, who has grown up in the UK, I am so thankful I’ve never faced people like B in my life. I don’t tolerate racism in real life, and nor will I tolerate it in fiction unless it educates the readers. I felt like Shan should have written those scenes differently
B is literally a TSTL character with no redeeming quality. With a non-existent moral compass, B literally has no sense of right or wrong. They pretend not to be racist, but really was, and was extremely cruel to anyone. There’s a scene where they tried to buy alcohol but is denied because they are underage, so they made fun of the Arab man when he denied the sale. A teacher makes a comment about their racist dad, so they slashed the teachers’ tires?
B is also a huge bully. I had really hoped B would grow up and realised their racist behaviour, and hopefully, stop acting in that way. But they don’t, and blames it all on their dad and is weirdly hellbent on pleasing their dad. Later, when the zombies are overtaking their group, B‘s dad tells them to sacrifice the black boy to save themselves, and B actually did it. Then blames their dad, despite the fact that it was their action.
‘He turned me into a killer. He made me throw [….] to the zombies.’ Ummm, B, your dad didn’t make you do shit. B easily had the choice to say no, but they didn’t. And once they come to the realisation that everything they had done was wrong. It was too late, and honestly, B got what they deserved.
The novel does show what influence poor role models can have on children’s behaviours, but honestly, B’s character was too inconsistent, and the likeability in this character was way too low. The art in the book was actually really great, and I liked them. Overall, the zombie scenes were few but were good, it’s just damn shame than B’s is so unlikeable that I’m not sure if I want to continue this series.
my review: Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I had to think about this one and then decide how I was going to write it, but overall – it didn’t live up to it’s potential – mostly because the first 30% was literally a rushed version of the first 30 minutes of the original movie before the original material finally kicked in. The characters – old and new- were underdeveloped and the conflict didn’t emphasise what the actual stakes in the real story were. It had some good moments but, overall, not so good.
This action-packed book had a sufficiently built world, easily visualised, but what was lacking was characterisation. It was fast-paced yet, but I wanted it to be slower. There were also more than a handful of new roles in this story: friends and enemies but they were as flat as a board, leaving me feeling no sympathy for them in their crisis.
In this book, I didn’t really root for anyone apart from Morgiana—a kick-ass, witty female friend of Aladdin. She was my favourite character. Aladdin is supposed to be the charming, “diamond in the rough” street rat – who excels at thieving. Seriously—every time he tries to steal something he gets caught. I suppose it could be for narrative tension/suspense, but it felt sloppy. Jasmine is even worse. She starts off as a self-absorbed princess and doesn’t really lose that. Yes—she’s savvy; she’s a quick learner; she’s reflective—and she has moments where I can see what the author was trying to do – make her into a Katniss-type revolutionary leader. But it didn’t work right.
The relationship between Jasmine and Aladdin irked me so much. Yes, it happens in the film, but in this book, you could replace their name with anyone other YA couple, and it works. The whole romance felt very modern, very contemporary as if they were just two American teens with crushes on each other. It didn’t even sound anywhere near accurate. Even if they’re both orphans and impoverished street rats, I would still imagine that there are cultural customs and traditions in place – behaviour that’s inappropriate between two young, unmarried people.
As like the film, Jafar is our evil villain and even more so in the adaptation, and that REALLY irritated me. He doesn’t seem to have a backstory – there’s no reason why he is the way he is, and ultimately this drives him mad. I get that he’s supposed to be the villain, but again, this just seems to be “the easy way out.” It’s all right to have a good power-hungry dictator as your villain – but when there’s no reason, it just seems simplistic and sloppy.
The ending was typical. There’s a plan – a weak one – and our main characters band together to save the day. Of course. Despite the tension the author attempts to depict, there’s never really any doubt that Jafar’s going to lose and they win. Her best attempt at dramatic tension results in Jasmine being tempted by the dark magic – but luckily she has Aladdin there to draw her back to the light. It all resolves relatively quickly.
What really disappointed me was that this was such a fantastic opportunity to represent the cultural diversity that is so lacking in children’s and YA novels – to tell a Middle Eastern/Arabic tale with accurate cultural customs and beliefs – to show readers something probably unfamiliar to them in an appealing way. Since it’s based on Aladdin, it is already going to attract readers, it was a perfect opportunity to do so.
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