Sunday, October 22, 2017

My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

First in the Improper Princess series

2 stars (DNF)

Gillian Dryden is the illegitimate daughter of a prince and has just finished avenging her stepfather’s death. Vengeance isn’t as sweet as it should be and she and her mother are forced to flee Sicily and come back to London. Charles Penley is tasked with taming Gillian and making her suitable for the ton so that she can find a nice suitor and wed. Of course, they end up absolutely enamored with each and entangled in a game of passion. Only not really. This novel wasn’t about as passionate as stale bread. I’ll be honest I made it chapter 18 before finally calling it quits and skimming to the end. I wasn’t taken with this story at all. This is the first HR I’ve ever DNFed, but I just couldn’t force myself to continue. It wasn’t worth slogging through hours of reading just to get to the obvious and unsatisfying ending. HRs are predictable, but what makes them so much fun is the passion and the swooning. This book lacks all the fun and substance. It takes itself too seriously and I think that the problem lies in the characters’ personalities.

There’s nothing wrong with Kelly’s writing, but the one flaw that I can point out and it’s a big one is character development. These characters are boring. They don’t leap off the page other than in the first couple of chapters. The opening chapters are so strong and I was hoping for a good HR, but they slowly begin to tank when it comes to the same boring back and forth of conforming to the ton vs. being absolutely everything the ton despises. I don’t think this is particularly my type of romance novel anyway. I’ve never read an HR with this trope before and I don’t think it’s for me.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.5

The main female character is Gillian. There isn’t really anything wrong with Gillian’s character, but she takes herself so seriously. Everything is so dire and everyone is out to get her and she just can’t fit in, but she doesn’t want to fit in. All these contradictions are constantly brought up in almost every chapter and it quickly becomes tiresome. I want to read about a fun heroine when I come to HRs. I want characters like Beatrice Hathaway who have affinities for animals and there are so many other interesting heroines who completely steal the show that I could list all of them, but we’d be here all day. Gillian just wasn’t any fun. She had a few great one-liners, but I just didn’t think she was the best character to match this type of storyline.

“At this rate, I’ll soon have an entire alphabet of nicknames trailing behind me like a dirty cloak.”

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2

The main male character is Charles. To be honest, Charles is just as abhorrent as, if not more so, than Gillian. My first impression of him was complete douchecanoe and he does get a little better, but his random obsession with her body and breasts randomly comes into play early on in the novel and instead of being cute, it just feels creepy and perverted. Charles isn’t the worse character, but his uptight personality and his hero complex (he is obsessed with saving the day and protecting Gillian) make this story feel trite and forced. I don’t buy their chemistry at all. In fact, there is none. It doesn’t exist.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 1.75

The Villains- There are a couple of different villains that pose a threat to Gillian, but none of them were really intimidating enough to pose any real threat. I just wasn’t interested.

Villain Scale: 1.25

There is a large cast of characters. I don’t really care for any of them and so many were constantly being introduced to disappear and then come back at odd times. I couldn’t keep them all straight and I didn’t really care enough to do so.

Character Scale: 2

I do feel a little guilty for not reading the whole novel, but I also don’t feel like I missed out or lost anything. Overall, I’m sure this novel be a hit with certain HR fans. I just wasn’t one of them.

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover. It’s so pretty. I want that dress. The tagline doesn’t work here though because there was no desire on any of the pages I read.

Thank you, Netgalley and Zebra, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
What are some of your least favorite romance tropes? Have you read this novel? Do you plan to? What are some of the best HRs that you've read? I'd love some recs! Let me know down below in the comments! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spooky Halloween Reads (What I've Read So Far in October)

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all having a spooktacular October and having been reading all the creepy books. I've been reading a lot of creepy stories lately, predominately short stories, and wanted to share my thoughts with you about them. Two stories I won't be reviewing at this moment, but plan to in the future are Apt Pupil by Stephen King and The Haunter of the Dark by H.P. Lovecraft. Both of these stories are contained in collections that I'm reading right now. I gave Apt Pupil 5 stars and HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. I gave The Haunter of the Dark 4.25 stars and I'm happy to say that Lovecraft is growing on me again because he lost me for a long time, but this story was quick, fun, and creepy. Now, onto the reviews!

8141954Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

4.25 stars

I really enjoyed the themes that Hawthorne presents in this short story. The writing isn't particularly gripping and I found it easy to leave the story, but I felt very connected to the tone and I felt a little spooked and panicked, which I'm sure was Hawthorne's main purpose (since the ending gives that tone).

16091727The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

4.75 stars 

This is one the most referenced horror stories. I can think of multiple instances in books, movies, and TV shows when a character will mention the panicked main character from The Tell-Tale Heart with a man buried under his floorboards and his loudly beating heart. It's a classic. It's a lot of fun and it is one of Poe's better stories (compared to the ones I've read). I highly recommend checking this one out if you haven't already.

8436063The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

4.5 stars

This is my first time reading this short story and it was fun to finally read it. This particular Poe story is famous and is referenced a lot, but I wasn't as in love with this as I hoped to be. I am a fan of it and enjoyed it quite a lot, but there were a couple of odd moments in the prose that felted awkward. I'm hoping that with more reads this will become an all-time favorite, but for now it's one that I highly recommend checking out. 

261240The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

This rating still holds up years upon rereading and this continues to be one of my all-time favorite short stories.

5 stars
I had to read this for school and I absolutely loved it. Maybe the reason I enjoyed it so much was because I read it for school and we talked about irony. Talking about the story made me think more into it and now I think it's brilliant. I had already been intrigued, but the story just proved to be amazing.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

Plotastic Scale: 5

Character Scale: 5

264158The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

5 stars

I've recently reread The Raven for the umpteenth time for my American Literature class and I think this is the most fun I've had reading it primarily because it's October and I'm feeling very Halloween-y. This poem is fantastic in tone, beat, and imagery. It's famous for a reason.

25256808Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

5 stars

This is one of the most fascinating stories I've ever read. It's four pages and a lot happens in that brief space, which is impressive on Dahl's part, but also it's sparked the urban legend of a wife smart enough to hide the murder weapon (a lamb) by feeding it to the detectives. I want to thank one of my best friends for recommending this short story to me because without this odd recommendation and conversation I wouldn't have found this spooky story. I think my personal favorite thing about this story was the character shift from perfect, content suburban housewife to enraged, passionate killer to a cold, calculating woman desiring to get away with murder.

Have you read any of these stories? What are your thoughts on them? Do you have any short stories that you love that you recommend for the Halloween season? Let me know down below in the comments!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kingtober: Ranking the Stephen King Novels I've Read

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing my Kingtober videos in celebration with the month of October and Halloween. I rank the Stephen King novels I've read in this video and it was a lot of fun to think about them and film this. 

Mentioned but not ranked- 


Are you a Stephen King fan? How do you rank the novels you've read? Let me know down below in the comments!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Kingtober: My Journey with Stephen King

Hi, everyone! I hope that you are having a good October so far. I love the month of October and the feeling of fright that the fall air provides. Because the horror is my one of favorite genres and Stephen King is my favorite author, I wanted to dedicate a whole month of videos on my channel to Stephen King. 

I have a written post that chronicles my journey with King and if you would prefer to read that instead, you can check it out here.

Are you a fan of Stephen King? Let me know what your first King read was down below in the comments!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy Review

Hi, everyone! Today I have a full trilogy review of the A Court of Thorns & Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas. I haven't done a full series review on my BookTube channel in a while, so I decided to do one for one of the series that I have been 100% invested in since the first book came out. I have full reviews of each book if you would prefer to read my thoughts instead of watching a video.

Rank It!:
1. A Court of Wings and Ruin
2. A Court of Mist and Fury
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses

Are you a fan of the ACOTAR trilogy? What are your thoughts on it? Do you ship Feysand? Let me know down below in the comments!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

5 stars

“There are worse things in the world to be than delicate. If you’re delicate, it means no one has tried to break you.”

Mina’s father is a magician in the South. Her father is feared by everyone and as his daughter she is guilty by association. Mina grows up isolated and alone; constantly told by her father that she is unlovable and the reason her mother killed herself. Mina learns that she isn’t truly human. She died and her father kept her alive by turning her heart into glass. When Mina moves to the Whitespring Castle after her father saves the King’s daughter, Lynet, she decides that the king will allow her to experience love and be loved. Lynet looks like her mother, an exact copy in every way. It’s magical—she was created through snow and the magician’s blood. Lynet doesn’t want to be like her mother and she wants to have her own path. The person she wants to be like is Mina, but how can she be like Mina when Mina tries to kill her? AHHHH! I totally loved this book. I am genuinely pleased and surprised. I knew I would like this book because 1) it’s a Snow-White retelling and I’m a sucker for retellings 2) the blurb compares it to The Bloody Chamber, which I haven’t read, but know I’ll love 3) feminist fantasy I’M SOLD. This book had so much potential and it lived up to it for me. I don’t know if everyone will be obsessed with this book, but I recommend that everyone should check out this book and here’s why.

Bashardoust creates a beautifully cold and bleak world with little emotion within the walls of a kingdom. The tone feels chilly and the characters resemble that because they struggle to show their true emotions—either for political power or because of not knowing how to show them. I loved so many quotes in this novel. I highlighted so many great passages and I was moved to tears at simple scenes between Mina and Lynet that had no weight to the plot, but showed how important their relationship is. Bashardoust does a fantastic job at creating an intense world with intrinsic descriptions and emotionally captivating characters. The writing is wonderfully introspective and cunning in painting the character and the world without giving away too much at one time.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

“Made, created, shaped—all those words meant the same thing: she was something artificial. She was a duplicate, created to live out all the days that had been stolen from her mother.”

The characters in this are so amazing. They are all layered and at times frustrating… humanly frustrating. The story is told in alternating PoVs and timelines— present Lynet, past Mina, and present Mina. This worked out so well and intertwined to create such a riveting plot that had me on the edge of my seat no matter the timeline. This novel is important because it shows that stepmothers and daughters can have a strong bond that is as strong as a real mother-daughter bond. I was so invested in their relationship and resolving the misunderstanding that occurs because I wanted them to be on the same page and be the fierce dynamic duo I knew they could be. These two characters were absolutely lovely. On their own, they have flaws and while I didn’t always root for them at times because of their choices, I always enjoyed reading from their perspective seeing their characters grow. While this is a Snow-White retelling, the core story here is the strength of a mother-daughter relationship that isn’t familial and it’s a theme that isn’t present in YA, much less YA fantasy. It’s so refreshing to see an author—especially a debut author— flipping a typical trope in fantasy that has passed down for generations. Even my favorite fantasy novel, Daughter of the Forest, adheres to the evil stepmother trope, but Girls Made of Snow and Glass shows that the villain doesn’t have to always remain the villain because sometimes the villain wasn’t trying to be one.

“She was her father’s daughter, and what she didn’t have, she would create.”

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Mina- 5 Lynet- 5

The Villain- It’s known pretty early on that the magician, Mina’s father, is the villain. He’s kind of stereotypical, but I was not expecting him to get as twisted as he did towards the end.

Villain Scale: 4

There’s a romance in here and it’s not with a prince. It’s with Nadia… a female surgeon within the Castle of Whitespring. I think it’s great that there is more representation in YA fantasy, especially since I have a sneaking suspicion that Lynet is bisexual due to a scene with a random boy later in the novel, but regardless of whether she is a lesbian or bisexual, I’m sure her confusion and acceptance over her attraction to a girl will be understood by many young female readers. I personally didn’t feel a strong connection to romance. I also didn’t particularly like Nadia’s character and that’s because she was a little too-faced in certain scenes and I never felt like I was able to truly gather her real intentions until the very end. However, I’m really happy to see a different take on romance in a YA fantasy retelling.

There are other romantic leads with the King and with Felix, Mina’s creation from glass. There were times when I loved the King’s lines, but he was wishy-washy and obsessed with his dead wife. Trying to recreate the past with his dead daughter is too Gatsby for me and that’s why he ended up getting shanked while hunting like Robert Baratheon (a-la-Game of Thrones). Felix was an interesting character and he had similar parallels to Mina’s struggle with being emotionless and being made of glass, but he understood who he was quicker and was able to decipher and discover emotions early on and it made his love story with Mina sweet, but I didn’t really ship it.

To be honest, the only thing I did ship was that Mina and Lynet would realize how much they loved each other and all would be well.

Romance Scale: 3.5

I loved the plot for Girls Made of Snow and Glass so much. The fact that these characters are both strong women, but in different ways, and have magical powers is so awesome. I love stories with magic powers, castles, strong characters, and politics. This novel was so much fun for me and I looked forward to walking around campus and reading this on my phone. If you are going to pick one 2017 debut, make it Girls Made of Snow and Glass because it spins old-age fantasy tropes on their heads and turns a simple story into a breathtaking read. Also this kind of feels like Game of Thrones because it’s cold, there’s a lot of are you the villain or am I?, and it’s fantasy with the occasional court politics thrown in.

Plotastic Scale: BROKE MY SCALE

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover because it represents both Mina and Lynet. It’s ice shards. Obsessed.

Thank you, Netgalley and Flatiron Books, for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Girls Made of Snow and Glass? What are your thoughts on it? What is your favorite Snow White retelling? What trope are you tired of seeing in fantasy? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Romance Book Haul

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I'm continuing to upload my book hauls that I prefilmed over the summer and this one focuses on books in the romance genre. 


So far I've read 4/8 of these books. My favorite is Redeeming Love and I highly recommend it. I have reviews for:
Too Scot to Handle 3.25 stars

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? What are your favorite romance reads? Let me know down below in the comments!