Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

Image

My reading skills are obviously mortifying this year. I cannot even comprehend how six months have passed and I barely read anything. This makes me very upset. But between working, school, and going out, who has the time?

Anyways, I won’t waste any more time writing about my self-disappointment this year… Okay, one last thing. I am trying to get my groove back into reading. Haha 😛

I just finished reading Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. What made me pick up this book was the review by J.K. Rowling. Once she approves than its obviously good.;) When I started reading the inside of the cover, right away I thought it was one of those generic books since it started with seventeen year old…I didn’t realize that it was a modern remake of Jane Austen’s novel until few lines in.  Mind you, I only read one Jane Austen novel, Emma, which I did a review on last year. I knew the title of the book sounded familiar, I just didn’t realize right away that it was a Jane Austen’s book. After reading this one, I definitely want to get my hands on the original.

I’ve heard that many people who did read the original Northanger Abbey found that this book was a sad excuse for a revised modern version. I can’t agree or disagree because once again I haven’t read the original. I found that the story was interesting, nothing too crazy. I was seriously expecting some supernatural stuff with the amount of vampires being emphasized. This wasn’t the case, even though it would be pretty cool to make some of the Jane Austen’s characters vampires. I’m sorry, I’ll love vampires forever. I liked them before twilight came out and I still like them now. I think.

Spoiler Alert

I’ll start off with stating the things I didn’t like about the story and don’t know if they were part of the original. I wish my neighbours were as lovely as the Allen’s who would take me on a vacation for a month. Realistically, this never happens. I could definitely relate to Cat and her eagerness for adventure. She is portrayed as the kindest person you would know. I really didn’t think so though. I found that she was rude sometimes and still got away with it. I understand how annoying John Thorpe must have been since he never got a clue that she wasn’t into him but in his defence, I did feel like she was leading him on. She was also rude to Bella too even before the thing with Jamie happened. Also I got really annoyed with the way she reacted when Henry found her snooping in their “restricted” area.  Bottom line, I don’t think Cat is as nice as others believe her to be. Not sure how that is relevant to anything but whatever this is my review.. Oh those modern text messages in abbreviation were annoying too. Does anyone actually use all the slang like that? It is hard to follow how quick the couples get engage but that is the story staying true plotline, I assume. Overall, this book is dramatic, if you enjoy that or not. Oh I should mention some of my favourite parts like when Henry questioned about what does the word “cool” mean and how it can pretty much describe everything and nothing at all. I also enjoyed the ending even though it felt a little bit rushed.

I think McDermid did a wonderful job bringing the novel up to date. It really did exhibit some of the usual YA novel themes and expectations.

Love, Maryana

40 Things I Want To Tell You by Alice Kuipers

40 things i want to tell youI’m going to start by saying that there is no way (ever), that I would have picked up such a book like this.

I find these types of books extremely dull and unrealistic. I will always prefer fantasy over this.

I can imagine preteen and teenage girls picking up the book and reading this at the back;

Amy (a.k.a. Bird) seems to have the perfect life: loving parents, a hot boyfriend, the best friend ever. She even writes an online advice column, full of Top Tips, to help other teens take control of their lives. But after a new guy shows up at school, Bird can’t seem to follow her own wisdom.

Pete is the consummate bad boy. He’s everything Bird is not: wild, unambitious and more than a little dangerous. Although she knows he’s trouble, Bird can’t stay away. And the more drawn she is to Pete, the more cracks are revealed in her relationship with Griffin, her doting boyfriend. Meanwhile, her parents’ marriage is also fracturing, possibly for good.

Bird is way out of her comfort zone. All it takes is one mistake, one momentary loss of control, for her entire future to be blown away . . .

And drooling all over it because it is something they could only hope for. Amy is a very relatable character to these young girls who wish to get into university and get the perfect boyfriend no matter if it’s the boy next door or the badass new kid. This is what gives these girls unrealistic fantasies. At least when you’re reading about vampires, witches, or werewolves you know they’re not true.

So how did I get this book and why did I read it?

Well, my friend was a fan of these types of books and then she grew out of it. During the summer she was getting rid of her books because she no longer reads and that’s where I came in and took her books. HAHA Never say no to free books!

Anyways, this book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and it finally caught my attention.

I read a book two weeks ago  and it reminded me how much I love reading so I decided I wanted to try to read more often.

Obviously, I have better things to read than another YA novel especially in a genre I don’t like. But the cover captured my attention and I thought why not, it’ll do.

I started reading and could stop laughing or rolling my eyes how annoyingly predictable it was.

I know, I know how so many people say such great things about this book and how it isn’t predictable, blah, blah, blah. But I did find it predictable at first!

Now I can’t keep on writing without any spoilers so SPOILER ALERT!!

I did not like the Amy’s character at all. Her advice column wasn’t that great, it was the typical advice you see everywhere.  She was that typical girl until this new guy came and la la la. In fact I really don’t think the new guy influenced her a lot. It’s not like they spend time together or got to know one another. They shared a kiss and had sex and that was it. The guy tried getting to know Amy better but she kept pushing him away. He never had the chance because she believed all the rumours about him. Now the fact that she has sex with this guy is very scandalous since she still doesn’t want to break up with her boyfriend who is waiting for their first time together. Also it is evident that Amy thinks very highly of herself and how she is better than most people. Amy is the perfect example of a teenager who thinks they have their life figured out until she gets a shocking surprise. So what happens when you decide to have sex with a guy you barely know at the park one fall night? Well, you get pregnant, surprise! Now we were not told if Amy and the guy used protection at the time of this occasion because that would have given away the big surprise. This is where the book gets interesting. There are not many books written about teen pregnancies and I didn’t think this book would take that turn. I was expecting something in the lines of Amy breaking up with her boyfriend to get with the badass guy but then getting in some kind of trouble and finally realizing she is in fact in love with her now ex-boyfriend, who obviously forgives her and they have their happily ever after. With teen pregnancy this book becomes very realistic. Amy’s whole world turns around. Not only is she pregnant but her parents separate, she starts having difficulties with school, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and everybody starts to hate her. The guy she had sex with doesn’t even know it’s his baby since she refused to tell him, he finds out when her boyfriend confesses that he never had sex with her. At the same time, Amy’s dad kicks her out of the house because she is a “very stupid girl”. Amy has no one and I’m sure many other teenage pregnant girls feel the same. Amy struggles with the decision if she wants to keep the baby or get abortion. If she gets an abortion obviously everything could go back to normal and she would have her future but she decides to keep the baby. I am actually happy she kept the baby but I don’t know why she decided that once she has it, she cannot pursue her dreams.  Amy’s father forgives her and lets her move in again.

This is a great story that exhibits that life does not go the way you plan.

I love how once the baby is born, the book is addressed to the baby and how she wrote 40 rules for him to live by. When authors do this, i find it very creative since it engages the readers more.

The book was not the best but it was surprisingly good.

I give it 3/5

P.S. I always have a tendency to apologize for my writing and my opinion since I feel like I shouldn’t be judging someone’s work when I haven’t done anything myself. I like writing these reviews because it gives me a way to express my feelings and that’s what blogs are for.

Love, Maryana

Allegiant by Veronica Roth Review

ImageMy thoughts on the conclusion of the Divergent series are very conflicting.

When I read the first Divergent book, I was very impressed. It stood out to me more than other books such as Matched and Delirium. It was unique, capturing, and compelling. In total, I read the first Divergent book about four times. I thought that Insurgent was a good sequel, but it was lacking something that the first book had. I was still very excited for Allegiant though.

I got Allegiant on the morning it came out and finished reading it two days afterwards because I still have classes to attend.

I’ll attempt not to spoil anything about Allegiant as best as I can.                                                                                         It begins with the after effects of Insurgent, when the Edith Prior video is released and all the people find out that they’re part of some experiment. I do not understand why such emphasis was put on Edith Prior and how she is connected to Tris, because this topic was barely mentioned in Allegiant. All we know is that she is one of Tris ancestors. I wish that Veronica Roth would have done something more with this. I had high hopes for when Tris and the others venture out of the city to the unknown world. Since Veronica Roth came up with such an interesting idea for the city, I wondered in what unique way she would portray the outside world. I was very disappointed. The outside world is portrayed in a similar fashion to how the city is. I feel like Roth tried to make it similar to how Divergent went so she could have the same success. Not a great technique, the plot was a disaster. Roth took the series in the same kind of direction as many other YA novels. Allegiant reminded me of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner combined.

Nevertheless, what stood out to me about this novel and what makes it different from many other novels is the character development. Tris comes to a full understanding of herself and her relationship with Four. I do not want to discuss this topic further because I’ll give too much away. 😛 Also, the conclusion was shocking. I am not a huge fan of how it ended like everyone else, but in my opinion, its what made the whole book worthwhile reading. Not many YA novels end in this way and I am astonished that Veronica Roth decided to do this.

I think the Divergent series is worth a read if you haven’t read it and Allegiant is an acceptable conclusion to the series.

Plot 2/5

Writing 3/5

Love, Maryana

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

15745753Ugh, sad to say that I didn’t like this book. The whole story was irritating. I have so many questions that weren’t answered.  I hated the ending especially.

This story is about two teenagers falling in love. Eleanor is the new girl that everyone automatically hates because of the way she dresses. Park is a quiet guy that everyone leaves alone because of his family name. Two of them are misfits in their own way and then they develop feelings for each other.

Spoiler alert

I thought the story had a lot of potential but it just wasn’t explained. I didn’t like the story because I don’t understand how Park went from hating Eleanor from the point where he couldn’t stand looking at her and then falling in love with her because she started reading his comic and listening to his music. The only contact they had was on the bus before school, they didn’t talk in class or at lunch, they didn’t talk on the phone because Eleanor did not have one.

Eleanor comes from an abusive home. Her mother left her with a friend of theirs for a year without a notice. I wish this part was explained more. I want to know the reason behind Eleanor’s departure and why her stepdad snapped at her. I also do not understand why Eleanor’s mother chooses to stay with this guy. Sure, he provides for them but that’s not even enough. Eleanor and her 4 other siblings need to share a room. They don’t even have enough food to eat daily. Anyways, I wish Eleanor’s mother behaviour was explained more. Also, I do not understand why the stepdad dislikes Eleanor so much or why by the end of the book she says that he is going to kill her when he found some of her make-up and comic books.

Now let’s discuss the ending. Eleanor goes to stay with her uncle after she says her stepdad will kill her. Her family disappears. We do not know if the other kids went to live with the uncle as well or if the mom gained some courage and left the jackass.  Park is left heartbroken and a year passes when he gets a postcard from Eleanor, after not hearing from her the whole time, saying three words. So what are these words? Did she tell him she loves him? I do not understand the point of that. Park wrote letters to her every single day at the beginning and she didn’t respond to any of them. So why would she choose to do this to him now after he tried to move on? Ugh I just hated the whole relationship. Park did so many wonderful things for Eleanor and she never seemed thankful for it. He always said he loves her and she never said it back. There was a chapter in the book when Park’s mother did Eleanor’s make up and she started crying afterwards because she said she doesn’t look like herself but much prettier. It wasn’t  tears of joy. So ungrateful, all the time. Park stood up for her on many occasions. Park was the one who took her to her uncle’s home in the middle of the night too. So what did Eleanor do for Park the whole book? I would like to know please.  She was grateful in her head, maybe, but she never expressed it.

Sorry for my nonsense but I am just not a fan of books like this. I wish it would just end with Park getting over Eleanor or her coming back.

Anyways, I liked the book on scale of 5 at a 2.

I enjoyed the way it was written so I give it 5/5

I give the plot 3/5

Love, maryana

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey Review

Hello everyone,16101128

I had my two week hiatus, but not intentionally. I’ve been moving and then I had my exams and now I have two weeks before classes start again. I am going to try to read as many books as I can in this time. I am currently reading the Great Gatsby and I just finished reading the 5th wave.

So what did I think of the 5th wave?

I think it actually lived up to its expectation. It captured my attention right away and I just kept on flipping through the pages trying to figure out what happens.

I wasn’t too keen on reading this book when I bought it. I wasn’t impressed by the cover (and I do judge books by their cover since it’s the first thing that makes you pick up a book) but I picked it up because I heard mixed reviews on this. I heard that it’s similar to the hunger games and I expected it to be very predictable. It wasn’t.  This is one of those YA novels that gives me hope that there is some creativity and originality left in this field. I must admit that I haven’t read many alien invasion stories so maybe that’s why I was impressed.

The book follows a girl named Cassie (for Cassiopeia) which is unusual name and I wonder if it will ever have a great significance other than being a constellation of a vain Greek queen. The first one hundred pages explain what happened to the people and to Cassie. This is a story of aliens invading earth and murdering the human race which they do in five waves. “After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one”. The aliens have been watching the human race since the beginning of history thus they know how people think and how to extinct the human race. The first wave took away all the electricity, the second wave brought a flood that destroyed all the major cities by water where most people live, the third wave brought a flu and only the immune survived, the fourth wave is when the aliens descend and start killing the people themselves but the difficult part is that they are not some green skin monsters, nobody can tell how they look like. Now it’s the 5th wave and no one knows what to expect. Cassie is alone, she feels like she is the only human left on earth, maybe she is, but she hopes she can find her little brother who was taken by the same people that killed their father. The book switches perspective between Cassie and this guy, Ben, who is at the same camp as Cassie’s little brother. So we get an outside perspective and an inside perspective.

I read so many terrible reviews on this book so people must be thinking that I have a terrible taste in books. Maybe I do but I loved this book. I think the plot was very well developed and thought through. It wasn’t predictable even though some things were made obvious to the readers when the characters had no idea. The book started off at a slow pace and then started increasing pace as the readers started understanding what is going on.  Some reviews that I read said that it went by too fast but I loved the fast paced action packed ending.

I didn’t think that this book was very similar to The Hunger Games. Sure, it is apocalyptic , there is a girl fighting for survival and being watched all the time but that’s a similar theme to hundreds of other books. You hear of every new dystopia book being compared to the hunger games now, why? I love the hunger games but it’s not like it’s the best or original dystopia novel, and it’s not like everyone compares it to Battle Royale (most people don’t even know what that is).

I thought that the book was well written, but I have to admit when the story captures my attention, I barely pay attention to the writing. Since nothing caught my attention therefore it must be okay. Excuse my poor judgment skills 😛

Overall, this was a very nice read. I give it 5/5

Writing 4/5

Plot 5/5

With love, Maryana

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer Review

This is definitely one of the best YA novels that I have read.scarlet

This is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, following Cinder.

I am surprised at the fact that Scarlet was not strictly based on the character Cinder. Instead, Scarlet is introduced. She is an 18 year old girl living in France and working on a farm when her grandmother goes missing. The book begins as the police call off the investigation for Scarlet’s grandmother’s disappearance. Scarlet is furious and she vows that she will keep looking for her grandmother no matter what, without the help of the police. Other new characters are introduced, such as Wolf and Thorne, and we still get to read about Cinder, Iko, and Kai. I was not expecting for Cinder to narrate some chapters since I thought the book would focus on Scarlet’s story only. Also Kai, Wolf, Thorne, and even Queen Levana get to narrate some chapters.

Both, Wolf and Thorne are the bad boy type of guys but they are very different. Wolf is very strong, quiet and shy, and very serious. Thorne on the other hand, is very arrogant and sarcastic. I like them both equally and find that they both serve the same kind of purpose for the girls (they assist them). I should mention that Wolf is Scarlet’s love interest but Cinder is still drooling over Kai thus, she and Thorne are only friends.

The book, Scarlet, is inspired by the story of Red Riding Hood the way Cinder was inspired by Cinderella. The third book, Cress is inspired by Rapunzel. The finale book, Winter, is inspired by Snow White. I hope I got it right. 😛  I can’t wait to see how they all tie in together.

There are many versions of the story of the Red Riding Hood, the most important facts are; that there is a girl in a red hood, walking through the forest to her grandmother’s house, and there is the wolf. Thus, Scarlet is described with red hair and wearing a red hoodie. Scarlet meets Wolf, who-SPOILER- is one of the genetically modified Lunars. Also there is a brief scene in a forest but that’s as far as the similarities go. There was also a part where one of the Lunar wolves gave the illusion of being Scarlet’s grandmother that’s another similarity to when the wolf in the original story dressed up as the grandmother to fool the girl.

I was impressed by Cinder, but Scarlet was on a higher level.

Why I love it…

–          It’s well written

–          The plot is well developed

–          There aren’t many books on fairy tales in the future, I would say it’s pretty unique

–          It’s not too predictable

–          It takes place around the world and space.

–          It changes perspective.

–          The story is capturing

–           And I just  love fairy tales

I got a signed copy of the book, but I didn’t have the chance to meet the author, unfortunately.

I would recommend this book to any one, it’s a pleasant read.

Sorry if my review is all over the place.

I said I would explain my rating system in the previous post, but I haven’t yet. It’s coming!!

I like this book on scale 5/5

The writing is 5/5 even though it is plain and simple, easy to read.

The plot, I give 5/5

Kisses, Maryana

Ink by Amanda Sun Review

ImageYup, I am not consistent with my readings. I said that i would read either, Inferno, Emma, or the great Gatsby but i did not.

I was not planning on reading this but then I saw a signed copy of the book and I just had to have it. I am also a sucker for pretty covers too. And I’ve seen this book all over the place, so why not buy it.

This book was refreshing to read because it didn’t mention the usual supernatural beings such as vampire, werewolf, fairies, or angels. Instead, the book focused on Kami, Japanese gods and how they have powers through ink. This was very cool.  The protagonist, Katie, moves to Japan after the death of her mother to live with her aunt. She is the usual outcast and is attracted to the most popular boy at school. Typically, the boy barely notices her at first but then is fascinated by her character and obviously both of them have a special connection.

I really love how the setting takes place in Japan. I honestly barely know anything about the culture and I enjoyed learning about their customs. I would love to visit Japan, it is so intriguing. Kendo sounds like so much fun.

Another interesting fact about this book is that it includes illustrations. It was very nice to see the drawings that were mentioned throughout the book on the pages.

The first chapter was very good and I had high hopes for the rest. But as I got to know the characters better, especially Katie, I became disappointed. I found Katie’s character to be very irritating and annoying. I do not want to spoil anything for those who actually want to read this book so I am just going to say that she is very nosy and thinks of herself more worthy than she actually is. Also, maybe this is because of cultural differences, I found some of the events to be overdramatic. I did enjoy how the book concluded. SPOILER; I kind of wish that Katie did go to Canada to see how the events would play out when she is on her own, but I am happy with her decision to stay too.

Am I excited for the next novel?

Not really, but I’ll still read it.

On scale from 1 to 5, I liked this book around 3.

I give the writing 4/5 and the idea 4/5.

Love, Maryana