Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

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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

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

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Review

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Finally read it!

It is sad to say that I did not fall in love with this book. Don’t get me wrong, I did love reading it and there was nothing that irritated me. The plot was very good and so was the setting. I love the fantasy world that Leigh Bardugo created with a thing called “small science”. The Grisha could manipulate matter thus it is their power. It’s not magic, its science. 🙂  Also, I love how the setting is based on 1800s Russia. I am close to Russian so I can relate to everything in the book.

Alina, the protagonist, exhibits character development which is a good thing for a YA novel. She started to understand herself and her power towards the end of the book. She possesses a rare ability which she must use to save the world from the Darkling. That’s kind of typical but it is presented in a unique way that you will be surprised.  I actually love the Darkling even though he is ‘the evil’. I kind of wish he and Alina could be together because both of them have special gifts and they are the most powerful but they are fighting each other. I am always intrigued with characters like this. I am going into spoiler mode. I am happy for her that she is with her childhood friend, Mal, I love couples like this too. But Mal is pretty ordinary and I hate it how Alina cannot truly be herself with him. She cannot use her power with him and he will never understand that part of her because he has no power of his own. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Alina and the Darkling demonstrated their power at the King and Queens ball. They are wrong for each other but it’s like the yin-yang in my opinion. So the Darkling has obviously put his spell on me.

If I read this a year ago I would probably be drooling over this. I do not understand why I am not doing so right now but I guess I expected more out of it. Maybe I’ll love it more when I reread it or start the second one.

Every book that I’ve been reading lately is turning into a movie. I am happy and annoyed by that because once a book is adopted into a movie some of its appeal is lost to me. And then there are those fanatics that just watch the movie and say that they know everything about it even though they have not read the book. But I am excited that David Heyman is going to produce this movie. Harry Potter was one of those rare adaptations that did not lose its magic on the big screen. Harry Potter films brought the books to life contrary to other book/films.

I am not sure when I’ll be posting my next review. I started reading inferno by Dan Brown, the Great Gatsby, and Emma by Jane Austen. I do not know which one I’ll finish first plus there always a chance I am going to pick up a different novel but right now I need to focus on my studying (I fell behind on some of my course work). I am not a dedicated blogger yet but hopefully I’ll be able to create a schedule for myself and maybe I will be posting more often.

I give the story 4/5

Writing 4/5

Thanks for reading

Love, Maryana

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

ImageI have been planning on reading this book for over a year now. I heard things about it such as, “It the next Hunger Games!” and “It’s even better than Divergent”. I disagree with the above statements now that I actually read the book.

I did enjoy reading this book but I found it to be nothing special.

The writing was revolting and I hated it at first. I had to force myself to read the first one hundred pages and with every page I had an angry outburst on how the writing is a disgrace to English literature. But then I started to understand why it was written this way. It shows how the protagonist, Saba, thinks and views the world. Saba has had no education thus she says things like “an” for “and” or “ud” for “would”.  It was irritating but as you get into the story, you stop paying attention to it. I read some reviews where people say that they couldn’t finish the book because of the writing, but honestly you get used to it and afterwards it ain’t that bad. 😛 It would be helpful though, if the Moira Young used some quotations. It is hard to follow when you don’t know if Saba is thinking to herself or talking to someone.

My reasons why I was not impressed with this book;

First, Saba isn’t the easiest person to relate to. Secondly, I did not understand how she magically became the best fighter and was given the name, Angel of Death, for it. Maybe I misread something but I was under the impression that she had no training and even if she did, it was fooling around with her brother and father. Maybe it will be explained in the next book. Thirdly, it was hard to understand the setting. I understand that it is all dust land and how there was the big apocalypse but I wish there was more details about it. Hopefully in the next.

I still prefer Divergent next to this. I probably will read the next book in the series, Rebel Heart even though I think Blood Red Road could be a standalone. SPOILER: The first book was about Saba finding her brother and she did get him. The next one will be about them finding a place they could live in…Contrary to most books, this one did not end with a cliff-hanger in my opinion. Sure, there are some loose ends, like who is this DeMalo character, and what is Jack hiding. But the book doesn’t mention anyone being after them anymore. Plus, Saba parted with Jack well, she got to say goodbye to him and everything. The books goal was accomplished thus it could be the end.

I give the story 3.5/5

Writing 3/5

Love,

Maryana