Stacking The Shelves #4

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Stacking the shelves is a book meme hosted by the lovely people at Tynga’s Reviews. It allows us to tell the world about our new books and it’s a good way to know about new titles, get to know other book-lovers, and find out what everyone else is reading.

I’ve got a few books to add to my shelf this week. Let’s start with the ones I got from Kobo:

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1. Wake (Watersong #1) by Amanda Hocking
2. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (REVIEW!)
3. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
4. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

And these are the recent ARCs I got from Netgalley:

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1. Hidden Wings by Cameo Renae
2. Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerisette #3) by Andrea Buchanan

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Six books to add to my ever growing TBR Pile. I might need another Read-A-thon just to get through 1% of this. But I love hoarding books almost as much as I do reading them, so I really can’t be sorry.

Anyway, how about you? What’s on your haul this week? Leave me links and comments and let’s talk!

lp,m

Book Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

903127b0f0f762213e926967662b81bcTitle: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
How I got it: I bought it
Click here to buy this book from Amazon

SYNOPSIS:
He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shear read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt. Who Julie likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat-out loves.

Complicated? Awkward? Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother’s? This was all supposed to be temporary. Julie wasn’t supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in-love with one of the bothers. Especially the one she’s never quite met. But what does that really matter? Finn gets her, like no one ever has before. They have *connection*.

But here’s the thing about love, in all it’s twisty, bumpy permutations: It always throws you a few curves. And no one ever escapes unscathed.


REVIEW:

I liked this book a lot. I am actually hunting down New Adult books that could *maybe* make me swoon more and cringe less but I haven’t found a single one aside from Easy, and that was from a year ago. And then this book came along, and although Julie and Matt’s love story wasn’t as breathtaking for me as Jacqueline and Lucas’ was, this cute little novel still made me smile and giggle and even shriek a few times.

Julie was a fairly likeable character; she’s nice and smart, she’s not a whiner or a complainer, she was reasonable for the most part, and she was brilliant at handling Celeste. But she was not without flaws and I actually have a few issues with her, specifically a.) she complained at the beginning of the novel that her friends don’t understand her love of studying and that if she ever tells them how much she likes to learn, they would make fun of her. But then she went and criticized – even made fun of – Matt’s preference for geeky t-shirts and asked him many times to stop wearing them. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that Julie just became one of the people she was complaining about. And b.) I get that Julie was a fixer and she wanted to fix Celeste and the whole Watkins Family, but there were times when she was so overbearing that I wondered why on earth was Matt still putting up with her. It was painful to read those parts of the story, and maybe this is just me because I hate it when people stick their hands in my business, but if I were Matt or Erin, I would’ve told Julie off a long time ago. Subtlety’s probably not Jessica Park’s style, but I wish she wrote those scenes in a way that made me like Julie more, not less.

Matt was an adorable character. I felt his burden and hardships as I read, and he didn’t even have to say them out loud. Jessica Park did a great job with his character and she weaved his struggles into the plot seamlessly. Also, the geeky shirts are sexy, Matt! Don’t listen to Julie!!! Yes, I just had to put that out there. But let’s move on to Matt’s brother, Finn. I guess I get why Julie would fall for him and why it took her so long to see the truth behind him. Even I couldn’t be sure about what to make of him for 70% of the novel because Park’s writing style leaves so many room for surprises (a good thing). I was glad when I turned out to be right, but oh holy fudgebuckets. That’s all I’m going to say.

Now let’s talk about Celeste, my most favorite character in the whole freaking book. My heart went out to Celeste many, many times. I loved her and pitied her but mostly I just wish I could adopt her and shower her with hugs and kisses. Celeste was the heart of this book, and yes I was very interested with the love story as well, but Celeste’s evolution is 70% of the reason why I couldn’t put this book down. I thought that Jessica Park handled Celeste and her unique case brilliantly, and she’s just been added to the list of my most adorable fictional (sadly) children.

Writing-wise, Flat-out Love could do with a bit more polishing, but Jessica Park did a really good job at sequencing scenes and transitioning them. Some characters felt so flat they were as good as non-existent (Jamie, Dana) but the main characters were solidly built and multi-faceted. The romance was sweet and heart-warming and Park was good to avoid some clichéd reactions that I was expecting. Since this book was NA, I was expecting to feel some of that college-vibe that I loved from Easy, but it was noticeably weak in this novel. It was still a good story, though. Better than most NA’s out there for sure.

If you are a romance and/or contemporary aficionado or if you’re just like me who hasn’t given up yet in finding treasures out of the notoriously avoided New Adult genre, I urge you to try and read Flat-Out Love. It’s a sweet and heartening story of love and healing and second chances. Jessica Park is an author to watch out for, and I will most definitely read her other works from here on out. 3 and 1/2 coconuts!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section! Happy reading!

{P.S: I’ve changed my rating art! I know I’ve been making so many changes lately, but I hope you bear with me! My blog is turning 3 months old this October 11, and I want everything to possibly be semi-permanent and fixed by then. Hopefully I get things done and hopefully I don’t confuse you. x}

Happy Banned Books Week!

bbI am proud to say that I have read my fair share of Banned Books. In fact, the best books I’ve ever read are either banned or challenged. These are the books which dared to ask the questions nobody wanted to hear. They broke free of the norm and expanded the narrow school of thoughts we used to subscribe to. These books dared to change the world, and in attempting alone, they already did.

BVBox-tCAAAh4-4Just recently, another book was put in danger of being banned. I am talking about Rainbow Rowell’s YA Contemporary Romance novel, Eleanor and Park. A few parents from the state of Minnesota, USA lobbied against the decision of the librarians from the Anoka-Hennepin School District to make E&P their official summer read and convinced the school district, county board, and the library board to cancel the author’s book related events. They even went as far as calling the book ‘dangerously obscene’, demanding that the book be taken down from the library shelves and the librarians be punished for selecting the book as the district’s official summer read. (*source)

I personally wouldn’t know what possesses people to think that they have the authority to decide what the public can or cannot read. I would understand if a parent doesn’t want their child/ren to read a certain book with respect to factors such as appropriateness due to age, or if it could trigger some sort of emotional trauma. Those premises are very much acceptable. But to deprive the whole community of something based on nothing but misconstrued opinions… I don’t think that’s appropriate at all.

I have Eleanor & Park sitting on my shelf, looking at me with accusatory book eyes because I haven’t read it yet. I’ve had mixed signals coming from my reviewer friends about it, but good or bad I would personally like to be able to form my own opinions of the book to see whether or not it appeals to me. I would like to have the power to decide whether or not I’m going to read it. To stop me from accessing it because you don’t think it would fit me is like insulting my ability to think for myself, and I will not have it.
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Banned Books Week are for books like Eleanor and Park; books that dare to tell us stories we don’t often hear. Books that delve deep into the delightfully dark trenches of human nature with the intention of showing us what could be found there: the wonders and the horrors and everything in between. This week is such an important one not only to bookish folk like myself, but also to countless others who may not even know what this week stands for and how significant it is to learning as a whole. Banned Books Week is our way of saying that we will remain relentless in fighting censorship no matter what form or name it takes, and that we will ensure that the gift that the greatest of human minds bestowed upon us will be accessible to the current and future generations.

With that said, I would like to share to all you five of my most favorite banned books and three that I am about to read and review in the coming days.

Tara’s Top Five Banned/Challenged Books:

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1. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
4.  The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
5. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Tara’s Three Banned Books Assignment for the remainder of Banned Books Week:

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1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

It is definitely true what they say, that people are scared of things that they don’t understand. But to push them away, avoid them, and pretend they do not exist will solve nothing and benefit no one. Books are uniquely portable magic, as what Stephen King said. It can build worlds and destroy them, it can mend and break hearts, it can change the world, one reader at a time.

Let books flourish along with human consciousness. Let them thrive together uninterrupted. I highly doubt that Eleanor and Park will be the last book to be challenged this year and in the years to come, but as we celebrate this Banned Books Week, let it be known that we will not let anyone dictate the books that we read. We will insist on our right to discern for ourselves what we can and cannot consume.

I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
– Evelyn Beatrice Hall

lp,m

Adios, Goodreads.

I have been mentally debating what to do since this news broke out last Friday. We all know that there’s been a long-standing tension between reviewers and authors in Goodreads, but I never considered censorship as a possibility because I thought that Goodreads would put forth first and foremost their customers, which consists mostly of raters and reviewers rather than authors. Color me outraged when I found out that the GR management favored the latter group and gave in to their demand request to take down ‘offensive’ reviews and shelves that hurt their thin skin and fragile ego.

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I think common sense would dictate, even to a non-author like me, that when you put something of yours out there for public consumption, it is bound to be subject to public opinion and criticism, positive or negative it may be. Once you decide to publish your work, it will be picked out this way and that and you will have no control over how people will perceive it. Everyone with a brain can figure this out without me having to point it out to them, so I am so clueless as to why authors get so worked up about negative criticisms or low ratings. Didn’t you get the memo? It’s part of the job description, darling. If you can’t take it, you probably should find another job.

We have seen countless incidents of authors claiming to be bullied and dragging the issue all over the internet even without significant proof aside from their bruised ego (*related post*), and it really irks me to no end that the media now sees Goodreads reviewers as some sort of monster-hybrid that harasses poor authors and attacks them purely out of monstrous spite. WE ARE NOT LIKE THAT. Not most of us, anyway. To be honest this whole thing is being overly-dramatized by some attention seeking people, and kudos to them because they finally got what they wanted. I hope y’all are happy now.

But what really angered me were the shelves (and reviews?) that were deleted without permission from the users. I did not know they were willing to stoop that low. Naming shelves is one of those fun things I look forward to every time I rate a book. I have a bajillion of shelves because according to Goodreads, we can make as many as we want. This post nailed it better than I could ever dream to. Deleting those shelves could never be justified by any reason the GR management could come up with. The reason/logic/creative inspiration behind those shelves are known to the user alone and deleting them just because they sound ‘offensive’ is a lame-ass excuse when you don’t even know what they really stand for.

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Additionally, to the author trolls who can’t seem to get over their 2-star ratings, Congratulations! You guys are such role models.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

Let me just apologize in behalf of all the reviewers for ever thinking that you guys deserve to know what we thought of your books in all honesty. I am deeply sorry that we treated you like mature individuals capable of handling our opinions of your work no matter how blunt we are in delivering it. Obviously, we made a mistake and a misplaced assumption, and now we’re going to be really careful with how we treat you lest you cry foul again and endanger our reputation and credibility.

Sorry to be really sarcastic (not sorry at all btw), but all I’m saying is that maybe you should sit in your thinking chair and ponder why on earth did a user give you that pitiful 2-star. Maybe you should stop acting all butthurt and marginalized every time you see a negative review about your book. Maybe you should reconsider your life choices if you’re not tough-skinned enough to handle criticism. MAYBE YOU SHOULD GROW SOME BALLS.

(And also, just saying that if your work is really good like you believe it is, no matter how many bad reviews and unsolicited hate it gets, people are still going to read it and buy it and love it because guess what? We’re not stupid here. Just because some people rated your work one star doesn’t mean the whole community will follow suit. Jeez. Have some faith in your own ability.)

There is a bullying problem in Goodreads, I concede to that. But you are in need of serious help if you think that this is a one-sided issue. What Goodreads did was wrong and I honestly don’t think it will solve anything at all, but one thing is clear now and that is the fact that Goodreads picked the side it’s on, and it’s not our side. I cannot help but feel betrayed and honestly I wonder if this policy change is the end of all this drama or just the start of it. I sure won’t stay long enough to find out.

I am still keeping my Goodreads account, but I will no longer post my reviews there. I made a Booklikes account just today and though I’m new to the site, I’m confident I’ll get the hang of it soon enough. To say that this recent controversy has put a kink in my blogging and reading adventures is a bit of an understatement but it’s done and I won’t stand for Goodreads’ decision no matter how much I love their site. It undermines our capacity as reviewers to distinguish between critiquing and bullying and it puts us under a general header of ‘bullies’ just because some people cannot bear to accept our assessment of their work.

This is a major setback indeed for readers and authors alike. This could have been approached in a better way, those people who whine and complain like five-year olds denied of their lollipops could’ve learned to suck it and deal. But instead we are being held down and told what we can and cannot do, and no matter what they want to call it, it will remain to be what it is, and that is CENSORSHIP. And I won’t stand for that. No matter how much they justify it, it isn’t and will never be right.

It’s Top Ten Tuesday! (TTT #4)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted weekly at The Broke and Bookish. This week’s topic is:

“Top Ten Best Sequels Ever”

My picks for this week are (in no particular order):

95939111. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver – Delirium was good, but Pandemonium was much better. It introduced as to The Wild and to Raven and Tack and of course, to Julian Fineman. Lena really grew into herself as she learned to survive without Alex in her life and the plot became a lot broader than in Delirium. My only complain about this book is that bloody ending which I was hoping would be resolved in Requiem. Still furious that it wasn’t. (Lauren Oliver, why do you do these things to us?!)

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12507214 (1)2. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake – The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood left me completely bereft and aching. ‘OMG ANNA, COME BACK!’ I yelled at the top of my lungs while my face was squashed into a pillow. I really hoped and prayed and begged to anyone who would listen for the sequel to at least match the amazingness of the first book, and Kendare Blake did not disappoint. Girl of Nightmares was unexpectedly better and the ending was just more than I could ask for. It was just perfect.

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140619553. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – It’s be a LONG time since I last read a good fantasy novel and Shadow and Bone solved that issue for me. I cannot believe I’ve been putting it off for ages! Siege and Storm complimented the first book really well, plus it introduced us to Stormhund a.k.a. Nikolai Lantsov and omg *swoons like a hormonal teenager*. This sequel is fast paced and action packed and it was undoubtedly one of my best reads for this year.

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103273034. Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter – I love love love Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals made me love it all the more. Ally Carter and her superb writing and eye for detail just draws you in like a moth to a flame. The heists were riskier and more dangerous in this sequel and the stakes are definitely higher, but what I loved most are the characters who are little by little showing us readers just how complex they truly are. This sequel is A+

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66543135. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater – This book totally floored me. Reading it was effortless despite all the conflicting emotions it triggered. The characters were vivid and so perfectly human that it was hard not to love them. The romance was bitter-sweet and the tension in the atmosphere was so palpable it was almost a living thing. This books makes you feel. It doesn’t just tell you, it shows you. The same goes for Shiver, but Linger was a very unforgettable sequel for me.

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97030976. He’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott – Dude. Summer on the beach, rich kids, romance, angst, and drama – asdfghjkl. This book was perfect in terms of supporting the first installment, She’s So Dead To Us. I honestly love to read about teenage angst once in a while and this book gave me that and more without being whiny and superficial and cringe-inducing. If you’re looking for something entertaining to pass the time, you should try reading this series and maybe fangirl with me after :D

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15801763_thumb.jpg7. Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan – One of the biggest book revelations last 2012 for me was Unspoken. I did not expect to like it but I fell in-love with it and with the unique snowflake that is Kami Glass. Untold smoothly picked up where Unspoken left off and although this sequel isn’t as perfect as I would’ve liked it to be, it was good enough to bombard me with feels after feels after feels. My love for Kami eclipses all and I still kinda dislike Jared. I love their story, though. It made me cry for more times than I care to count.

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a-clash-of-kings-book-review8. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – Pain and heartbreak on repeat. I am quite convinced that George R.R. Martin is secretly Satan. All my illusions that things can get better for the Stark Children after suffering through the majestic torture device that is A Game of Thrones was shattered and completely annihilated by this book. My inner sadistic was rejoicing because of all the blood and chaos in this terribly beautiful and brilliant sequel, but dear God. My feels were left raw and aching because of two words: SANSA STARK

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61480289. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, Suzanne Collins pops out of nowhere and proves you wrong. The Hunger Games was literally one of the best books I’ve ever read, but Catching Fire toppled all expectations and emerged on top of it and no one even guessed it would turn out like that. Katniss is definitely a class all on her own and reading about her makes me want to be like her. I cannot wait for the movie to come out and I’m sure that every fangirl in the world feels the same.

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228213310. Frostbite by Richelle Mead – If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy Series yet, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You’re seriously doing it wrong and this is the time to do something about it, pronto. VA is one of those series that is consistent with getting better and better and better book after book. It draws you in and never lets you go. The plot and the characters are multi-faceted and the action is heart-pounding and seriously I cannot recommend it high enough.

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That’s it for this Tuesday! Wheew, it was hard to pick from the many sequels that I’ve read, but it was a lot of fun, too! What are your picks for this week? Leave me links and comments and let’s talk!

Happy reading! xoxo ♥

lp,m

Book Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

16056408Title: Easy
Author: Tammara Webber
Genre: New Adult, Romance
How I got it: I bought it
Click here to buy this book from Amazon

SYNOPSIS:
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex’s frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night – but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.


REVIEW:
First of all I just want to express my dislike of the cover. Seriously? The cover does not do this book any justice at all. If I were at a bookstore, I won’t even bother picking it up. Thankfully, I have Kathryn who harassed me until I bought this book. I told her she should make a blog because she has impeccable taste, but she’s lazier than lazy and can’t be bothered. (Whatever, Kath.)

But omg, we better get down to business before I get more distracted.

Last Sunday was my fourth time to read Easy. It was kind of a spontaneous decision I made because I spent the whole morning trying to read some of the New Adult selections on my Kobo Library, but each one was at least 5x more cringe-inducing than the next. I am losing faith in the genre, truth be told, and I needed something to remind me that there’s hope in finding a gem out of all the stones I’ve unearthed.

When I first read Easy, I wasn’t really expecting much from it. Mainly it’s because of that hideous cover and of course, the misleading title (I am judging you, Tammara Webber’s marketing team) but the book itself was such a pleasant surprise. The writing was neat and eloquent, but what really pulled me in was the first sentence.

I had never noticed Lucas before that night. It was as though he didn’t exist, and then suddenly, he was everywhere.

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I am a firm believer in opening your book not with a fizzle, but with a bang. For me, this opening line was perfect because it gives you a vivid image of what happened after that night, and it makes you curious. Why was Lucas everywhere all of a sudden? What exactly did he do? What exactly took place during that night? And now you can’t wait but read it and find out.

Easy has a very simple but multi-layered plot. I’m not going to give you the juicy details because I think it would work better if you find out on your own, but let me just say that this book tackles a very delicate yet relevant issue for men and women everywhere. Granted that it did not dominate the plot, but it was a catalyst of sorts for all the events that followed and towards the end, it was given the justice that it deserves in such a beautifully simplistic and sophisticated manner.

In terms of characterization, I honestly loved the way Webber built her characters and their connections with each other. Jacqueline and Lucas were so different as individuals but their chemistry was so palpable even from the very beginning. They both had stories of their own, histories that were independent of each other, and it added to their realness as characters in my opinion. I can’t say I’m in-love with Jacqueline but she never got on my nerves either. She grew on me and she felt genuine in a way that it was so easy to empathize/sympathize with her. Her emotions and responses were reasonable and her voice in the narrative remained consistent all throughout. And Lucas – oh dear lord. Lucas was very hot, and I don’t know about other people, but I find his feelings for Jacqueline pre-accident to be so indomitably human. It added to his appeal in my opinion, because it showed that despite his seemingly cool façade he can be boyishly stupid underneath. Plus, he’s hot, and I know I already said that but WTH, I don’t think I can say it enough. The boy’s hot! H-A-W-T!!!!

Anyway, aside from the main characters, the secondary ones also deserve applause. Erin and Dr. Heller were my favorites because of the way they shaped the story. And Erin was probably one of the most-entertaining and lovable best friends I’ve read about in a while. The whole college-vibe in the book felt real to me as a Uni student myself, and I guess that’s one reason why I loved this book very much.

But of course I can’t forget to talk about the romance. THE ROMANCE, OMFG! It was honestly one of the best I’ve ever read, and I’m not giving that praise lightly. This book was oozing with chemistry and swoon-worthy scenes that would make you want to scream and giggle and roll on the floor. There were no declarations of love or some jazz like that, mostly just whispers and one liners that just hit you where it matters.

All in all, Easy is easily one of my most favorite books of all time. It’s a great story with complex characters and a thoughtful pacing that lets you savor every moment in the book. It deals with an important issue that young and old people everywhere should definitely know about. It’s deliciously romantic and if you’re like me who is dangerously close to losing their faith on the New Adult genre, this is the perfect read to renew your hope. Easy is a beautiful and heartwarming read, and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough. 5 coconuts!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Leave me comments and links and let’s talk!

lp,m

Book Review: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black

6087756Title: White Cat  (Curse Workers, #1)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
How I got it: Lent by a friend
Click here to buy this book from Amazon

SYNOPSIS:
Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers – people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.


REVIEW:
This book has been on my TBR list since early this year and I decided to finally crack it open for my Tackle Your TBR Pile Read-a-thon. Lots of people have been going on and on about how great this book is and the series as a whole. In fact, many of my trusted book bloggers seem to like White Cat a lot, but after reading it I honestly don’t see what all the hype is about.

Conceptually, White Cat was very promising. ‘Curse Worker’ sounds so sinister and magical at the same time and truthfully, I think that we can never have enough books about magic so I welcomed the concept with open arms. But I guess when it comes to building the principles around the concept itself Holly Black falls short. I personally think it’s because of the lack of details and I for one am hungry about the good nitty-gritty. The idea of curse working was very casually served to the readers, the first few chapters were smattered with vague details about the crime families and the government’s stand on ‘workers’ and ‘working’ but the execution itself of this technique was average at best. I’ve read novels before that doesn’t necessarily give detailed lists, graphs, or lengthy explanations about the concepts/ideas involved but dishes them out slowly throughout the story, and they worked fine for me, better actually since the author challenges the reader to read between the lines and figure out all things unsaid, and I live for those moments, trust me. But this one was just confusing and that in itself is a huge buzzkill.  It felt suspiciously like the author obscuring the obvious behind a curtain of opaque vagueness just to make it feel like there’s something mysterious about the whole thing when in truth, there’s really not.

When it comes to the characters, I don’t really have much to say except that I was thoroughly bored. Cassel’s voice was distinctly male, yes, but there was nothing special about him really. In fact, I might have to say that he’s a bit overdramatic at times even considering the circumstances. Lila was projected as an interesting character because that’s how Cassel feels about her, but I am not enchanted by her at all. She did nothing surprising in my opinion and in fact, she ended up being too predictable. Plus, there’s zero chemistry between her and Cassel; I’d probably rather ship him with Daneca. The most interesting characters in this book for me were Maura and Granddad, Maura because in my mind’s eye she looks like the woman who played Jack Nicholson’s wife in The Shining, and Granddad because he reminds me a liiitttle bit of Uncle Eddie from Heist Society. The villains at least, were well crafted. I like the fact that Philip and Barron were conning their own brother and Anton was believably psychotic. I expected a whole lot from Zacharov than what I got, though. I mean, isn’t he supposed to be head of a crime family? His character felt a little too soft for my liking. That was one of the big disappointments I got out of this book.

Plotwise, it was kind of predictable and nothing happened that wasn’t already expected. I immediately knew who the White Cat was and I guessed rather early that Cassel was really a worker and what kind of work he can do. About the only thing I didn’t guess was what Cassel’s mom would do in the end, and honestly? Bad parenting. The mafia-ish vibe wasn’t used to it’s full potential and the cons aren’t nearly as impressive as the narrative makes it seem. I liked the concept of the blowback, though. Lots of magic books tell us about limitless power with very slight physical consequences, but in Cassel’s world, you get your karma immediately, and light would be the last word to describe it. The blowback definitely made things more interesting and it set even Cassel and his unusual abilities on the same ground with other workers because it’s a mutual vulnerability they all share.

Despite the myriad of shortcomings I listed, White Cat was still an enjoyable read. Some parts were slow but most were action-packed and I can’t help but notice that this was the case in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as well. Holly Black thrives when she’s world-building and writing the ass-kicking scenes and for the most part it makes up for her less-than-stellar skill in plot-weaving and characterization. I’m a bit disappointed though that White Cat was not as good as I thought it would be, but I have to admit that it wasn’t half bad either. I most probably won’t read the other books in the series, but I would still recommend it to everyone who loves urban fantasy and who enjoys reading in the male character’s POV. Three coconuts!

3-cocnut

This is the 7th book that I finished for my Tackle Your TBR Pile Read-a-thon.

Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Leave me links and comments so we can talk! Happy reading! x

lp,m