My Review on Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

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(Disclaimer: This review contains spoiler so please skip it of you haven’t read the book, thank you.)

Guilty pleasure!!!

Yup, this book was totally guilty pleasure. When I was 13, I first came acquainted with the Twilight series and fell in love. Back then, I didn’t understand all its problematic contents and cliché contents but now that I do, I should detest the series.

Problem is, I can’t. 

I still love Twilight series and probably will be its fan for the rest of my life. And maybe that is why I fell in love with this book too cause it’s almost like a ripoff of Twilight series, minus the sparkly vampires with fangs and half nude werewolves. Instead, we get…

Fallen angels!

As you can see from the cover!

Here’s how the book is similar to Twilight:

One of the MCs are new guy/girl transferred in the middle of the year:

While in Twilight it was Bella who was a transfer student, here its Patch Cipriano. 

They meet in biology lab!:

Yup, just like Bella and Edward were partnered up against their wishes. What else?

The guys gave mysterious vibes:

Add in tall dark handsome features. But unlike Edward, he didn’t react to how Nora smelled!

One of them tries to get out of the partnership:

In Twilight it was Edward, here it was Nora.

Hottie dudes:

Yes, there were hot dudes here fawning over the Mary Sue, who thinks she’s not pretty.

Classic Bella.

The towns have weird names:

In Twilight it was Forks, here it’s Coldwater.

The towns are super creepy:

Like their MMCs, the towns give off super creepy chills. While Forks was constantly in downpour, Coldwater has mist and rain.

The heroine literally finds out about the hero’s true supernatural identity via internet:

Welcome to the 21st century where we stalk stalkerish boyfriends on the internet. Cool, right?

The heroine gets in trouble in Portland:

Oh boy! These books are ruining Portland’s image to potential tourists.

Evil vindictive girlfriend:

Like really! While Twilight has Victoria, here you’ll find Dabria.

Victoria & Dabria? Rhymes, right?

Psycho Stalker Dudes Cornering Heroines in Halls:

Yup, in Twilight James cornered Bella in a ballet studio. Here in the school gym.

Psycho Stalker Dude Lures our Heroines using their female loved ones as baits:

These girls are so vulnerable. Now where is their knights in shining armor?

The heroines have a lot of stuff to cover up:

How they destroyed their house, how they destroyed their school or ex ballet studio.

The crazy girlfriend is vanished but will be back:

Cause duh!

The lovers have super creepy/cute dates?

Eh…

But but but, Becca Fitzpatrick tried to salvage some stuff from Twilight:

Here we get super fun best friend, Vee!:

I loved this girl, though in the end she got a bit annoying for trusting hot creepy dudes so easily. And her easy friendship with Nora was endearing.

Reminder, Bella had no friends that didn’t fall for her.

The single parent here isn’t distant emotionally:

Thank God! Only physically in the beginning. We can’t have our hero heroines make out with the parents in the room.

Nora likes shopping unlike Bella:

And her trip to Victoria’s Secret with Bee was super hilarious.

Nora was a lot healthier heroine than Bella:

Yup. She took part in extra curricular activities, though like Bella she sucked in gym, liked shopping and going out with Vee and respected her mom. She whined and sulked almost to zero compared to Bella did.

Patch was more fun than Edward:

Edward was boring and old guy. Patch, though older than Edward, was super hilarious and fun. He teased Nora relentlessly and that’s how they bonded.

Patch’s stalking was more justified than Edward’s:

Because Patch is Nora’s guardian angel, duh! That’s bodyguard with wings and some super cool power.

I love bantering relationship.

So there you have it! Proof that Hush Hush is totally a ripoff of Twilight series and as expected, I’m a fan. 

Again, this review is totally subjective. Please don’t feel the need to take my review as a suggestion that you should or shouldn’t read it. Thank you.

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My Review on Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

⭐⭐⭐

Okay this book could’ve been superb in content, in descriptions, in everything. Almost, but alas! I couldn’t fall head over heels in love with this book like I loved Wintersong and ACOTAR.

Let’s dissect:

Plot:

This is yet again another Beauty & the Beast retelling, where Beauty, in this book, Nyx Treskalian, was forced to marry the Beast, aka the Gentle Lord. She’s forced by her unloving father after he made a deal with the Gentle Lord to give him away one of his twin daughters if his wife gets to conceive and give birth to them. Though Nyx and her twin sister, Astraia, were born, their mother died of childbirth. It’s a classic fairy tale B&B, just had some twists in the plot that can’t be revealed without spoilers.

To me, it was nothing new. I felt bored at many points and wanted to stop reading but I had to, cause I needed to know the ending. And also I’m trying hard to not leave books midways and judge them without reading the whole.

Honestly, its plot failed to grab me, not being as lackluster as Wintersong and ACOTAR.

•Characters:

Nyx:

I liked her and disliked her. I liked her temper, her right reactions at her unkind father, her vain selfish aunt and her fortunate sister. She had reasons and I related to her. But after she began to fall for her husband, the Gentle Lord, Ignifex, I couldn’t like her anymore until the very last chapters. She whined a lot and brooded a lot and then threw herself into the arms of the man who abused her once (I’ll come back to this later).

Ignifex:

I liked him, but at the same level as I liked Nyx. He was the classic mischievous, bad boy who had a soft heart inside and all that. He felt more flat to me than Nyx did.

**Spoilers ahead!**

Abusive content:

Yup. There was a point where Nyx was abused by Ignifex. Once she defied his orders and endangered her life. And unlike the Goblin King from Wintersong, he locks her up. That alone is problematic. But he flings her to a room, and not just any room, but a room where his dead wives were laid. 

Seriously?!?!?!?!

I dunno how she could fall for him after that. Yes, he’s the Beast. But that? This reminded me of Tamlin in ACOMAF where he locks up Feyre and made her go through her PTSD and that’s hellva abusive.

**Spoiler ends**

The best three things about this book?

The banter between Nyx and Ignifex:

It was one of the best banter I’ve read in a while. They didn’t scream or yell but their sexual tension was just there! So good! It made me realize why some people love “Enemies to lovers” trope.

The intimate scenes:

Relax, it’s a YA book. No sex scenes but there were lots of heavy kissing and I loved them! Whenever Nyx and Ignifex kissed, I swooned a bit (because I erased the abusive content from my head until writing this review). The last time it happened was while reading about Feyre & Rhysand and Elias & Laia.

The ending:

The ending was so heartrending and satisfying. And I’m glad to know there ain’t any sequel. I hated the ending of Wintersong cause it was damn tragic but phew! Not here!

So that’s my review of Cruel Beauty. It could’ve been a lot better had the author gave more twists and surprises and erased that problematic content.

My Review on Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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This is crazy cause I finished reading another book only yesterday and it didn’t take me long to find another book to devour.

Hmm…not quite right, cause I can’t tell if I devoured this book or this book devoured me.

As soon as I began to read this book yesterday, I got the sense of Beauty and the Beast, and the myth of Hades and Persephone. But as I read on, I got the sense of A Court of Thorns & Roses meets Caraval. But this book has abandoned all the problematic features of the two aforementioned books, and made me devour Wintersong in less than a day.

What I loved about this book?

The storyline:

Like I said, it has the B&B vibe plus ACOTAR vibe in it. Also I got Caraval vibe and these are all you get without spoilers. Trust me, you must read this book without spoilers.

But the story is genius. S. Jae-Jones has woven such a story with the air of mystery, musicality, lushness and heartbreaking romance. I’m captivated by its enchantment.

Characters:

At first, I thought Liesl and Käthe would have the kind of abusive sisterly relationship Scarlett had with Donnatella. Or bitter relationship Feyre had with Nesta or the vauge one between Feyre and Elain. But as the story progressed, I realized how Käthe wasn’t selfish like Donnatella, or aloof like Elain or bitter like Nesta. I felt her character and her relationship with Leisl felt to me like Elsa and Anna from Frozen. Distant but deep. 

And Liesl is such a heroine! She was fiercely protective of her siblings but did not lost her individuality in it. She had spine and grace and used them well. Her character arc resonated with me and was palpable from the beginning till the end.

The Goblin King is a pensive soul who hides it behind mask of mischievousness. Like Tamlin he was burdened by responsibility and immortality but he wasn’t dominant or abusive, neither was he manipulative like Julian.

Romance:

Gah! This book lacked the abusive romance between Feyre and Tamlin, and the wooden relationship between Scarlett and Julian. It had sizzling chemistry, taut sexual tension and even lots of banter and hatred. But no abuse, I promise. The Goblin King was mysterious and mischievous like Legend, and melancholic and brooding like Tamlin, but not abusive. Also, I could only imagine actor Jamie Campbell Bower from  Mortal Instruments movie and actress Emily Browning from The American Gods as Liesl and her Goblin King.

The descriptions:

Gah!! I don’t know if S. Jae-Jones is a musician herself but she impressed me by her way of describing emotions and surroundings with musical vocabulary. Some (okay, many) words I didn’t understand but it didn’t matter. It was amazing and dreamy. Like Caraval, the first half of the book had a mysterious air in it, while the second half had an intensely passionate romantic air in it. I’m in love!

So there you have it. This book is so good! A must read for fans of Caraval and ACOTAR. The sequel, Shadowsong, is coming out in January 2018. I know I’ll devour that book too 😉

My Review on The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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Genre: Magical realism

This book is so good. This is the first magical realism book I’ve read and I’m in love with this genre. Here are why:

This book is thought provoking:

Yes, all books can provoke thoughts in you in some ways. But this is one of those books that make you think hard. Not just about what’s gonna happen to the characters and the plot. This book made me think really hard about life, and love. But most importantly, about human mind. Very few books cut such an imprint on me. Last book that did was The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk.

Relatable Characters:

Yes, there was a bad character that deserved no sympathy of mine. Otherwise, I felt for every character, felt the reason and justification behind every action of theirs, regardless of being good and bad. To me, they weren’t good or bad people. They were just people who sometimes made good decision, sometimes poor choices.

The beautiful prose:

Leslye Walton, despite being a debut author, wrote her story on such a way, as if she were a veteran in writing. Every sentence she wrote must be paid attention to, for every sentence bore meanings. She used sardonic tone when it needed, hilarious tone when needed, without exception.

Heart Wrenching Story:

Every character had a heart wrenching back story. Every character felt human who fell in love, laughed, cried, mourned over broken hearts, and even died. No character is small here. Everyone had an impact to the story. It wasn’t just Ava Lavender’s story as the title suggested. It was all the characters’ stories.

For pitches, I’d say this book is “Chocolat” meets “Penelope” via “Amélie”. All films, yeah, I know.

And I enjoyed every bit of this gem of a book. One of my favorite read of 2017.

My Review on Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Unfortunately, I had to give it two stars. I had high expectations from this book, to the point that I begged people in Goodreads to give me tips on how to obtain a copy of it via Amazon since Amazon doesn’t operate here.
I was disappointed.

A friend of mine from Indonesia gifted me the book and I read it in two days.

Wish that was a good sign.

First, the two stars it got:

First star for awesome premise. Carnival and circus and the magical island of Caraval was everything a fantasy fan like me would read about. So the premise gets one star.

Second star for descriptions:

The way Stephanie Garber described a lot of emotions with color is genius. She also made the entire book feel like a drug induced dream where everything is hazy and misty and mystical. Loved it!

Now the three stars it couldn’t get:

First for zero character development.

From the get go I didn’t like Scarlett and her personality. I thought “That’s okay. Maybe she’ll improve!”

She didn’t.

Until after the climax she had zero character development. Maybe she’s a flat character but even flat characters bring development and improvement to the minor characters around them.

Scarlett isn’t a flat character rather a one dimensional character.

Julian didn’t earn my approval either.

I didn’t like Donnatella at all! She’s manipulative, a bully, selfish and irresponsible.

Second star it didn’t earn is for the predictable plot:

Yup. The plot became predicable even before the midpoint to me. I tried to not guess what’s gonna happen but everything I guessed after Donnatella gets kidnapped happens.

Third star it couldn’t earn was because of a certain plot device. Spoiler from here so better stop reading.

Okay, Stephanie Garber used suicide as plot device? Seriously? Donnatella commits suicide after getting rejection from Legend and later emerges unscathed cause that’s how she wanted to help Scarlett grow a ball. Like really? This is super problematic. 

Overall it had all the opportunity to grab me as a reader and enthrall me like I thought it would.

Oh how disappointing it was.

My Review of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sarah J. Maas excels in three things across her books.

01. Excellent foreshadowing:

In the first book, she bedazzled me with her little Easter eggs of foreshadowing and when the chips fell into place, I was beyond gobsmacked. Like George R.R. Martin and J.K.Rowling, she masterfully sows seeds of foreshadowing and as a writer, I often find myself studying her words to not get gobsmacked later. However, I still do and that’s a beautiful smacking.

02. Descriptions:

Though this book lacked the previous ones beautiful poetic prose, it nevertheless holds its own, for majority of this book, Feyre isn’t bedazzled by beauty, rather she navigates them.

03. Stakes:

Um…after George R.R.Martin, J.K.Rowling, Sabaa Tahir and Marie Rutkoski, Sarah J. Maas does the best in raising stakes. She destroys and annihilates everything Feyre and Rhysand hold dear, and thus destroys us too. I love her for that and again, as a writer, can learn much from her.

So there you go. ACOMAF is raising my expectations and hopefully ACOWAR will too, though I already know a lot of spoilers 😉😉

My Review of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


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After Twilight, it was decades before I found book of my dreams. An Ember in the Ashes. I didn’t think I’d find another dream book so soon. In my own personal record time, 12 hours, I started and finished this f***ing amazing book. God damn!!! This book is amazing!!!

I loved Twilight to the point of obsession, simply because 01) it’s heavy with deep romance, 02) it’s fantasy. Yes, Twilight was problematic AF but I’m still a huge fan of it. After Twilight, fantasy books had romance, yes, but full of love triangles that I hated! Or relationships that fell off and another couple formed, forcing me to change shipping the previous couple (Yes, I mean Sarah J. Maas’ book where I constantly had to change shipping a couple. Ugh!) But in here, in The Winner’s Curse, it was obvious from the get go that Kestrel and Arin are the couple and will be till the end. I couldn’t be happier. I also have a soft spot for star crossed lovers in fantasy 😍😍😍

Yes, this book is also not without problems. For example, I hated the part when the author said that eating with one’s bare hands is a sign of savageness. It is not! Being a Bengali, that’s an insult and I hated that. Also the book’s portrayal of slavery, portraying the revolting Herrani slaves as antagonistic forces, was problematic. These are the only problems I perceived. Nevertheless, I love love love this book and will definitely finish the trilogy.

My Review of An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


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Oh my God! What have I just read? I can’t….can’t…Gaaah!

Damn! Though initially I was reluctant to read such a massive massive book, in the end I will never regret it. From the get go, I was hooked beyond words. I rooted for Laia like I rooted for Katniss. Then I rooted for Elias like I rooted for Four. And now?

The romance made me feel hot. Enough to turn on a fan in December cold. Gah! At first I rooted for Elias and Helene as a couple and Keenan and Laia as a couple. But now? I want Keenan gone and Helene gone. At the same time, I’m scared for Helene. What’d Marcus do to her? *tears inside*

Anyway, I’m hoping I get my hands on the second book. Fingers crossed. 

I’d recommend it to every fan of Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. You won’t regret it, I promise. 

I give it one star for the awesome description. Wish I could have Sabaa Tahir as a teacher. The descriptions were so mesmerizing and vivid. I was literally there with the setting. 

One more star for the gripping tension. Rips you inside whenever something awful happens and it does happen a lot lot lot lot. Don’t tell me I didn’t alert you beforehand. 

One more star for the unique story. I’ve read negative reviews that said it was predictable and clichéd. NOT!!! It isn’t. It never was. It might’ve had similarities with other fantasy books but trust me, the way she weaved them is unique. 

One more star for the characters. Like oh my God! In just one chapter, I loved Darin. I even asked a friend for spoilers to know if he survives. Then I met Laia properly and Elias too. I fell for them. I wanted to meet them in real life and become their best friends, totally platonically though. And whenever something bad happened to them, I gasped. One negative review said that Laia was a Mary Sue. Nope? She had flaws. She was also NOT STUPID! Nope! Nope! Nope!

Last star for the romance. *fans myself* Starting from the sexual tension between Helene and Elias to the one between Laia and Keenan. I rooted those two couples to become two actual couples. I didn’t want Elias and Laia to become one. Then they meet and sparks fly, burning readers hearts with it. Gah! 

Helene (to Elias about him first meeting Laia): “I saw how you were looking at her….Like she was water and you were just dying of thirst.”

Whoa! Gimme some ice to tend to the burn the sparks between them did to me. Wow! Sabaa Tahir sure knows how to make readers swoon. Yes, it was insta-love but who cares! This isn’t realistic fiction. Negative reviewers wanna throw up and let them. Don’t care! Sabaa Tahir made insta-love so unique here I fell in love. Tensions between Elias and Helene and Laia and Keenan stayed there. They were always about to kiss, only to be interrupted. Then came the long yearned kiss between Elias and Laia and I died. Right there. Gah! Sabaa Tahir should’ve written romance instead because she rocks. 

Overall, I’m a huge, huge, Goliath, no, Atlas of a fan of her. I devoured this book in two days! That’s right! I can’t wait for the next book. 

I’m also an aspiring writer and if I want anyone to become my writing coach, it’d be either George R.R.Martin, Jane Austen, Suzanne Collins or J.K.Rowling. But after reading this boom, I added Sabaa Tahir in that list. 

I’d again recommend it to anyone, even after ten years from now.

My Review of The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk


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​I really wish I could rate this book more than five stars because it isn’t like any other books. 

This book isn’t for those who love fast paced, high concept books. It isn’t. If you are a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you’d understand this book the way it should be understood.

It isn’t also the typical tragic love stories where the hero/heroine die in the end, leaving the other one distraught. Kemal was already distraught by Fusun’s abandonment. He already had established everything needed for the museum in future. He was obsessed with his love for Fusun that’s for sure. And that love was both moving and pathetic. But at the same time, it was obsessive to the point of lunacy. Yet somehow you accept that. If you can view his point of view of the world, you get immersed in it. Nothing Kemal does seem absurd or lunatic to you. 

As for Fusun, she was the spitting image of Kemal. They were both innocent, naïve even. They were both selfish, sometimes to themselves (because Fusun gave Kemal her virginity without a care at the time, likewise Kemal gave away his entire youth and life at her devotion.), to their loved ones (Fusun slept with Kemal before marriage without caring about her parents’ reputation, while Kemal almost ruined Sibel’s life), and other minor characters. Most importantly to each other. Fusun and Kemal both caused heartache, desperation and shame to each other. Where Kemal was desperate for collecting everything Fusun used and touched, Fusun was desperate to become a film star. Their desperation were so ordinary yet innocent that you feel pity for them. A character in the book, Cetin Effendi, was right about them. 

“They- Fusun and Kemal- were essentially good and innocent souls who suited each other perfectly.”

Indeed they were. They both suffered, one for a long time, one for a short time. But that didn’t make their pain less. Their love for each other was too intense and innocent for this world. 

In many reviews, I read that the reviewer found it boring, tedious, needed a lot of editing. 

No, it didn’t. There were chapters that focused on a China dog sculpture, a quince grater, cigarette stubs. Even had a chapter where all the sentences started with the word “sometimes”. But it was this meticulously ridiculous chapters and their focus that made the theme of the book come alive. 

The theme of the book was to show how much Kemal gave importance to the moments we often let go after finding them trivial and unnoticeable. The theme taught us how to not take moments of our life for granted. At first Kemal had taken Fusun’s love for granted. Later he didn’t notice her wearing her favorite earrings that she wore to get his attention. The meticulously ridiculous chapters showed us the value Kemal gave to life’s fleeting and seemingly unimportant moments.

Another reason why this book was written this way is because we’ve all heard about tales of forlorn, obsessed, crazy lovers like Dante pining for Beatrice, or Petrarch longing for Laura. Time and again, poets and painters “told” us their stories. But have anyone ever “showed” us the lovers’ stories, better yet, from their point of view? 

Mr. Pamuk did. Not only he dared to show us this, he did it masterfully. 

Often times, writers write their books from the protagonist’s first person point of view, but we feel as if they’re not one person. I’ve experienced it while reading Divergent. The fast pace and wooden descriptions of Tris’ emotions and griefs just threw me off guard. I couldn’t connect. In “The Museum of Innocence”, Mr. Pamuk showed how to do it. He made himself the character as if. Every single speck of thought Kemal, the protagonist had was put into writing. And not just for meaning but also for the story. I’d thought the Eid ul Adha scene was unnecessary at first but after reading the end, I realized it was not only integral for the story’s theme and ending but it masterfully foreshadowed it. 

This book isn’t like commercial romance books (not mentioning examples here). It is thought provoking, philosophical, “quiet” book. The romance was just a device. The very first line proves that. 

And the ending? Heart wrenching, heart ripping. I was moved beyond words. No tears came though, but still I was moved.

Yes, it’s tedious to read such a massive book where annoying obsession tries to throw you off. It’s not a piece of cake to relate to a protagonist whose obsession drives him into lifelong depression. I felt that way while watching the Japanese anime movie, “5 Centimetres Per Second”. Little bits of incidents, often trivial, happened. But beneath those triviality hides life’s biggest lessons. Like Kemal took Fusun for granted at first and later realized her worth, we often take life’s seemingly trivial moments for granted, only to later recollect them and lament over not cherishing them when we could. 

Orhan Pamuk is a genius. This book is a masterpiece. Alas! Few can comprehend that. We too are taking a masterpiece for granted. Hope it won’t be too late before we figure out its beauty.