Lord of Shadows – Review

3.5 stars.

I’ve read this book a while ago but wasn’t able to write a review sooner. I gave Lady Midnight five stars I believe last year but with Lord of Shadows, I feel like it barely reaches four stars.
I’m not sure what happened with this book. It’s not particularly the book’s fault or the author but I expected better and more considering how good Lady Midnight was. lord-of-shadows-cover-nov-16

One thing that I have to point out is how much Cassandra has improved since she wrote TMI. She’s one of the authors I dislike the most but I get really attached to her books. TMI has one of my favourite male characters of all time (Simon Lewis). And even though I loved Lady Midnight, I still believe that TID beats everything else she wrote. Unlike other authors she seems to improve with each book, so that’s a positive note.

However, I just wasn’t feeling it. Emma and Julian felt more intense during Lady Midnight and the book ended with such a great Mark and Emma scene but then when it picks up somewhere else and on Lord of Shadows it kinda loses the first impact it had.

In terms of characters, I adore Ty and Kit. Livvy and Kit just made no sense to me whatsoever, but Ty and Kit just have this chemistry, I love their scenes.
I’m also a huge fan of Mark and Cristina. I did like the progress and what’s going on with them plus Kieran. I was feeling a little bit of Herongraystairs vibe with them.
Emma, I like her but I think I liked her and she’s badass and strong so that’s refreshing, we all need female heroes.
About Julian, I like how ruthless he is and he’s such a complex character or well, not really because we are able to know him and know that for his family there’s nothing he wouldn’t do and he has no problem sacrificing things for them. He loves so deeply and strongly it’s both heartwarming and scary. Seeing his growth has been really interesting.

Overall it’s a good book, it left everything out in the open with the end. I was hoping the next book actually picks up where it left instead of moving forward. I want to know what leads to what.

As for having TMI characters showing up, I can’t explain exactly but they feel so out of character? The whole Clary death situation feels weird and why would you give away like that she’s going to die? Even if it’s a feeling, first it would be either to kill a main character from a series in another one that has nothing to do with her. Plus if she does die, it won’t be surprising because we already know she feels that way and she knows.

Alec and Magnus felt so out of character as well, maybe other people didn’t felt the same way so it might be only me but yeah. It might have something to do with the TV show because I now have this two versions of the TMI characters in my head so seeing them in some other series it’s like 3 different sides of them.

To sum up, I enjoyed the book. I’m really looking forward to read the next one. Even though it might take forever. I just can’t give it more stars, it feels like something was missing.

The Upside of Unrequited – Review

3 stars, not spoiler free.

I havCover-Reveal-The-Upside-Of-Unrequited-Largee to start by addressing my biggest issue, which isn’t about the book but about the negative reviews it receives. Everybody loved Simon’s book. No surprise there, plus a lot of females really enjoy stories with m/m relations but when it comes to f/f suddenly everything surrounding it is problematic. But that’s not even the point I’m trying to make. The issue is that when it comes to having a fat girl as the main character everyone seems to have a problem with it. It happened with Holding Up the Universe and it happens here too. Having a fat main character actually addressing bullying and sharing their thoughts about being fat does not make a book problematic.

It’s simply the reality of a lot of fat girls and how they feel about themselves. Now, this book is short and it doesn’t really focus on the fact that Molly is fat unlike what happens with Libby so we don’t see a lot of development from that part. But self-love doesn’t happen in two seconds. I also didn’t felt like Molly needed a boy to validate her, she simply wanted to experience kissing one and actually having a boyfriend. Which I guess, a normal thing? To experience those sort of things. I also highly doubt that Molly suddenly started loving herself and accepted her body once she starts dating Reid. Yes, she does think she’s beautiful but I don’t think it’s related to Reid. Dating Reid makes her happy and guess what, having someone love you can help you realise what you couldn’t before. Because what once felt impossible it’s happening now. I don’t know where this obsession with turning love into a bad thing comes from.

In fact, Molly seems to care more about the fact that her grandmother thinks she’s beautiful than she did with Reid.
Anyway, let’s start with quotes that I totally relate to and no, I don’t find it problematic. I find it realistic.

“I guess it’s just this feeling that my body is secretly all wrong. Which means any guy who assumes I’m normal is going to flip his shit if we get to the point of nakedness (…) It makes me never want to be naked. And it’s not like I could be a Never Nude. I don’t even like jean shorts.”

Girl, same. And feeling this way doesn’t mean I need a boy to validate me. Because I know that getting a boyfriend doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to love myself. It doesn’t work like that. I don’t need men to validate me.

Here’s another one,

“We’d kiss. Okay. We’d have sex. I don’t know. Even if he likes me, I’m not sure he’d like me naked. I hate that I’m even thinking that. I hate hating my body. Actually, I don’t even hate my body. I just worry everyone else might.”

And here we have it, Molly doesn’t even hate her body but she worries everyone else does. Because why? People really enjoy bullying others for the way they look and maybe, just maybe if we treated everyone the same way, this wouldn’t be an issue. If people weren’t assholes we wouldn’t have others growing up feeling like outsiders and people not worth loving or not being acceptable to have sex because of what their body looks like.

Another one showing once again, that also relates to movies, tv shows etc where everywhere you rarely get positive fat representation, “Under my shirt, there’s no flat stomach, and there are no cute little boobs, and there’s no hazy lighting. It’s just a lot of me. Way too much of me.”

Let’s stop pretending Molly is the only one who feels the way and the story are in her point of view so of course, you are going to see everything the way she does. And everything is going to be about her and how she sees everyone else. Because we are in her head so we might not like everything we see.

Continue reading “The Upside of Unrequited – Review”

Holding Up The Universe – Review

3.5 stars.

I’m genuinely curious as to why people believe that not reading a book means you can or should write a full review about it. Especially, when that review happens to be negative. If you are going to complain, at least do so after reading the book. Also, and here’s a thing that a lot of people LOVE to do which is talk over those who actually go through things or have a say in the matter. And to be more specific according to the book, if you aren’t overweight then please kindly refrain from speaking on the matter.
I don’t care if your brother, cousin, next door neighbour is overweight, it’s not a free pass to write your claims or praises by using someone else’s – real life people in this case – as your excuse to do so. This also goes to the author herself, I ge9780141357058t that as writers we can’t be everything or go through everything that we write about but some subjects should be taken less lightly when you decide to write about them.

And why am I saying this? Apparently, this book received a lot of negative reviews because of the way it portrays an overweight girl. I will not speak up about Jack because he’s not the character I relate to and I’m also not familiar nor do I have his disorder. But as an overweight girl, I will speak about how I felt about this book. First of all, if you think it’s offensive then clearly you have no idea what you are talking about (and I’m talking towards those who aren’t or never were overweight), what’s offensive is what people actually do and how they treat overweight people. What Jennifer wrote is just a small demonstration of the cruelty that goes around and god forbid someone actually writes a book with an overweight girl, her perspective and having her fall in love. While also showing her struggles and the bullying she goes through.

Libby is strong as hell, honestly, she became like my hero. I wish I had even half the courage she has and I wish I accepted myself the way she does. Yes, she’s overweight but at some point, she’s happy with who she is. And unlike what a lot of people said, no, Libby does not see a boyfriend as her salvation. She accepted herself long before she fell for Jack and when he breaks her heart, she didn’t let that slow her down. Did she have a moment of weakness? Yes. She’s human. Did she want a boyfriend? Yes, she’s a teenager and please don’t try to tell me that that it wasn’t accurate or “in real life, it doesn’t work this way”, sadly it does. And I would understand if Jennifer gave the idea that Libby wouldn’t be happy with herself nor her body unless she had a boyfriend who would love her and suddenly she would love herself too, that it would cause people to react negatively but that’s not what happens.

I get it, the book insists a lot on the fact that Libby is fat and on Jack’s disorder. Personally, that didn’t really bother me. And yes, people are cruel as hell. And some parts of the book that people feel as if Jennifer is being offensive or that she’s fat shaming, I have a question: Do you even understand what writing is? When I’m writing a character and it happens to be in their Point of View, for example, I’m going to write down their feelings because that’s how they feel or think and guess what, not everyone is perfect, not every book is fantasy so if you want accurate and realistic characters you are going to have to write feelings and thoughts that sound realistic. Here’s where it gets tricky, some parts don’t feel realistic in her book but it’s a YA book about two teenagers falling in love, it’s going to get sappy. Now, having my girl fat shaming herself doesn’t mean the author THINKS and FEELS that way as well.

And truth is, I feel that way a lot. I wonder if maybe having a boyfriend would make me feel better. Make me accept the body I have. It isn’t healthy thinking but it’s accurate. All the nasty things someone could say to me, I’m going to think them first. But seeing Libby being so brave and happy with who she is, it’s truly refreshing.

This wasn’t a story about the hot guy who saves the fat girl, in fact, it felt more like Libby was the one to save Jack. The constant mention of the fact that she is fat is nothing but an honest representation of what goes on in school and real life. Everyone sees you as the fat girl even if you do lose some weight. So yeah, no one was congratulating Libby for losing the weight because they still see her as that same fat girl. So for most people – for bullies – they don’t care.

To sum up, this isn’t a perfect book but it hardly deserves all the negative praise. And if you love TFIOS and god knows what else, then I find it hypocritical that you are going to call out this story for romanticising overweight people and Jack’s disorder. It’s contemporary so it’s a light and easy reading, it’s not a big book and with YA it’s not like you can go too much into things. If you can’t relate to it, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.

All The Bright Places – Review

3.5 stars. (spoilers) 

I usually avoid writing reviews soon as I finish reading a book. This time I decided I wasn’t going to wait. 

Before I start talking about the plot and characters, I would like to address how I usually try to be cautious when reading or going into a book that speaks about Mental Illness. It has become popular to romanticise MIs, especially in YA books. I’ve seen it happen multiple times so I when I saw what this book was about – I was afraid. 

Mostly, my biggest issue is using romance as a way that it becomes a “cure”, you might be depressed or dealing with any other disease but you find love and that’s it. You are now fine. Or trying to make being ill something to desire, treat it as cute and cool. Seems like authors also have a tendency to poorly represent MIs. 

I got quickly attached to the characters, yesterday when I started reading by the time I was half way done, I had to force myself to stop. And yes, the book involves romance and it sort of becomes a way to initiate the healing process for Violet because of her sister’s death which doesn’t really take long due to what happens to Finch. I won’t call it insta love because it’s teenagers we are talking about plus only towards the end when Finch goes missing, Violet starts calling him her boyfriend. Other than that the relation between the two is never established even though you are aware that they are sort of a couple. 

Personally, I never saw this story as a romance or something other than a book about a boy with a Mental Illness and how the world and everyone around him reacts to it plus a girl dealing with the loss of her sister. 

The adults in this story – especially finch’s parents – are completely oblivious to their sons mental illness. And even though I saw some people criticising this detail about the story, I think it was actually well done. Because it’s accurate. Some parents yes but honestly, most adults will just ignore when a child/teenager shows any sort of symptoms whatsoever. The world can’t seem to be able to handle or understand Mental Illness. If they try to avoid it they will. And it’s no exception in this book. 

I think overall the book accomplished the goal of showing us in an accurate way how people perceive and act around those who might be “different”. Whether it’s being bullied at school, home, ignored etc. Even Violet tells him that they are teenagers, it’s okay to get moody sometimes. 

What made me consider and give this book more starts than I intended to was the authors note. This book had a lesson and something to take from this reading. How MIs are perceived and suicide is seen compared to other death causes, the impact of labels and I think that if you are going into this book don’t do it because you want romance, do it to take something out of it. And the fact the author went through something similar, therefore writing about it, really moved me and it just makes the book even more important. 

If you are easily triggered or currently going through a situation that it’s going to cause this book to trigger you then I suggest you put it down and leave it for some other time. I found Finch’s death or well, the moment they find is body really intense. I cried so much and now I’m left with this feeling in my gut, overall it did not make me feel good, I feel affected by this story. I did not get a warning so if you decided to read this before reading the book – Be careful. (this just reminded me of something in the book and the use of those words is just making me feel worse). 

Trigger warnings: mention of suicide, grief, depression, bipolar disorder etc. 

I feel so messed up after reading this, I don’t think there’s more that I can say. Whether someone reads this book for the romance and sees it as something else, that will depend on each person. 

I might make another post, once my feelings settle down and write a little more about Mental Illness and the rights and wrongs when it comes to representation in books. Especially YA because I think that’s where the problem lies the most.