Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

by your sideBy Your Side
by Kasie West
January 31st 2017
Paperback
346 pages
Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance

Synopsis
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Rating: C – Okayed

It took some effort to actually come up with things that I did like on this book. Not that this book is horrible. It’s just a little too bland for me.

What I Liked

The anxiety disorder. It’s good that this was given a highlight on this book. In fact, I do think this was given more emphasis than the actual romance.

A light read. Overall, it’s a light, fluffy, romance contemporary. In other words, it’s an easy read which is totally fine but it fell short on the romance. That can be a good thing if you’re the type that prefers the subtle love in the air and not the cheesy stuff.

The library setting. My second favorite place in the world! Next to my bed obviously. Woot! Woot! On the same note, it’s just hard to believe that they got stuck in a freaking library. Like how? Usually, someone checks the entire place before locking down and like, there’s no way they couldn’t have found the public computers or the landline phones. I mean – emergency exits exist for a reason, don’t they? I was literally shaking my head the entire time.

What I Didn’t Like

Dull. I’ll say it again. If I was asked to describe this book, I would say drab. Boring. Lackluster.

Dax. I couldn’t read his character. What was really his impression of her? Does he really like her? How is he really as a person? Maybe he was just written to be that way – a little off, mysterious loner.

Autumn. This is just a personal perspective but I do hate it when people play with other people’s emotions. Maybe it wasn’t Autumn’s intention but it felt like along those months she was on and off flirting with Jeff, teasing him, she could’ve already ended things with him. Knowing that she couldn’t handle her disorder and her feelings for him weren’t even that strong enough. For me, that’s being hoggish. And for what? A cheap shot for a love triangle?

The underdeveloped plot. The snowed-in trope is nothing new. After all, it’s the easiest way to trap two individuals into isolation. There’s just so many things that could’ve happened while Dax and Autumn were having their own little world to themselves. The plot could totally use some work.

By Your Side is definitely not Kasie West’s best work.

Review: Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn

lost-girlLost Girl

by Chanda Hahn
Neverwood Chronicles #1
December 13th 2016
Paperback
320 pages
Fantasy / Retellings / Young Adult / Romance

Synopsis
Wendy doesn’t remember anything about Neverland—or the experiments done on her there as a child. Seven years later, all she wants is a normal life, but shape-shifting shadows plague her dreams and turn her life into a waking nightmare. When the shadows attack at a football game and a boy disappears right in front of her, she realizes these wraith-like shadows are real. They’re not just haunting—they’re hunting.
A mysterious boy named Peter, his foul-mouthed sidekick, and a band of misfit boys intervene before Wendy faces a similar fate. But can they trust Wendy enough to take her to Neverwood Academy and reveal all of their hidden secrets when she’s hiding a secret of her own, or will the dreaded Red Skulls find her and drag her back to Neverland?

Rating: C – Okayed

What I Liked

A different twist. This is quite a twist from the old Peter Pan story I knew and loved. I got to give Lost Girl some props for that.

The romance. Weird – I know – but I’m shipping Peter and Wendy. There’s someone on the side but I won’t get ahead of myself and call him the love triangle.

A little The Mortal Instruments vibe. Neverwood instantly reminded me of the New York Institute and Peter was somehow playing the Jace. Maybe that’s another reason why I started liking the teenage Peter. I kinda like this new character to him.

What I Didn’t Like

The end. The ending is such a cliffhanger. I hate it because it felt like the whole story is back to square one.

The sequel. I hate to say this but I think it’s pointless for me to read the next book in the series. You’ve fooled me once. I can’t let you fool me twice. That’s coming from someone who isn’t a big fan of retellings.

Reachin’. The synopsis is really something. But for me, the plot is just so much of a reach into the YA genre. Making the characters suddenly teenagers is just ‘meh’. This would’ve been a more appropriate read for the younger adolescents instead.

To fans of retellings, Lost Girl should be the next read for you. I know there’s a whole lot of Peter Pan retellings out there but I quite think this one is one of a kind.

Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

poisons-kissPoison’s Kiss
by Breeana Shields
Poison’s Kiss series #1
January 10th 2017
Random House Books for Young Readers
Paperback
304 pages
Fantasy / Young Adult / Mythology / High Fantasy

Synopsis
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya—a poison maiden—is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.
Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she’s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

Rating: B+ – Loved

I don’t really know a lot of things about India or its culture except for the basic stuff taught in my world geography class back in high school. What I do know though is that I really enjoyed reading this book.

What I Liked

Page-turner. You will not be able to put this book down. You’ll enjoy this book so much that you’ll read it in one sitting – or maybe two like I did.

The plot twists. Emphasis on the second ‘s’ on that word. This book is really an engaging read particularly halfway through the book, it’s suddenly a surge of plot twist after plot twist after plot twist.

The romantic interest. I love Deven. He’s giving me the nice guy vibe and you can’t just hate guys like him. He’s seriously the kind of guy that you would bring home to your parents to meet. He’s that nice.

Predictable but not quite. That’s what I like about this whole book. It’s like you can make absurd predictions but end up getting them right anyways. Well, that was what I did and ha! I was correct on the most parts and boy, I don’t feel pissed at all.

Good writing. I really think the writing is good. Especially when the author started describing these mouthwatering food. She left me craving and hungry. I’m not just sure about the world- building, though. It felt like just modern-day India to me – not that I’ve been to India anyways.

What I Didn’t Like

The not a total badass character. The main character, Marinda, who is a visha kanya aka a poison maiden is basically a female assassin. Poison is her main weapon. That’s what makes her lethal but still, my impression of her is that she’s not really that deadly. In fact, it weirded me out when she kept on mentioning that she’s an assassin. But that’s probably because I see an assassin as the full-package killer deal: someone with kickass fighting skills, tricky mind and a real strong personality, someone who makes cautious decisions and actions. Highlight on that last part btw.

A little slow. The beginning is a snore. I wasn’t really hooked in the beginning. That’s why it took me a couple of nights to finish this because I almost lost interest reading it on the first night. But exactly midway, things started happening and got more exciting.

Not a stand-alone. If this was a stand-alone, I would’ve given this a higher rating like an A- or even an A+. That is only if everything was summed up in just one novel.

Now, I’ll have to wait for the sequel.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

throne of glassThrone of Glass
Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass series #1
May 7th 2013
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Paperback
404 pages
Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance

Synopsis
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Rating: B+ – Loved

Throne Of Glass is just one of those recently infamous books. I’ve seen this book everywhere. And when I mean everywhere, I mean every book blog. It may be in reviews or book tags.

What I Liked

Lived up to the hype. Personally, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book but I am honestly glad to say that it deserves all the hype it is getting lately.

The kickass heroine. She’s an assassin which makes her way cooler than any girl I’ve ever read. I like heroines that are somewhat related to criminal activities. It may be a heist or a killing squad or whatever. It just adds character to the whole story.

The romance. I believe a little bit of love in a fantasy book is a plus. It’s obviously not a must but it is good to have something to look forward to.

The action. I believe it tests a writer’s skill. It shows his or her prowess in using powerful and accurate words. I like action scenes that are so beautifully written, it makes me feel like I’m right there when it’s all happening.

Fast-paced. The suspense and mystery never stopped until it was the right time to do so and the plot will surely test your skill in guessing who’s doing what or which.

What I Didn’t Like

The love triangle. I don’t need a love triangle in an action-packed fantasy book. A little hint of romance – yes sure, why not? But a conflict arising from it – hell, no. It unnecessarily complicates things. Personally, if the author tried making the villain the other love interest – then now, maybe we’re talking. But that’s not the case here. The love interest, Dorian, the crown prince and Chaol, the captain of the guards are friends… good friends in fact (although I didn’t really see that in the book).

More action. In relation to what I like in this book (that I like action). I want more of it – more twists and turns to the story. I just want a little more to really prove that Celeana, the Adarlan’s assassin, the Queen of the Underworld, lives up to her infamous name.

Unrealistically beautiful. This is going to be personal. I am not at ease with the portrayal of Celeana’s beauty in this book. I know she has to look great. Pretty is enough, but does she really have to be that beautiful? It’s kind of annoying to some point but at least, she’s not pretending that she had the least idea of her good looks. Also, I approve of her girly actions. I mean. She’s a girl so it’s great that she acts like one (not that I’m saying every girl acts the way we are usually portrayed). On the side note, I believe that maybe her beauty must be one of her greatest weapons.

The secondary characters. This is just one of my observations but I feel like I’m missing w whole lot of things on the secondary characters. They lack some personality. Be on top of that is Chaol. Chaol is just bland to my liking. Even Dorian is also lacking some character.

Skin deep. The whole story is almost too focused on Celeana. Her two other co-protagonist is missing the limelight. I need them to stand out more. Hopefully, in the next installment of the series because it sure felt like they were just there to add spice in the romance.

Throne Of Glass is an impressive read. It has its numerous faults and plot holes like any other written literature out there. But as readers, we either just learn to love, hate or forget. If you want to read a thrilling and exciting non-dystopian fantasy book, Throne Of Glass is the way to go.