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The Story Seeker

In search of the ultimate story, finding many good ones on my way. Take a look if you want to see what I found so far.

For the absolute intorverts

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain

I think that when we strongly believe something we tend to acknowledged the research that prove out theories and dismiss the ones that don't.

This book is a very black and white sort of book, putting introverts in one place and extroverts in the other. Not only once during this book did I feel that extroverts where categorized as bad, while introverts as good. I know that wasn't the author's intention, but she did speak with a certain disdain about the extroverts.

Also, at the end of the book I realized I didn't fit as an extrovert or as an introvert, based on her description. I had parts from both sides. Which I think is logical since people are not one way or the other, but a mix of both types whit different dosage.

All in all, I don't think this author was very objective in her research done for this book. I think she tried to find strong points for introverts even where there weren't any. For example the fact that small classes are better than larger classes. That's true, but up to one point as Malcolm Gladwell so dutifully demonstrates in his book: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Based on that book and others I've read during my years I can claim that introverts do have good points that they can use in real life, but they do have to balance their qualities with a little of extroverted enthusiasm if they want to achieve anything.

All in all, it was not a bad book, but if you are a serious introvert, don't treat this book as a bible, it does have some good points, but not all of them are realistic or achievable.

This was brutal all right

Brutal Youth: A Novel - Anthony Breznican

Recommended to all the people who are in a really bad place right now: so you can see that it can be worse and that life isn't fair. Or maybe not.... If you are suicidal this book could convince you to make that final step.

I've boosted the rating for this book to 2 stars. 1 star for being entertaining (it did not bore me) and 1 extra star for the awesome character development.

After I finished this book I originally didn't wanted to write a review for it. I really liked the author's writing style. He kept his story interesting, it had a lot of good developed, round characters. But...


Story:[might contain spoilers]
It's about a private school where all the students are allowed to run wild. The seniors bully the freshman on the account of needing to relieve stress. This has been going on for (I kid you not) decades, since Davidek's father claims it was pretty much the same when he was young (a reason why he decided to quit the school). So, in short, the story is something like this: drama, bullying, bullying, drama, drama, bullying, bullying, drama, drama, bullying, bullying, drama, drama, bullying, bullying, drama, drama, bullying and it goes on and on and on.

Having one of the students almost committing suicide didn't melt their frozen hearts. It actually looked like it got worse. When Davidek enrolls here as a student he has no idea all the shit that's coming his way. Those kids are crazy and the teachers have no excuse. During the book I thought that closing the school was the best thing that could ever happen.

Now, I understand the author's intent to bring us a realistic story, to make us taste the bitter reality, but really, not even real life can be this bad. During the entire book you don't see one good thing happening. There are glimpses here and there, but in the end I, as a reader, didn't get closure, I don't even want to start on the characters. That Epilogue was the saddest epilogue I had read in my life. Compared to this one "Game of Thrones" is a walk in the park. They die, game over. Here the characters are tormented forever. And most of them (including us) never get to find out the truth.

Characters: The reason why you can't stop reading this is because of the characters. They are interesting, they feel real, they might be good intended and do all the wrong things and they might be bad indented and actually end up doing good. I loved that part :) .


He's the only character that remains true to it's roots. He's courageous, he's nice, he's brought down by his family and that cursed school, but he tries to stay the same. He knows who his real friends are and won't take any bullshit. He and Hannah are the only 2 characters that made me go on reading this. Another reason why the end infuriated me to no end. I'm surprised how an abandoned child like him can show so much tenderness. I mean, his parents were awful, especially his mother, more interested in their own well-being than that of their son's. Now we can pretty much guess why they lost the first one and I have a feeling they will loose the second in the end as well.


What can I say, I loved Stein from day 1. He's funny, takes no bullshit and knows what he wants. He was such a promising character. I shed some tears when Lorelei betrayed him. He was the sacrifice of this book and it infuriated me to no end that his sacrifice was in vain. :(

My favorite Stein quote:
"JayArr crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair. “And when my brother got to be a senior, you better believe he and his friends did the exact same thing to their freshmen. It’s called revenge, dudes.”
“Except the guys your brother squirted chocolate sauce on weren’t the guys who did anything to him,” Stein pointed out. “Sounds to me like he got his just desserts.” He leaned back, smiling proudly, awaiting accolades from the table for his cleverness—but nobody got it.
“I think you’re getting hung up on the banna split thing,” JayArr said.
Stein rolled his eyes. “No, I mean, what your brother did to those freshmen is not revenge. It just means your brother is a dickhead, same as the guys who did it to him for no good reason. Karma just happened to catch up with him ahead of time."

In all that school, there was no one else who decided to point this out to the rest of the students?


Yeah, she's cool. She found a way to keep the harassment at bay and I was hoping, just like Davidek, that she would have a plan to take revenge on everybody. I guess that was impossible anyway, and I must agree with her:

"The best revenge you can get is making people see the worst parts of themselves."

The only redeeming female in this book.


Her is the story of miss popularity. The story of a beautiful girl that wants to do good, but in the end will choose the wrong path all the time. Because it is easy, it's safe. Lorelei was a weak character and I hated her. I also hated the fact that it was never very clear why

she did that to Stain

(show spoiler)

. Her mother was her eternal punishment, but she was also the one who chose to be miserable. I couldn't feel pity for her. I tried, but all I felt was disgust.

5.Sister Maria

The picture above describes her pretty well. She wants to do good, she's the most well intended person in the entire book, but putting a bunny suit and jumping around won't really atone to much now, will it? If you take a closer look at all her actions she lies just as much as Father Mercedes does. She's incompetent and can't control her students, yet she does not want to admit defeat and close the school. She saves anyone as long as it doesn't imply her loosing her position. In the end she's far from a saint or a good character. We try to excuse all her shortcomings because we knows she means well, but that should not stop us from judging her. In the end, she fails in everything she does.

6.Father Mercedes

And here is our main bad character: he gambles, he has tasted all the deadly sins from what I can tell, but vanity still remains his top one. He's the sort of man who will step on graves and after, make you step on them as well. He has no scruples and will do anything it takes (and I do mean ANYTHING) in order to save his skin. He was horrible and only made me hate this book even more. The weirdest part is that he wanted to close the school and for this, I was on his side. I do think that school is a horror house that can only release monsters into the world. Of course, his reasons for wanting it closed are not that charitable, he just wants to hide the fact that he used school money for his own gambling.

7.Mr. Zimmer

Ok, that image doesn't describe him really accurate, but I was upset that he never did go and confront any of the problems he had. He just preferred to pity himself and never questioned the decisions of the staff. His ending was another reason why I hated this story.

How come they decided to keep a waste of air like Mrs. Bromine, but accepted to kick him out. Sister Maria should have fought for him more. But I guess in the end, the only thing she really fought for was her position as chairman.

(show spoiler)


She is Lorelei's future, I believe. She also used to be beautiful and popular but now she's a failure as a teacher and a human being. Hateful and full of resentments she's easily one of the most annoying characters in this book. She also got way better than she deserved

compared to mister Zimmer, who did nothing wrong and ended up being the one who got fired.

(show spoiler)


He was a tool, he remained a tool and will always be a tool. I was happy that most of the times he was Davidek's tool, but it didn't change the fact that he was a tool....

10.All the other students:

About that, what's wrong with that school? For teachers to tolerate such behavior it can mean only 2 things: they don't care or they really are too stupid to notice.

How I would have solved the problem:


Into the Still Nothing

Into the Still Blue - Veronica Rossi

If Aria would have died I would have given this book 2 stars. But since absolutely nothing interesting happened 1 star is more than this book deserves.
And here's the review:

I will start with the author's name Veronica Rossi. Now, there's nothing wrong with her name, just reminded me of another Veronica that totally ruined her series with her last book. For those of you who didn't guess yet, I'm talking about Veronica Roth. Unlike miss Roth, that ended up delivering a completely different story in her last book, miss Rossi delivered entirely different characters in her last book from the trilogy. It's like she totally forgot who her main characters were and just used them for drama's sake.

I don't even recognize the characters anymore: Roar is stupid and always makes the wrong decision, Aria is worthless and she takes no decisions whatsoever (until the end when she is pushed to do so by her father, so again, not her accomplishment), she just goes along with whatever everyone is asking of her and Perry is ready to sacrifice everyone and everything (except Aria, duh) while still trying to claim that he's doing the right thing. In the end he does admit he's no better than Sable, not that this made him get any sympathy from me.
After complaining for an hour that it's not right to make Cinder sacrifice for them, the second Perry had the occasion to trade him, he did so. He even had the "decency" to cry for his own life because he had to go with Cinder in order to be sure Cinder won't bail on them. *buhuhu* So glad you can still cry for your worthless heart.

Not to mention the bad characters, they are just bad. No complexity to them whatsoever. If there's something bad they can do, they will do it, just because they are bad and have no heart. In real life bad characters are not so one dimensional as Veil and Sable were, so the answer to what's best for you're family/group is not always to kill the bad guy and sacrifice the second character. When he had to sacrifice Cinder Perry said he's going with him because he's afraid if he won't Cinder might not help them. Not because Cinder was a small, scared child that needed someone beside him, but because he wanted to make sure Cinder will die for them. Wow Perry, you're such an amazing leader, convincing all the readers you're actually different from Sable just because you're not a one dimensional bad character like he is, you're actually a sort of complex one.

Also, Aria's reaction after she lost Perry was so weak...
She:"We have to save him."
Other:"We can't."
Wow, I can totally see you trying there... After all the hardships she faced in the first 2 books and how fierce she was, in this one she just fails flat, overshadowed by her ass of a boyfriend and stupid friend that always gets them in danger.

If you think the story is anything special, think again. It's a simple story: teenager gets kicked out of perfect world, adjusts into the world of savages, then catastrophy claimes both worlds and they find a new place to live after they sacrifice some secondary characters. Wow, so original. And I won't even start on how painfully predictable this final installment was. The Still Blue was such a convenience for this story. Again, finding a place of perfect sanctuary. Their HEA was too easy. All they had to do was find the still blue and kill the bad guy. I've read stories like this in hundreds of books.

This book bored me to tears. And while I had medium expectations for it [since I wasn't a big fan of the previous 2 books] this one managed to crush them hard. The disappointment wasn't as big as it was for the other Veronica, but it probably killed my desire to ever read a book from her ever again.

On a final note: what was the reason for the chapters to be named Aria and Perry since the story is told using the 3th person. It was just annoying to switch between the 2 'perspectives' of the 2 main characters that in the end had the same voice.

Cinderella better be watching

Gilded Ashes (Harperteen Impulse) - Rosamund Hodge

...because she's got nothing on this book.
Yeah, you and your glass slipper can go and turn into a pumpkin. I'm going to read this to my children instead. :)

What is this book about? An awesome retelling of Cinderella's story.
Just that....

Instead of a fairy good mother we have the ghost of her mother [she's haunting her XD]:
Her mother loved her so much that she swear to protect her little girl forever. But what happens when your love becomes a burden?

"My mother will never stop loving me, so I can never stop lying."

Then we have Maia:
She must not cry, her mother must never know she's sad, because if she does, bad things will happen to those who made her sad. She's an incredible kindhearted character and I loved her boldness and perseverance. The way she fights to free her family of her curse, even if that means her remaining alone until the day she dies. She's not seeking for love, she knows that not only good can come from it.

"Love is madness," I say. "Doesn't everyone agree that you'd do anything, endure anything, to be with the ones you love? So either you're willing to let them use you with any sort of cruelty, so long as they keep you - which makes you a fool - or you're willing to commit any cruelty, so long as you get to keep them - which makes you a monster. Either way, it's madness."

And her 2 stepsisters...

Maia sees both Kore, the older one, and Thea, the younger one, as fools, the first desperate for her mother's love, the second for Maia's. They are not rightfully described by our main heroine who doesn't want to see them more than liabilities and can't wait to get rid of them before her ghost of a mother decides to do something to them. It does not help that their mother, her stepmother, is a heartless, desperate woman that might destroy them all in the end.

I loved the 2 sisters and the fact that they don't remain cardboard secondary characters. :)

Anax, the unconventional prince:

"He doesn't look particularly lordly. Handsome, yes: he has a jet-black hair and a face of aristocratic angles. Square metal glasses frame his narrow dark eyes."

He's not you're average prince that will dance with the most beautiful girl at the ball and fall for her uttermost awesome outside beauty XD. He likes Maia because she's the only one who is honest with him and he is also recovering after the loss of another girl.

The romance:

Of course it's going to be the "I want him, but I can't have him" type, but I didn't mind, because the execution was flawless and I could totally understand why they fell for each other. He wanted someone honest and she wanted someone who she could be honest with, considering she had to lie and hide her true feeling almost her entire life. I also liked how she let herself believe again in love, bit by bit. :)

What I can't fail to admire is the way Rosamund Hodge constructs her characters, how much kindness they have. And it's not the bad tasting type where the characters are selfless only when it's convenient for the story. In the end, I loved her message, that no one can gain from one person's suffering and even though letting go is hard, sometimes our happiness can be achieved only through change.

An incredible read, just like Cruel Beauty. :)

The boredom's curse

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1) - Marie Rutkoski

Hmmm, to quote one of my buddy read friends "the hype is a lie". If I wouldn't have read this with other people that shared my opinion, I would have been inclined to believe I've read something else than everybody here. 99% of the reviews marked this as a 4 or 5 star read. I barely managed to give this a 2, and that's only because I liked the ending.

80% of this book I wanted to give this a 1. Not because it's a particularly bad book, but it has no tension in it, nothing too keep you focused, to make you care for the characters or the story. All in all, it was a pretty dull read :(.

From here on, spoilers will follow. It's hard to talk about this book without mentioning what happened, and since so little happens, I'm probably going to mention all of it in this review.

What it was supposed to be: a heart-gripping forbidden love story between the general's daughter and her slave.

What it was: an unbelievable insta-love between a Mary Sue and her 'acts like a king in command' slave. Really, Arin did whatever he pleased with Kestrel. He commanded and she obeyed. She was not a spineless character, but it's like her brain cells melted whenever she was in his presence. Not an enjoyable sight.

It's also an incredibly boring story. It's true what people say, that the second half is a little more interesting. A little more interesting does not equal 'not boring'. :(

Kestrel: She doesn't look like a general's daughter. She a gossip, kinda spoiled and doesn't know how to make herself heard. She reminded me a lot of Lilac from "These Broken Stars". The daughter protected by her father. She's kinda oblivious to a lot of things. Her being a strategist, I was hoping she would have a sharper mind. But she uses her mind only when she needs to save herself or someone she loves. I also find her character inconsistent. Sometimes she's strong and courageous, just to turn helpless and scared afterward. She's also heartless and cares only for her own well being. When she sees her city in flames she feels no grief, no real one that I can tell from her actions anyway. She's not a strong female lead, if that's what the cover suggested. To be strong means to have the power to protect others as well as yourself.

Arin: He should be the spy sclave, but he doesn't act like either a spy, or a slave. He's proud, he speak against his mistress wishes and just does whatever he likes. WTF? Try to act a little you dumb guy. He gets her in all sort of trouble, but doesn't really care, except when she almost dies for him.

I actually don't care for him, or Kestrel. I just failed to connect with both of them. They are way too confused. I can't really understand what they want, or need. And I think they don't know that about themselves either. I feel like I'm reading about 2 teenagers stuck between a war, unable to take sides.

Everybody else: They are not important. They might die, or live. The author does not care, the main characters do not care, I felt like I was the only one sad when everybody at the ball got poisoned. Kestrel begs Arin to get the cure for her friend, Jess. She herself goes to deliver this to Jess in order to be sure that none of the other sick people (her people) recieve the cure. What a heartless person. She doesn't care about anyone except her friend. All the rest can rot in hell. She has nightmares about her attempted rapist, not about the way everyone was killed at the ball and how the city burned.


So yeah, this WIIUU romance was supposed to be the main plot of this book, but it felt flat. The romance in this one seems so forced.. argh... I don't even understand what she sees in him? Is it because he beat her at cards? Really, they have so little interaction that it's unbelievable that she even noticed him. She probably felt for his face, duh <.<.

Actually, if you look at it a little closer, she's the only one who's fighting for "their relationship". She fought with a nobleman for him! I mean, she risked her life for Arin and I was hoping the spark will finally start after that, but the only thing that happened was that they don't see each other for another month untill she recovers from her injuries. When that dreaded kiss finally took place I couldn't even start to care. Gezz... talking about no tension in this book. <_<

The so called love triangle was never a triangle. Ronan never had a chance, or a second glance, to begin with. I can't even believe he proposed to her. It was out of nowhere, just like everything else regarding the romantic plot in this book.

Now let's take a good look at the inconsistency of the plot after the ball incident. They poisoned them and killed or imprisoned the ones who didn't drink the wine or were still strong enough to fight. In this situation, when they just wanted them dead, what use was it to keep the dying poisoned people in bed? Keep them and care for them. How did Ronan end up in the dungen? I think all these were inconsistencies made so that the main character still has some friends alive.

Also, after she found our about everything Arin did, Kestrel didn't grieve for her people, for his betraiel, she just wanted to run and get away, alone, like the selfish bitch she is.

This quote will sum it all:
"As his people positioned themselves in and around the pass, Arin thought that he might have misunderstood the Valorian addiction to war. He had assumed it was spurred by greed. By a savage sense of superiority. It had never occurred to him that Valorians also went to war because of love.

Arin loved those hours of waiting. The silent, brilliant tension, like scribbles of heat lightning. His city far below and behind him, his hand on a cannon's curve, ears open to the acoustics of the pass. He stared into it, and even though he smelled the reek of fear from men and women around him, he was caught in a kind of wonder. He felt so vibrant. As if his life was a fresh, translucent, thin-skinned fruit. It could be sliced apart and he wouldn't care. Nothing felt like this."

OH.PLEASE.STOP! I cannot take this level of bullshit all at once. Did this author even read a book about war? Listened to someone talk about his experience on the battelfield? His real experience I mean. About a real war, not just: they went to war, they won, they returned.

Nobody starts a war for love! They start it to gain something: money, land, resources, pride, freedom. There is no way you can asociate love with war, nor is the battlefield a pleasant place, unless you are crazy and like to see chopped bodies all around you.

And once more we see how useless Kestrel can be. She escapes with no food or water and doesn't even try to catch some fish while she's waiting for the wind to start again. If her father teached her how to fight and plan, did she really get no survival instruction from him?

Decent enough, although it started another love triangle that I should morn over. I probably would have, if I could care for the characters, but so far, no such luck. It also was too little too late. I don't read a book for the ending, I read a book to enjoy it and if the ending is also good all the better. A good ending can't save a bad book. :(

All in all, a weak book and not even the gorgeous cover could melt my brain cells to accept all the nonsense going up in it. Curse you book-cover designers. I still want this book on my bookshelf, even if I know the inside if crap. Maybe that's why we get tricked by pretty people so easily. They are so nice to look at that we don't want to admit how ugly the inside can be.

Thank you to my buddy friends and the audiobook version for helping me to finish this book. I don't know if I'm going to read the next book in this series. Right now I'm giving a definite no, but we never know what the future holds for us. :)

The School for Beauty and Ugliness

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani

This story started out so good, but it kinda left me waiting after the first half. And in the end, I think it missed the point. If this story is about how not to be superficial or what it really means to be good, then I personally never found out. The story transformed from "The school for good and evil" into "How to ruin a perfectly good story".

At the beginning I liked both characters a lot. Sophie reminded me a lot of Cecily from "The wicked and the just". In her own twisted way she really thinks she's doing the good thing XD. I was sure Sophie will end up in evil. Was not sure about Agatha though. This story brings an interesting twist to your average fairytale. The good are beautiful, but aren't they also vain? They should be kindhearted, but they are judging Agatha based on her looks. Again, a trait for bad. So, it seems like the good side is not as good as they claim to be. Also, the bad aren't that bad either. They seem to accept Sophie despite of her looks, or maybe because of them. I loved the world building and I was really curious to see more of it and some character development.

About the 'character development': I have never seen this in my life. An author transforming 2 interesting, round, complex characters into 2 cardboard stereotypes. At the end of the book
[spoiler]Sophie is bad and Agatha is a princess. That's it. *vomits*

There are so many bad parts that I don't even know where to start. Why did Tedrose felt in love with Agatha? Just because she became beautiful? And more than that, why did Agatha felt in love with him? She used to hate shallow stuck ups like him. He didn't change, just she did. Does that mean beauty corrupts? Why did the bad guys help Agatha at the end? Just because? O.o[/spoiler

What the first chapters promised me: a confused Sophie that doesn't know to distinguish bad from evil. I was hoping for her to realize her mistake throughout the story. She did in like... the last 3 pages or so and she wasn't very convincing about it. I was hoping for Agatha to realize how good she is and to embrace her inner beauty. What she becomes: a useless pretty face that drools for the stupid prince. I was hoping Tedrose to realize that a good girl is beautiful because of her soul and not her face and that's what he's looking for, but does he even look at Agatha before she becomes beautiful and confident? No...

The second half of the book felt like it put too much into the appearances of the characters. Like, if you are good you will become beautiful and if you are bad you will turn out to be ugly. That's hardly the case in real life. Beautiful people can and usually are bad. Also, the fact that all the ones from 'good' were so vain and self-important makes you question if they really were good. A good start, but I feel the story never got developed to it's real potential.

*sigh* Very, very disappointing. I was hoping to read a story, what I got was a fairytale, a really bad one at that. At the end of the day nothing of importance was learned here. Good is beautiful and evil is ugly. That's it. Wow, thank you author, for teaching our kids how important it is to be born with a pretty face and if you are good it's ok, because you will get a pretty face, because of your soul, right? Such bullshit.

Perfect Ruin - Lauren DeStefano

Well, this was a painful experience. But now I'm sure. I won't read anything else from this author ever again.

The beginning felt mesmerizing, but I couldn't help myself from judging Morgan's nativity. Calling her world perfect and all... Also, I really don't like that name.
I was also annoyed of the fact that Morgan just kept relying on her gut feeling that Judas is not a murdered even after he tells her he is one. Morgan looks like a lunatic to me, preoccupied by everyone's business but her own. Jumping from one idea to another: one time she wants to kill, then the next she wants to stop her friend from doing the same. One time she is indifferent and then she wants to be kind... Confusing girl. We don't know her dreams and aspirations, just that she feels that she's going crazy. She is. Because no sane person would be so irrational when judging her own stand point. It looks like her only role in this book is to tell the story about her brother, her family, Pen (which turns out to be a more interesting character than Morgan) and of the killed girl. This bothers me and it also makes me feel detached. I realize I don't really care for her as a character. The "love" in this book is one created based on the lack of options. Basil claims that he would have loved her either way, but he can't really know that. When you are bound to someone from birth is hard not to feel a certain comfort (that can be mistaken for love) related to the certainty of the union. Even Pen states this about Thomas: "he is mine". That doesn't sound so romantic to me.

Also, after Morgan wakes up from her poisoned state and she's told that her parents are dead but she's not told the reason why.... because she's too weak and can't stomach it. Really? After telling her her parents are dead do you think there is anything that could make her feel even worse? And to keep her with the knowledge that she still doesn't know why they were killed...
It seems that it's ok, because in the end, Morgan couldn't care less about her parents. She's all like dreaming about the ground instead of crying. Yey! Such a lovely character she is... transforming my lack of caring for her into pure hatred ^^.

(show spoiler)

Ok, I finally understand what I hate about the characters in this book: what they say they are and what they ultimately do makes them all into persons with split personalities.

In the end, my favorite character (so to say) is Daphne because she’s the only character who’s actions don’t erase her thoughts (that’s because she has no actions since she’s dead). And her essay entrances at the the beginning of each chapter are pretty much the only thing worth reading in this book. But even those are kinda flawed sometimes. Example: "free will isn't quite the same as freedom" - it's pretty close girl; if you don't have freedom then I'm pretty sure your free will is refused as well.

What these people suffer from is acute boredom and that stupid sin that makes you think what you don't have is what you need/want. Reminds me of that story with the 2 towns separated by a river, each looking at the other town and thinking the people from the other one were more happy than they were. Morgan claims Internment turned it's back on Judas and killed his betrothed, but aren't they the ones who turned their back on the city wishing for the ground?

Besides the very flawed characters this story is also incredibly boring. Instead of a decent world building and story flow we get this blabbering girl who keeps jumping from an idea to another all while using all sorts of useless metaphors. Really, there are times when artistic writing is a plus and there are times when you just want to get on with the story already. And this book totally tested my patience. At the end of it, all I was left with was a massive headache.

Also, in a place as small as Internment is claimed to be, the king should have known about every patch of dirt there is to know.

And I could go on and on with the countless problems and logic flaws I found in this book, but I will stop here. Dropped series and dropped author.

For those of you who haven't read The Chemical Garden [this author's other dystopia series), don't. It starts out quite decent and less boring than this one, but it lacks a decent world building and the main character is insanely selfish (yes, she drove me insane with her selfishness) and by the end of the series you'll just want to kill her.
I'm sorry, it's hard for me not to make a comparison between the 2 series, because this book was the last chance I decided to give this author. She's not good with dystopias. Don't understand why she's still trying. And using the same character patterns...

Code Name Verity  - Elizabeth Wein

Sometimes a book can take your breath away. It's so good that while you're reading it you have only one desire: you hope it will never end. When it does, you are struck by an inevitable sense of loss, because this book became more than words on paper for you, it spoke to you, it touched your hart and you heard it. And in the mass of raw emotions you start to ask yourself if the thing you hold in your hand really is just an inanimate object. You open you eyes and you can't believe it.

That's how this book was for me.

I was a little scared at first, because I've read some reviews claiming this book to be boring and uneventful, but it's so not the case. Not for me at least. I love the main character's voice. I love how this horrible, tragic story can sound so optimistic and full of life at times. In the books I read I put a big accent on the romantic interest, but there won't be one here and that did not concern me at all. A good story isn't defined by such cliche requests: to have romance, action or anything else. A good story just is and wow, what a great story this was.

Actually, there is some romance: her love for her country, for her friend and in the end for her own life. I just wanted to hug her. First half of the book reminded me of V for Vendetta, when Evey found Valerie's notes and read about how she was imprisoned; same strong voice and raw deep suffering in a world to cruel to save a woman as sensitive, beautiful and courageous as our main character.

Is this really a tragedy? Yes it is, I cried a bucket. Just like all good stories about war, no one truly wins in the end. What's left after isn't the sweet taste of victory, but the aching loss the war inevitably brings with it.

A little spoiler will follow [it reveals the character's names and true identities]:

[spoiler]I loved Rose's voice so much, yes, in the end this is her real name. Her story was heartbreaking, but true in every way that mater. This girl's passion to go on with her story was absolutely fascinating. She had told them everything, she had told them nothing, but, just like her name (Verity), she told the truth.

Maddie's voice came out not as strong as her friend's, but I was happy for the shift in perspective. For a moment there I really did hoped the 2 of them will fly back into the sunset. I'm sorry there was not much more about her and Jamie, but in the end, this was more Rose's story than Maddie's. Maddie was just the sportive character, there to fill in the gaps. [/spoiler]

I have so many quotes I love from this book, but this one will remain with me for a while.
"I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can't believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant.
But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old."

*sigh* This book was wonderful. I wish I would find more as good as this one.

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge

This book was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!

This book was so awesome I could not stop myself from reading. Throw in a little real drama and a heroine who's not to weak to fight it and I'll love that book any day. Yes, finally, there's a real drama, and our heroine is upset and she feels she's been treated unfairly [and she has], but she doesn't want to hate her sister because, in a way, it's not her fault, but she does, because she loves her sister and the difference between the 2 feelings is so small and can be so easily confused. Nyx is a kick ass heroine.

Determined to fight and in the end learning to accept her own flaws. She's forever tormented by the fact that she's cruel because she never received or gave true kindness before.  This author has real talent and this heroin has real potential + a solid personality. The dinner scene where she wanted to stab him with a fork was so funny XD.
Add a little mystery and a magical house full of magical things and this will probably be my favorite book for 2014. Don't want to judge to highly, but the ones who'll come after will need to do pretty good in order to impress me.
The demon lord, or "Gentle Lord" how he likes to be called is also an interesting character.

He was funny and easygoing and I just loved him overall. He also cared a lot for Nyx and I could not stop devouring all his witty exchanges with her. I also liked how he managed to capture her heart, going from a hate/love relationship to something so much more. Every time he entered the scene me and Nyx were blushing furiously XD.

I love the way it ended up to be a twisted weird love triangle with Shade and the demon lord. If I wasn't sure until now, now I am, he's not a bad character, the "gentle" lord I mean. He's just bound by rules himself and who knows the consequences if he does not respect them. So far I think he gave Nix quite a lot of liberty. It's also funny to read about her contradictory emotions. She's a child, still pure at hart. I think she couldn't kill him even if she knew how to. And I know he knows that as well. I also love the house and the vivid descriptions. So full of magic. I'm just dreaming right now. The mystery is also interesting. The shadows said there are 3 captives in this house, that means the demon lord is also a captive, right? XD

What can I say, I loved every second of it. I loved the fairytale feeling to it, the mythology, the short stories in between with the good moral to each of them and the characters. Oh, how much I loved the characters! I cried so much at the last chapters. I didn't like Nyx's sister in the end. The world building was also amazing and the mystery kept you captivated till the last pages of this book.

So yes, a 100% full rating for this one. It's been a while since I gave a fantasy such a high score.

Dance of the Red Death

Dance of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin

*This review contains spoiler to the first book; Masque of the Red Death*

While the prequel and the extra (Glitter & Doom) left me very excited for this, the sequel didn't live up to my expectations.

The ending of the previous book finally introduced us with the red death, that's going to be the main subject to this book. A new plague was created and Araby is the only one who has the cure for it, unfortunately, it is not enough for everyone. She needs to find her father and make him reconsider his plan: to doom the city to the red death. Together with Will, Elliot, Kent and April she needs to: cure the city of both plagues, help Elliot defeat his uncle, Prospero and eliminate the crazy Malcontent and his men that are spreading the old disease through the city.

Sounds like there are a lot of things to do in only one book, right? Well, don't get your hopes up. Half of the book they just run from one place to the other searching for her father and everything gets resolved in the last 2 chapters of the book. Anyway, for such a rushed ending they sure took their time in the swamp and later in the city doing pretty much nothing.
No wonder [spoiler] April died. She got bored of waiting to be saved. About that, Araby's reaction when she found out was very weak. Oh, she died. *cry*...ok, let's get beck to my other things. [/spoiler]

The love triangle was weak and irritating. In the first book Araby's love for Will seemed genuine, it was the click of the entire story, but here she's just leading Elliot around not caring for anyone's feelings but her own. Also, besides becoming more selfish with each new chapter I saw no character developing in her. To short it up: it was not fun to read.

The prince's ball was the only thing that was still exciting, but the author interpretation of Poe's metaphors are way to literal. [spoiler]when her father is chasing Prospero dressed in the red deat.[/spoiler]

To be honest, it wasn't a bad book, but compared to the first one it was less enjoyable and it had a very rushed ending while the contents could have been a little more interesting.

The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel - Katja Millay

I had such high expectations for this one. It's hard to judge a book that everyone loves and you just can't seem to understand why.
The thing I liked about this book: the story, or better yet, the idea behind the story. It was an idea that could have been developed really well if only the author would have known how to do it.
She's taking death and attempted murder way to lightly. This story is also a jumble of ideas put all together just for the sake of them being there, they did not explain her feelings, her loss, her hope or lack thereof. Let's just list a few books that take one of these ideas and concentrate only on them, but do a great job in developing their characters in the process:
- the refusal to speak: Speechless
- the trauma of being killed inside: Living Dead Girl
- the decision to let go of everything: Cracked Up to Be
- living after you have lost everything you love: On the Jellicoe Road
- the feelings you would have toward a tormentor: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
Now, I'm not comparing those books with this one in terms of characters and circumstances, because I know those facts are very different, but all the books listed above have something that this book lacks: a soul. While reading those I could feel the character's pain and resolve, their evolution towards good or bad during the story. Their feelings were real, the characters were dynamic and amazing, I could grasp their personality and what they were thinking.
None of this is true for The Sea of Tranquility. Nastya remains a cryptic and childish character till the end. If this story is about something, it's about the inability to move forward, but it does a very bad job at it. Unlike the story of Living Dead Girl, where Alice is in hell every single day of her life, Nastya is surrounded by opportunities to get over herself, but she does not do it. And I get it, that's the point, not everyone gets over their traumas, but in her case, it feels like her only trauma is not communicating with others.
The writing was average at best; simplistic phrases and the story just jumped around during the entire book. We never get any "angst" so to say. You just get 2 characters talking about what happened. While reading this I felt like I was watching a reality show on TV about some characters discussing this poor girl's life.
About Josh, he was a one dimensional character, just like Nastya. He's the good guy that sometimes does something wrong even though it's not his fault. Wow....such an interesting character to read about....not >.<.
Overall, this could have been a better read if the author would have chosen a less delicate subject and would have concentrating on developing her characters instead. A slice of life without complex characters is like a cake without cream between the layers: dry.


Also, Sunshine is a terrible nickname.

Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin

 Yes, it's after a classic and yes, it could have been better, but it was not disappointing.

If you haven't read Poe's "Mask of the red death" go and read it now. It's a short story, shouldn't take more than 2 hours. If that got you intrigued and want to find out more about the dying city that is ignored by the prince, then get this copy now.

What is power and how can one obtain it? True hate or love, those are the most strongest of feelings, but then there is also despair. Prince Prospero is a ruthless ruler. His city is ravaged by a deadly disease spread through the air. His scientist has found a temporally solution using a type of mask that filters the air. People should be safe now, but they are not, because the prince has control over the only factory which is fabricating the masks and will sell them at a huge price. In order to get a mask you have to be either rich or to receive one rich person's favor who is wiling to buy it for you.

Masks can't be stolen. The first person who breaths through a mask is the owner of that mask. You can take it, of course, but it will not work. Araby Worth knows this best, for she has "stolen" her brother's mask, involuntary, by breathing through it. Also know as the scientist's daughter she spends her days sulking in the Akkadian Towers and her nights at the Debauchery Club, trying to hide her misery through sparkles and drugs. She's dead inside ever since her brother died and her parents seem to have forgotten her. The only person who is still bringing charm to her life is April, her best friend. I loved April and the way she puts glitter on Araby trying to hide the gloom.

When Araby falls in love with Will and learns of the difficult situation he lives in [keeping his younger siblings locked in the hose because he can't afford masks for them] she finally decides to give a purpose to her life and is determined to get masks for the 2 kids. One thing leads to another and she's soon contacted by Elliot, April's bother, who's trying to start a revolution against the ruthless prince.
Araby is not inclined to join in any way, but soon she'll find out that serving an individual is not enough and the putrid city will swallow them all sooner or later if things stay the way they are now.

So, things I liked and excited me: the gloom of the city where death is at every corner was amazingly described in the novel. You could feel it in ever abandoned building, in every dark corner on every street which got blocked by a dead body. I loved the futile try of the rich to ignore and hide the truth behind parties and masks. Araby is not a strong character, but she becomes strong during this book. She acknowledges and accepts that she is a key person in the revolution [being the scientist's daughter] and she agrees to help everyone who comes her way. She is a sad character, trapped between other people's desires and expectations of her. She falls in love and doesn't even know what to do with it. She's living such dreadful times that love seems to not be an element of importance anymore, now that everyone is interested in power and how to obtain it, while death looms in the air seeming to spare the rich and condemn the poor.

I really loved this book. It was magical in it's own depressing way and I am very eager to read the next one. The Gothic and steampunk elements were definitely a plus.