Stephanie Perkins – Anna and the French Kiss (#1)

Anna and the French Kiss“I bought you love poetry! ‘I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.’”

Stephanie Perkins is an American author known for her Anna and the French Kiss series. Anna and the French Kiss is #1 in the trilogy, followed by Lola and the Boy Next Door & Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Synopsis: Anna and the French Kiss is about a girl named Anna living her life in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend & a crush on her movie theatre co-worker, who is just beginning to return her feelings. So, she’s less than thrilled when her father, a bestselling author, decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. Despite not knowing French, Anna becomes friends with some cool people, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her new best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken & she might be too.

Review: I liked the book but there were aspects that I believe could be better or changed. Firstly, Anna’s assumptions of French people hating Americans, maybe it’s just stereotyping. Secondly, considering that Anna was doing her senior year at a school for Americans, shouldn’t the staff & majority (if not all) of the students speak English? Thirdly, I really wanted Etienne to end things with his girlfriend but I also understand the feeling of not wanting to be lonely especially when his mother & him were going through such a tough time. Anna & Etienne are cute together, BUT he cheated on Ellie, which is never okay, even if she was a horrible person. It wasn’t just him that was in the wrong, it takes two to tango; Anna had an “almost boyfriend” & she did the same even though she wasn’t sure about her relationship status.

Rating: 💎💎💎

 

Ally Condie – Matched

MatchedThe goal of Matching is twofold: to provide the healthiest possible future citizens for our Society and to provide the best chances for interested citizens to experience successful Family Life. It is of the utmost importance to the Society that the Matches be as optimal as possible.

Ally Condie is an American writer of young adult fiction. The Matched trilogy published 2010-2012 is a science fiction dystopia. Matched is #1 in the trilogy, followed by Crossed & Reached. Matched is about a Society in which officials decide everything – who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices, it’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job & an ideal mate. So, when her best friend, Xander, appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows he’s the one… until another face flashes for an instant before the screen goes black. Now, Cassia is faced with two impossible choices: Xander & Ky, between the life she has always known & a path that no one else has dared follow – between perfection & passion.

Before I started reading the book, I was looking through the ratings people have given the book, so many people have given it a 1 or 2-star rating which kind of made me wonder, do I read it or not? But I decided to give it a chance & I liked it but it wasn’t great. Matched is the first science fiction book I’ve read in quite some time but I liked the story-line, Cassia lives in a Society where every decision is made for them, living in a constantly monitored environment. Any wrong move can lead to Reclassification where your citizenship is revoked & would be classified as one of the very low “classes”. The story is good although there are bits & pieces that I didn’t like. Firstly, there wasn’t much of a twist in the story, the entire book was basically revolving around the love triangle, which I get plays an important role in the story but constantly just showing Cassia’s feelings towards Ky & suddenly cutting off Xander was a bit abrupt. Secondly, in a society where everyone uses a computer to read & write cannot actually write?  The things I liked: the cover, it was what caught my eye the first time. Second, I liked that Ally didn’t automatically put Ky & Cassia’s romance in everyone’s facing, like she built up to it.

Rating: 💎💎💎

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR)

ACOWAR“I will use these powers – my powers – to smash Hybern to bits. I will burn them, and drown them, and freeze them. I will use these powers to heal the injured. To shatter through Hybern’s wards. I have done so already, and I will do so again. And if you think that my possession of a kernel of your magic is your biggest problem, then your priorities are severely out of order.”

Sarah J. Maas is a New York Times Bestselling fantasy author. Her novels, Throne of Glass series & A Court of Thorns and Roses saga are published by Bloomsbury. A Court of Wings and Ruin (#3 in the saga) is a fantasy, young adult, romance book about Feyre returning to the Spring Court to gather information on Tamlin’s plans & the king who threatens to bring Prythian to its knees. She must play a dangerous game of deceit & one wrong move may cost her & her world, everything. As war is upon them, Feyre must be careful in choosing who to trust amongst the High Lords & hunt for allies in every unexpected place.

I hadn’t exactly heard of the series until ACOWAR’s super close publishing date & I thought “okay so it must be an amazing book for its fans to be so eagerly waiting for the third book to be released”. Which is when I started the series. For some reason, I was reading much faster with Rhysand in the chapters 😄. I felt so sad for Rhysand & Feyre being apart after just finding each other but they have a world to save. It was genius for Feyre to infiltrate the Spring Court to gather information on what Tamlin has been up to & plans for the nearing war & what exactly is the King planning for them. Slowly but surely also playing everyone in the Spring Court against each other. When time came for Feyre to execute her plan & finally return home to Rhysand, I was so glad that Lucien went with her.

“You all deserve to die for this. And for much, much more. But I am going to spare your miserable lives.” Feyre, you the High Lady of the Night Court *all hail*

I absolutely loveeeeeeeeeee Rhys & Feyre,

I do not let you do anything. He tilted my face up, Mor and Azriel looking away. You are your own person, you make your own choices. But we are mates – I am yours, and you are mine. We do not let each other do things, as if we dictate the movements of each other. But … I might have insisted I go with you. More for my own mental well-being, just to know you were safe.”

I love the friendship between Rhys, Feyre, Cassian, Mor, Amren & Azriel,

“I believe everything happens for a reason. Whether it is decided by the Mother, or the Cauldron, or some sort of tapestry of Fate, I don’t know. I don’t really care. But I am grateful for it, whatever it is. Grateful that it brought you all into my life. If it hadn’t … I might have become as awful as that prick we’re going to face today. If I had not met an Illyrian warrior-in-training,” he said to Cassian, “I would not have known the true depths of strength, of resilience, of honor and loyalty.” Cassian’s eyes gleamed bright.

Rhys said to Azriel, “If I had not met a shadowsinger, I would not have known that it is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters. I would not have known what it is to truly hope, even when the world tells you to despair.”

Mor was already crying when Rhys spoke to her. “If I had not met my cousin, I would never have learned that light can be found in even the darkest of hells. That kindness can thrive even amongst cruelty.” She wiped away her tears as she nodded.

I waited for Amren to offer a retort. But she was only waiting. Rhys bowed his head to her “If I had not met a ting monster who hoards jewels more fiercely than a firedrake…” a quiet laugh from all of us at that. Rhys smiled softly. “my own power would have consumed me long ago.”

Rhys squeezed my hand as he looked to me at last, “And if I had not met my mate…” His words failed him as silver lined his eyes.

He said down our bond, I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have… the wait was worth it.

He wiped away the tears sliding down my face. “I believe that everything happened, exactly the way it had to… so I could find you.”

My heart breaks when Rhys tries to take all the troubles on his shoulders to protect his loved ones 😭😭💔

Some major surprises were Jurian not being the enemy, Mor coming out to Feyre, their dad coming to rescue them (The Prince of Merchants), Rhys dying & coming back to life which pretty much gave me a heart attack.

MANY TEARS WERE SHED THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK   😭😭😭😭 I’m sure you all can tell I really enjoyed this book & yes I know, so many quotes from the book, but could you really tell how much I loved it?

Rating: 💎💎💎💎💎

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury

ACOMAF“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”

“To the stars who listen – and the dreams that are answered.”

Sarah J. Maas is a New York Times Bestselling fantasy author. Her novels, Throne of Glass series & A Court of Thorns and Roses saga are published by Bloomsbury. A Court of Mist and Fury (#2 in the saga) is a fantasy, young adult, romance book continues the story of Feyre who survives Amarantha’s clutches & returns to the Spring Court – but with a heavy cost. Despite her having the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human & she is unable to forget the actions that she had to carry out to save Tamlin’s people.

On the other hand, Feyre has also not forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. As great evil looms overheard, Feyre navigates through politics, passion & powers – she might be the key to stopping it. However, that is only possible if she can harness her many gifts & heal her fractured soul & make some tough decisions that would shape her future & the future of a world divided into two.

First things first, when I was uploading my review on ACOTAR I noticed that many things have changed, most important being the couple that I ship. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped ship that fast! The way Tamlin treats Feyre makes me want to smack him but I guess that’s his way of “showing love”. Either way I’m so glad Feyre left the Spring Court. Rhysand ❤️, so adorable when he was telling her about his feelings when he realised she was his mate. My. Heart. Melted. Really liked the way that Rhysand helped Feyre to regain her confidence in herself, never making her feel like anything less of his equal in terms of making decisions for herself.

“Tamlin won’t allow it.”
“Tamlin isn’t your keeper, and you know it.”
“I’m his subject, and he is my High Lord—”
“You are no one’s subject.”

I feel like Cassian & Nesta may be mates & maybe the bond just hasn’t set 🤔 because the way he went up to her when they were trying to convince the Queens & told her that he would fight for her people. (Note: Also, several incidents in ACOWAR make me feel that way). At the end, the plan to infiltrate the Spring Court & gather important intel was 💣. The book was great, loveeeed it. I think I liked the ACOMAF more than ACOTAR.

Rating: 💎💎💎💎💎

 

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses

A court of thorns and roses“You were always too good for here, Feyre. Too good for us, too good for everyone.” He squeezed my hands. “If you ever escape, ever convince them that you’ve paid the debt, don’t return.”

Sarah J. Maas is a New York Times Bestselling fantasy author. Her novels, Throne of Glass series & A Court of Thorns and Roses saga are published by Bloomsbury. A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1 in the saga) is a fantasy, young adult, romance book about Feyre, who’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt & kill – in the long winter, the forest she lives in is a cold & bleak place. When she spots a deer in the forest being hunted by a wolf, she can’t help but fight for the flesh so she could feed her family. To do so, she kills the predator which costs her. Dragged to a magical kingdom for murdering a Faerie, Feyre discovers her captor is a man whose face is obscured by a jewelled mask. As she discovers the reasons behind her close guarded presence at the court, her feelings turn from hostility to passion making the kingdom even more dangerous. Feyre must go through trials to break an ancient curse or lose him forever.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read fantasy books so it took me a little pushing to start the book & keep reading but oh boy, it was gooooood! I kind of started hating her dad cause of the whole giving up on supporting the family & putting all the weight on Feyre’s shoulders, was kind of glad Tamlin came & took her away. Nesta seemed like the one sister who hated everyone & everything, however the way she changed towards the end, encouraging her to go back to the Spring Court, back to Tamlin was really nice. I started shipping Feyre & Tamlin from the minute they met & he took care of her, giving her painting supplies, offering to teach her how to read & write. Although since Rhysand came into the picture, I feel like there’s something brewing there. Is there a love triangle in the making?? I just finished reading the book & now I’m starting the second one!

Note from after I also finished ACOWAR: Oh boy, things have changed.

Rating: 💎💎💎💎

Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

Jay Asher is an American writer of contemporary novels for teens. He has published 2 books as of date, Thirteen Reasons Why & The Future of Us. Thirteen Reasons Why is a young adult fiction book originally published on December 27, 2007 by Penguin Books. It is now also made into a TV series by Netflix with Selena Gomez being one of the executive producers. Thirteen Reasons Why tells the tale of Clay Jensen returning home from school one day to find a strange package waiting for him on his doorstep. Upon opening the package, he discovers a set of 7 cassette tapes with a dark blue number painted on each side. 1 & 2 reasons on the first tape, 3 & 4 reasons on the second & so on till the 13th reason on the seventh. These tapes were recorded by Hannah Baker, Clay’s classmate & crush, who had committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On the first recording, Hannah tells him that she is about to share the 13 reasons why she ended her life & that every person that receives the set of cassette tapes is one of the reasons. She sends these tapes to every person that is one of the reasons why she committed suicide & tells them they will have to listen to all 13 tapes to find out what tape brings them into the story as she does not otherwise mention. Additionally, she adds a map of their town with several locations that are red starred which she will mention for the listener to visit, if they wish to do so. Upon finishing listening to the tapes, they are to be rewinded & passed on until the last person (the 13th person) receives them. To ensure that the rules are followed by all the people on the list, she mentions that a copy of these tapes have been made & would be publicly released if the tapes are not passed down to every person. Clay spends the night listening to tape after tape, visiting each of the starred locations & what he learns about Hannah’s life pains him greatly & changes his life forever.

This book, although published 10 years ago, has made a comeback when news of the series 13 Reasons Why being premiered hit the media world. The book is great, going into such depth, building on crucial relationships like between Clay & Hannah which was important to the plot. The story has a very important plot; in today’s high school life, apart from the tensions of examinations & the day to day work, now students face increased bullying, peer pressure, harassment, anxiety & depression, & suicidal tendencies which play a crucial role in the story. Hannah Baker, the girl that committed suicide, talks about 13 people in the list of reasons behind her killing herself. The details in the stories behind each of the reasons & each involved person make it twice as hard hitting & gives the readers something to really process: “No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.” It makes people realise that whatever you say, will really affect people, it could be something small or something so big that they decide that life is not worth living. The book gives several incidents that have, as Hannah Baker says, a snowball effect.  I felt that I was part of the book & not just an aloof reader, imagining each detail in my head giving it a much more “real” feeling.

Rating:

Paula Hawkins – The Girl On The Train

IMG_5759“I’m afraid not just of what I might learn about that Saturday night, but so much more. I’m not sure I could bear to relive the stupid, awful things I’ve done, to hear the words I said in spite, to remember the look on Tom’s face as I said them. I’m too afraid to venture into that darkness.”

Paula Hawkins is a British author best known for her bestselling psychological thriller The Girl on The Train, the novel has been made into a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. The book deals with 3 main women, Rachel, Megan & Anna portraying 3 main themes of an alcoholic, drug abuse & domestic violence. Rachel is one of the many people using the same commuter train every morning & night. Every day, she passes a stretch of homes & stops at a signal that allows her to watch the same couple starting their days on their deck. Jess & Jason, as she calls them, are the perfect couple, living the perfect life unlike the life she recently lost. Until the one day she sees something shocking that changes everything. Suddenly, she can’t keep to herself & is now a part of a police investigation.

Rachel finds Megan (or Jess as she called her) to be perfect, happily married to a handsome man. On the day, Rachel sees Megan on her balcony in the arms of another man that wasn’t Scott, her image of a perfect couple is shattered. After a day of heavy drinking, Rachel wakes up to find herself injured & bloody with absolutely no memory of the night before except the feeling of certainty that she has done something wrong. Soon after, she learns that one of the headlines today is that Megan is missing, added to that she went missing from the area that Rachel was in the previous night. The police question Rachel as part of the investigation into Megan’s disappearance after Anna reports to the Police that she saw Rachel in the area staggering drunk. Rachel’s interest in the case increases, she contacts the police to report that she believes Megan was having an affair with another man. The story continues with Rachel becoming deeply tangled in the case & continuously failing her attempts at restricting her heavy drinking. As revelations come around, Rachel discovers the truth leading to Tom, her ex-husband confessing that he in fact did murder Megan. At the end, Rachel & Anna kill Tom & when the police show up, they coordinate their stories of acting in self-defence.

The book is totally a psychological thriller written very well (reminded me very much of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn), I read the book twice. It was interesting that none of the characters could be trusted, you could not let yourself love any character. Looking at Jess & Jason, Rachel imagined a perfectly happy couple but Megan & Scott had their skeletons in a closet, their dark secrets that no one else knew. We never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Rating: 💎💎💎💎