Wednesday 19 December 2018

Book Review: Haunt Me by Liz Kessler

Reading books because they remind me of trashy "reality" tv shows.

Erin wants to face the future. 
Joe is desperate to remember his past.
Olly only ever lives for today.

When love weaves its dangerous magic around their lives, each of them face their own demons.

And as the past catches up with them, it comes down to the ultimate question...

Would you swap Love for Life itself?

I presumed this book was about ghosts, and luckily it was actual ghosts, not the mental ghosts of your past. Well, all the characters are meant to have those as well. This tries to deal with a lot of things including suicide, mental illness and drug abuse, none really that successful. This book feels very old school YA, mostly in the negative ways. It's okay, there was a point that annoyed me enough that I almost quit the book (chapter 10, anyone?) and then I remember that I choose to watch 'A Haunting'

So I should probably just let this stupidity go and I was only reading to fulfil my trashy need for terrible ghost stories, whether people claim they're real or not. My main problem, was that it very passive of the main character and was done to quickly move on the plot without thinking about the meaning or the why. I mean if this had been A Haunting episode then a demon would have suddenly appeared and that would be more entertaining. Do you know how hard it is to find someone to bless your house? Yeah, neither do I, but a day is just so quick.

Erin and Joe are soulmates because they write and have/had no friends. Their poetry is littered through the book, I'm not really a poetry person anymore but I definitely believe that the poems were written by two sixteen-year-olds, and maybe if I was sixteen too I would think they were great.

Erin is "not like other girls" so that's great. In her deference, she does not describe herself as that, but it's still a line in the book. It could be read that the other love interest Olly is just a dimwit who never dated anyone for their personality before. The book is told from the POV of the different angles of the love triangle: Erin the Sad Girl, Joe the Ghost and Olly the Alive Brother. I never felt deeply for anyone or anything, obviously only one of the romances is healthfully viable and even then I felt like it should have been a case where everyone moves on.

Erin had been in car accident in the past that took months of recovery but has no side effects of this and her injuries are never explained other than she had access to painkillers at one time. This would have happened four years ago during the main events of the novel, it's possible that she surfers no long term injuries or they won't effect till she is older but it would have been nice to see physical issues since so few books have physically disabled characters. It's nice that the psychological issues are acknowledged from suffering a traumatic incident like this, except it's very much for plot.

We have Mean Girl Zoe, Zoe that no one likes but is somehow popular. At least Zoe isn't just some flat sociopathic sadist stereotype that targets the main character for no reason and actually has some motivation for what she doing. She also described as being vain, obsessed with social media and image. So she is better than most stereotypical mean girls but she is still flat, plot driven character and still in lines with being a stereotype, just better than the other ones you can find.
Her actions at the end don't really make sense, unless she lied, but why would you want a rumour like that getting out about you.

Bullying and suicide are big theme in this book. I don't think they dealt with well, or terribly. They are used as plot. Erin is introduced immediately as having had a bad time which caused her family to move. Joe is this young guy who didn't seem to have any friends and wrote poems, so suicide did immediately spring to mind. I can't really comment on the impact of bully because I'm always like why do you care what dimwits think about you? I had people call me stupid names but it was very whatever, my nature means that unless it get physical or they get you into trouble it's hard for me to relate to characters that get so obsessed with it. The bit where its used for straight up plot I do take issue with. It's very sudden and lazy.

There is 26 chapters in this book. The POV changes within the chapters and the chapters just seem to end really randomly. Like the chapter will end but we're in the same scene and nothing dramatic will have happen to justify the chapter end. I'm not sure what the logic was behind this choice.

This is almost 400 pages and the plot is slow and steady and then at hyper-spreed twice in the book.
The ending was bit rushed, I feel like Erin would have had more defences up realistically meaning that ending didn't feel earned for me, even with it being established that she had past of doing what she did.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for wallpaper. This is a books with tons of popular 00s tropes released in 2016. I wouldn't say it's harmful, but it's not a powerfully story and I doubt it will stay with me for long.

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Book Review: Snow in Love by Melissa De La Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimme Friedman and Kasie West

Christmas isn't Christmas unless you get stuck in Snow.

What's better than one deliviously cozy, swoon-worthy Holiday Story?

Four of them, from some of today's bestselling authors.

So going on Goodreads I found out that half of this books was in another book, so they've replace two stories with more current authors and renamed it. The other book is from 2009 so it is probably out of print and knowing that worse stories were written in 2000s makes sense.

Snow and Mistletoe by Kasie West: A girl ends up stranded at Airport due to snow so gets in a car with a much of randoms of from her old high school to get home, where no ones knows she even in the country. Roadtrip. This was cute, talks about growth and ending possible careers for yourself. I get the feeling everything is meant to be fine at the end of this story, but I'm not sure it is. 4/5 stars for Wasted Italian.

Working in a Winter Wonderland by Aimee Friedman: A Jewish girl a job at Christmas to combat Boredom of while her friends are away celebrating Christmas and so that she can buy a dress for a party, to impress a boy. Hanukkah is briefly in this story but after night 2, it's a skip ahead. These are College age character which is fun. It's also another Christmas in New York story. This was a fun game of spot the love interest, because it literally could have been anyone till the last 10 percent in. I like it but it's on the Hallmark level of okay, it's Christmas/Chanukkah. 3/5 stars for Exlambet Costumes.

The Magi's Gift (A.K.A. The Christmas Choos) by Melissa de la Cruz: This was the worst story. I actually DNF it 20 pages in and I went back just to read it. 40 pages and tanks the rating of the book by whole Stars. I wanted to slap all the characters. All of them. I Know it's a retelling of classic story but this was the worst one I've came across of it. This story involves someone selling a family heirloom without consulting her family for her boyfriend. The only thing of her Grandma's they have. Right before she goes off to sell this dress that she has no idea the value of, it's revealed that she has a little sister. Basically, this dress is in no way shape hers to sell. This girl also has 45 dollars to spend on her boyfriend but that's not enough in 2006 to buy him a fake leather jacket. Actually, in 2006 she might have been able to buy a real leather jack for that price if went to right place. Go to the poor people's mall. Maybe she has less than ten dollar I could buy she couldn't find anything but $45 is enough for something. I haven't read the original but it doesn't work when the two people still can use the objects they are given and one of them definitely had money for a gift. This isn't a tale about it's the spirit of giving that matters, it's tale of if it ain't designer then it worth shit. The fact that this was originally named after designer shoes says everything about how materialistic it is. I think it was meant to be the opposite of that but fails majorly. Why go into stores you know can't afford? Why hang out with shitty rich people? 1/5 stars for Broken up by next Christmas.

Grounded by Nic Stone: Now time for the story that I brought this book for (it also was a group read for a readathon but wouldn't brought it didn't have a Queer story in it). This is about scavenger hunt/Hide and Seek in the Airport, while questioning your feeling towards the first girl who made feel that certain way. It made me feel like I have been stuck in Atlantic Airport, I haven't been there. The story also talks about how being a minority isn't solved by being rich, which dur is true. Privilege is stacked system, yes being rich is a privilege but doesn't change the colour of skin or cultural background. Rich, White, male and never touched a poor person is still the ideal we stuck with. Let's move away from how messed up Society is. A lot of it's text messages and my only criticism is that it could have been clear who Leigh was texting any given time. I could figure it from context, but maybe second of 'what?' sometimes. Also this has some Hanukkah/Jewish representation with Leigh having Jewish Grandma and being annoyed that she doesn't get to spend her Christmas break with her. This is a fun Christmas story, wraps up perfectly but this Christmas so that's what we want. 5/5 stars for Girl Love in Airport.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Snow in Airports. The avenge is 3.25/5 stars, without Magi one it would have been 4 and I probably would have gave it that with out the maths. Most of these are nice Christmas time stories which would perfect in your in the mood for some Christmas, even if it slight silly sometimes. Like I said that one story was only 40 pages so it's up to if 210 pages is worth the money. Maybe you're library will happen to have it, then of course it worth checking out. This was my first time reading any of these authors. Some of it will definitely the last, others I brought one of their books after reading their story. It was alright, anthology are always a risk.

Bonus this info for that other book.

Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott,  Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, Nina Malkin

Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire.

I just wanted to show that you that awkward couple kissing. The girl is going for it but I don't think the guy knows what is happening.