Thursday, 30 June 2016

Where I have a new favourite contemporary author | Reviews of Emery Lord's novels

As you all know, it's supposed to be summer now, but the weather is so bad in France, it feels like November most days… *sigh* But because the weather is supposed to be warmer, I found myself to be in a contemporary mood lately, which I'm really happy about, as it's been a while. I discovered a new author, Emery Lord, whom I was following on Twitter (if you're not, you should, she's hilarious) and it was time to catch up on the three novels she already wrote. She's now one of my favourite contemporary authors and I will read anything she writes. So now, I shall try to convince you to read all of her books.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Published: April 15th 2014 by Walker Children
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance

Goodreads summary: After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.


This first novel felt like Taylor Swift's story through the eyes of her best friend, if I had to sum it up in one sentence. I'm pretty sure it was the author's goal, because Dee was from Tennessee and sang country music. Lord depicted accurately the music business world and she even included Dee's songs, which was a welcome bonus. For example, the title of the book is actually one of Dee's songs and it made so much sense, I loved it. Reagan also was passionate about photography and I loved hearing about it, since I'm not the best in this area (far from it, ha!).

Lord's characters felt pretty real, because they were flawed, especially Reagan, since she had family issues, had gone to jail, had problems with boys and used to drink/smoke. I know some readers didn't connect with her, but I found her to be truly human and I could believe she was real. Moreover, she went through a lot of character development during the book and her trust issues weren't as strong in the end, she started to open up to her stepmother for example. To balance Reagan, the author introduced Dee, the famous singer, who seemed to be the light to Reagan's darkness, but her life was so much more complicated than that. It was interesting seeing what happened between the stage and how it could affect someone's life, when we almost had the same age.

Yes, this book is a romance novel, but in my opinion, it focused so much more on the friendship between Reagan and Dee. At some point, Reagan even said that she didn't want to be the girl who ditches her best friend for a boy and it's pretty rare (I mean I've been this girl but I've understood my mistakes) in YA contemporary fiction. However, I feltthat the attraction between Matt and Reagan was pretty instantaneous, but I still liked the way Lord built their relationship. Moreover, we actually got to see them together a little, when most of the time, it ends on the main characters getting together, but I need the cuteness! I totally got it so my heart was so happy. Nevertheless, I didn't like all the drama at some point, it made me so frustrated because with some communication it could have been solved way sooner, but anyway. At least the ending made me hope for the characters.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Published: March 31st 2015 by Bloomsbury
Genre: young adult, contemporary

Goodreads summary: It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?


When I finished this novel, I strongly felt like this is a contemporary book I would have liked to read when I was younger and I would recommend it to everyone, as it became one of my favourites. Even though this novel felt more typical in contemporary, with its high school setting, I felt like it stood out and I will think about it for a very long time. Also, can we talk about the Open Road Summer reference??? Someone mentioned Dee since she's a famous singer and I almost cried of happiness. It totally gets bonus points for that.

This novel followed Paige, who was still trying to get over the death of her first boyfriend, which was heart-wrenching. I liked that even though she was trying to live a 'normal' life again, she didn't want to be fixed, because she didn't have to, when it's sometimes the message. Her high school experience was realistic and she had parents who wanted to shield her and prevent her to go out all the time (gasp, those exist? #sarcasm). She had to deal with so many family troubles and I especially liked her relationship with her grandmother (who just one the first place on my 'favourite fictional  grandparents' non-existent list). It had many family moments and showed that even when you're a teenager, family comes first.

Just like in Open Road Summer, Emery Lord excelled at writing friendships. Here, it was between four girls and then they formed new bonds and broaden their group, which I really liked seeing. It was just a squad goal case here, I loved it so much. These girls all had their storylines and I grew fond of all of them. I would also like to mention that one of them is in an abusive relationship and it was addressed wonderfully, which I was thankful for. Even if we want to be loved, we can't stay with someone who clearly doesn't deserve us, even if we don't want to be alone. It's a message a lot of teenagers should hear, truly.

Finally, I loved the romance, because it was a friendship before evolving to something else. It just made perfect sense for the characters to fall for each other, because they knew so much about each other and helped each other. It was just beautiful and an example of what a good friendship was, even though it evolved in a romance. They only got together at the end of the novel (like the title suggested) so I would love to see what happens next, because I grew fond of everyone and I just need more.

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Published: April 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health, romance

Goodreads summary: Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.


I was a little apprehensive when I started this one, because it dealt with mental illnesses and I had no idea how the author would handle it. I found it to be pretty realistic - even if I have no experience around bipolar disorder - and it wasn't about curing it. Yes, the characters were trying to find solutions, but to deal with it. Because of that aspect, When We Collided was pretty intense and I was totally invested into the story (I read it in one afternoon, so yessss).

The setting was perfect for a summer read. The book took place in Verona Cove, a small town in California where everyone knew each other. It made the book a little lighter, when most topics were so serious. I was definitely on a rollercoaster of emotions with this one, as I laughed, cried and fell in love with the Daniels family (but more on that in a second). I loved the ending of the book, even if it was more of an open-ending, which I don't really like most of the time. It wasn't about the characters getting their happy endings, but working to get their lives together and it felt so realistic, as it's a contemporary novel, so it was set in our world. I wouldn't say no to a sequel actually, because I would love to read about these characters again.

I actually liked Vivi, even if in real life, she would have been too much for my introvert self, but Jonah is definitely the character who won my heart. He was taking care of his brothers and sisters and worked at a restaurant. Big families is something I love to read about, and it was so funny to see that these six kids divided themselves between "the bigs" and "the littles", because that's how it is in my family. So basically, I related so much to Jonah and I loved it. He's just a precious cinnamon roll and I want everyone to love him. The romance started as instalove, so I wasn't a big fan of that, but I could understand why, you know? Both characters were at tough parts of their lives and they needed someone. Their relationship was so poisonous however… Also, this book wasn't about "love can win everything" and I enjoyed that aspect immensely, as it's way more complicated than that.

Have you read any of Emery Lord's books? Which one is your favourite? What's your favourite contemporary novel?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Grabby Hands #7 | July 2016

It's the end of the month, so it's time for another Grabby Hands! Grabby Hands is a monthly feature I created in January, where I talk about the releases I'm excited for, published in the upcoming month. July is a slower month, after all the craziness that was May and June (I swear, every book was published in those months, or so...), which is a good thing, because maybe I'll be able to keep up to date? Who knows?

                                                                              July 5th                                                                        

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine - I hardly reach for dystopian novels now, but Ink and Bone was the biggest surprise of last year and was one of my favourite books. But well, it's not as if it could go wrong, as it's all about books and how the Great Library survived and took control of the world. I'm so excited to read this one because of how the first one ended!

                                                                         July 12th                                                                           

The Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight #2) by Melissa Grey - I remember that I really liked The Girl at Midnight, even though it was similar to previous YA novels that I had read. The world was interesting and it started to become original towards the end. However, I don't remember much of what happened, so I'll need to find a recap somewhere, but I definitely want to read its sequel!

The Crimson Skew (The Mapmakers Trilogy #3) by S.E. Grove - I actually haven't read the second book yet, but it's because the paperback was just released and that's the format I'm reading them in! I loved the first book, because it's all about maps, but also a world that was disrupted and countries are set in different time periods. In this way, it's a time travel book, but it's just our planet going crazy. #scary

                                                                       July 19th                                                                             

A World Without You by Beth Revis - I haven't read anything by Beth Revis since I finished the Across the Universe trilogy, and I think it's time to do something about it. It's a contemporary novel about mental illness, where the main character thinks he can travel through time. What I love in these types of novels is that the reader gets to choose his interpretation, if the fantasy or contemporary aspect wins. It is so interesting.

                                                                           July 26th                                                                         

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West - I don't even know to need what it's about, as Kasie West is one of my favourite contemporary authors. She writes such cute and fluffy romance novels, which I love and want to read in the summer! The romance is starting with notes between the characters, before they even know who they are, it's going to be so much fun to read about.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather - This title is just the best, you're intrigued, right? Right? Of course, this book is set in Salem and the main character is a descendant from a man who is responsible for all the witch trials, so of course she becomes the enemy of the witches' descendants. It's also about a curse old from several centuries, so basically, I'm sold.

                                                                             July 31st                                                                       

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany - To be honest, I'm completely scared by this play. I'm anxious, because: what if I don't like it? I haven't read any of J.K. Rowling's other books since she ended Harry Potter for that reason, because I don't want to be disappointed. Now, here they are, bringing Harry Potter back to life. I have my ideas on how the new generation is and I don't want it to be destroyed, you know? But at the same time, Harry Potter is everything and the series that started my love for reading by myself. I'm nervous when authors are adding canon after all the books are released... At the same time, I'm so excited for the Fantastic Beasts movie, so I'm being ridiculous...

Are you excited for any of these books? Do you think I'm wrong to be concerned about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? What book(s) are you excited for this month?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

An alternate Victorian society full of magic and amazing characters | Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Published: September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: young adult, alternate history, fantasy

Goodreads summary: Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White. 

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.


I decided to pick this book up because I'm really excited about Kiersten White's upcoming book, And I Darken. I wasn't disappointed and it actually made me eager to read more of her books!

Illusions of Fate is set in a world that seems to be an alternate history, since it had so many similarities to Victorian England (even the queen is eighty years old!). At first, we didn't get a lot of setting so I was a little confused and it made the book harder to read, but the more I progressed into the story, the more the gaps were filled by this author. 

I really enjoyed the main character, Jessamin. She comes from the colony so people despise her because of her skin color. She also suffered a lot of prejudices because she was a girl, of course. But despite all of it, she is strong and always stands for herself. At the beginning of the book, she was a student and no matter how unaccepted she was, she did her best at her studies. Because yes, that's how you prove your point. Moreover, when she met Finn, a handsome and arrogant lord, she still fought with him. He was trying to be overprotective and you can't really blame him since its his fault she was thrown into danger, and he was a product of his society. But Jessamin didn't want to hear him out and did what she wanted to. I really enjoyed that about her. Moreover, magic is involved in this society, but Jessamin? She would be one of those "mundane" girls. But still, it's because of her everything is resolved. She was an amazing main character, really.

Finn, the lord she met and turned everything upside-down, was also a very interesting character. I can't tell much about him, because it would be spoiler-y, but he was such a fun character to read about! I loved the dynamics he had with Jessamin, even there was some insta-love. I'm not really happy about it...

Eleanor, a secondary character, was also a strong woman, even if everyone thought the contrary. She knows everything about everyone, she's so good at gossiping! But at the same time, she's trying to be underestimated by everyone, and it totally worked! No one believed she was powerful, and that's exactly what made her powerful. Even Finn said he was scared of her, and he was the most powerful character of this world.

The villain was so scary. Torture is actually involved, it was awful. It was crazy since he was in the government and everything. Which I actually really enjoyed about him was... The ending, ha-ha. No but seriously, I did not see it coming, I was shocked. Moreover, he had familiars and one of them, Sir Bird, was actually a bird who could turn into a book, it was SO COOL!

I liked the magic system, it was really realistic. In fact, only some nobles had magic, the social hierarchy depended on magic, it was interesting. But it was still hidden from common folks.

In case you were wondering, yes, I loved these characters so much! This book was also gifted with a plot which didn't bore me, so many things happened! It was a great standalone overall, it was enough. I would have liked an epilogue (it would have been soooo cheesy but amazing) but it's okay. Overall, this book is a must-read!

Have you read this book or others by this author? What did you think of them/this one? Are you excited for And I Darken, her new novel published in June (I AM!)?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

More Depressed Than Not | More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Published: June 2nd 2015 by Soho Teen
Genre: young adult, contemporary, science-fiction

Goodreads summary: In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. 

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard?


Um, sorry, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I read this book because of all the hype it received for the last year, I was curious to see what that mind-blowing twist was. Moreover, Adam Silvera seems like such an amazing person – with BEA happening last month, I kept seeing him everywhere – so I wanted to love his first book. But to be honest, during the first part of the book – until the said twist – I was bored.

I never managed to connect to any of the characters and it felt monotonous, because it was the same things over and over. I understand that's what our everyday lives are like, but I don't care about playing manhunt... The first time, it had a use for the story, but after that, I was yawning. The secondary characters were one-dimensional and were just there as a tool for the story. I particularly disliked Aaron's 'friends', for obvious reasons and I think his dad's reason to commit suicide was unrealistic. It couldn't be just that, like her mom said, but we never really got an explanation and I would have liked that, as it was a big hole in the story. Moreover, I'm not a fan of too much swearing, it gets annoying when it has the 'f' word three times in one sentence. Duh.

The twist was amazing and I can totally see why so many readers thought it was mind-blowing, because it was. It's what made the book, because it would have been any other generic YA contemporary novel if it hadn't been for that. In my opinion, the book got a lot better after that twist, because it is what made me invested into Aaron's story. I felt so depressed reading this book though, maybe that's why I struggled that much with it, but I didn't shed a tear, which I was pretty disappointed in. The ending was bittersweet for sure, but it felt like life, the book truly succeeded in that.

I loved the messages this book was trying to pass through and how it depicted all the struggles teens had to get through. I loved how it showed most teenagers have no idea what they're doing, because it was how it was for me (and still is for some aspects). It was a true coming-of-age story, that didn’t try to sugar-coat anything and showed how harsh life can be. I'm also happy to see how diverse this book was, without trying to be, it was in the characters and the story, and I want more authors to write like that.

The futuristic twist was also a really interesting idea and I really enjoyed the way the author treated it. It’s true that coping with our memories can be hard sometimes, but they’re part of who we are and we can’t really run away from them. It was such a good moral to this story, in my opinion.

Overall, I have pretty mixed feelings about this book, but I loved the twist, that made the whole novel. If you're looking for a LGBTQIA+ YA novel, you should definitely check this one out, but be warned: you'll be depressed by the end. I will definitely read Adam Silvera's next novel, even if this one wasn't exactly for me.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Are you excited for History Is All You Left Me, Adam Silvera's next book?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

I loved these books to the moon and back | Top Ten Tuesday

Soooo, this year is halfway done, which is crazy and scary at the same time. Where did the time go??? But anyway, I've read some amazing books already and it's time to talk about all of them. I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday as this week's prompt was "Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year".

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Okay, I stayed up most of the night to read it, because I had so many feels. I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses but didn't love it with a burning passion. But here I am, still thinking about this book a month ago. I'm just obsessed because Sarah J. Maas made her characters grow so much and developped such an intricate storyline. Also, Rhysand is one of my favourite book boyfriends now.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite writers, I adore all of her books, so this one didn't surprise me in that sense. A Gathering of Shadows was quite different from the first book, because the characters mostly stayed in one place, but the beginning was set on a ship and the ending involved a magical tournament. Moreover, a new ship was introduced and I'm on board (even though I'm scared for my heart!). The evil cliffhanger killed me, so I'll just come back in February 2017, you know?

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare - I was waiting for this book since 2013, so of course I read it in one day (what do you mean, life?), despite its length. I cried, I laughed and I felt like home. Clare improved so much since City of Bones, I loved seeing that, as Lady Midnight was the best book she has ever written. I'm shipping Julian and Emma together so much that it hurts and I'm scared of what they'll have to get through until the last book in the series. Also, Emma, WTF was that decision???

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine - This book took me completely by surprise, as it was my first book by this author. It was a retelling of Snow White, in such a dark world that involved many magical creatures, like dragons (!!!). I cried at the last scene, because it was so cute and I basically want more. I don't know if the other books will be companion novels, but I want to see my babies again! <3

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows - I read The Orphan Queen last December and since then, I've been reading every book Meadows has written (I still need to buy Infinite though, and I just received My Lady Jane). She is becoming one of my favourite writers and the covers she's getting for her books are amazing. The Mirror King kept me up until 1 am, I was a sobbing mess and needed another book (but well, not gonna happen).

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - Remember that time I marathoned the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy in five days, when I had tons of classes? Yeah, good times. Susan Dennard is also becoming one of my favourite authors and she seems so sweet. With all the hype surrounding Truthwitch, I already knew everything about the world, so I wasn't bothered when the world-building was somhow confusing at the beginning of the book. Other than that, this book was fantastic and made me want to read about witches again!

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury - Since the beginning of the year, I was looking for a book about jinnis I would love. I tried out Exquisite Captive (which almost put me in a reading slump) and Rebel of the Sands (it took me a week to read it), but couldn't find what I wanted. Then, this book came into play and while I wasn't pulled right into it, I loved it so much. It was so magical and was a retelling of Aladdin with a small twist, involved so many strong women, I was just in love with it. The cover also helps a lot. ;)

When We Collided by Emery Lord - It's the only contemporary novel on this list, because I don't read that many of them. But, I just finished When We Collided in one afternoon on Saturday and I loved it so much, okay? I marathoned Emery Lord's books since May and loved them all! She's one of my favourite contemporary authors now. I fell in love with the Daniels family because I loved big families (I have three brothers), cried, laughed, well, it was amazing. I didn't know much about the bipolar disorder so it was pretty interesting and I had feels, you know?

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima - I'm a huge fan of the Seven Realms series, so it's not a really a surprise when I say I loved it. The author brought a whole new storyline into played and I was so hooked. The twist towards the end was well-thought, even though I had guessed, and will expand the whole world again. Seeing the old characters was also very nice, even if it hit me right in the feels, and the new ones were so amazing and interesting. One of them was a healer and I'm so fascinated by this every time.

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - The Wrath and the Dawn was an excellent debut, I loved the setting and fell in love with the characters. The Rose and the Dagger was such an amazing sequel, where the romance took a step back and we got so much more of the plot. The magic and the action were on point and it makes me eager to read Renee Ahdieh's next novel!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Tell me about the best books published in 2016 you've read so far!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Is the Apocalypse coming? | Riders

Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi

Published: February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen
Genre: young adult, fantasy

Goodreads summary: Riders. A new fantasy adventure from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Veronica Rossi.
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.
They fail.
Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
But will anyone believe him?

Going into Riders, I was a bit anxious, because I had seen mixed reviews about it. If you’ve read Under the Never Sky (if you didn’t, you should!), don’t expect a similar book, because it definitely wasn’t. In my opinion, Riders was pretty unique and I loved that the author choose to include the lore around the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For 75% of the book, Gideon, the main character, was describing what had happened to him, because he found himself in a tricky situation in the first page of the book. I think that it was really interesting that Rossi chose to tell the story this way, because it almost felt like it was a report. Riders felt like a standalone, because overall, almost everything was resolved in the span of this one book, the sequel will be more Daryn’s point of view. Indeed, the beginning of the book was more about finding the others Horsemen and then get through with their quest. It was a lot to process at times, but at the same time it was a bit slow and repetitive during some part of the book.

This book was set in different locations all around the world, it wasn’t just about the U.S. – which I’m kind of sick of, these days – but also set in Italy and Norway. You could find this same diversity in the cast of characters, which I wasn’t expecting. Out of the four horsemen, two were typical Caucasian males, when the two others weren’t (but no spoilers!). I really enjoyed that aspect, because as an incarnation of the four horsemen, the boys were chosen and it showed that they were equals. The ending was definitely crazy, with a plot twist I wasn’t expecting (I was pretty naïve on that one, apparently). The author wasn’t scared to hurt her characters, which I totally respected, because they were fighting demons/fallen angels, after all.

I was thrown off a little in the beginning, because I’m not used to read books with only a male’s point of view, but I got used to it quickly. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gideon’s character in the beginning, because he was macho (ugh), but he went through many character development during the book, which felt realistic. Nevertheless, I loved that his character was so realistic, trying to find ways to cope with what happened to him a year before, which still made him likeable. Moreover, I learnt a lot about the army reading this book, because Gideon had been training to become a Ranger before the accident happened, which was a bit outside of my comfort zone, as I avoid books about the military most of the time.

Out of the rest of the boys, Bas was definitely my favourite. Rossi managed to give us fleshed-out characters, even when she had five main characters. Daryn’s character wasn’t as developed as the others though, but I think it’s because the sequel will focus on her. She was still a pretty tough character and I loved how she was still the leader of the team, despite being the only girl there. I’m intrigued to learn more about the seekers in the next book, because it felt mysterious, as we weren’t in her head.

The team spirit definitely wasn’t there between everyone in the beginning, but the characters worked a lot towards that, so it was a success in this. The last chapter showed it, for there was a real bond between Marcus and Gideon, when they almost were trying to kill each other in the beginning. About the romance, the connection between two of the characters happened pretty quickly, but I enjoyed how it built up and how it ended up in the first book. I’m looking forward to see what happens between them next.

Overall, I found Riders to be a unique book that I quite enjoyed, even if it wasn’t perfect. I would recommend it to you if you’re looking for a badass and original adventure, even though it could be slow at times. Don’t expect this one to be similar to Under the Never Sky, though, but it showed how Rossi evolved as a writer since her debut novel.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you like Veronica Rossi's first series, Under the Never Sky?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

I've read this a hundred times before... Ugh | Beyond the Red

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Published: March 1st 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Genre: young adult, science-fiction

Goodreads summary: A story of betrayal, love, and loss—all on a technologically advanced alien planet where monarchy reigns, but lies rule.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. But that doesn’t stop him from defending his people—at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He is given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.


So, you've read the synopsis of the book just now, I guess. Then, my friends, I'm sorry to tell you that you've been spoiled for the whole plot of the book. 'What the heck??', you will tell me. The main characters are only forced to flee 58% into the book, so I can't understand how an editor could put that in the summary. The same goes for the genocide, a twist at the end of the book. In fact, it's a good thing I didn't pay too much attention to the summary, because I didn't know this would happen.

My problem with this book is that… There was literally nothing new. Everything was pretty generic and had been in hundred books before. In fact, if I hadn't known Beyond the Red was set on another planet, I would have guessed it was another generic fantasy novel. Royals were ruling, there were arranged marriages, a ball, a rebellion, a forbidden romance between the queen and a guard and *gasps* a long-lost royal. Sounds similar?

It's so sad, because the book was off to a good start, with a crazy first chapter where the author wasn't scared of killing her characters. The beginning was good, introduced us to a scary monarchy where the slaves were completely stripped off their identity and looked all the same. But well, after that it got downhill, with a powerless Kora who was supposed to be queen and a plot that dragged… Until 58% in, when there was finally this murder attempt. The ending was okay I guess, it got interesting again but I had stopped caring at that point. Moreover, be warned that even though this book is a standalone, it’s clearly not. Beyond the Red is supposed to be part of a series, but it depends on how it sells I guess…

I’m a bit sceptical about the world-building in this one, because while it was explained humans came to this planet at some point, I never got to know what happened. Moreover, Kora’s city was pretty unhappy about her being on the throne, so here we go for another sexist world and the city needed help, but I never understood why. There was a problem but the author never said what it was so I couldn’t understand. I like that the characters went to several locations though, because we also saw the rebel camp and another city. In fact, I think I was waiting for more sci-fi elements, but it just felt like a fantasy book with royalty, which was pretty weird.

I never managed to connect with the characters, because once again, they felt pretty generic. I was so mad that Kora was so badass but no one cared about her or obey her. I understand everyone was sexist here, but she was still their queen, right? It felt like no one considered her as such, but yet she hadn’t been overthrown, so it didn’t make sense. She was so powerless, except for helping Eros, obviously. *eye roll* Eros was a half-blood, from a human and an alien, so of course he wasn’t accepted by society and blah, blah, blah. Of course he was a warrior and a rebel but still helped Kora. If you can’t say, I’m deeply annoyed. Also, can I laugh at how their positions were similar when Kora was supposed to be queen? At least, this book got a bonus point for the diversity of the characters, as everyone was dark-skinned and there were some gay characters.

Of course, this book had a forbidden romance between Kora and Eros, or it wouldn’t have been completely cliché, right? I truly understood how the author built her romance up, even though I don’t know if I would have been able to fall in love with someone who ordered my family murdered, but that’s what a tragedy is anyway. Because Kora had to marry, a love triangle was blooming, but the author conveniently ended it off (it’s not like the other character had a chance anyway). I’m all sarcastic because this romance was something I read hundred times before, but, something actually bothered me. At some point, Kora is on her own and men are attempting to rape her. She’s rescued by her love interest… And they start making out. I don’t understand how a woman who was almost raped minutes ago could want to be so ardently with a man right after??? I was so pissed after that; you have no idea…

Overall, I strongly disliked this book. I was looking forward to a sci-fi novel when it just felt like other fantasy novels. Everything was cliché, had been used for years in YA books and the plot was basically spoiled by the summary (that’s new!). I advise you to skip this one, it was a complete waste of time, in my opinion, as it had so little redeeming qualities.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you have YA sci-fi books recommendations (I've read the most popular ones)?