Book Review

Infinity Son By Adam Silvera || ARC Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and we will be conducting a book review for Infinity Son By Adam Silvera today! I received an ARC of this novel from Pansing and I would love to thank them for dispatching this novel to me. Before we dive right into the review, I would like to equip you with some information about this novel:

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: January 14th 2020

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the review!

IMG_20191013_180001_975.jpg

Synopsis:

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of spectres. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, spectres take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with the power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of spectres has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

My Introspection:

The world-building for this novel is lack-lustred as a plethora of items is thurst to the readers without explanation, for example, how does one fossilize dried tears, what is the limit to their powers, what is the blackout, etc. There is an abundance of ideas that are left unexplained or half-explained and unanswered. There were several occurrences that made me fracture my head a little because of how unenlightened I was about the world. In addition, there is a parable that the protagonist’s brother – Brighton – says that when you approach 18, the Crowned Dreamer might bequeath powers upon you. First of all, who or what is the Crowned Dreamer? Second of all, how does it/she/he bestow endowments upon you? I am confused.

Moving on, we have the villain of the story who is the least comminatory evildoer of all time. The villain, Luna, is a normal human being with no powers and somehow she is able to gather all these people, instilled powers into them through a series of experiments and managed to tame them to become her fellow followers. Ness, a follower, actually thought of this: she doesn’t need to have powers to be scary. Are you kidding me? You have the capability to shape-shift into her most trusted followers and assassinate her without commiseration and you did not. How exactly is she scary if she is powerless and you have the abilities to do whatever you want with your face? However, I do think that Luna is psychotic because she murdered her parents when she was young, took their souls and tried to concoct a potion for immortality. However, I do not understand why she is the way she is? Why did she do the things she did? What is the synergist that spurred her to insanity? I guess we will never know.

The pacing that is engrained in this novel is mediocre at best. I thought that it was action-packed in certain sequences and boring in others and honestly, this book would not survive without the action sequences as I did not find myself attached to any of the characters due to the fact that there is not any character development for any of the characters. They felt like caricatures to me. The monotonous sequences stretch on without any purpose and you could cut those scenes off and still acquire the same story. If those horrible sequences were to be replaced by character development or character-defining moments with edges and expansion, I would have given this book a higher rating but unfortunately, it did not take that route.

The only thing that I appreciated is the representation that is ingrained in this novel and the protagonist’s struggles as I felt that on a deep level. The protagonist struggles with being stick-thin and I, too, struggle with that. The protagonist is being body-shamed and he is scared to take off his clothes on the beach and I struggle with that as well. His struggles and self-image reflect my own and I really enjoyed reading about it as this is the very first time I have read a novel with a character that is like me. There is also a plethora of LGBT characters in this novel which is rare to see in fantasy novels. However, even that could not preserve the rating that I am about to give this novel.

The writing style of this novel is very amateurish as it felt like, to me, a student in elementary school, trying out essays for the first time but foundering miserably. I did not foresee the writing to come to this point as Adam Silvera is an author with four previous works which received amazing praises for and because of that, the writing in this book disappointed me as I thought it would be flourished and well-rounded with beautiful prose. In addition, this is a fantasy novel and the writing is supposed to be better with a variety of sophisticated vocabulary and not limited to a scarce amount of them. Therefore, I dislike the writing style of this novel.

I thought the plotlines in this novel is very slovenly weave together. Everything is confusing and nothing makes sense as the plotlines that are deemed important are not explained and the plotlines that are deemed unimportant are explained partially. I thought that the characters were fighting for no clear reason and the ending made the whole story weaker. The story arc should have gone from 0% to at least 75% but instead, it went back to its origin and again, that ending just blurred everything.

The characters, like I said earlier, felt like caricatures to me as they have no character development and little to no personality throughout the novel. Even when one of them is killed by a loved one, it did not evoke any feelings from the depths of my heart. However, Brighton, the protagonist’s brother, is the only one that elicited any feelings that I have and that feeling is anger. I hated him and throughout the novel, I rooted for the spectres to murder him because of how annoying he is about his Youtube Channel and his jealousy towards his brother’s powers. I totally despise his POV and I would rather read one-dimensional characters POV than his. Thank you very much.

In conclusion, I am giving this novel 15% (F) as I did not like how this novel is formulated and I totally dislike the execution of this novel. Therefore, the rating. 

⇛ This book will soon be available at all good bookstores.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Infinity Son By Adam Silvera! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Ascension By Victor Dixen | Book Review + Blog Tour

Hey Guys! I will be composing an unconventional type of article today because not only will this article be comprised of a book review for Ascension, it will also be my very first online blog tour for a novel. I would love to take this segment of the article to thank both the author and @definitelybooks for dispatching this novel to me and supplying me with this wondrous opportunity to join the blog tour for Ascension. 

Before we dive right into the review section, I would like to showcase the other bloggers and bookstagrammers that had hemmed in on this blog tour:

PHOBOS Online Tour Image.jpg

So, without further ado, let us plunge right into the review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are solely my own,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

20191011_161510.jpg

Synopsis:

Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

Leonor, an 18-year-old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
She has signed up for glory.
She has signed up for love.
She has signed up for a one-way ticket.
Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets.

My Introspections:

Throughout this review, you will discover how this novel went from 2 stars to 4 stars for me. Oh ew, the above sentence reads like a textbook but you get the gist. So, let me tell you a story of how it arose. Let’s start off with the commencement of the novel.

The beginning of Ascension starts off with this little template of the Genesis Program which I originally thought was a program to create ‘artificial’ babies because the symbol of the company contains a baby sucking its thumb and I realized I was a dumb hoe because it doesn’t match up to what I was pondering as I continued reading the mini template. Instead, the Genesis Program is about this company christened Atlas Capital, buying over NASA due to the heavily indebted US government and taking over the colonization of Mars project to send 6 girls and 6 boys to space and conduct this speed-dating session between these teenagers and make a documentary out of it to earn these contemptible coins. 

That template had gotten me invested in the story and the ‘want’ to know what in the living world was going to happen to these 12 teenagers was humongous so I proceeded to read the next page and those were some intense scenes because the protagonist – Leonor was being introduced to us through reporters shoving their microphones and cameras in her face and the fact that she was being rude to them by flicking a middle finger made me think that she was a spoilt child but we quickly learned that the 12 contestants weren’t supposed to say anything to those feeble-minded reporters because they were too good for them. Just kidding, they weren’t supposed to say anything because they were apprised not to do so. But still, that middle finger though.

So, fast forward a few chapters and we are in space. What I truly enjoyed about these chapters were the templates and descriptions of the spaceship and its inner workings. It was honestly the most surprising and original thing I have seen in novels for years. I enjoyed the science behind the mechanics and the physics that the characters spluttered. The second thing that I enjoyed was the characters. The interactions between them, the banter, the quarrels and the drama. Like dude, I was invested in the story the whole way through because those drama, banter and quarrels were some smoking hot tea. The relationships, not the sexual relationship (bruh, that’s not the default) but the friendship version, were so good. The dynamics between the characters and even though the drama unfolded, they were still friends the whole way through. 

After we lingered in space with the characters for a few chapters, we returned to Earth with a brand new perspective that I absolutely despised. The brand-new protagonist christened Andrew, the son of a recently deceased employee working for Atlas Capital, was being a whiny-ass bitch. Reading his perspective was a pain in the head because he kept whining about how he wasn’t selected for the Genesis Program and how his father did not even clear up the air about why he wasn’t selected. The fact that he kept calling the contestants ‘nobodies’ and commenting on their incompetence as if he was the best just fueled my anger towards this spoilt child. This was my actual reaction reading his perspective in the novel: “Bitch, shut up. Better luck next time hoe.” However, what surprised me was that I grew to approve of him as a character in the novel. His character development towards the end of the novel was amazing and I found myself rooting for his ass but he still isn’t one of my favourite characters so, that’s that.

Let’s go back to space. So, these characters proceeded to perform what was required of them – Speed-Dating. I swear, the speed-dating aspect was a great addition to the novel but the pickup lines that the male characters used were such a cringe-fest that I had to submerge myself in cold water to soothe the goosebumps that ran along the clefts of my skin. The female characters seduction tactics were as defective as the males. However, I found myself rooting for some of the relationships such as Leonar and Marcus & Kris and Alexei. Oh, I have to talk about this: Fangfang’s very first-speed dating session with Tao was so repugnant because she was already talking about making babies with him. Talk about awkwardness. Bitch hadn’t even started and she already lost her man. Anyways, I am going to include a pickup line that I cringed-read:

Three, you say you lacking in self-confidence, I say modest. A virtue that seems cruelly absent from certain girls who are travelling on the Cupido.”

In the notes that I had written when I was reading this novel, I wrote Leonar’s character plummeted 90 degrees downwards because of that “not like other girls” sentence and my opinion still stands. As soon as those words were uttered in her head, the fiery passion that I had for her, in the beginning, was blanketed over by a wave of cold water. I was like: “Girl, calm down. Stop assuming and quit being a narcissist.” However, along with those sentences, I found myself agreeing to her notion. Take a look at the sentences:

“I’ve never been a huge fan of flowers, not like most girls are. Flowers are too fragile for my taste. They fade and then thy spoil, they’re transient like a promise that isn’t kept. Now, Marcus’s roses, I reckon I could forget them easily enough.”

Leonar, darling, I totally agree with you except for that “most girls” segment. Quit making postulates okay? You do not want to become Tris Prior in Allegiant. At least, I hope you will not escalate to that point in later books.

Another thing that I unconditionally adored about this novel was the readability and the pacing. I found myself compulsively reading this novel due to how easy it was to get into this novel and thus, contributed to the pacing of the novel. The pacing was pretty consistent throughout the novel EXCEPT for the speed-dating scenes and Andrew’s scenes. I thought those scenes were drawn out and I thought it could be moderated to drape in with the rest of the story. Otherwise, everything would be perfect. 

I did not particularly enjoy the writing style of this novel. Although it had that readability and that thriller-like pacing, I thought the sentence structure and the paraphrasing were out of place in some precinct and consistent in others. Often times, the characters in the novel had spoken like children and I thought that division of the writing was the one that I least enjoyed. 

Moreover, a side-character on earth was introduced and I literally do not know why she was being presented to us. The fact that I can’t even remember her name tells a lot. Her perspective does nothing to advance the plot and her actions were not as important as Andrew’s. Honestly, she does not need to be introduced and if you cut those segments out of the novel, you will still get the same story with similar intrigue. Thus, I did not like this characterization that was placed without any intentions in the novel.

In conclusion, I am giving this novel a 70% (B). It was a solid read and I enjoyed it tremendously. 


Victor Dixen (copyright Samantha Rayward).jpg

Victor Dixen Biography:

My father is Danish and my mother is French. When I was a kid, I travelled throughout Europe with them, it was fantastic. Now an adult, I still have a taste for travels and stories. I once lived in Denver, Colorado, at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. Later I moved to Dublin, Ireland, and then to Singapore. Today, I live in New York City with my family and my two inquisitive cats.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you: I am a very light sleeper, and have always been. No treatment was ever able to cure my insomnia, but I think that’s for the best. With time, my sleepless nights have become very good friends. I even dare say that they are my muses!

You can find all my books on the shelves of this cabinet of curiosities. My first four books belong to The Strange Case of Jack Spark series, which won the most prestigious science fiction and fantasy award in France, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, in 2010.

In the Animale series, I tried to reveal the untold stories hiding behind some of the most well-known yet mysterious fairy tales: Goldilocks and The Snow Queen… The first book won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in 2014.

In my most recent series – Phobos – I look towards the night sky filled with stars, and towards our future as a species forever attracted to other worlds – but at what price?

As for the books to come… I have many ideas, and the sun is not out yet!

Taken from Victor Dixen’s Website


This is the end of my spoiler-free review + Blog tour article for Ascension By Victor Dixen! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Good Thieves By Katherine Rundell | Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and we will be composing a review for a novel called ‘The Good Thieves’ By Katherine Rundell today. I don’t know if you remember this but I read a book christened ‘The Wolf Wilder’ By Katherine Rundell in the month of March and I elucidated on the likes and dislikes that I had for that novel in this March Reading Wrap Up post and it ultimately boiled down to a mediocre rating. However, despite my distaste for that novel, I requested this novel from Pansing to give the author another chance and thank goodness I did because I enjoyed it so much more than her other work. 

Before we plummet right into the review section, I would like to thank Pansing for sending this novel to me. 

So, without further ado, let us dive right in!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are solely on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

20190817_115919.jpg

Synopsis:

When the letters first arrived from her beloved grandfather—the shaking, green-inked letters, full of bewildered anger at the loss of his ancestral home and the priceless jewels within it—Vita and her mother took the next boat to New York. And now that she’s here, Vita has only one goal: To break into Hudson Hall and steal back what the sinister Basil Sowotore took from her family.

But to do so, she needs a plan, a weapon, and faith in the pickpockets, trapeze-artists, and animal-tamers she has met along the way. With her troupe behind her, Vita attempts the most daring heist the city has ever seen. But will she succeed?

My introspection:

“The night city was swept by a premature winter. An ice snap froze the water in the pipes. Sleet washed down the city, swept the detritus of the mud and the old newspaper and the furious cats out from the murky alleyways into the main roads.”

First of all, I thought the writing style for both ‘The Wolf Wilder’ and ‘The Good Thieves’ were beautifully crafted. It seemed effortless for the author to string sentences together as the whole novel is filled with seamless prose and if you are looking for an example, try reading the quote that I had placed above of this sentence. I have loved the style of her writing and the technique she used to string sentences and words together ever since I read ‘The Wolf Wilder’. The author does not concoct extra information just to prolong the novel or string more sentences together to hit a goal or something, she gives the information so impeccably that everything seems necessary. In addition, I thought the descriptions that she had given in the novel were perfectly measured as it felt so real in my brain that I could touch it, virtually. Speaking of descriptions and feeling it virtually, this brings us to the next point: The Atmosphere.

The atmosphere of this novel is a mixture of comedic relief, hatred and anger. It is facetious because of the constant banter between the characters and the arguments seem to never end which I, at times, found myself laughing at the exchange of words between them. Hatred and anger come into play due to certain characters doing nasty businesses and I thought the author did a good job at extracting our emotions out from our body and let it diffuse into the atmosphere. Thus, I admired the crafting of the atmosphere made by the author.

The pacing of the novel is uprightly one of the most astounding items that is being placed in the book as it moves in a rapid manner and this is due to how addictive the plot is in which I will talk more about later on. The plot has an addictive quality to it and this gives the book an advantage as readers will carry on with the novel without ceasing as they would like to find out more about what is going to happen to the characters. To compare it with ‘The Wolf Wilder’, I thought ‘The Good Thieves’ was traversed better than it because I can sense vacillation at certain localities in ‘The Wolf Wilder’ that took me out of the context of the story and the ending for it was hastened like it was elbowing me laboriously out of the house or in this case, the book. Therefore, ‘The Good Thieves’ granted me a better impression than ‘The Wolf Wilder’ will ever remit.

In order to properly review the characters, I am going to split the protagonist and the side characters into sections to enunciate my feelings on each one of them. Please take note that I will not analyse the antagonists of the novel as I do not want to pillage the plot of the book to you. Thus, we shall begin:-

1) Vita: I do not actually know how to review our protagonist without sounding like a broken record. Well, here goes nothing. She is smart and skilled in throwing weaponry with perfect precision. I enjoyed reading about her scheme to take her grandfather’s castle back from the antagonist and her marvellous plots and plans.  

2) Arkady & Samuel: Their characters are not well-developed but I enjoyed the constant banter that Arkady gives to his other teammates and friends. Both Arkady & Samuel have a beautiful friendship and both of them aspire to be something else and they chase after their dream and that is a very heart-warming thing to read about. 

3) Silk: I enjoyed the glimpse-through backstory that the author has bestowed upon her but her character is, again, not well-developed and therefore, I cannot really comment on her characterisation. If I were to rectify a part of this book, I will definitely give a thorough background story for Arkady, Samuel and Silk characterisation because I thought it was extremely important to give backbones to your characters. 

However, there were plot holes and specific precincts in the novel that I found highly unbelievable. For example, on page 17, chapter 3, I do not know how Vita manages to find the antagonist of the novel because New York is freaking huge, how can she just randomly find him through a ‘car ride?’ and trust me there are more unbelievable instances such as the ending. [Spoiler] How can all of them make it out in one piece, unscratched? 

Lastly, topics like racism are touched on in this novel but not really explored which disappointed me because this could be the very first children novel that includes important topics such as racism in but it will, unfortunately, be marked as a missed opportunity as the outcome of the novel did not explore it much.

In conclusion, I am proffering this novel 75% (A-) as I enjoyed it immensely although it has certain flaws and thus, the rating.

⇛ This book is currently available at all good bookstores. Do give it a try!


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Good Thieves By Katherine Rundell! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Nevertell By Katherine Orton | ARC Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be executing a review for a book called Nevertell By Katherine Orton today. Nevertell is Katherine Orton’s debut novel and I was propitious enough to receive a review copy of this book from Pansing, also known as Definitely Books on Instagram. 

Before we head into the book review section, I would like to embellish you with the prerequisite:

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy.

Page Count: 384.

Release Date: November 7th 2019.

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the book review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are solely on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

20190727_112948.jpg

Synopsis:

Born in a Soviet prison camp, Lina has never seen the world outside until the night she escapes with her best friend, Bogdan. As the pair journey across a snowy wilderness, they are pursued by a vengeful sorceress and her pack of shadow wolves. The children will need every ounce of courage – and a whisper of magic – if they are to survive…

My Introspections:

“Bodgan had pitched their hopes on a gamble. An extreme one, at that. But what was it her mother always said? Life is a gamble. Lina couldn’t tell the truth now without getting him into serious trouble. It was all or nothing.” – Nevertell, Katherine Orton.

When I first freed this novel and overset to the first folio, the very first sentence of the novel had already captivated me to read on as the writing style was so beautifully crafted and the prose used was on point. It was spontaneously explicit to me that the string of sentences was crafted punctiliously as the sentences were woven and strung together as seamless as silk. Although this novel is a middle-grade novel, Ms Orton did not fail to impress me with the omnium gatherum of words used and I very much appreciated that. Side note: there are illustrations emboss on every chapter headers and they are as beautiful as the writing style of this novel.

In this novel, we follow Lina’s perspective in a third-person point of view and through her eyes, there is a cast of characters christened Bodgan, Tuyaara, Vadim, The Vengeful Sorcerer, Alexei, The Commandant, Katya and more. Do notice that I coloured some of the names, by ‘some’ I mean 4 of them as I would love to proffer them notable attention. Bodgan and The Vengeful Sorcerer have more magnanimous character developments in the novel as they are prominent in almost every scene, The Commandant and Katya are the driving force of the novel and the rest of the casts are pretty much one-dimensional as they do not actually have any characteristics that are outside of the one-dimensional realm except for specific impulse which I could comprehend flawlessly. However, Lina – the protagonist of the novel – is the best. She is ingenious, expeditious and also, she adapts swiftly to a brand new environment. I cannot help but root for her throughout the novel as she had been through so much and yet, she had not uttered a single complaint. Lina. Is. Freaking. Amazing.

“Humans kill what they think is most terrifying and what is most precious. You cannot deny it.” – Nevertell, Katherine Orton.

One of the idiosyncrasies enmeshed in this novel that I savoured immensely was the pacing. It was fast-paced and I found myself flipping page after page to uncover the journey of the characters as each chapter in this novel ended with a cliff-hanger so fervent that I had to recapitulate. Ms Orton did not waste a single sentence on monotonous functions, she exhorts you on with the meticulously crafted plot and plays with your sense of dread as something nefarious is going to befall the characters. If you are in a reading slump, I think this novel will be a perfect fit for what you are going through as it will help you to get back into reading. 

“I come from a separate climate, far from here, and I haven’t been back in many years. So my warm magic has suffered. And besides, it takes a certain positivity of spirit to grow more than a few peaches, which I am not so inclined to any more.”  Nevertell, Katherine Orton.

The magic system that was installed reverentially in the novel was interesting and unique but unfortunately, it was not explored and scrutinised in the novel. For example, the author would exude an idea for the magic system and explained it for a few paragraphs and never touched upon it again. It occurred several times in the novel which was frustrating as I would love to learn the nonpareil magic system. In addition, I do not understand how The Vengeful Sorcerer arrived in our world and how she tied both worlds together. Moreover, her origin was unexplained and I kept wondering whether or not there were more like her… However, there was some magic used here that was explained in length and used which I totally savoured. 

Into the bargain, I would love to talk about the atmosphere and the world-building mixed into the cauldron of this novel. The atmosphere embedded in the clefts of this novel was suspenseful and chilling but ultimately, it was optimistic and dreamy. The protagonist went through several instances that were remarkably frightening and many times, those instances were near-death experiences. Thus, the suspenseful and chilling atmosphere became apparent in these commotions. The optimistic and dreamy atmospheres were solely due to the writing style. The prose used was extraordinary and in turn, it made the characters more vibrant than sombre. In addition, the world-building of this novel was crafted impeccably as the exchange between the real world and the mantillas asunder for the world of The Vengeful Witch were formulated without any circumvention. Thus, I had taken pleasure in experiencing both the atmosphere and the world-building that the author had established in this book.

In conclusion, I will furnish this book with an 80% (A) rating as I had fun reading the novel and watching the plot unwound. Although it had its flaws, the experience that I had with this novel was all-around positive. Thus, the rating.

⇛ This book will be available at all good bookstores when it is released. Do give it a try!


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Nevertell By Katherine Orton! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

We Are Lost And Found By Helene Dunbar | ARC review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and we will be handling a book review today. The book which we will be reviewing is called ‘We Are Lost And Found’ by Helene Dunbar. I received an Advance Readers Copy of this novel from the lovely publishing company christened Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley to appoint you all with a book review. 

Before we jump right into the book review, I would like to furnish you all with the fundamentals: 

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT Historical Fiction.

Page Count: 304

Release Date: 3rd of September 2019

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the book review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

cover162857-medium

Synopsis:

A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming of age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate. 

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.

My Introspections:

Apart from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margeret Atwood, this might be the most important novel that I had read thus far this year. As the synopsis had stated, the story is set in the 1980s, where societal attitudes toward homosexuality were not pleasant and the threat of AIDs was discommoding to the gay community as no one understood what was going on and how this disease was supposed to be prevented. This novel allows us to witness the struggles of the people back in the ’80s which I will converse more on in the atmospheric section of this review. 

“But it’s like going back to your old elementary school to visit your teachers and finding the water fountains too low to reach. Maybe The Echo hasn’t changed, but I have.”

This novel follows Michael, a closeted-gay whose father had recently banned his brother from coming home as he had come out to his parents for being gay. His plan was to lay low and not make irrational decisions in fear of being kicked out of the house like his brother by his father. His father, who was verbally abusive, tormented him with abhorrent terms day and night and the only way he could forget all of these for a little while was attending a club christened ‘The Echo’ where he danced it all out and dissipated himself in the flow. As the story progresses, the imminent threat of AIDs became more apparent and everybody in the gay community was afraid that they might catch the disease if they were to have sexual intercourse. This affected our main character on several levels as he was afraid for his best friend, James and his brother’s lives. 

“Oh, Michael, seriously? What do you think they said? That it was random. Wrong place, wrong time. That sort of thing. But even if they’d caught someone, you know how these things play out. They’ll claim I made a pass as them, that they simply couldn’t help but protect themselves from the onslaught of my passions. As if.”

The ambience around this novel was gripping, upsetting and agitating. Upsetting because of how the protagonist and his brother were treated at home. Gripping because of how the threat of AIDs was exterminating people and that there was not an excavated prevention to AIDs as they do not understand what it was back in the ’80s. Agitating because of how society treated people who were gay back then and it tugged at my heartstrings to read about it. 

“James hesitated because he knows I hate inviting myself to places. The feeling that I might be intruding.”

Similar to the writing style of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, the writing style of this novel lacked quotation marks. To be honest, I do not like this kind of writing style as it does not correlate with me and I would also be confused half of the time by the lack of quotations. A sample to how lack of quotations in writing style goes in my brain: Is the character conversing? Is he having an internal monologue? Is he exhibiting his emotions or is he saying his feeling out loud? What? Oh, he is conversing with James. Other than the paucity of quotations, I thought the writing style was well-rounded and polished in a debonair manner. Moreover, I could not stop excerpting the book as the whole book was so quotable. For example:

“Her answer feels wrong. Limited. Like, there have to be more than two options.”

“Rules. My father’s rules: Don’t make noise. Don’t draw the wrong kind of attention to yourself. Don’t stand up for anything you believe in. Don’t show any emotion that isn’t anger. Don’t be yourself.”

“Books. Cassettes. Tiny origami shapes: dragons and roses and stars. My father sneers at these gifts when I don’t get to them first.”

GOOSEBUMPS, am I right?

An element in the book which I did not particularly enjoy was the incessant repetition of our protagonist going to The Echo to dance. It took several homogeneous scenes of our protagonist rollicking in The Echo for something to finally transpire. I thought if those scenes could be shortened down and the plot was to be impelled forward without those verbose displays, this would absolutely be an irreproachable book (exclude the quotation marks). 

In conclusion, I am furnishing this novel with a (B) 75%. I thought it was an important novel that should be read by everyone as it would give you an insight into the ’80s and how people were treated back then with the emerging fulminations of AIDs. 


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for We Are Lost And Found By Helene Dunbar! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye! 

Book Review

Again, But Better By Christine Riccio || ARC Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and we will be conducting a book review for Christine Riccio’s debut novel christened Again, But Better today. If you did not know, Christine is a Booktuber who orates about books on youtube and she recently released Again, But Better which I was fortunate to acquire an ARC of it from MacMillan Publisher. Before we inaugurate this review, I shall furnish you with the information regarding this novel stapled below: 

Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary Romance

Page Count: 377

Release Date: May 7th 2019 

So, without further ado, let us enter the precinct of the review for this novel.

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

41147279

Synopsis:

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

My Introspections:

“Now, I’m thousands of miles over the Atlantic in a giant hollowed-out pen with wings, on my way to a study abroad program that’s irrelevant to my major.” 

Let us commence with this review by promulgating on the writing for this novel. I felt that the writing was disjointed and incongruous to the rest of the sentences in some domains and well-polished in others. For example, there was a scene in the novel that initiated with a character’s long-time crush trying to break her heart by flirting and outright assaulting our protagonist- Shane. In this scene, we would be able to notice that [said character] was upset with both Shane and the crush but a few pages later, they reconciled their bonds again without any resolution and this brings us to a topic which I will be commenting on soon – the pacing. In addition, the author applied a plethora of references from Twilight to Lost (TV Show) in her writing which could conceivably make the readers jump out from the character’s world and parachute into the mundane world. 

“If you could go back and do London all over again, knowing everything you know now, would you do it?”

The pacing of this novel was self-contradictory. The first 20+ pages were extremely relatable as the main character had a hard time making friends in the college she attended before and thus, she elected to study abroad to restart her college journey. In addition, she had a hard time voicing her opinions or just merely talking which were highly relatable until they were not. After those 20+ pages were glided over, she was, abruptly, able to make friends (with splutters in her speeches) and was also able to plan a vacation with them even though they just met. I had a sensation that these scenes were hastened in a serpentine demeanour to plunge into the romance section which we will be reflecting on later in the review. The scenes in the novel that were impassive were the ones that bridged the ravine between the starting and the climax (vice versa).     

“This is our second walk in three days. Is this a second date? I think this boy likes me. I think he’s feeling what I’m feeling, and I can barely contain the urge to skip down the road.”

The romance was much more substantial in the second fragment of the story than the first. The first fragment of the story for the romance department was a little bovine because it was an insta-love that bloomed faster than an egg could ever boil. The inner monologues that the protagonist had were tolerably cringe-worthy and if you are looking for an example, take a look at the quote above of this paragraph. However, the second fragment of the story took a different route for the characters as their decisions do not confuse the readers and they were able to be more conscious of their surroundings and resolutions to tasks at hand. Thus, the second fragment was ten times better than the first act. 

“Because of me. Because I let fear make decisions for me. Because I’ve chosen to let the world push me around instead of pushing my way through the world. Why am I even with [said character] if I don’t feel this weird magic around him? Because he asked me out? Because he was cute? Because he was convenient? Because he was there?”

I was surprised to learn that there were a plethora of plot twists in this novel which I was not expecting at all. The shock factors made me appreciate that the novel was not straight-forward without any shock values and it drove me to continue on with the novel and my curiosity for the plot emulsified as each of the plot twists revealed itself. However, there is a plot twist involving magic that had me thinking: ‘Wouldn’t this mess up the timeline? How does this magic even work?’ and the question is not answered in the novel so we will just place that in the plot holes category. 

“Great, I’m Bella Swan-ing circa New Moon.”

Before we move into the next paragraph, I would like to elucidate on the names of the characters that were invented by the author. The main love interest for this novel is cleped, Pilot Penn. Literally. One of Shane’s friends’ name is Babe (which is not her real name but everyone calls her that somehow). I was not used to them in the first 100 pages but after those 100 pages, I found it quirky and funny. Not going to lie, those names are sizeable unique. 

“My heart jumps two feet outside of my chest. Shit. Get back inside of me.”

If I have to speak on one segment of the novel which I particularly enjoyed, it would have to be the conclusion of the novel. I thought that the epilogue for this novel was well-rounded and the life of Shane came to a close with an epic ‘boom’ when the book concealed. Of course, I am not going to spoil the ending of the novel for you to ‘inadvertently’ pillage your fun from the novel. So, do pick this book up if you are interested in reading it. 

In conclusion, I am furnishing this novel with a rating of C (65%). This was a novel that had its ups-and-downs but in the end, it gave a satisfying conclusion and thus, the rating.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Again, But Better By Christine Riccio! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye! 

Book Review

Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Thomas Kingsley Troupe | ARC Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing a book christened Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Kingsley Troupe today. I received this book via NetGalley and I am so grateful that the publisher- Jolly Fish Press, accepted my request to attain an eARC for this novel. So, before we dive into the review, I shall equip you with the genre, release date and the page count of the novel:

Genre: Middle-Grade; Horror

Page Count: 136

Release Date: September 1st 2019

So, without further ado, let us enter the realm of the review for this novel.

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

cover161893-medium-1

Synopsis:

Alejandro Padilla isn’t superstitious and he doesn’t believe the stories that an old sailor doll in a Key West, Florida, the museum is haunted. Robert the Doll might look creepy, but that doesn’t mean the doll is cursed. So Al ignores the tour guide’s warning to ask Robert’s permission before taking the doll’s photograph. But it isn’t long after Al’s field trip to the museum that strange things start happening. Al is quick to dismiss the odd occurrences as coincidence and bad luck . . . that is until they become more frequent and more sinister. Is the doll tormenting Al? And if so, what will Al have to do to get him to stop? 

Every state has its own spine-tingling stories of ghosts and mysterious hauntings grounded in its regional history. The Haunted States of America series uses real-life ghost lore as jumping-off points to new, chilling tales. An author’s note provides historical origins and fascinating facts, but beware: sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

My Introspections:

Although this is a middle-grade novel which I am slowly detaching from due to a constant change in my reading preference over the years, I was- surprisingly- able to fully immerse myself into this book and to take pleasure from the experience because of the atmosphere and the horror aspects that are enmeshed in the novel. In addition, I enjoyed the pacing and the style of writing entangled in this novel. Without those aspects, I would probably dislike the novel and I did not particularly like certain segments of the novel but we will converse on that later on.

“Robert thinks it’s rude to take his picture without asking. We’ve heard about the things that have happened to people who don’t follow the rule, and . . . they’re not good.” 

In this 136 pages novel, the pacing was adroitly composed. In the first chapter, we learn about a school trip to a museum that holds a doll that has a spirit imbued into it. Our main character named Alejandro Padilla travels with the school to the museum to visit this enigmatic doll. He snubs the rules and regulations surrounding the doll and snaps a picture of it, supplementing with insults to fuel the spirit’s seething disturbances. Therein, eerie instances start to occur. The story itself made me flip page after page until I reach the end because of how compelling the writing style was. OH! I almost forgot, there are gorgeous illustrations which expedite the pacing of the novel and keep readers invested in the story. 

“His breath rushed out of him like a balloon releasing all of its air in one sputtering gust.”

The atmosphere that enwreathes around this novel is thick and slick with suspense because with each sequence accentuating the scope of reality that the background story of the doll is real, the protagonist becomes more frantic and the readers of the novel continue to be encapsulated by the character’s distress and troubles. I definitely felt the atmosphere when I read the book because of, again, the writing style and the character’s decisions and to add on further is his intuition. Everything just coils around the theoretical box of the story conscientiously.

“Al managed a fake laugh that felt foreign coming out of his mouth. Nothing that had happened to him in the past day was funny, but he wanted to make it seem like nothing was bothering him.”

The style of writing for this novel which I had been gushing about for the prior three sentences finally make an appearance in this review. I enjoyed the panorama view on how Alejandro Padilla– the main character was handling the issue at hand since he does not believe in anything paranormal and uncanny that will provoke goosebumps to roam around the surface of your epidermis. For example, the quote above suggests that he is slowly sinking into madness due to the recent activities. The author provides us with a writing style that could easily be embedded in our brain and I relished on the way he hones the power to craft such intricate details of the novel.

“And end up on the “wall of shame” with all of the other dummies who believe in this supernatural garbage? Al thought. No way!”

However, several aspects of the novel that I did not savour were some of the horror scenes. Some of the scenes or rather, commotions were mildly run through without the character lingering in the situation to show his inner turmoil. Moreover, there were various horrifying scenes which I felt that they were a little too relaxed for the character. For example, a hand pops out from his locker and he, definitely, is shocked for a moment but the moment is quickly replaced by interruptions from his friends or acquaintances or family and nothing happens after those sequences. I was disheartened as I thought the petrifying uproars will last longer but it did not. 

“But when you see him in real life, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.”

Moreover, I thought the characters and family aspects of the story could be ameliorated as I came out of the story kenning the plot but not the characters and the protagonist’s family background. For example, the main character’s mother is not present in the story and I would love to know more about their family history and how it was waxed to be in this way. To be honest, I was waiting for the mother’s appearance but her presence was not adjacent in this novel. In addition, I cannot grasp the characters’ personalities as they were all very generic in my eyes and without their personalities, I cannot understand why they implemented various actions sometimes. 

In conclusion, I am furnishing this novel with a grading of C (60%). I did actually enjoy myself while reading this book but it could not appoint it with a higher rating due to the segments that I did not expressly fancy. Thus, the rating.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Thomas Kingsley Troupe! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!