Review – Flawed by Cecilia Ahern

 

Flawed (Flawed #1)

By Cecelia Ahern

SummaryYou will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Source: I received a hardcover in an Owlcrate
 

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Review:

I’m not a big fan of Cecilia Ahern. I think she comes up with awesome plots, but I don’t think she’s a strong writer. I wondered whether I would enjoy her attempt at YA fiction, but my expectations were quite low. 

Flawed was okay. The story was fairly character driven in a society where regular laws, like the kind you and I are aware of, exist. The biggest difference was the Guild who punished people for flaws in their characters and prevented people who were deemed Flawed to be in positions of leadership. This was to prevent the economic collapse due to dishonest people and other flaws. I was impressed with the concept because it’s interesting and I felt like I was certainly reading the book at a great time.. When our candidates for president are some of the worst people I’ve seen in politics in a long time. I could definitely get on board with having people pay for their character flaws if they can’t be convicted of a crime.. At least don’t let them do things like RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Right?

The beginning of the book was interesting, but then it started to get a little crazy. The act of deeming someone Flawed seemed a bit flawed, but if all they did was basically prevent people from being in positions of power, it didn’t seem that bad. But then it got worse. Suddenly, you weren’t allowed to help people who were Flawed and that’s how Cecilia found herself in a screwed up situation and where the story started to make no sense. I can get on board with a society that wants to prevent people who make bad choices from leading. But now they can’t be helped? They can’t sit with other flawed people? This seems like an issue that never would have gotten as far as it did. Perfect people have compassion and would want to help flawed people in order to feel better about themselves, we already know that as a society. So, if I reject helping a Flawed as being a problem, then I basically reject the rest of the book. Flawed people were essentially “factionless’ people in Divergent, but you’d get in trouble for even thinking about helping them.

Society went from having this minor thing where they deem people as Flawed to having this power hungry Guild looking to mark people as Flawed to promote their own agendas and what not, which is the very thing the whole system rose up to prevent. 

I get that Celestine basically fell down this rabbit hole for doing what she thought was right, but I just rejected the whole system and couldn’t really get on board with the conflict. I feel like dystopias should be somewhat probable or believable. Pulling the wool off of the eyes of an innocent girl may work for some people, but the system seemed designed to fail and therefore wouldn’t have lasted long enough for people to have treated Flawed citizens the way they did. If it’s been happening for any length of time, it should not be quite so easy to tear apart logically.

While I basically rejected the whole premise of the book, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I flew through it. It was certainly not difficult to read and I feel like fans of YA dystopian novels will like it as well. Flawed was better than I expected and, while I didn’t really like how unbelievable the conflict was, I’ve seen worse in YA dystopias, so I can’t completely knock the book. It’s not nearly as ridiculous as a lot of dystopian worlds and the book did a fairly good job at keeping it character based and interesting. 

Star 3

Feature and Follow Friday – Book BFs

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Feature and Follow Friday 
Hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This week’s prompt:

Top 5 Favorite Book Boy Friends

Bookish boyfriends. We all have them, right? We’ve seen the “Boys in books are better” merchandise and we wish our favorite characters were real…

I guess maybe I’m just not the same as other book nerds. I mean, I don’t particular like to smell books, as I’m allergic to dust and so I associate old books with dust and sneezing, so I already know that I am different.  

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The Inkheart books really had a good point… As much as we love our favorite stories, having characters come to life or living within our favorite fictional worlds have major consequences. 

So I don’t really have book boyfriends because I think my husband is the best and, also, some of my favorite male characters are a little scary….

 

But in the interest of fun, I will choose some of my favorite male characters that I maybe wouldn’t mind running into if I lived in that world….

 

Warner from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Ruthless, cunning, powerful… I went from hating his guts to admiring him and rooting for him to steal Juliette’s heart. I love his character. 

The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Why am I choosing a villain? What is wrong with me? I really loved his character and I felt like the story could have worked with Alina choosing the dark side. He just captivated me. I will forever be disappointed the story didn’t take the direction I wanted….

Liam from The Darkest Minds by Alex Bracken. I had to put a sweetheart on this list… He just melts your heart. 

Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Another blonde? I actually hate blonde hair on guys, but you don’t read books for appearances, right? How can you not be a big attracted to and kind of scared of Eric’s massive personality and need for control? I’m a fan, even when I tried not to be. 

Patch from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. As annoyingly YA as these books were, I loved the mystery and darkness of Patch. I love the dark and brooding heroes who might not be good, but are intriguing. He was definitely in that category. 

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I can’t be sure these are my top 5… I just picked 5 at random.

Who are your book boyfriends?

Follow me and I’ll be sure to follow you back. 

Review – The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

 

The Invisible Library

By Genevieve Cogman

SummaryThe first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies! Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently… Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book. Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own. Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

The Invisible Library had an awesome premise and the potential to be really great. I think it will be a home run for certain people, but for me, it wasn’t nearly as good as I expected. 

I think there are very different types of readers and lovers of books and this book will appeal to some and lose others. I’m not a collector. While I do seek out knowledge and respect those that do, saving books for the sake of having books to research is not a strong enough reason for something like the Library to exist in my opinion. For those who collect books and savor them, or even librarians who wish they could somehow escape into a spy-like type of bookish profession, the Library would be perfectly reasonable for them. The Library itself did not appeal to me as a reader, so I couldn’t help but feel that everything Irene stood for was something I just didn’t get, so I started the story out on the wrong foot.

I did not care much for the characters and perhaps I should have read between the lines more and expected the sort of stiff British steampunk kind of setting, which I admit I don’t always enjoy unless I’m specifically in the mood for it. I found Irene to be stiff and hard to like. Kai was no different, but I feel that if the book was from his perspective, it would have been much more fun. Irene was just too rigid and proper for me to fully appreciate and she was the type of person that other readers and librarians could probably identify with and see a lot of themselves in, so this is just another area where the book tried to grab readers and just failed to pull me in because I’m different.

I did enjoy the adventure in the alternate world and I loved that vampires, werewolves, Fae, and zeppelins were all things that existed. I liked the detective and I liked the bit about Kai that we figured out on their adventure in the alternate world. The adventure itself was fun, but seen through Irene’s eyes, it was slow going and not nearly as much fun as it could have been. 

I did not like the rivalry between Irene and Bradamant. Already, Irene was the plain and mouselike librarian that every male character in the story desired, which was eye roll inducing already, so the animosity between Bradamant, a beautiful and ruthless Librarian, was just contrived and over the top. Irene was jealous, but the story sort of made Bradamant out to be this awful character and I would have preferred the story to have taken a “girl power” kind of turn and been positive in that aspect. A unique story such as this one shouldn’t have used so many tropes. 

I didn’t care much for The Invisible Library. It was tough to get through and it lacked any sort of real connection for me to feel invested in the story. Had I connected more and seen more of myself through Irene, I would have probably enjoyed the book much more, but it relied too heavily on the reader’s connection with the less adventurous type of character who values books over everything in order to fully appreciate it. Still, the book had its moments and it was fun in many places, so I can’t totally knock it. 

Star 3

 

Top Ten Tuesday – TBR Problems

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Top Ten Tuesday
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Ten Nine Books That Have Been on My TBR Since Before I Started Blogging

I started blogging in January of 2012, so let’s take a look at my shelf….

 

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

4. Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon 

5. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

8. The Shining by Stephen King

9. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

 

I actually didn’t own any of these books when I added them, so I don’t think I’m doing all that bad… I know I probably have books on my shelf that might not be on my To Read list on Goodreads that I’ve had for awhile, but I’m typically pretty good about keeping up and adding books. I wasn’t a serial book buyer until just after I started blogging. I actually bought books and then IMMEDIATELY read them before I started blogging. What even is that? I don’t know how I lived my life before!

 

Torn (Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

Torn (Wicked Saga #2)

By Jennifer L. Armentrout

Summary: Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. 

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. 

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? 
But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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Review:

I’m really not sure why I bought the sequel when I didn’t like the first book that much, but I forgot and One Clicked the book as soon as it came out because I thought it was one of the series I loved. Some of the author’s series are TO DIE FOR and some of them fail to impress me, but she has so many different series and books going on that sometimes I can’t remember which ones I love and which ones are just kind of meh. Anyway, I made an error and purchased Torn, but dug in and finished it fairly quickly. 

The issue with this series is that it is so unbelievably predictable and I don’t like Ivy at all. The best thing about the series is Tink, but even that got old fairly quickly. It is fun to read and it’s certainly short and sweet, but I don’t think there’s anything about the series that has hooked me like her other books. The good thing is that it’s short and I didn’t feel like I wasted too much time reading and it was entertaining, at least.

If you enjoyed Wicked, then Torn is a sequel that you’ll also enjoy. The stakes are higher as Ivy finally figured out what she is and actively fought against fulfilling prophecies related to what she is. Obviously there was conflict with Ren, since his whole job is to find Ivy without realizing that Ivy is what he’s looking for. Tink was still Amazon prime shopping like crazy, but he actually had a bit more of a role in this book, in my opinion, and that was perhaps the coolest part of the book.

However, if you were only mildly interested in Wicked, I don’t think Torn really changed the game or made the series worth reading. It’s not The Dark Elements series by any means and I’m just not nearly as invested in it as I want to be.

Star 2

Feature and Follow Friday – Opening Scene

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Feature and Follow Friday

Hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee

This week’s prompt:

What is your favorite opening scene?

 

I love this prompt! I don’t know that I’d ever thought about it before, but now I just want to reread a ton of books after realizing how much I love the beginnings!

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman had a great opening scene complete with eerie illustrations.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. It began in the cell with Juliette explaining her complete isolation. What a way to start a book!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It began in a churchyard waiting for the dead to arrive where Blue would record names and they’d know who would die that year.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It began with the flames.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin began with a seemingly ordinary scene that ended in WHITEWALKERS!

You by Caroline Kepnes began with the narrator, Joe, meeting you, Beck, for the first time. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern began with the night circus coming to town. 

 

 I could have gone on, but I feel like that’s more than enough. These books have great beginnings. 

What are some of your favorites?

 

Leave a comment so I can follow you back!

 

 

Review – Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty

By Robin McKinley

SummaryRobin McKinley’s acclaimed first novel is a brilliant reimagining of the classic French fairy tale. I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . . By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me. The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?” 

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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Review:

I have never read Beauty and Beast and am mostly familiar with the tale based on the Disney version, though I’ve read quite a few retellings over the years. It’s one of my favorite fairy tale type of stories. Without having ever read the original, I can’t say for sure how close any of the retellings really are, but I wouldn’t classify Beauty by Robin McKinley as a REtelling, but rather as a telling of the fairy tale. Few details differed from the version I’m familiar with and there was nothing reimagined about it at all.

The book wasn’t bad and it was enjoyable, but I kept waiting for unique and different things to happen and literally it was just Beauty and Beast as I’m familiar with it, minus the talking teapots. 

 The book was short, so it didn’t take too much time to read, but I don’t know that I’d really recommend it because it was so predictable and the writing wasn’t profound enough to warrant reading it. Honestly, I could’ve just watched the Disney version and called it a day. I expected the story to veer off and be different or interesting in some type of way and I just didn’t get what I expected from the book at all.

Star 2