WanderloveWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If right now, at age 35, I had to choose my nostalgia book of all times, I'd choose Wanderlove.

It was almost physically painful to read.

A forewarning though: if you are not the adventurous type, are not and never were interested in traveling with a backpack, but on the contrary think it's highly dangerous and unhygienic and are not interested in the nuances of this bohemian life, this might not be the book for you.

Bria Sandoval has just turned 18. It's the summer between her graduation and her college entry.

Only, there is no college. She has applied at the renowned Art School in California but, for some reason she is not going. Because you see, Bria is an artist who's lost the passion to draw. To make things even worse, she's just been dumped by her (artist) boyfriend, Toby.

In an attempt to snap out of this impasse, Bria decides to travel to Guatemala with a tourist group called Global Vagabonds. But once there, she meets Starling and her enigmatic brother Rowan, who convince her to ditch her group and her suitcase and travel with them as a backpacker for the remaining days of her holidays.

On the road from Guatemala to Belize, jumping from a chicken bus to a water taxi, lost in a market or simply lost in translation, Bria is forced to put to the test her confidence, her trust, her talent but most of all she will need face all her issues, free herself of her constrictions and of her past and just live the moment.

The reason why I loved this book is pretty obvious: it took me back in time. The places were not the same but the narration has such an unmistakable taste of reality that I really connected. Clearly, the author is speaking from personal experience, or she wouldn't know about wrapping backpacks with garbage bags, chicken bus ride (my worst one was from Maracaibo, Venezuela to Barranquilla, Colombia) or described a central/south American bus station so accurately. As a consequence of that, I connected well also with the characters, the "traveled" backpackers Starling and Rowan, for whom is valid the saying that "the smaller the backpack, the bigger the ego".

As for the MC, Bria, she is not very likable at the beginning. She comes out as a bit of a whiny, spoiled brat - though she kind of won me over with her "gutter water" Windbreaker - but she grows, she matures in the course of the story and, even though I wanted to kick her and her backpack straight into the Caribbean sea at one point, the dock scene with Rowan? What the f*ck was that about? Are you mad, girl?I took away 1 star only for that idiotic passage she eventually comes to her senses by the end of the book, making her a decent MC and a believable character.

I thought this book was really enjoyable, light but with a bit of depth - even social - and with a touch of exotic that makes it the perfect read for people who are looking for a bit of adventure, love, folklore and a decently written story.

Oh, and I loved the illustrations by the author in the book, an added bonus that make this story even more dreamy.

My favorite quote, which is actually a quote within the quote:

" A painting doesn't have to have a profound meaning. It doesn't have to "say" something. We fall in love for simpler reasons."

Harley Brown

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher.

View all my reviews

Six Impossible Things

Six Impossible ThingsSix Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is not exactly pleasant to wake up one day and find out that:

- your father has declared himself gay and ditched you and your mother;

- your dad's business has gone bankrupt  and you and your mother are on your own without a penny to your names;

Add to that the fact that your house has been taken over by creditors along with furniture, clothes, personal belongings, EVERYTHING. You have to leave your good, private school, your friends, and swallow the bitter humiliation.

This is what happens to Dan and his mom. They would have probably ended up like bums on a road if, unexpectedly, mom's old aunt Adelaide hadn't died of old age and left them with the use of her huge house/museum.

Dan has to face a new school, new friends and new "broke" status, as well as his blooming obsession with Estelle, a girl who lives next door. All this while his mom desperately tries to start a new job to make to make ends meet and put the pieces of her life back together.

Dan is 14 going on 40. This book and I, because of him, were off to a bit of a bumpy start.

First, I had difficulties relating to his boy's voice.

Then I had difficulties with him being so young.

Then I had difficulties with him being so old inside.

Then I had difficulties with him being such a hopeless loser and a dork, then with him being a liar.

And then, after about 70 pages in in the book, I realized I had no difficulties with him at all.

Dan is an amazing voice, with a great self-deprecating sense of humor, witty, extremely intelligent and so, so mature for his age. He finds himself in a situation which would put to the test even an adult. It's not fair for a kid tormented by teen age and raging hormones to be burdened by so many responsibilities but Dan manages pretty well eventually. He completely conquered him and I ended up liking him a lot.  He's so cute I want to ruffle his hair.

And not only him. The thing about this book is that I realized I liked all the characters, they are all so well portrayed, each with their own quirks. I wish I could be Dan's mom's friend. I wish I had a dog like Howard, with a psychotherapist look.

So don't be fooled by the girly cover or by the MC's young age. Ultimately, this book is about getting your shit together when you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, possibly with a bit a of a sense of humor.

Very funny, fresh, well written and just downright amiable, it will be hard to resist the charm of Six Impossible Things' cast of characters.

Highly recommended!

And if you're still in doubt, I forgot to mention this is Australian YA. Enough Said.

View all my reviews

Guitar Highway Rose

Guitar Highway RoseGuitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I WISH this were my favorite quote from the book:

Some ideas are not born of logic and good sense. They are made of clouds and cobwebs. They sprout from nowhere and feed on excitement, sprinkled with adventure-juice and the sweet flavour of the forbidden. The psyche moves from the realms of the ordinary and takes a delicate step towards the territories of the unknown. We know that we shouldn't and that is exactly what we do.

However. Unfortunately.

It is this:

Sometimes you think you know where you're headed. You think you know what each day will bring you. You think there will be a breath to follow this breath. It has always been that way before. You think that lunch will follow breakfast and sometime later dinner will naturally appear. You think you know that the sky is blue and the trees are green, that cats are furry and that life will go on smoothly forever like an infinite ripple of turquoise ribbon. But sometimes you are wrong.

This is to say that I might be a tad too old for this book.

It's good, don't get me wrong, and I completely understand all those 5 and 4 stars reviews.

It is perfect for teens, 14 to 16/17 y.o., I'd say.

It is perfectly appropriate for adults who have read this book in their teens and are feeling nostalgic.

It is a celebration of striving to leave the parents' nest and become your own person/identity/personality.

It is a book about fathers/mothers and children and cutting the umbilical chord.

It is a book about a roadtrip.

It is a truly Australian book.

Too bad I related more to Rosie's mother than to Rosie.

Too bad I didn't much care for the stream-of-consciousness format, or the experimental style with lists and doodles and continuous switching of point of views.

What I am trying to say is that this book is far, far from being bad and it would have been perfect for a younger me. *sigh*

Younger teens will surely love it, a mix of rebellion, angst, romance, adventure, a swoonworthy guy and hippies.

And actually, my favorite passage is this:

Dear Asher, 

[...] Grandpa and I are both well except for his new choppers. They look quite good but they don't fit properly. About three times a day I find him out in the shed rasping away at them with a file. He has to see the dentist again next week, if he has any plate left. He is persevering but I wouldn't be surprised to find the teeth shoved in the drawer one day soon.

View all my reviews

Suicide Notes

Suicide NotesSuicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What struck me most about this book - and unsettled me, to be honest - is the brutality of it, sugarcoated by Jeff's self-deprecating irony, witticism and sarcastic outlook on adolescence. He is one of those characters I particularly appreciate in teen lit for their no-nonsense attitude, for just telling things how they are. An honest, non-emo voice.

The themes approached in this book are not light, despite seemingly narrated in a light-hearted way: teen suicide, familial dysfunctions, personal identity. The story starts with Jeff waking up in the psych ward of an hospital, after having attempted suicide. He's supposed to spend 6 weeks being treated there and to understand the reasons why he hurt himself.

Despite being told in 1st person POV, Jeff is in self-denial and does not want to acknowledge the origin of his problems or what really happened that led to him taking such a definitive and desperate action. So we, the readers, are completely left in the dark about pretty much everything that took place before him being hospitalized.

But slowly, as Jeff gradually comes around and faces the bitter consequences of what he's done, we discover bits and pieces of the puzzle that eventually will give him, and consequently us, realization of his real problem. I know this sounds really vague but it's better to discover Jeff's motives by reading this book. I really liked this narrative strategy, it spurs the reader to go on keeping the interest high and makes the discoveries all the more dramatic.

Aside from the heavy theme of the book, be warned that there are some sex scenes which put this book in the more adult section of the YA genre. Pretty graphic and raw, too. Yet, I wish this book were read by all teens and I hope by the time my kids will grow up I will still remember this book, so that I can give it to them to read.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Saltwater Vampires

Saltwater VampiresSaltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


So, Saltwater vampires.... as opposed to freshwater vampires?

Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue was probably one of the best YA fiction I read this year but this book is just a NO for me.

First of all, it is unclear to me what this book exactly wanted to be: did it want to be a dark, paranormal novel à la Anne Rice where some rebel bad-ass vampires try to become all-powerful?

Did it want to be YA fiction about some kids who love surfing but who end up in a big, messy trouble?

Or did it want to be a thriller where a secret society plots to annihilate said bad-ass vampires and to restore peace and perpetuate its secrecy?

There were three distinct plot threads going on at the same time and let me tell you that the whole thing was complicated and distracting.

The parts where the book wanted to be a paranormal novel reminded me a lot of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, except the pirates, in this case, were vampires. The whole book is about them stealing a flask of super ancient vampire blood in order to perform a ritual and be able to:

a - walk in daylight again, so basically being nostalgic of the time they were humans;

b - travel through time to go back to the time of the shipwreck of the Batavia and look for Lucretia. WHAT? A bloodsucking predator with a romantic heart? Did I miss something there?

The parts were the book wanted to be YA fiction were certainly the best, we know Eagar excels in the field. Lots of surfing, like in Raw Blue, and a set of quirky, funny characters trying to solve their inner conflicts and, simultaneously, fight off the horde of monsters come to town. I loved those scenes, the surfing and the dialogue but it put a lull in the building-up of the plot, making the pauses excessively long. Midway through, it lost momentum and it started to get tedious.

The final scene is really adventurous and spectacular but I'm not sure if readers will actually get that far in the book. I did, out of sheer stubbornness.

The part where it wanted to be thriller and the secret society was involved were fairly predictable, both in regard to Clifford's motives and as to how it would end for him. And how could said centuries-old secret society be so inept at locating the bad guys?

The writing is, true to Eagar's style, flawless, although this book could surely have been (should have been) shorter, in my opinion.

It is its hybrid character that really didn't sit well with me.

View all my reviews

Past Perfect

Past PerfectPast Perfect by Leila Sales
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As far as YA chick lit goes, Past Perfect is a really fun book.

Chelsea, 16, comes from a family of historical re-enactors,. She lives in the town of Essex, where this kind of practice seems to be the bread and butter of the population. In fact, not only Essex has a Colonial time reenactment village, but a Civil war one as well. And they're bitter, bitter enemies. So when summer begins and Chelsea, as every year before, starts to work in the village, the time for war between the factions is on.

Torn between her unwillingness to let go of her past - namely, her former boyfriend - and her unsettling attraction to a rival re-enactor who could finally signify her moving forward, Chelsea, through a trial and error process, will be forced to put her memories and herself under scrutiny and realize what is the value of honesty and friendship.

First of all, the main idea of the book is stunningly good. Historical reenactment, how original. Well, at least for me. You see, I come from a country which holds a certain importance on the historical global scene, what with us having been here practically forever and having gone through numerous empires, barbaric hordes, a variety of popes, republics and so on and so forth.

Yet, NEVER in my life have I had the pleasure to witness a reenactment. I don't think we have them here or if we do they're very much under the radar, mine at least. I really liked that.

Secondly, the idea that our memories work selectively according to what we actually want to remember or not of an event really appealed to me. I've done (and do) that, sadly, a lot of times, just like Chelsea did with Ezra. Maybe the majority of us do it automatically, in a effort to romanticize our lives. Considering the sheer number of books I read in a year to my "escapist syndrome", I certainly have a tendency to do it.

It is exciting when you're telling someone about your recent trip to Burma or to Ushuaia, skipping the part where you got gastroenteritis or puri-puri ate you alive on a beach in Cuba, it is a bit more pathetic and not very healthy when you're talking about a relationship with your former or - even worse - present boyfriend.

Chelsea, like some other female characters that I've encountered lately (Ava in Pink for example, is not a very likable character. I really could not understand her adoration to Ezra, why she idolizes him. I did not like how she dealt with being left out of the flock. And when she finally pulls the wool away from her eyes, I did not think she deserved people forgiving her.

Yet, the book is so funny and the dialogue so brilliant that the story just sucks you in and keeps you laughing till the very last page. Chelsea, despite her feeble personality in relation to other kids her age, has an honest voice and her relationship with her father is really hilarious. The trampoline scene in the back of her yard was one of the best of the books, in my opinion.

So, if you're looking for a fresh, funny, unpretentious read spiked by historical reenactment, Past Perfect is definitely a good choice. Just make sure to tear off the completely unrelated cover first.

View all my reviews


PinkPink by Lili Wilkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

It all starts with a pink cashmere sweater.
That's what Ava wants to wear instead of her usual goth all-black attire. Because, you see, Ava is a lesbian and a feminist and does not wear pink. Or maybe she isn't. What is sure is that Ava is in the middle of a crisis, with her girlfriend, with her beliefs, with her sexual orientation.
By applying to a posh private school, she hopes to get a fresh start and be able to experiment being someone else from whom she is usually expected to be.
Things don't work out exactly as Ava expected though, and soon enough she is caught in a spiral of lies, betrayals and humiliations which she will have a hard time disentangling herself from.
Will Ava eventually find her true self?

There is one specific reason why I thought this book was just above ok but could not completely like it: it really, really goes against who I am.

I do NOT like parents (Ava's) who, under a faux intelligentsia liberalism, really mask their snobbish, compartmentalized elitism and constrict their children in this overachieving, supposedly progressive but really just... discriminating lifestyle.

I do NOT like supposedly emancipated lesbian bitches girlfriends (Chloe) who want to stand out so much from the flock, that they fall right back into it as a caricature.

Most of all I do not like a spineless MC, who not only is close to being devoid of personality - actually a natural result of being subjected to the pressure of my two above-mentioned dislikes - but who is unable to stand up for herself and needs to lie, hurt other people and just be hypocritical for a good part of the book.

Much less do I like to read about them.

These were my biggest problems with Pink.

Add to that the fact that the school Ava decides to move to is really a joke, populated by these unrealistically clichéd students such as Ethan and Alexis OR that I found the turn of events with Alexis and the moviethon fairly unbelievable and you got yourself the explanation for my rating.

What I did like though was the writing, smooth and effortless, and some of the characters, namely the Screws, who were the most likable and the most believable, in my opinion.
The dialogues between Ava and Sam were pretty brilliant and I liked Sam quite a lot. Actually, part of my enjoyment started when Ava's castle of lies began to miserably crash and, end in end, she got a - partial - redemption. In fact, I quite liked her closing speech. But it was way, way too late for me to take back my general annoyance.
I don't know if the author made all the characters purposefully so unlikable in order to build a climax and then give us a long-agonized happy ending, but if it is so, it was too stretched and too... agonized, for me at least.

But you know what? In retrospect, I should have known it wouldn't work for me. When I read the dedication at the beginning of the book to David Levithan and then the author pulls a musical in the plot, I should have suspected.

Book, are you Australian? Because I really didn't notice.

View all my reviews


VirtuosityVirtuosity by Jessica Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5/5 stars

When my good friend Maja mentioned in her review of Virtuosity that she recommended it for fans of Where She Went, I knew I couldn't possibly skip this book.
And she was right, if you like Gayle Forman, you will most probably like Jessica Martinez and this stunning debut as well.

In Virtuosity, Carmen is an accomplished violinist at only 17. Not only is she a child prodigy about to start Juilliard in the fall, but she might probably be the best out there with a Grammy award to her merit.
She is now getting ready for the most prestigious competition of all, the Guarneri, which will give the final boost to her career and consecrate her as a member of the virtuosos elite in music.
There is only one obstacle standing in her way to the fulfillment of her life dream: Jeremy King. British, just as talented, just as determined to win. Possibly more. Because Carmen has long lost the confidence she needs in her abilities or her joy for playing. Her stage fright has transformed into anxiety attacks and the only thing that keeps her from freaking out is Inderal, a medication.
But when Carmen finally meets Jeremy, she discovers that the one person she should hate is worming himself a way into her heart.
With the finals inching closer and her neurotic and overachieving mother breathing down her neck, Carmen will finally come to understand the cost of fame and decide whether she is willing to pay it or not.

In this book, for me, it all comes down to Carmen and how well Martinez managed to portray her, her life, her anxiety, her insecurities. Carmen has lived in a golden cage all her life because that's what being a child prodigy does to you. Despite living under the wing of her career oriented, manipulative mother/manager, yet Carmen manages to make all the right choices and be true to herself. I like this kind of strong heroine. No weird feminist crap (hello Pink!) but just honesty, coherency and taking responsibility for one's actions. She doesn't lie, she doesn't manipulate and despite being in a difficult situation which would have put to the test even the most virtuous of us, she manages to come out of it clean without being a wonder woman. If I had to make a comparison again to Where She Went, I'd say she is better than Mia, in my opinion.

As for the other characters, Carmen's mother is a real piece of work. Again, I was very pleased at how Martinez managed to make my dislike for her escalate gradually towards full blown hatred. I don't think I've felt so negatively strongly towards a fictional character in a long time.

One detail that made me very happy in this book was also how the author managed to keep up the romantic side of the story with close to zero sexual tension between the characters - yeah, that thing that usually keeps us romantic readers glued to the book. I was glued nonetheless.

So if you want a beautifully written book about music, love, a bit of mystery and choices that define you as a person, you should definitely pick up Virtuosity, enjoy it and then hope that Martinez will soon present us with something just as good.

Highly recommended for lovers of good YA realistic fiction.

An advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher.

View all my reviews

Hunting Lila

Hunting LilaHunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

This is what I can tell you about Hunting Lila:

don't go into it with too many profound, life-changing expectations. A dialogue concerning the two chief World systems it is not.

What you should expect is a lot of fun, in the form of a lot of action à la X-men,  a good deal of mystery, a paranormal element, some forevah and evah love and a swoonworthy guy.

When somebody murdered her mother five years earlier under unclear circumstances, Lila and her father moved back to England, his home country, leaving behind Lila's brother, Jack, but most of all Jack's best friend, Lila's crush of all crushes, Alex.

Lila is now 17 and gifted with some "abilities" which she barely controls. After an attempted mugging risks to turn into tragedy, Lila finally loses it and takes the first plane back to California, to her brother Jack and Alex.

But from the frying pan, Lila jumps straight into the fire.

In a whirlwind of action, Alex, black ops, Alex, kidnappings, Alex, guys with "abilities" and... well, Alex, Lila will uncover the stunning truth about her mysterious gift and the secret behind her mother's death.

So... Alex.

As I was saying, I really liked this book, it's a lot of fun. But to say that this girl is plagued by raging teen hormones would be a serious understatement. By half book, I was kind of smiling benignly at Lila for spending 99.9% of her time, while in absurdly dangerous situations, lusting after Alex. They're trying to kill you girl, get a grip, for chrissake. He's hot, I agree, but she describes his eyes with stroboscopic effects.

Also, I thought Lila was very puerile to be 17. She really did not sound like a girl that age but much more immature. A tad whiny and with serious concentration issues.

Still, this is a book I'd recommend because you will find it hard to put down, fast-paced and funny. The perfect read to kick back on your couch after a long day of work and relax, for a few hours of thoughtless, unadulterated fun.

Will surely pick up the next book, I want to see how she keeps up the romance.

View all my reviews

Saving June

Saving JuneSaving June by Hannah Harrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the past year, at least for me, all the rage in YA contemporary fiction can be condensed in one word: Australia. Marchetta, Buzo,       Cath Crawley, Eagar were definitely my favorite reads this year.

Hannah Harrington is the exception that proves the rule. This lady is American and what is more, Saving June is her debut novel.

Harper's life is in pieces. Her sister June unexplainably committed suicide a few weeks before graduating and her family is, quite understandably, a wreck. There's no rhyme nor reason to what June did and while Harper's mother is having a breakdown and her father blissfully ignores them, too busy with his own new life, Harper is the one left to pick up the pieces and try to cope with her terrible, profound grief. The only person that supports her 100% is her best friend Laney. When a mysterious and unbearably annoying guy appears at June's funeral wake, things start to unravel in an unexpected way: with Jake's help, the two girls embark on a road trip through America, on a symbolical mission to June's final salvation, which eventually will turn into an experience that will change each and every one of them to their very core.

As for everyone else, some books strike me more than others. Sometimes it's even without a concrete or logical reason, I just get involved in the plot more. And then, sometimes, rarely, there are books that fit me like a glove. I become so engrossed in the story and identify so much with the characters that I realize that I would have uttered the same words in the same situations.

It happened with me and Harper.

Harper is not what you would call a really likable character. Aside from being unable to cope with her grief, she is bad-tempered, complex, full of anger, shuts out others, hides her insecurities behind a mask of snark and backtalk, constantly controls her emotions by denying herself the luxury to feel.

Yet I loved her honest voice, her no-nonsense attitude which I really much share to the point of sounding cynical and callous, her complete loyalty to her friend and how she relates to her sexuality. She is a tough one, not invincible, but a survivor.

This is how I like my contemporary fiction: a more adult type of YA literature, where there's no excessive taboo about underage sex, drinking or smoking (because that's what teens do, don't they?), where painful and complex themes are touched but coated with a bit of humor, where fragile family dynamics are analyzed but with a lot of great dialogue and banter.

Add to this a truly memorable soundtrack of songs which I grew up with (no unknown pseudo-intellectual indie niche music, just plain good old rock) and an incredible adventure (how cool would it be to cross the US with a van?) and you got yourself a winning combination.

Oh, did I mention the totally hot guy? + 10 points

And did I mention there is no instalove? + ∞ points

An emotional roller coaster which will make you laugh out loud but most probably shed a few tears too. People who have dealt with the death of loved ones will certainly relate to Harper and the Saving June amazing cast.

To Harrington I'd like to say: keep up the good work. Truly amazing.

An advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher.

View all my reviews

Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out LoveFlat-Out Love by Jessica Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever...

-got a crush on a penfriend you never or barely met?
-pined a whole year - or more - for your summer crush?
-fallen in love with the idea of someone, idolizing him/her and thus making him/her perfect?

In other words:

Have you ever fallen in love with LOVE?

If you've recognized yourself in any of these questions, then this is the book for you.

Julie is from Ohio but she's starting college in Boston. When she arrives to find the apartment she thought she rented to be a total scam, her last resource is to call her mother's long lost college friend, Erin, to help her out and give her a temporary roof while she looks for a solution.
This is how Julie meets the Watkins family: Erin and Roger, the academic and self-involved parents, Finn, the fascinating older brother on a backpacking tour around the world, Matt, the middle brother, a math and physics nerd with a fetish for smartass T-shirts and Celeste, the 13 year old quirky sister of the family.
The Watkinses seem to be a regular enough family on the surface but Julie soon realizes that all is not well with these people's familial dynamics. What irks her the most is that she can't point her finger at the exact cause: everything seems to rotate around Celeste but there's just something that they are not telling her and that she is determined to find out...

This book would have normally received 4 stars from me.
If you're wondering to which genre it belongs, I'd categorize it as a more-adult-than-young YA college chick lit. And a very, very good one. Aside from being well written, it pushed all the right buttons for me.
It made me laugh out loud frequently, and not in a silly way but in a I-wish-I was-there-to-laugh-with-you way.
It took me back in time, wishing I could have back my late teenage years and the butterflies in the stomach feelings of my first crush(es). It really was a trip down memory lane for me.
It's got every good characterization and aside from Julie and Matt, I dare you not to be completely engrossed by Celeste and her personality.
Finally, it's got a very good plot and it's not very often that I can say that I was totally oblivious as to what would be missing piece of the jigsaw to understand the Watkins family.
I would have taken away a star, or maybe half a star, for the ending which I found excessively cheesy and slightly awkward.

That is, if this book were a regular book.
But this book is self published. Now, my - somewhat limited - experience with self published books has been disastrous to put it mildly. Bad editing bothers me a whole lot. There are already many, many published books which are badly edited, I don't really see the point in subjecting myself to books which have not undergone the scrutiny of professional eyes and been polished.
But this is NOT and I was really and very pleasantly surprised. THIS is how it's done. For me, this book is close to perfect and if only for that it deserves the final missing star.

Especially recommended for first crush nostalgics and hopeless romantics.

View all my reviews


BloodlinesBloodlines by Richelle Mead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Today I'd like to hone some of my (poor) mathematical skills and entertain you with some simple but self-explaining equations:

Bloodlines: Richelle Mead= x: Cassandra Clare

Hint: Spin-offs? Bad idea. You either planned them from the very beginning or anybody in this solar system can see that you're clutching at straws here.

Lissa : Rose = Adrian : x

Hint: Spirit users have a most peculiar ability. If you're familiar with Aladdin like I am, you'll know it's one of the wishes that the genie cannot grant. The gifted Moroi can, but with, uhm, side effects.

Rose : Dimitri = Sydney : x

Hint: Ah, forbidden love. While in VA we followed the illicit affair of a then underage student and her infinitely hot professor, we are now presented with the blossoming affection between a (racist) human and a Moroi. It's not declared yet but there are 5 more books to go, can't waste it all in the first one, can we?

Should I go on? Not necessary? I'll give you one more:

Mia Rinaldi : the b!tch in VA = x : the same b!tch in Bloodlines.

I could go on and on but then I'll be spoiling all the book for you, in case you want to read it.

Have you guessed all the unknowns of my very simple equations? If you have, then you also have figured out that, in Bloodlines, Richelle Mead has taken a lot of Vampire Academy, given it a touch up and presented it to us AGAIN.

Sub plots differ, of course, but the general idea? The same.

And possibly worse. One element that really, really infuriated me in Bloodlines is the underlying motif of racism and discrimination that permeates the whole book.

I could not decide whether to compare Alchemists to the Holy Inquisition or to KKK. This hate group's radicated belief (including Sydney's) that vampires are untouchable, disgusting and revolting unnatural beings did not sit well with me. The way it was developed and treated sounded very discriminatory and backwards (and a bit unbelievable too, IMO), you could just take out the word vampire and insert any other ethnic minority that has been persecuted in history and it would have fit perfectly.

Hence, I did not like Sydney. I was pulling my hair out when she was naming her car and complaining about its color. I was scratching my nails on a blackboard when she got miffed because the freakin' fitter of the school gave her a size 4 instead of a 2 and she started getting paranoid about being fat. I was trying gouge my eyes out when she came out with stuff like not accepting food from vampires, checking that the water bottles were sealed not to drink from where they drank and stuff like that. I DESPISE RACISTS. Enough said.

Not to mention the fact that this book is like a DIESEL car. VERY slow to warm up. The action picks up at about... yeah, 80% into the book. Before that it's a whole lot of racist comments, car rides around Palm Springs and mini-golf. Yes, you read correctly.

So... are my 3 stars justified? Probably not.

Yet, after being infuriated for about 80% of the book, when it finally started to take off, I have to say I quite enjoyed myself. Mead sure knows how to write some good action scenes and I foresee, in the far, far, far horizon, character development and possible redemption.

Also, I liked Adrian. He's such an ass I cannot help it. His sarcastic and cocky comments were the highlights of my reading experience. And frankly, after the way he got treated by Rose in VA, I could not help but feel indulgent towards him.

So, mathematical rant aside, I will pick up the next book in the series. This book is not as good as any of the Vampire Academy series but it MAYBE got potential, to be determined by further installments and consequent agonizing wait.

View all my reviews

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...