Hey there, Literature Lovers! This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour with my sister in Indianapolis, and what an incredible show it was! We haven been to a lot of concerts, but you could tell during this show that it was flawless!
To get myself in the mood for the show, I decide to read Sing by Vivi Green, which you can tell by the cover art is loosely based on Taylor’s Swift.
Sing follows international pop sensation Lily Ross, who is 92 days away from starting her Forever tour, which features songs about her boyfriend and fellow celeb, Jed. The thing is, Jed doesn’t see their relationship as forever. He ends things with Lily with very little explanation, leaving her crushed and unmotivated about her music. Her best friends decide she needs to escape and whisk her away to a small island in Maine where she can be normal. And one perk of being normal is finding small town romance. Lily must find balance between the star she is and the quiet town she has fallen in love with.
This was a short, easy read for me. The descriptions of the island town really made me feel like I was there. Overall, Lily was a pretty good and empathetic character. While she was upset about her boyfriend leaving her, she didn’t allow it to consume her entire life. Instead she decided she wanted to accompany her friend to the house in Maine and find time to focus on herself and what she wanted her music to be like now. She doesn’t do this out of revenge toward Jed, she does this as a mental health trip for herself.
Her friends and some of the other characters were a bit cookie-cutter, just there to be Lily’s support team, but they were able to offer her great advice if she ever stumbled, which wasn’t too often as she was a tough and emotionally intelligent person.
If you are a Taylor Swift fan or love fictional books about celebrities, I recommend you give this one a shot.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.
Have you read Sing what were your thoughts? Have you been to any concerts before? I would leave hear about it in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Gilded Ashes is a novella from Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bond. This Cinderella retelling is set within the same universe as Cruel Beauty, where there are demons and Gentle Lords who barter with the common folk to achieve their own ends. Cinderella, known as Maia in this retelling, has been living with a haunting secret for years: her mother is a demon, and she must constantly lie about her happiness to save the people around her from this ghost.
I was surprised how quickly I fell into this story. I liked Cruel Beauty for the most part, but I found the continuous descriptions of the horrible demons monotonous at times. I think 80 pages was the perfect length for this. It definitely gave me Ella Enchanted vibes during all the scenes with Maia and Lord Anax (the prince in this version). They had an easy back and forth and felt like they were real people getting to know each other.
It was also refreshing to see the stepsisters in a different way. In every version of this story the stepsisters are mean to Cinderella simply because they can be. In this version the younger stepsister Thea was actively trying to be friends with Maia while Kore was mean to Maia because she thought that was her mother wanted her to do. All three girls were simply looking for happiness in this dark world and were trying to do whatever it took to reach that happy end.
Overall, I really enjoyed Gilded Ashes and would highly recommend picking this up for your e-reader.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.
Have you read any of the Cruel Beauty books? Which was your favorite? Share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw is a 2016 YA novel. The story follows Scarlett Epstein, a high school student in New Jersey who is grieving the cancellation of her favorite television series, Lycanthrope Academy. Scarlett has made many friends online through her Lyncathrope fan fiction, and is encouraged by them to create a new story, which she bases loosely on her life, with characters who are named after and resemble people in her high school, including her nemesis and her crush. Her fan fiction is discovered and she has to repair the damage.
It’s a fairly simple plot, similar to that of to All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. However, despite the sometimes annoying characters, Jenny Han’s story felt like it had a bit more heart put into it and made me want to continue reading. This, unfortunately, was not the same.
I suppose I was expecting Scarlett’s fan fiction about her life would play more of a role in this story. It was mentioned around the first couple of chapters and we are given snippets of the story she is writing throughout the course of the book, but nothing really happens with it until the last third of the book. It almost felt like the author forgot that something needed to happen there and suddenly remembered this plot point.
Scarlett herself as a character annoyed me, and I’m sure most people can agree that if you do not like the main character then it is extremely difficult to be interested in the story. Scarlett felt like a self-righteous and pretentious girl who thought she knew the answer to everything. I know that when you are around 14 or 15 most people do act that way, but somehow reading from Scarlett’s perspective was so painful to get through. She was constantly babying and bullying her mother, her best friend, and her father and stepmother. How could anyone like this girl?
One of the most annoying things to me is the top review of this book on Goodreads states that this book is Feminist AF, to which I only have one question: HOW? Scarlett spends a vast majority of this book talking badly about her best friend’s sister who happens to be very pretty and popular and dating Scarlett’s crush, as well as slut-shaming and body-shaming her. Now I remember being in high school and feeling a little jealous when other girls flirted with a guy I liked, but I didn’t slut-shame them or obsess over wanting to be them, and I certainly did not write about them in a public fan fiction forum, nor would I have called them by their actual name if I had been stupid enough to do so.
Speaking of the love interest, let’s talk about Gideon. Scarlett and Gideon used to be friends, but when she realized she liked him she decided to drop him from her life altogether. He also magically got cooler as they got older and so was out of her league (I guess). They are constantly rude to each other throughout the book. But Scarlett really likes him (for some reason) and can’t seem to form a way to tell him. And yet, despite them being mean to each other and her writing a story on a public forum about him that trashed both him and his girlfriend, they end up together. Maybe it’s because I’m in my 20s, but that type of high school drama for a crush is ridiculous.
This book had lots of potential to be something truly great, but ended up falling extremely flat for me.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading!
Wink Poppy Midnight is a stand-alone novel from April Genevieve Tucholke, best known as the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The story’s narration switches between our three main characters: Wink, Poppy, and Midnight, who each fit into your typical high school stereotypes. Poppy is the mean and pretty popular girl; Wink is the weird misfit from an eccentric family; and Midnight is a boy from a broken home who is in the middle of the love triangle. But are they really as simple as those molds?
Wink Poppy Midnight is quite honestly one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. I was actually hesitant to buy it at first because of this. Pretty covers often mask disappointing stories. I’m afraid this was one of this situations where I should have trusted my first instinct.
As I stated above, Wink Poppy Midnight tells the story of three characters named Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Midnight is a teenage boy who has been in love with beautiful but manipulative and popular Poppy for as long as he can remember. He starts to realize that he is more in love with the idea of Poppy after spending time with the quirky Wink, who lives across the way from him. The story switches between the characters, giving us more insight to each while posing the question: in this story who is the hero and who is the villain? Are they as simple as the roles life has given them The answer is a resounding yes.
I never felt like any of the characters grew as the story progressed. Midnight maybe, but only because he went from idolizing manic-pixie Poppy to manic-pixie Wink. Wink was just your average quirky girl who likes to sleep in a barn and hang out in the woods with her quirky family. I think the character that could have had the biggest character arc was Poppy. She mentions that she wants to be better, even if it’s only to please a guy (Wink’s older brother a.k.a. the only person has never loved her because she is shallow and mean). But instead of making a big effort of trying to be better, she very quickly keeps falling back on her typical Queen Bee mentality and teasing Wink because she is different.
I was intrigued by this book after reading the first sentence. But as the story progressed I started to care less and less about the characters. The author seemed to focus more on writing pretty phrases that would be shared across Tumblr and Instagram posts than on providing some substance to the story and characters. By the time I finished the book I had already forgotten everything I had read. Sadly, this is a 2-Star read for me.
Have you ever read a beautiful book that ended up leaving you disappointed? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
No Place Like Oz is the first novella in the Dorothy Must Die series and explores Dorothy’s life one year after she has returned to Kansas from Oz. She is having a hard time readjusting to the boring reality of Kansas and longs to return to the magic of Oz. On her birthday she discovers a pair of ruby slippers that transport her, Toto and her aunt and uncle back to Oz where she is received as a hero. But will this new fame and power go to Dorothy’s head?
This was the first story in this series that I read and I loved it. I thought the concept of Dorothy wanting to return to the adventurous world of Oz and wishing for more recognition from her Kansas friends after her miraculous return was extremely interesting. Danielle Paige did a great job making you agree with Dorothy on how she could make Oz better while also showing the flaws in her logic and the gradual turn to her becoming a dictator in the Emerald City. I’m looking forward to reading the next story that Danielle brings out, and I hope that she will write something else from Dorothy’s point of view further down the line.
I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in the series.
Review: 4 out of 5 Stars