BOOK REVIEW: Emily Lloyd-Jones “The Hearts We Sold”

34538054Title: The Hearts We Sold

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Dee Moreno lives a normal life, surrounded by normal people in a relatively normal world, except for one thing: the existence of demons.

Apparently, the demons have always existed and lived among humans, but in recent years, demons have come forward and revealed themselves to humanity.

Demons assure them that they don’t harm humans, but they are here to make deals and trades with them. They don’t barter with typical, material things however: they deal with wishes in exchange for body parts.

Dee doesn’t think she would ever want anything from a demon until her scholarship to the boarding school she attends is revoked. She can’t imagine going home to her two drunk parents and her previous, smothered life, so she seeks out a demon. However, this demon doesn’t want a finger or a toe; he wants her heart.

My thoughts:

I received this book in an OwlCrate box a few months ago and was very intrigued by the concept. I read some glowing reviews about it, some noting the sad nature of the ending. So I thought I was prepared for it. I really did. I went into this like, “Alright, I can handle this. I can keep myself together for this read and I’m ready for anything this book throws my way.”

I was not.

This book absolutely tore my heart out, pun intended. And not just the story and what happened, but the actual writing and the way it was written. Emily Lloyd-Jones does an amazing job of conveying emotion accurately and graphically in a way I’ve never seen. I was drawn in from the very first page and was entranced by the story and by Dee’s life.

The characters were very alive. I could imagine seeing any of them standing before me right now, having a conversation with each other. They were complex and breathing and interesting. Dee was broken, timid, and small in the beginning, but throughout the story learned to trust and love. James was a tortured artist, aimless and without a care in the world until he met Dee. Gremma, the roommate, was loyal, funny, unique and spirited. She was a really wonderful addition to the story, which I didn’t expect. I didn’t think she would add much but in the end, I’m glad she was there. The Daemon was mysterious, sometimes likable, sometimes creepy, sometimes scary. He was unpredictable and he kept the reading experience interesting.

The relationship between Dee and James was believable as opposed to many YA romances that seem forced and flat. I adored their interactions and the sweetness of their love.

I really enjoyed the demon aspect of the story. I’ve never seen “demons” portrayed like this in either literature or film, and I thought this was fresh and new. The air of mystery surrounding demons and the voids and the origins of both was a nice touch, keeping me intrigued throughout.

My only complaint was that any of the action scenes seemed very rushed and lacking… action. I don’t mind it too much because I tend to skim through action anyway. I don’t mean to, I just hate the suspense and the anxiety I get during fight scenes and stuff so it’s just easier for me.

It was almost as if Jones was compensating for the lack of a heart in our main character by causing the reader’s heart to bleed. I did so much feeling throughout this reading experience and I love that. I love when a book can make me feel and cry and laugh and gasp. This book was wonderful in that way.

Like I said, it also made me cry like a baby, but many might see this as a good thing. After all, this book caused me to feel and become invested. If I hadn’t cared, I wouldn’t have cried. So this made me care very, very much. Read at your own risk.

 

Emily Lloyd-Jones: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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BOOK REVIEW: Nicola Yoon “Everything, Everything”

22053372_1813520378678045_2121720862_nTitle: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Contemporary

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Madeline has a rare disease which makes it impossible for her to go outside. Basically, she is allergic to the world. So she lives a confined life with little-to-no social interaction, which she is satisfied with. That is, until the new neighbors move in.

She watches the family next door and memorizes their daily schedules. Madeline watches the wife garden in the morning, the husband come home every day with anger in his eyes, looking for a reason to attack his family. She watches the daughter leave cigarettes in the front yard, and then watches the son. His comings and goings. His lack of routine. She watches him climb onto the room, where she’s unable to see him anymore. And occasionally, she watches him watch her.

Madeline and Oliver eventually connect via email, typing IMs to each other. A special relationship blossoms between them, and suddenly, Madeline is no longer satisfied with her life indoors. She decides she wants more.

This was a sweet story, and I loved seeing Madeline and Oliver’s initial interactions via IM. I loved it when they met for the first time, the nervousness and the flirting.

Oliver’s character was well-developed, and I was so glad that there was more to him than “bad boy next door neighbor, likes to wear black”. I love that he never gave up on Madeline and his genuine love and concern for her wellbeing. He was more worried about her being healthy than being able to have a normal relationship with her. He was willing to settle for zero physical contact and 30 minute visits if it meant that she would be alright, so he was selfless and caring.

Madeline was also an easy character to like. She wasn’t totally pleased with her health situation, but she was living with it, which is a lot better than I would be doing. But she was also strong and when she finally started thinking for herself, she stuck to her guns and she did what she needed to.

Unfortunately, I predicted the ending, but was still relatively satisfied with it. This was a quick, adorable read, and I can’t wait to see the movie now!

 

Nicola Yoon: Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows “My Lady Jane”

22016296_1813520372011379_1081536989_nTitle: My Lady Jane

Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

If you don’t know the tragic backstory of Lady Jane Grey, it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that her young life was extinguished much too soon. She was eventually seen as a victim and martyr, poor thing.

Don’t be so mad, I haven’t spoiled the end for you.

In this story, our narrators Hand, Ashton, and Meadows attempt to rewrite history in a fun, clever way. Not only that, they give the story a happy ending, which is what I’m here for. If you know me at all, you’d know that I hate a sad story, and I was so excited to read a book where a tragic history gets retold.

This story has some serious fantastical elements to it, so there is no doubt that this is fiction. Instead of a religious tension between Catholics and the Protestants, this is a story about a division between people who can change into animals, Edians, and those who can’t, Verities. It’s so silly, it borders on ridiculous; yet somehow it works. The language in the book seems a little too contemporary, but I suppose when one of the main characters is a horse, you can afford to be a little lenient?

Jane Grey is arranged to be married to Lord Gifford Dudley (who also happens to be the horse mentioned above). She doesn’t discover this crazy secret until the morning after her wedding night, when she awakens to find her hungover husband has turned into an animal. He can’t control the change, unfortunately, and is doomed to be in equestrian form during the day and a man only at night.

Our newlyweds also despise each other, although surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the fact that the groom is a horse. (Can I mention this enough?) This is something that I can’t help but love: when two characters that seem to hate each other eventually catch feelings. It’s a popular trope, and maybe an annoying one to some, but I will always think it’s adorable.

I can’t say much about our King Edward because he had no personality. He was so tasteless and charmless and boring to read. And unfortunately, this was what eventually killed the story for me; although I found it funny and sweet and entertaining, the story only got slower and slower. I wanted to be into it, but I just kept skimming.

Also, another thing I thought was irritating: every time a character changed from animal to human form, they would be naked. It makes complete sense and I know this was vital to the story, but the characters wouldn’t shut up about it. Someone would change and all they could talk about was how naked they were. Like okay, we get it, they’re naked. Grow up.

All in all, it was entertaining and crazy enough to pique my interest, but not enough to keep me hooked. I’ll read any sequels just to see what happens, but they won’t be a priority read for me.

BOOK REVIEW: Marissa Meyer “Heartless”

22014888_1813520375344712_1765749739_nTitle: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Before I begin this review, let me just say that if you’re looking for a story where all the characters live happily ever after, you should pick up something different.

I mean, come on. The book is called Heartless; what does that tell you? It’s a story about Wonderland before the Queen of Hearts began her reign. This is literally her origin story. In what universe does she get a happy ending? I wish I could say this one, but I can’t.

Summary:

The book begins with our main character, Lady Catherine Pinkerton, in the place she loves the most: the kitchen. She loves to bake and loves to make people happy with her delicious confections. It’s widely known that hers are the best goods in all of Hearts, and she hopes to open her own bakery.

Unfortunately, she runs into a bit of trouble.

It seems that she has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, an older, shorter, very silly man. When Catherine learns that he intends to make her his bride, she’s not the least bit thrilled. When Catherine meets the handsome court joker, Jest, she’s given even more reason to detest the King and her parents for pushing her into a marriage that she doesn’t want. She feels pressured to live a life that she knows could never make her happy, and when she begs her parents to consider the alternative, they insist that a lady has no place in business, or in the kitchen.

My thoughts: 

It’s obvious that Marissa Meyer has a talent for fairytale retellings, based on both this and her Lunar Chronicles series. Even though she’s pulling from a world that has already been created, she describes it beautifully, and she’s so clever and creative with her references. It was very interesting to see her interpretation of both the Queen of Hearts, who was not yet queen and not yet evil, and the Mad Hatter, who was not yet mad.

I will admit that the story is frustrating. Catherine’s parents are restricting and she’s so limited, given the era and how women were treated at the time. It seems they don’t have much of a say in their own lives, whether you are a lady or a maid. It’s incredibly disheartening to see Catherine’s simple dream being waved off as silly. I want to say that her parents had her best interests at heart, but did they really? Were they really so unaware?

Still, as easy as it was to sympathize with our main character, I can’t say I actually liked Catherine. She never did anything particularly noteworthy or honorable. She let her parents and everyone else push her around. Jest, the joker that she falls in love with, however, was a perfectly lovable character. He was mysterious and interesting and charming and so much fun to read. He definitely made the reading experience easier, but somehow also harder, considering his fate couldn’t possibly be a good one.

The ending was rather predictable. I’m sure that by reading the summary, most people could tell you how the story ends based on that, regardless of the fact that we know how that Queen of Hearts turns out. Still, the final sentence gave me chills, and I still must commend Marissa Meyer for her lovely work. She definitely knows how to write a villain (I still get the creeps just thinking about Fairest.)

Feel free to answer the discussion question in the comments; there are no right or wrong answers. Have a good day, book people.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Introducing Myself

Good morning from Hawaii! My name is Devyn Guerra, and this is blog number 5 or 6 that I’ve started now? I’m the absolute worst about remaining focused on one topic; sometimes I’d love to write about my life. Sometimes I’d love to write fantasy. Sometimes I write fan fiction. And sometimes I like to post my bookish opinions on the internet.

So here I am.

I was born in South Carolina 21 years ago and I lived there for 9 years. Still, those were never really the formative years from me, and so I’ve always considered Texas my home. I lived there non-consecutively for about 8 years total, but they were some of my most important. Sure, I moved away junior year to live in Nevada for three years, but I eventually ended up back in the Lone Star State.

Unfortunately, I didn’t live in a very pretty part of Texas. While I would absolutely love to live somewhere like San Antonio, my dream city, I ended up in a dumb town called Harlingen, and I love it. It’s where I’ve made some of my most important friendships, suffered my greatest losses, and where I met the love of my life.

I’m grateful for all the moving around I’ve done in my life because it has prepared me for a lifestyle I never saw myself living: the military life. A little less than a year ago, my boyfriend proposed to me, enlisted in the Army, and shipped off for basic training, all in the matter of about one month. It was all very fast, but we decided it was the quickest way for us to be married and to start receiving a steady income. So far, the long separations have been very difficult, especially considering I am probably the clingiest person alive and require constant reassurance, but we’ve made it work and are now happily married and stationed in Oahu.

Now, I find myself with loads of time on my hands. I’m not in school (yet), and I’m not working. So what does that leave me to do? I hope to begin building up a legitimate internet presence with my newfound time and to actually use this opportunity to write. I find that I always run out of steam about a month into a new blog, but it’s always been because I’m so tired from work or school. I would come home after a long day and find that it was easier to relax in front of Netflix than to actually write anything. So all my blogs before have fizzled out. So this is my chance to finally do something I love.

I hope that you’ll follow me and that you’ll enjoy future blog posts. Comment with any questions that you have for me, and contact me if there is a specific book that you’d like for me to review. Mahalo!