Cover Wars: Tell Me You Love Me vs The Walls Around Us

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

Cover Wars is a little late today, but still as great as ever. Last week's vote was a comfortable margin of victory for The Walls Around Us. Can it win again against Tell Me You Love Me?

Let's talk about how awesome the red accents are on both covers? I love red, so this is great! I think both covers are very creative. Tell Me You Love Me has this super cool ripped paper design and it's so creative and artistic. And speaking of artistry, look at the artwork for The Walls Around Us! The cover is pretty much a work of art with awesome font, and manages to convey a creepy vibe. 

As always, there is one week to vote, so let's get to the good stuff. 

Let the Cover Wars begin!


What do you think?

Review: Perfect Lies

Author: Kiersten White
Date of Publication: February 18 2014
Pages: 232
Source: Library ebook
Series: Mind Games #2 (the last)

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.


The Mind Games duology is by far my favourite of Kiersten White's books. The stories are engrossing and dark in a way that is so appealing. The narration, especially Fia's perspective, is real and dark. Every bit of depth missing from White's other stories is on full display.

Let me make this clear: I very much enjoyed Perfect Lies. It's a one sit read. It's exhilarating. It makes me forget everything but this book and what is happening to Annie and Fia.

Fia has to be one of my favourite characters to read about. She is so lost and she is always doing what she thinks is right, except the lines blur and fade. Fia is always being used and she is so full of guilt and anger that I couldn't help but be fascinated. Her relationships with people are so interesting to read about. She has this weird connection with James and of course she always loves her sister, Annie.

People always say this, but Fia stands out among the books I've read due to her fantastic narration. It's like being inside of her head as her thoughts jump around from one point to the next and I loved it. The story ended pretty satisfyingly, and yet I want more, just because I enjoyed reading about Fia. She's loved and hated, and she's just so fascinating.

Disregarding my love for Fia, I have to admit that Annie truly took some steps forward in this book. In Mind Games, Annie irritated me to the point of resentment for all the ways she was hurting Fia. Perfect Lies fixed that as Annie realized what she had been doing to her sister, and finally, we see Annie actually seeing the world. Annie cares about Fia so much but the dynamic is strange. She also resents her sister. She thinks her sister is crazy. She deeply condemns what her sister is doing. It's not an easy love, and it's what makes Annie endearing: that she loves Fia anyway. Annie also ends up redeeming herself a bit, and her growth is really a nice storyline in the story.

There was at least one character that I also very much liked, that I can't mention in fear of the spoilers. But trust me, this character had such an interesting persona as well. I think that this series is so focused on Annie and Fia that they overshadow any other sort of character development, but this character, although in only a few scenes, was compelling.

This was a one sit read. What else do you need to know about the plot? Additionally, I thought the story was unpredictable. The story didn't follow a set timeline. It would jump back and forth between moments from a particular event and months before. Maybe some people will find the unconventional style irritating, but I'm always a fan of creativity in writing. Somehow, the story remained cohesive. Well, as cohesive as you'd expect when you have a main character like Fia.

Anyway, all the fun, magical parts of Mind Games appear again in Perfect Lies. The psychic powers and everything is just so much fun, and this series is probably why I keep giving Kiersten White books a chance. I enjoyed this so much.

And you know what, I'll indulge and give Perfect Lies 5 stars, because this read was too much fun.



What do you think?

The Weekly Progress: Moving On Edition

 The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

This week definitely had its moments. I think my favourite part had to be going to the Google Career panel, and just learning about the company, then watching my first hockey game in ages. Ages. And my team won! Anyway, on to the books.


I've been reading this book for a while. I've decided to stop. It just didn't interest me in any way, and the fact that I could reading Perfect Lies in one night, but this one never, is a big deal.

Currently Reading

This one seems very dark and gritty, and generally awesome, so I'm hoping this one can capture my attention and pull me out of my reading slump.

On the Blog

I usually don't mention Cover Wars in this section, but this time I will because we're using a new poll widget after the last one started glitching. So you should vote, and let us know if you like the new poll widget!
For WoW, Mari picked another Cori McCarthy book! Based on the cover or synopsis, I didn't know whether I would want to read this book because these type of stories generally require really good authors. The Color of Rain was super good, so I'm totally looking forward to this one! I'm so glad Mari featured this one. :)

Another Thursday, another edition of Thursday Thoughts! We talk about endings, the power of words, and authors that confuse their readers.

Did you know one of the it books of the year's author, Rosamund Hodge, wrote a novella set in the same world that was like the Cinderella story? Now you do!

Mari went on a trip and found some YA settings.

The Week That Was

Monday and Tuesday were really irrelevant. All the fun stuff happened on Wednesday. I went to a career panel by Google, and I learned that if I want to work at Google, it's necessary to know how to program in some way. Hopefully, I'll be learning some more of that. Still, I thought the panel was great at informing people of what sort of company Google is and how it's like working for them. I was impressed, and of course there office was very cool.

I also did some more exploring yesterday and went to two places: Jean-Talon market, which is huge and pretty good in terms of price. I would have bought actual food if I had a kitchen. Also, I went to Dorchester Square, which is a very nice area in the middle of downtown Montreal.

I would have included pictures, except I took some very shoddy pictures.

Song of the Week

Calvin Harris is pretty good at making hits. His songs feature unique vocals that he later augments with cool melodies. I really like this song, and I can see why it's a huge hit. I've been away from radio and music so I didn't hear it when it first came out. What do you think?

Have an awesome week!




What do you think?

Travelling Reader: I Spy lots of YA!

When you're a Canadian reader or even an international reader, you know that you're probably not going to recognize the settings of most books. At least not the way you would recognize your home town. New York? Wow! L.A? Nice. But, how about Ottawa? Toronto? Montreal? 

To me this means that every time I go to the US, my eyes are instantly drawn to the little towns we pass on our way to the bigger cities. I pinpoint restaurants, thinking them similar to places my favourite characters visited or worked at.

Misquamicut beach in Rhode Island is almost a replica of the beach in Jenny Han’s Summer series or so it is in my head. It’s a small beach town that I can see Belly having a little cottage in and wearing her bikini trying to get the guys' attention. 

I'm cheating a bit. This picture is one I took of the beach in Atlantic City but it looks similar to Misquamicut.

On the side of the highway in New York State, we passed by a STX Auto Shop. It wasn’t in the bad part of town or anything just a small little auto shop and all I could think of was Alex Fuentes working on some car there. (Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles)

Time Square

This went on throughout my trip. When I reached New York City, the number of books that could be related to the places I was visiting were flying off the handle. Still my largest connection with NYC is Where She Went by Gayle Froman. Adam and Mia's midnight adventures around New York. Walking by the vibrant city life on Time Square and finding little gardens tucked in hidden corners of the massive cement city. Eventually, reaching the ocean and watching as their one night ended with the sunrise.

South Street Sea Port

Despite the similarities between the two nations, Canada and USA, I’ve never connected in a bookish way to a Canadian landmark. But the USA is close to me in that sense. I see it as the setting of the books I read. Most of the books I read are actually set in the US and the authors are mostly American as well. Hence, the country has become my mental retreat.  It’s where I travel to escape from life.

Have You Had Made Connections With Places You Visit and the Books You Read?



What do you think?

Review: Gilded Ashes

Author: Rosamund Hodge
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Pages: 111
Source: Library

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?
I've heard about the grim adaptations of the original Cinderella tale but I've never read one. In Gilded Ashes, Hodge presents us with just that. A dark Cinderella tale set in her darkly rich world of shadows, demons and Greek gods. 

My favourite thing about this story and Hodge's work in general is that she always gives her readers a glorious backstory. If you've ever wondered exactly why Cinderella's stepmother and sisters were so mean, then why not read Hodge's take. Every character had their spotlight moments in which they got to tell us how they became the people they were and garner our sympathy. Evil or innocent I came to love and appreciate all of them. 

Ignifix has a little cameo in this one but was mentioned many times. I'm glad to see that he retained his dark lord character in this novel but still had those moments of light. The deal making process was also very nice to read about, as many deals were struck and many punishments received. 

The shining couple Cinderella or in this case Maia and Lord Anax were awesome, as 111 pages could make them. I liked the way their romance built up to the special ball night. Nothing instalovey, a lot of conversation, which led to understanding, a tentative friendship and finally romance.

My favourite relationship though, was between Maia and Koré and their respective mothers. Both girls were brave and intelligent but had chosen completely different paths for themselves. I loved their cold companionship, to me it was closer then the one Maia could ever have with her super affection younger stepsister. 

Overall, I greatly recommend this series. If you are unsure about trying Cruel Beauty and want a taster of the writing style and world then give this one a go. For me it was a great continuation story. It was fun, quick and enjoyable. 



What do you think?

Thursday Thoughts: Let's End Things, The Power of Books, Kiersten White

This is a new feature that will be looking at blogging, books, and anything of any relevance to the YA Blogosphere in short form. It's meant to start a discussion by offering quick thoughts from Mari and P.E. on a variety of topics. 

Maybe Some Endings Should Be Final

by P.E.

There are some series that, after the original story is over, continue with spinoffs and movies and short stories and the like. Recently, I have come to the opinion that although I may have enjoyed the original series, I don't want any more. Let the story end. It was nice while it lasted, and it's over. Let's move on. Often, the extra isn't as good as the original series, so it feels a bit like its taking something away from the quality of the original. All's this to say, sometimes endings really should be endings. I don't want any more Veronica Mars, or The Vampire Diaries, and I'm sad to say this but the Bloodlines series has really done nothing for me.

The Power of Books

by Mari

I've never really given this much thought but it's a very big part of reading. That is, the power books can have on a reader, both negatively and positively. The power I keep mentioning can be any kind but the one I've come to identify is the emotional type. Books really know how to pull at our emotions and sometimes even settle into my mood. I'm think about all of this because of If I Stay and Where She Went. I was sitting in a dark cinema with one of my friends ecstatic to finally have the chance to see the book come to life and while I choked up quietly my emotions were nothing to the girl who was sitting down the aisle from me she was bawling. This was the movie. Fast forward to the present in which I'm listening to the Where She Went audiobook, a favourite from a couple of years ago, and I'm rushing into a sort of angry sadness. I'm in the depth of Adam's grief and sometimes it's hard to pull away and realize that, I'm not sad, it's Adam. This power is very brilliant but also terrifying at the same time.

Kiersten White Confuses Me

By P.E. 

I've written features about authors I really like. And surely, there are also authors I avoid because their work doesn't appeal to me. It seems to lack depth, it is light and shallow, and I don't think it's very much quality. There is no author that confuses me more than Kiersten White. I'm pretty much ready to write off her books, and then she writes Mind Games, and the even better Perfect Lies. These stories are dark, morally ambiguous, layered, and so engrossing. In short, they are everything I wanted from the Paranormalcy series or The Chaos of Stars. It's what I like in them that is missing from her other books. It becomes clear to me that White is perhaps using different styles, and it's a little hard to know whether I want to read books by her, because she is capable of writing stories that I love and that resonate with me and she has also written stories that I can't stand. In any case, I love her writing in Mind Games and Perfect Lies. 

-P.E. and MARI


What do you think?

WoW - Breaking Sky

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Breaking Sky

March 3, 2015

Set in a dystopic future in the build-up to World War III, the story is about a daredevil young pilot tasked with testing a prototype jet designed to knock enemy drones out of the sky, only to find herself flying dangerous missions alongside a boy who stirs up buried feelings, which could endanger them both.
I love the synopsis. Fighter pilots are the coolest! Also, P.E. 5 starred Cori McCarthy's previous book, Rain, so I can't wait to see for myself how amazing this author is.

 What are You Waiting For?



What do you think?

Cover Wars: The Conspiracy of Us vs. The Walls Around Us

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

A new week, a new Cover Wars. It's between The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hull versus the champion The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

We have two very different covers here. We have a beautiful contemporary blue cover. My favourite thing and something new that I've been seeing a lot lately is the grid-like figure that's started to show up on some covers. This one works quite well. My only complaint is that I wish the cover took up some more real estate or had something special going.  The Walls Around Us on the other hand is awash in colours and characters. I appreciate how the title has been worked into the cover.

May the voting commence!


What do you think?

Review: Cold Spell

Author: Jackson Pearce
Date of Publication: November 5 2013
Pages: 323
Source: Library ebook

Kai and Ginny grew up together–best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.

But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora–a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.

If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved–and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?


Cold Spell isn't my favourite of Jackson Pearce's stories. That spot is reserved for Fathomless, which was dark and disturbing. Still, Cold Spell does have its charm and I ended up reading it in one sitting.

Jackson Pearce is an underrated writer. She is capable of creating stunning atmosphere and even though it's August, I could just feel the cold Canadian winter when it's -40 with wind chill and breathing hurts. Cold Spell was the last of her fairy tale retellings, and I'm sad about that because the world is so fascinating. Cold Spell is a retelling of the Snow Queen, which embarrassingly, I don't know the original tale, so I can't comment on its faithfulness because my point of reference is Frozen.

What I like about Jackson Pearce's stories is that she is so good at creating characters and their lives that are different yet believable. I could easily relate to Ginny, who for a long time now has been in a relationship with Kai. When Mora, the Snow Queen of the story, steals him away, Ginny can't just let him go. Thus begins her quest to save him.

It was very typical storybook quest that Ginny ended up finding herself and growing as a character. Her relationship with Kai was full of love, but not without its flaws. Still, I love that there is a story in YA not about new love, but about maintaining the love. Ginny has her strengths and weaknesses. She desperately craves love, and she is a fighter.

Her relationships with the other characters were rather sudden, but charming. Ella and Lucas have to be the most adorable people in the history of ever, and frankly, they are believable to me too because I've met people sort of like that. I won't get to the next two characters of note because that would be a pretty big spoiler, but they had such a fascinating dynamic as well.

The reason I consider the characters "charming" rather than great is that Cold Spell lacks some development. Everything occurs so quickly and if you go along with it, the story is good. But the story needs more emotion and to really love the story, you need more. I think that's what was so appealing about Fathomless. It was long and angsty and it took its time. Cold Spell is not a long read, it's more entertaining so it's more readable in that sense. I just want a little more time with these characters because the build-up of their relationships is nice, but fairytalesque in its speed, which makes sense since this is a retelling. However, the strength of Pearce's stories have been that they can be read emotionally like contemporaries because they're that well written and developed. So, Cold Spell was lacking a little of that.

Overall though, Cold Spell was what I needed to break out of my reading slump. I really like Pearce's writing and the mythology in these companion type novels is amazing. I only regret that I couldn't find some sort of series review to read before I started Cold Spell so I could better remember Sisters Red, Sweetly, and the aforementioned Fathomless. I would rate the series as Fathomless, Sisters Red, Cold Spell, then Sweetly. They're all good books however, and you don't need to read then in order because they take place in the same world but are about different characters with only the loosest of relations.

Anyway, I liked Cold Spell. 3 stars!



What do you think?

The Weekly Progress: One Month Edition

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

It was another week of slow reading. It was a tough week because the honeymoon status of university life is wearing off, and now there are some actual issues I have to deal with. Either way, I've learned some and that's all that matters, right?

Currently Reading

Yes, I haven't really been reading all that much which is on me. But I don't believe Breathe For Me is helping. The story hasn't hooked my interest yet.

On the Blog

I defended cliffhangers, which are actually quite fun. 

Mari picked the book with the saddest sounding name ever, I Was Here as her WoW.

I reviewed Feuds. Can't really say I liked it. 

Then, Mari posted about some names she finds weird.

And I reviewed For Darkness Shows the Stars! The exclamation point means I liked it!!!

The Week That Was

It's a little embarrassing, but I'm behind on every subject. Seriously. There are so many readings (damn you poli sci!) and projects (language classes nope) and I switched math classes because my math teacher was so horrible, so now I'm behind in that too.

On the social side, I met up with some people and we went up Mont Royal. It was supposed to be for sunrise, but who has the time for that sort of thing??

All this was before 8 a.m. Needless to say, that's why I woke up very late today.

Anyway, I'll keep exploring Montreal, (and maybe I'll go into the many bookshops I saw!) and I hope you guys have a great week!

Song of the Week

You thought Animals was done? Nope. Milk N Cookies brought back the insanely popular track and now it's even more hard core. I love what they did, and they really made the song their own, which is important because Animals is a few years old now. Check it out!



What do you think?

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Author: Diana Peterfreund
Date of Publication: June 12 2014
Pages: 407
Source: Library

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


First and foremost, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a slow burn. It will take quite some time for the story to unravel, and the story lacks the complexity to warrant this book's quite lengthy page count. However, I am known to prefer longer reads with details, and this one skirted the fine line between dull and savoury.

The world is the future, far after humans begin to alter their own genes. The setting is a dystopia: Luddites, those descendants of the people that refused genetic manipulation rule over estates and all the Reduced and Posts within then. The Reduced are the children of those that experimented, and they seem to have sorts of mental disabilities. The Posts are the very few children of Reduced that are born like people of the past again. They are akin to Luddites in all but station.

Naturally, this star crossed story mostly centres around a Luddite, Elliot. Elliot North is the type of character I'd love to be friends with in real life. Elliot is determined, strong and she is always does what is her duty. I respect that because she ends up having to make some sacrifices. Elliot is the rare character that doesn't give everything up for a boy, and I admired her.

Her story, told by Peterfreund, took quite some time to get going. There were letters back and forth between her childhood friend and the one that got away, Kai, a Post. There was a great deal of narration and description which ended up explaining the world, and the well rounded characters within it.

The actual plot is underwhelming. It's full of tension and an interesting cast is created but they don't do very much. If it weren't for liking Elliot, I wouldn't have ended up finishing For Darkness Shows the Stars because the plot is almost nonexistent. And so, if you always need a strong plot, I would not recommend this story to you. Its charm is in the characterization and setting.

I suppose the writing is nice too. It's very hypnotic and full of little thoughtful moments that really explain the differences that exist between classes in a society. Although the plot wasn't enthralling, the writing was very readable and I comfortably fell into the flow of reading.

Now, I mentioned that there was great characterization, like Elliott and the people around her (being vague to avoid spoilers) but the one thing there wasn't was a character that really ever stole the slow. Elliot was good, and no one ended up being great.

The ending was fine. It closed the story, and I don't understand why the author wrote a sequel when this sort of ending works well. You could easily read For Darkness Shows the Stars as a standalone. Overall, it's a good read. I feel like it could have had the potential to be so much more, and the plot wasn't impressive in the slightest, which is why this book gets 3 stars. I liked it.



What do you think?

The Weirder; The Better - YA Names

I’m so sorry if you know people with these names, I’m not trying to be offensive in any way. 

I like to think that I’ve heard many names in my lifetime. The names I've heard come from quite a variety of cultures and when I was younger I collected baby names (don’t ask).

Some of my favourite are the more common names:


Lila / Laila
Alexandra / Alexa

I like names that end in A apparently. I especially love these names because they sound nice but also because they can be translated to different languages and have unique and beautiful pronunciations.


Alex / Alexander

All I could think of was Four because I have Insurgent out for a reread but I did manage to capture some of my favourites. Interestingly enough there are no A's in the end of these ones (not interesting at all.. I know).

Now why am I thinking of names? Well I’ve recently come noticed a lack of ‘normal’ names in books. I define normal as something that would be found in large numbers in any of our daily lives. Like names up on the top of the baby names of the year list. 

I’m fine with most of the name, they are interesting and the authors have obviously thought deeply about them. For example, Beatrice and Tobias from the Divergent series are names we would expect Abnegation's children to have and they change their names once they become Dauntless to match their surroundings. 

But as I read some synopsis’ I find names that make me laugh. Note, a lot of the names I’m referring to come from NA books. I'm not going to mention the books but here are some names as I found them from the synopsis'.


All I can think of is falling off the ridge. I don’t want to call my boyfriend Ridge it’s just so brooding and edgy and no thanks. One can be a bad boy without having it predetermined by their mother.


Was that an abbreviation from Darling? Meh.


So manly, I'm 18, have a busted up 4 wheel drive and my name is my status symbol. So sexy.


"Just jump of that cliff, will ya?" -.- I don't recommend using a name for your child if it can be used in a pro-suicide context.


So should Canadians and the rest of the Metric world start naming their boys Kilometre? Centimetre?


How about East?


I'm a bad boy and I wear leather.. Oh yeah.


Very unique to the series but hecka weird.


Why do these names always belong to a pastors daughter in YA?

I can never understand why authors often go to the ends of the world to find all these names. They sure are fun to read about though and compile into lists!

What's Your Favourite? Do You Have Anymore to Add to the List?

-Mari & P.E.


What do you think?

Review: Feuds

Author: Avery Hastings
Date of Publication: September 2 2014
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley- thank you!

For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her Avery Hastings's Feuds.


I did not enjoy Feuds. If it was meant to be like Romeo & Juliet, it succeeded in the sense that it was overly dramatic and full of impulsive characters that make poor decisions. It also wasn't a story I enjoyed.

The synopsis and the cover persuaded me to give Feuds a try. Plus, I love that name: Feuds. It conjured thoughts of deliciously twisty conflicts that resulted in bloodshed. In reality, Feuds was like a soap opera and a lot in the story frustrated me.

The biggest issue that stands out to me is the characterization. I thought it was poor. There's a lot of "this character thought this and felt like this" and there's so much explanation compared to characters actually doing things, and I thought the characters' actions didn't always reflect what was written in this "tell" style of narration. One clear example of that is Cole, who is supposed to be a fighter, good and brave, except he decides to let go of everything for a girl he just met whom he wants to protect and love.

It wasn't just that Davis and Cole were characters I couldn't connect with, it was that they were not real in any sense. The way Davis would describe her family so blindingly, always saying they were perfect was strange to me. And Cole, the guy who is supposed to be so devoted to the people he loves, but who endangers them and causes so many issues because of his decision not to be honest with them irritated me. Together, their romance made little sense.

I think it was a passage where one of Davis and Cole (I can't remember, their narration is not too different) is describing the reason why they love the other, and say something along the lines of, "it's not just that they're hot, there's a spark" as an explanation for their love. That doesn't work for me, especially when the romance is suspiciously close to insta-love, chalk full of "she wasn't like everyone else" from the first time they meet. And then, Cole creeped me out a few times because some of his actions were aggressive. Like, he would pull Davis, whom he just met, away from her friends and I understand why now that he could have acted that way (even if I still don't like it), but the way Davis went along with it was too much for me. I'll stop there, but again, the way Cole was written in the narration vs his actions was a bit jarring to me. Maybe my mental imagery of what happened is different than what the author intended?

The other relationships didn't feel very real to me. I think the narration was detrimental because it just kept explaining so much rather than showing it firsthand. So, while I knew who was who and what they were supposed to be like, the indirect reinforcements of that characterization were not there. Davis, in particular, had a POV that was so much "my parents love me" "they are so great" that I was sure that one of the subplots was going to be that this girl was abused or something because it was just so awkward to have her fawning over her dad and stepmother. I know that most people love their family, but Davis was so bizarrely devoted to them that I thought she was brainwashed or something!

The plot really isn't worth discussing all that much because Feuds is a romance with the romance being the primary attraction. I wasn't feeling that, which is probably why the rest of the story fell apart.

However, I do think that somewhere in Feuds there could be a really interesting story. The division between the Priors and the Imps, while minimally described in terms of history, was fascinating just because of the way the Priors were so brainwashed. The segregation, if focused on more, could have added a fascinating dark undertone that could have given the story a greater meaning, but as far as I saw it in Feuds, it was just one of many obstacles between Cole and Davis.

I don't think it's constructive if I were to write more on why Feuds didn't work for me, so I'll try to focus on some positives now. Feuds is easily readable and digestible, so if someone were to be enamoured by the romance they'd have a nice time reading it. There are also some extremely creative parts to Feuds that I thought were fun, like all the dietary supplements the Priors took as well as the parties. The concept remains fascinating to me, but I can't say I enjoyed how it was executed.

So, Feuds gets 1 star.


What do you think?

WoW - I Was Here

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

I Was Here

January 27, 2015

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
It's not realy possible to pass up an upcoming Gayle Forman book, the woman has established herself quite well in the YA book world and I trust that she can deliver.

This one isn't a kind of book I would usually pick up. It just doesn't appeal to me and sounds like a serious sobfest but I'm willing to give it a go.

 What are You Waiting For?



What do you think?

Cover Wars: The Walls Around Us vs. Louis Lane: Fallout

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

Super quiet week on the voting front last week, nevertheless we have a winner, Louis Lane: Fallout. This week the victor is back to face it's new competitior,

Alas, we have two covers that are similar in some sense. These two are both incredibly artsy using nice little graphics. My favourite thing about both are the colours and the title typography. They are bold and standout well but at the same time aren't different from the covers theme. Instead both mesh well and are nicely incorporated into each cover.

As always, you have one week to vote for your favourite!

Let the Cover Wars begin!

Which cover should win Cover Wars? free polls


What do you think?

In Defense of Cliffhangers

I know everyone hates it.

The story is almost over, and it's wrapped up, but nope, the author is not a decent human being.

The author is some cruel, scary person that drinks the tears of their readers, and in the last few chapters of their book, they decide not to wrap up the story like every sane individual would say they should. Instead, they choose a far more nefarious path. They decide to include a cliffhanger.

And the reader goes through the book, expecting a slow decrescendo of action, only to get slapped in the face- no, punched in the gut- by the author's cliffhanger.

Authors be like..

Everyone hates cliffhangers. Stories should be self contained. They should end. And, come on, what the hell is up for leaving readers in suspense for a whole year as they wait for the new book to come out? It's one year. Something so sudden can't just be sprung up on a reader.

I see why people don't like cliffhangers, but I've always liked them.

First, I don't understand this book obsession with completing a story. Why do people desire such perfectly self-contained reads? I'm not one to seek out standalones, and this is because I like the longer, complex story that usually has the character going through a larger journey. The more details and plot twists, the better, as long as they're done well.

Thanks Funny or Die!

The second part to cliffhangers is that I review books right after I read them. This evidently means my review is very well measured. In reality, the way I feel about the ending is weighted extremely heavily. So, if the ending is shocking and leaves me craving for more, my review will be gushy and all "Nooooo whyyy is there no morreeee". In fact, wanting more is often viewed as a positive, so if an author can achieve that, I'll often review their stories more favourably.

The last part of it is that I like having some time to imagine what the next story is like. There's a whole year to build up anticipation and wonder what will happen to the characters. What better way to end an essay with a punch line? Well, cliffhangers are the same. They're punches. They're memorable, and show that the author knows where they're going. To me, they say, "Well if you liked this one, you won't believe what happpens in the sequel!" And this excites me. It's what makes me write in my reviews that a story has promise. Because a cliffhanger is a promise that something exciting will be happening.

Cliffhangers often occur in high action or drama stories, and provided I enjoyed the book, I always enjoy the cliffhanger. Rick Riordan is especially famous for this, and his "rickhangers" are horrible, amazing, maddening masterpieces. I love them because they allude to a bigger and better story.

Cliffhangers are not just awesome, they're the shit.



What do you think?