reviews

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me

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This is a spoiler-free review. I will not be giving away any major plot details beyond the premise of the book.

Because You Love To Hate Me is a collection of 13 tales of villainy by 13 authors. For this collection, the 13 authors were paired with 13 BookTubers who gave them writing prompt and wrote essays on their partners’ story to accompany them in the book. These stories include retellings of classic literature through a villains’ perspective, as well as stories about completely original villains.

Me personally: anthologies aren’t my thing. Last December I read My True Love Gave To Me, an anthology of 12 holiday stories. Each one was a hit or a miss – some I liked and some not so much. Because You Love To Hate Me had the same effect. Now, that doesn’t mean to say that I hated or even strongly disliked some of the stories. Each one was interesting and enjoyable to some degree, but only a few grabbed my attention. This isn’t me saying that I thought the stories were bad – it’s just that short stories aren’t my thing. It takes me more than twenty pages to warm up to characters and get a feel for a story, so I don’t read them all too often. But what made me pick this book up is that the stories are about villains. And I love villains. I think a lot of people secretly do, and that’s the point of this book and why anyone who loves villains and/or anthologies should pick Because You Love To Hate Me up.

For the sake of keeping my review short and avoiding giving away too much, I’m only going to give my quick thoughts on three of my favourite stories from this book. I will leave a complete list of the stories, their author / BookTuber pairings, and the villain the story is about at the end of this review.

Without a doubt, my favourite story in this book was The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer (prompted by Zoe Herdt). Going into this book, I did have a feeling it would be my favourite or at least high on the list because I love Marissa Meyer. She’s written two villain-origin novels before (Fairest, the origin story of Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles; and Heartless, the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice In Wonderland). The Sea Witch follows a similar story – about how a young mermaid became to be the horrible Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. It was beautifully written, gut-wrenching, and packed so much in for such a short story. Marissa Meyer needs to get onto a full-length Sea Witch novel ASAP!

Another story I loved in this book was Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon (prompted by Benjamin Alderson, which followed the story of Medusa. This story was unique because it blended Greek and Chinese mythology, but is similar to The Sea Witch in the sense that it was a great origin story and a little heartbreaking to read. Beautiful Venom highlights how we can sometimes see people as a villain even if they’re just a misunderstood victim.

The third story I’ll mention is Death Knell by Victoria Schwab (prompted by Jesse George). This one is told through the perspective of Death, and it reminded by of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It shows death as being a figure that doesn’t know why he must take lives but that there is some uncontrollable force that makes him do it. This force leads him from victim to victim, and it’s a beautifully morbid story that makes us think about how life short can be, and how suddenly it can end.

As I wrap this review up, I must say that the true gem on this anthology is the contributions that the BookTubers put in. They wrote short essays analysing the villains that their paired author wrote and their insights are fascinating to read. Their thoughts on villainy made me rethink how I see people – how I see human behaviour. It puts the idea of good and evil, right and wrong, into perspective. And it made me see the grey area in between more clearly.

MY RATING: 7/10

READ IF YOU ENJOYED:
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Heartless by Marissa Meyer

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK ON GOODREADS

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IT ON BOOK DEPOSITORY 

If you enjoyed this post be sure to give it a like, or you can comment to share your thoughts on the book. Please follow me if you’d like to be notified when I post new reviews and check out my bookish Instagram account @thebookperson101

FULL LIST OF STORIES

The Blood of Imuriv
Author / BookTuber: Renee Ahdieh / Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS)
Villain: The Grandson of an Evil Dictator

Jack 
Author / BookTuber: Ameriie / TinaBurke (The Lushables)
Villain: The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk

Gwen and Art and Lance
Author / BookTuber: Soman Chainani / Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes)
Villain: Lancelot from King Arthur 

Shirley and Jim
Author / BookTuber: Susan Dennard / Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia)
Villain: Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes 

The Blessing of Little Wants
Author / BookTuber: Sarah Enni / Sophia Lee (thebookbasement)
Villain: A Dark Sorcerer Seeking Immortality

The Sea Witch 
Author / BookTuber: Marissa Meyer / Zoe Herdt (readbyzoe)
Villain: The Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid 

Beautiful Venom 
Author / BookTuber: Cindy Pon / Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes)
Villain: Medusa

Death Knell 
Author / BookTuber: Victoria Schwab / Jesse George (JessetheReader)
Villain: Death

Marigold
Author / BookTuber: Samantha Shannon / Regan Perusse (PeruseProject)
Villain: The Erl-Queen

You, You, It’s All About You 
Author / BookTuber: Adam Silvera / Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl)
Villain: A Masked Crime Lord

Julian Breaks Every Rule 
Author / BookTuber: Andrew Smith / Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07)
Villain: A Futuristic Psychopath

Indigo and Shade
Author / BookTuber: April Genevieve Tucholke / Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels)
Villain: The Unwanted Suitor (aka Gaston) from Beauty and the Beast 

Sera
Author / BookTuber: Nicola Yoon / Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery)
Villain: The God of War

 

 

debates

Buying Books: Online Versus In-Store

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 1.28.48 PMSo this week, two books that I’ve been anticipating came out, and because I bought one of them online and the other in-store, it got me thinking about which one of these two options I prefer. In this post, I’m going to be weighing up the pros and cons of buying books online versus buying them at a physical bookstore.

The thing that puts online stores up above physical bookstores is definitely the prices. For example, the book I purchased this week was through Book Depository, and they offer not just low prices, but free international delivery to most countries. The only way physical bookstores can compete with this is when they have sales where you can get something like three books for the price of two. Or they sometimes offer loyalty cards that can get you discounts and other benefits. I’m a member with the store I go to, so for every book I buy, I earn points which I can save and end up getting a book for free or at a discounted price. But even then, the prices at stores like Book Depository are just unbeatable, and it’s only one of many online stores with low prices.

The downside to ordering a book online is waiting for it to arrive. This isn’t a problem if you’re a very patient person, but if you’re like me, you wait by the door every day hoping the package will show up and slink off to bed each night disappointed if it doesn’t. Depending on where you live and which retailer you’re ordering from, delivery can be pretty quick. But even so, with physical bookstores you can just pick a book up, take it home, and you have it – it’s yours, and you can put it on your bookshelf to be admired and even start reading it straight away.

But in saying that, when the book you ordered online does finally arrive, it’s always so exciting. You get to open the package as if it’s a present that you’ve sent to yourself. While buying a book in person is definitely the faster option, both give you a different but similar experience of excitement. Whether its finding the book you want in the store and taking it up the counter to purchase, or arriving home to find the package waiting for you and ripping it open to find the shiny new book inside.

Browsing in person and online are different experiences. I myself prefer to walk around a bookstore and explore the great titles, with everything available right there in front of you. But online stores are also great for browsing in a different way. You can search for titles and authors you’re interested in and find things in the genre you like. And all the while you’re sitting down in the comfort of your own home.

When it comes down to it, neither buying books online or at physical bookstores is ultimately the best option. If your main concern is cost, then online stores are the way to go. I used to go to Book Depository all the time to save money, and I still do from time to time, especially if I can’t find the book I want in my local bookstore. But nowadays I do buy most of my books from physical stores because I like to support them seeing as online retail seems to be taking over. I’m not saying that I think everybody should do this – online shopping is the way of the future, and there’s no stopping that. But that’s just one of the reasons I buy most of my books from physical bookstores.

If you enjoyed this post be sure to give it a like, or you can comment to share your thoughts on the book. Please follow me if you’d like to be notified when I post new reviews and check out my bookish Instagram account @thebookperson101 

reviews

Review: One Of Us Is Lying

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This is a spoiler-free review. I will not be giving away any major plot details beyond the premise of the book. 

One Of Us Is Lying is the debut novel of Karen M. McManus. The young adult mystery follows four teenagers who become the prime suspects in a murder investigation after being the only witnesses to the death of their peer, Simon, in detention. Simon was well-known around the school for his gossip app, and the four suspects each had a secret that was set to be published online by Simon just twenty-four hours after his death. The police are certain that at least one of them are guilty. But who?

Since this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t be revealing the answer to that question. But I will say that I was genuinely surprised when the killer was revealed. There were clues placed throughout the novel that made it seem so obvious. I think if you looked at it hard enough or if you’ve read enough mystery novels it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out. Some aspects of this mystery were a bit predictable, but not in a way that ruined the reveal or the story behind it. Maybe other people who read this book will see the end coming from a mile away, but I don’t think that would completely ruin the story because what strikes me the most about the reveal isn’t who killed Simon, but why they did it.

Even aside from the plot, this book had a great cast of characters. There’s Bronwyn, the geek; Cooper, the jock; Nate, the bad boy; and Addy, the popular girl. When you first look at those labels it sounds like a total cliche – and it is, in the beginning. In the first chapter, there’s even jokes about how that group of people ending up in detention together is a typical 90’s teen movie. But the further into the novel you get, the more you realise that there’s so much more to these characters. And I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point. It’s clear that McManus is making a point about stereotypes. McManus succeeds at giving these characters originality by taking them out of these boxes and developing them thoroughly as the story progresses. By the end of the book, which had a satisfying conclusion, I found myself sad that the journey with these characters was over.

The book is written in split-perspectives between these four characters, each one in first-person, present-tense. The one issue I did have was that it felt like each character had the same voice. There was nothing about the language apart from the dialogue to separate these characters, which is important in split-perspective novels. In saying that, this is something that is incredibly hard to achieve, and McManus has beautiful writing and well fleshed-out characters, so it’s easy to overlook.

I definitely recommend this book. I think anyone who loves mystery novels or books about high school should add it to the top of their ever-growing pile of unread books immediately. I predict that within the year, this will be picked up by Netflix to become their next big show.

MY RATING: 9/10

READ IF YOU ENJOYED:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK ON GOODREADS

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IT ON BOOK DEPOSITORY 

If you enjoyed this post be sure to give it a like, or you can comment to share your thoughts on the book. Please follow me if you’d like to be notified when I post new reviews and check out my bookish instagram account @thebookperson101

reviews

Review: Remind Me How This Ends

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This is a spoiler-free review. I will not be giving away any major plot details beyond the premise of the book.

Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer follows the story of Milo, who lives in rural Australia and recently graduated high school. Milo doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life and he feels left behind as all of his friends, and his girlfriend, have moved on to other things. But things begin to change when his childhood friend, Layla, who left town five years ago after the sudden passing of her mother, runs into him at his parents’ bookshop. Milo and Layla reconnect, which causes challenges as they begin to drift apart from the other people in their lives.

I’d like to start off by saying that I really loved this book. I can say from personal experience that Gabrielle Tozer captured what it’s like to be a young person who is struggling to figure out their life. Of course, everyone has different experiences, and I’m not saying that the journeys that Milo and Layla go on are are one size fits all scenario. But to me, Tozer wrote a brilliant portrayal of what it’s like to feel left behind when all of your friends move on to university or full-time work and you’re just stuck in the mud trying to get your life started with no idea how or even which path to take.

I definitely connected with Milo more throughout this book just because it was all about his struggle to figure out his life, while Layla’s was more about unresolved grief and dysfunctional family relationships, neither of which I have a lot of personal experience with. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Layla’s story. It was very emotional, and it felt real. This is a very character driven book. It doesn’t have a super exciting and page-turning plot, but the characters are what really made me connect with Remind Me How This Ends and why I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Young Adult contemporary, and coming-of-age, self-discovery stories in particular.

Tozer’s writing, like in her previous books The Intern and Faking It, are wonderfully written with a gripping writing style and insightful first-person narration that brings the main characters to life. Remind Me How This Ends is told in split-perspectives between Milo and Layla, and each was done terrifically with both character having their own distinct voice, while also being able to blend together so the shifts between perspectives aren’t too abrupt. This suits the fact that the book is character driven because it allows readers to connect with them more by spending a lot of time inside their head, so if that’s something you like in a book I would recommend you pick this one up and give it a read.

MY RATING: 8/10

READ IF YOU ENJOYED:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Paper Towns by John Green

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK ON GOODREADS

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IT ON BOOK DEPOSITORY 

If you enjoyed this post be sure to give it a like, or you can comment to share your thoughts on the book. Please follow me if you’d like to be notified when I post new reviews and check out my bookish instagram account @thebookperson101