Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

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The School for Good and Evil

Author: Soman Chainani

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Published: May 14, 2013

Date Started: Jan. 1

Date Finished: Jan. 2

Rating: 2 stars (⭐⭐)

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.


MY REVIEW:

Hi, Lovelies!

I’m back again for another review.

The School for Good and Evil is basically a tale of two girls, Sophie and Agatha, who gets kidnapped like all the other children before them and taken into the fabled school that trains kids to be heroes or villains. Every year, it’s always a pair that gets taken. One good and one evil. However, Sophie gets put into the School of Evil while Agatha is placed into the School of Good. They think it’s a mistake, but what if it wasn’t?

I first learned about this book from a friend of mine who only told me a little about it. The book is 488 pages long, written in multiple POVs. Has a deceptively charming cover, a fast-paced writing style, engaging dialogues and fairytale themes.

While the story is certainly promising, I wasn’t sold on the writing. There had been too many issues for me. One, I cannot keep up with the events in the story. There are times when the scenes change abruptly or too fast, and the author inserts plot twists that really don’t fit in, and you don’t know which character is saying which line anymore. It’s all very confusing. Add to that, the story is super LONG, so I would advise anyone attempting to read this book NOT to read it if you don’t have the patience.

On a positive note, I did like the absurdity and humor of this book. You can’t help but laugh along at Sophie’s notions of being ‘good’, Agatha’s exasperation, the silliness of their classes, and other ridiculous things that should annoy you but would entertain you instead. It was also interesting to see how Agatha and Sophie’s friendship would turn out, seeing as how different they are and the schools they were put in. Their friendship is mainly one of the reasons I continued reading and haven’t DNF’ed the book.

Overall, The School for Good and Evil makes a really entertaining read if not for the writing issues and unreasonable plot twists that I mentioned above. In fact, the whole time I was reading, it felt like I was watching a CARTOON instead of reading an actual book. At least this book IS really meant for children though I highly doubt that it actually sends the right message, since the girls here highly depend on boys and the concept ‘good and evil’ was taken too pettily.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review! 

(I think I’ll be doing a book tag next time soon ’cause I miss doing ’em. 😉 Anyone care to recommend some?)

Later, lovelies!

ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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NOTEWORTHY

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary

Date Started: April 15, 2017

Date Finished: April 16, 2017

Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

SYNOPSIS: (Goodreads)

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

 

Blogger’s Note: Special thanks to Netgalley and Amulet Books for providing me an eARC of Noteworthy to review.

 

MY REVIEW: 

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Riley Redgate’s Seven Ways We Lie. So knowing about her latest upcoming novel Noteworthy, I didn’t hesitate to give it a try.

Basically, the story revolves around Chinese-American Jordan Sun who crossdresses her way into the school’s elite all-male a capella group The Sharpshooters. Yes, you heard that right. There is crossdressing involved. But not to worry since it’s actually the most fun part. Desperate move it might be, after being constantly rejected to play in musicals, Jordan is eager to prove herself worthy. When she joined the Sharpshooters, she never intended to get close with any of their members. But little by little, she gets to know each of them personally and becomes close to them anyway. On the other hand, pretending to be Julian Zhang had its consequences. As Jordan finds her place within the group, she also unravels a lot of things about herself that she never paused to consider before, things she liked and things she wanted the most.

It pleases me that despite the cross-dressing and LGBT aspect, I didn’t cringe. The cross-dressing bit is tricky so I was doubtful that the author could actually pull this part off, but again – Riley Redgate proved me wrong – it was handled pretty well. Plus, I also found Jordan’s slip-ups freaking hilarious.

As for the LGBT facet, it was hands-down amazing – one of the best LGBT books I’ve ever read in my life. A few characters in the story are either gay or bisexual, and some of them were actually my favorites. I’m not telling you which ones are which, but it’s safe to tell you at least that Jordan is one of them, though she hasn’t realized this until the middle part of the story.

I really felt for Jordan because in some ways I can relate to her. I think every girl (or guy) has at some point questioned their own sexual preferences. Even me. I admit that I’ve experienced girl-crushes before, but not to the point where I actually wanted to go out with one. Anyway, I really do appreciate the fact that the author portrayed Jordan’s bisexuality without being gross since most of the LGBT books I’ve encountered before were either very lewd or over-the-top inappropriate.

Aside from gays and bisexuals, this book has plenty of other diverse characters. Take The Sharpshooters members for example. We have the overly serious musical director Trav, the happy-go-lucky president Isaac, funny fat Mama whose real name is Theodore, the attractive but dyslexic Jon Cox, egalitarian Marcus and socially awkward Erik. Each character had their own issues and unique personality, but all together, they make a pretty great and fun team.

Also, the way the author explored the issues in this book? It was clear how much research Redgate put into this book, while at the same time managing to retain respect for her chosen genre.

Noteworthy truly did not disappoint. It’s highly fun, exciting, and recommended especially for lovers of Pitch Perfect, a capella and just music in general. If you’re looking for a good book with lots of diversity, music, assorted characters, multiple sexualities and just really great humor, then Noteworthy is the one for you.

P.S. Noteworthy is going to be released on May 2, which is only a week away from now, so fans need not wait any much longer! 🙂

Thank you for reading my review and see you lovelies ’til next time! ❤

Blog Tour || Queen of Chaos by Kat Ross (Spotlight + Giveaway)

Queen of Chaos
Kat Ross
(The Fourth Element #3)
Publication date: January 18th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Persepolae has fallen.

Karnopolis has burned.

As the dark forces of the Undead sweep across what remains of the empire, Nazafareen must obey the summons of a demon queen to save Darius’s father, Victor. Burdened with a power she doesn’t understand and can barely control, Nazafareen embarks on a perilous journey through the shadowlands to the House-Behind-the-Veil. But what awaits her there is worse than she ever imagined…

A thousand leagues away, Tijah leads a group of children on a desperate mission to rescue the prisoners at Gorgon-e Gaz, the stronghold where the oldest daēvas are kept. To get there, they must cross the Great Salt Plain, a parched ruin occupied by the armies of the night. A chance encounter adds a ghost from the past to their number. But will they arrive in time to avert a massacre?

And in the House-Behind-the-Veil, Balthazar and the Prophet Zarathustra discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. But is it enough to redeem the necromancer’s bloodstained soul and thwart his mistress’s plans?

As a final showdown looms with Queen Neblis, the truth of the daēvas’ origins is revealed and three worlds collide in this thrilling conclusion to the Fourth Element series.

Goodreads / Amazon


Previous books in the series:

29670787 30228183

 


Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


GIVEAWAY!
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Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys || Some Letters Shouldn’t Be Opened

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D E A D   G I R L S   S O C I E T Y

Author: Michelle Krys

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Published: November 8th 2016 by Delacorte Press

Synopsis:

“You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.”

Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mom and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’s going to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she might win some real money.

But the Society isn’t all it seems . . . and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice—it’s a requirement.
Continue reading

The Secret Of A Heart Note by Stacey Lee || What If Love Was Just Right Under Your Nose?

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T H E   S E C R E T   O F   A   H E A R T   N O T E

Author: Stacey Lee

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Magical Realism

Published:  December 27th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Synopsis:

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs. Continue reading

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill || The Long Wait Is Over

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E V E R   T H E   H U N T E D

A U T H O R : Erin Summerill

G E N R E : Fantasy, YA

P U B L I C A T I O N : December 27th 2016 by Harcourt Childrens Books

F O R M A T : eARC

S O U R C E : NetGalley

S Y N O P S I S : Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

(**Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of Ever The Hunted in exchange for an honest review.)


MY THOUGHTS

Can you tell this isn’t going to be a positive review?

Maybe not.. but I just feel like warning you ahead.

Despite my initial confidence, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in a book than in Ever the Hunted. Just ask my best friend. She knows how gaga I’ve been over this book since the first time I saw it. And yet, when I finally managed to grab my hands on an ARC, the excitement dwindled down as I read the first few chapters.

It only got progressively worse the farther I read. There were so many things that prevented me from enjoying it such as the plot, the characters and the writing itself. I found myself glazing over some of the pages which doesn’t usually happen, even with terrible books. The pace was agonizingly slow.. and inconsistent. And most of the plot elements used in the story are ones I’ve already encountered before.

I also found a lot of contradictions within the story, such as Britta and Cohen’s characters. They’re supposed to be two of the best hunters in the kingdom and yet they didn’t convince me. They were far too impatient, reckless and overdramatic – traits that just don’t coincide with my idea of a real hunter. To top it all off, Britta keeps getting complimented for every little thing or deed she does, which in my opinion, isn’t much.

And then there’s the romance. I’m pretty sure either Lief or Captain Omar would make much more interesting love interests for Britta. Unlike Cohen, I understood their personalities in the short pages they appeared in. Cohen, though, is your typical handsome, young guy who thinks he knows what’s best for a woman, and among other things, a blasted hypocrite. I plainly dislike him. It’s getting tiresome to keep hearing the I-just-don’t-want-you-to-get-hurt kind of excuse, which in this case, is not even convincing anymore. I’m also irritated by the way Britta acts around him. She always acts like a flustered high-school girl. Even when she gets mad at him, her anger melts right away after a little groveling on Cohen’s part. It’s a wonder how my eyes managed to stay in their sockets the whole time I’m reading one of their cheesy scenes. ‘Cause I swear, they made me roll my eyes heavenwards. My point is, the romance aspect just seems to overwhelm the entire plot and I’m sick of Britta gushing nonstop over Cohen when all I wanted was for the story to focus on the hunt and the impending war.

The hunt – if you could call it hunt – was solved in about one-third of the book. Early on, I already guessed who the real murderer was and sure enough, I was right – though it took the characters to figure it out only in the last chapters. The predictability of it all just took the joy out of me and just led me to resign myself into seeing through this book. In some ways, this book also reminded me of The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins, which to be honest, was a lot better since it had an element of surprise and more reasonable plot twists. In Ever the Hunted, the author took out one of my favorite characters – one of the ONLY FEW – which just made everything worse.

It’s just a shame because most people in the minority like me thought this book had a lot of potential. There’s a lot of major adjustments needed to be made and I could only hope that the final edits and the sequel would be infinitely better.

So if you’re looking for a high fantasy or a great adventure, I wouldn’t recommend this book. I think Ever the Hunted would appeal to readers who are newer to the genre, and most especially to girls looking for a fantasy-romance (though the romance in my opinion isn’t really much great).

I’m still open to reading Summerill’s books, don’t get me wrong. I’m just disappointed that this didn’t turn out to be the debut novel I was hoping for.


R A T I N G

Dreadful (⭐)