My All-Time Favourite Romances

booklove orangutan

Well, now that Valentine’s Day is over, it seems like an appropriate time to talk about my absolute favourite romances. Of course, I love all didn’t genres, so they’ll be a sprinkling of plenty of different types of books- enjoy!

wuthering heights book

Wuthering Heights- starting off with one that people tend to love out hate, I completely understand that this is a dysfunctional romance between terrible people… But I don’t care. Not even a little. I simply adore how utterly atmospheric and emotional this book is!

jane eyre

Jane Eyre– I can’t mention one Bronte sister and not another- especially when I’d be forcing myself to choose between two masterpieces. Again, this isn’t necessarily the healthiest  relationship- though it’s better than Cathy/Heathcliff (which isn’t saying much)- but it still moves me, no matter how many times I read it or how many adaptations I’ve seen.

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– now if those first two were a little out-there, this will be more your cup of tea. The ultimate friends-to-lovers story, I don’t know anyone in literature more right for each other than Mr Knightley and Emma!

persuasion

Persuasion– ah I couldn’t make this list with just one Austen! And what better choice than beautiful story of love standing the test of time. Described as Austen’s answer to the question “but will they still love each other when the story’s done?” this resonates with the most romantic part of my heart that wants to believe love is eternal.

memoirs of a geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha– another story of constancy, this novel touched me with its poignant promise that love will find a way in the end.

a thousand splendid suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns– I couldn’t make a list like this without thinking the moving and redemptive love story wrapped up in these pages. Hosseini has a magical way with words that will transport you across time, space and emotion.

tess of the d'urbervilles

Tess of the D’Urbervilles– be warned: this one is a heartbreaker. Doomed from the outset, Hardy’ s evocative writing takes you on a journey across the near-mythical land of Wessex and to all the places of heartbreak along the way.

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Noughts and Crosses– a modern star-crossed lover story, with a twist. This powerful, heart-wrenching story will always be favourite. That ending gets me every time.

Trudi_Canavan_The_High_Lord_cover

The High Lord– there aren’t many high fantasy books for me where the romance is the star of the show. This is my exception to that rule. The reason I ended falling for this series was the beautiful (and devastating) romance at its heart.

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– more of a romantic fantasy, Taylor is the expert at getting you invested in characters and finding the beauty in there love. Karou and Akiva’ spirited connection transcends anything of this world… And beyond.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer– I said Taylor was the expert, didn’t I? So there’s no need to be surprised that two of her series ended up on this list! If I had thought there was no way she could top the romance in her last series, Lazlo and Sarai proved me wrong.

midsummer night's dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream– I had to include Shakespeare, doesn’t I? I mean, he was only the finest writer in the English language 😉 Naturally his contributions to romance stand the test of time- none more so than this romantic comedy, filled with mistaken identity, misunderstandings and more than a few moving speeches.

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– it’s no secret that this is one of my favourite contemporaries- and that’s cos of the love story!! I’m a massive sucker for discovering love that was waiting in the wings all along and this definitely delivered the *feels* in that department. It is just. so. cute.

carry on

Carry On– what is there to say this book that I haven’t already? You guys know I adore Baz and Simon; you know I think it’s the perfect Harry Potter parody. All that’s left to be said about it is there’s soon to be a sequel and I AM LIVING FOR IT.

That was a fun one to do! Naturally my question today is, what are your favourite romances? Let me know the comments!

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Soul Ripping Romance Tag

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Well, here we are again: Valentine’s Day *dun dun duuuun*. Seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about some truly devastating-soul-ripping romances 😉 Thank you so much to the wonderful Nel @Reactionary Tales, the lovely Kat @ Life and Other Disasters and the fantastic Sam @Rivermoose Reads for tagging me to do this. They all run *brilliant* blogs about books, life and TV- I highly recommend you check them all out!!

THE RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you and create a pingback to the original author – Nel at Reactionary Tales.
  • Share at least 5 (but more are welcome) romances that tugged your heart strings. They can be from books, movies, TV shows, manga; anything you can think of! They can be examples of sad tears, angry tears, happy tears or a combination of all three.
  • Nominate 5 (or more) people to share their emotional traumas
  • (Note: Try not to spoil the story for your readers in case they would like to check out these romances on their own)

MY SHIPS

romeo and juliet

Romeo and Juliet– an old ‘un but a good ‘un. I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of this tale as old as time or these particularly young star-crossed lovers, but I defy anyone to find a more beautifully written romance!

jon and ygritte

Jon and Ygritte– there are most definitely times in the show when I wish it could go back to this.

ross and demelza

Ross and Demelza– I love this relationship with everything I have, but wow, it’s as tumultuous as the Cornish sea.

aragorn and arwen

Arwen and Aragorn– I know not everyone is in love with this, however I remember being captivated by their loyalty to each other in the film (and Tolkien’s notes) and I’d describe this as one of my first ever ships. And I would sail it to the Undying Lands.

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Lily and James Potter– I know everyone has a lot of (LOUD) feelings about all the relationships in the Harry-Potter-verse nowadays- nonetheless for me, no matter what happened while they were teens, I always believed in their enemies-to-lovers romance (and be devastated by their tragic end).

throneofglass series

Dorian and Sorscha (or Dorian and Manon- basically Dorian with anyone 😉 )- dude simply can’t catch a break- and I love Maas for making me suffer so through his romantic entanglements (but also why’d you keep doing this to me?!!)

shatter-me-series

Warner and Juliette– I really didn’t ship this when I started the series- yet Mafi COMPLETELY turned this around and now I see theirs as a poignantly sad love affair.

seven husbands of evelyn hugo

Evelyn Hugo and the one she loves (*if you’ve read the book you’ll know who that is but I won’t spoil it for the rest of you*)- I don’t want to give away anything about this gorgeous mystery romance!! I guess you’ll just have to go and read it for yourself if you want to find out what I’m talking about 😉

I TAG: 

Beth, Zezee, Lucinda, Mim Inkling, Book Beach Bunny, Kat @Novels and Waffles, Rivermoose Reads, Katie and Journey into Books

And that’s all for now! Do you have any fictional romances that straight up break your heart? Let me know in the comments!

Power Couples Book Tag

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It’s that time of year again… the time when I catch up on all my romance-themed tags 😉 Thank you so much to the awesome Sam @Rivermoose Reads for tagging me to do this one!

A couple that share big passions and goals

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Darrow and Mustang (or Darrow and Eo if you think about it 😉 )

A couple that love and respect each other

night of cake and puppets

Zuzana and Mic 

#romancegoals

A couple that is stronger together than apart

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Henry and Rachel

A huge part of this exquisite book is rediscovering what you’ve lost… including romantic love 🙂

A couple that wholly support each other

six of crows duology

Kaz and Inej

Even in criminal endeavours 😉

A couple that is genuinely cute together

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon and Blue

I think the exact word to describe them is: squeeee-omg-so-cute!! (okay that’s a few words mashed into one, but in internet-speak that counts as one word)

I tag: Kat, Nina, Way Too Fantasy, Luci, Emily, Sofii, Bibliophalgist, CJR the Brit, Mel and Jill

And anyone else that fancies doing it! What’s your favourite bookish power couple? Let me know in the comments! 

Books I’m Glad I Gave a Second Chance (and ended up loving)

 

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I will admit, talking about books I no longer like is not always the most fun- nothing hurts as much as falling out of love with a series 😉 Which is why, after yesterday’s post, it seems only fair to talk about some books I very nearly gave up on… yet won me over by the end!

game of thrones book

Game of Thrones– okay, starting with a *shock, horror* confession: when I first picked this up, I wasn’t sold. I know, I know, it’s got a great opening, but I didn’t click with the writing style. What ended up happening was I saw the show and read a spoiler for the second season… which meant I inevitably felt I had to read them all that summer to make sure I wasn’t spoiled again! #bookwormlogic Anyway, I picked it up again and realised what a BIG MISTAKE I’d made- I may never be in love with the writing style- still these books are ridiculously exciting.

the-black-magician-trilogy

The Black Magician Trilogy– I was actually warned that the first book in this series might be a struggle to get through… and it was. That said, the last act convinced me that I *needed* to keep reading- and I’m so glad it did, because by the end of the series I’d done a complete one-eighty on my feelings for the series and fallen irrevocably in love with it. The only problem is I frequently think of this book and series when I’m considering DNFing- cos it’s that one time I cling to as proof that *it can get better*!

prince-of-thorns

Prince of Thorns– I’ve always been drawn to darker fantasy, yet it took me a very long time to take the dive into the more adult grimdark section of the genre. The number of times I considered reading this before I finally picked it up was ridiculous- and it’s ridiculous how much I loved it given my hesitation. I’m so glad I got over my initial trepidation- cos if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading this intense and wild series!

wolf speaker

Wolf Speaker– alright, time for another admission: this was possibly the first book I ever DNF’d. The worst part is my reason SUCKED (I think it had something to do with the list of made up terms at the beginning- is it obvious I was so young I didn’t really understand how world building worked? 😉 ) Fortunately, my sister read it instead and told me I was completely wrong. To prove to her I was right, I read the whole thing… and, yeah, she was right. The book was awesome. Thus begun my lifelong love of Pierce’s books!

percyjacksonseries

Percy Jackson– when it came to this book I simply felt it was good, but I was too old for it. And while that isn’t any less true now than it was a couple of years ago, I did decide to give it another shot- and whaddya know, I had a lot of fun with it!

six of crows duology

Six of Crows– this one is sort of cheating, cos it’s more that I read the previous Grisha series and, while I liked it, wasn’t as blown away as everyone else seemed to be. So when a new Bardugo series came out, I wasn’t rushing to put it on my shelf. Somehow though the hype train caught up to me and I couldn’t help but jump aboard. Turns out I wasn’t a complete sucker- this duology ended up stealing my heart!

court of mists and fury

Court of Mists and Fury– there seems to be a trend for me with Maas’ books- I don’t generally speaking end up sold on the series openers- HOWEVER once the series gets going, I become more than a little enthralled with the characters and relationships that I forget all my misgivings. This was precisely what happened with Court of Mist and Fury– while I wasn’t a fan of Court of Thorns and Roses, I was told book 2 redeems the series and that was one hundred percent the case for me.

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– to be fair, I never thought this was a bad book, I simply thought it wasn’t for me (oh how wrong I was 😉 ). Like a lot of books on this list, one of the greatest obstacles to enjoying it came down to poor timing. Personally, I think I was too young to properly get the wit and irony. When I got a bit older, I gave Austen another try (well I had to read Emma for school) and you know what? My taste had completely evolved and now I’m complete Austen stan 😉 Turns out our kid-selves don’t know everything- who’d have thunk it? 😉

canterbury tales

Canterbury Tales– this is simply another case of reading it too soon (and not having the faintest idea how to tackle the Middle English). So when I had to study this at uni I was DREADING it. Fortunately I was told a great tip to read it aloud- sure, I sounded like I had a funny accent, but once I got going I realised how easily I was able to make sense of it that way- and more importantly discovered the brilliance of the characterisation and stories for myself.

simarillion

Silmarillion– alright, this is admittedly not the best book ever. Certainly, it’s still not my favourite Tolkien. Nonetheless, even though I came close to DNFing this twice, I’m glad I eventually got past the midway hump- especially since some of the more beautiful stories come after that point! I also really liked the quasi-Biblical style of the prose. So in the end, I thought this was a worthwhile read. Plus, it never hurts to delve further into Tolkien’s wonderfully crafted world 🙂

So are there any books or series you nearly gave up on, yet ended up loving? Let me know in the comments!

Book Series I Fell Out of Love with Over Time

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Hello all! I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about falling out of love with series. I guess part of this comes from realising certain books simply don’t interest me like they used to- which is a pity- but is all part of growing up I suppose 😉 We have our childhood sweethearts and then drift apart… However that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. What I want to talk about today is the books that leave a sour taste in my mouth, the ones which feel increasingly tainted and the series that really broke my heart. Let’s get to it, before I chicken out…

mortal instruments

Anything in the Shadowhunter-Verse– this is the most obvious to me right now and the inspiration behind making this list. Sorry to the people that are still diehard fans, but the more I think about it, the more I’m bothered by the direction the series took (or in some ways, the lack of direction). The recycled characters and plots, the endless cliffhangers, the insertion of politics- it began really grinding my gears at the start of the Dark Artifices and had driven into a ditch by the end. And while I may continue to look back on my first foray into this world with fondness- ie the Infernal Devices trilogy- the more recent books are actually managing to taint my original view of the series as a fun paranormal romance. Sadly, its lost the entertainment value for me.

divergent series

The Divergent Series– I’m gonna confess, I was never a massive fan of this series. That said, I consistently rated it around 4* for enjoyment alone- always stating “don’t think about it too much”. Well I guess I couldn’t take my own advice, because the more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more I think it fails as dystopic fiction. The world building is nonsensical and the messaging (super important in this genre) is all over the place. And certain decisions in the last book are. so. frustrating (and I’m probably not even thinking of the one you are- which just goes to show how many issues there are with it!!)

twilight series

Twilight– unfortunately I have the awful claim to fame of being one of those peeps that liked Twilight before it was cool (I definitely ought to bury this fact somewhere- but for some reason I keep bringing it up 😉 ). Anyway, I think it’s fairly obvious why I stopped loving a story about sparkly vampires- not only is a concept like that bound to lose its shine over time, but that series GOT SO MUCH WORSE. I’m just sad I staked any energy in it 😉

kingkiller-chronicles-books

The Kingkiller Chronicles– ooh controversial opinion time. I actually LOVED book 1- however I ended up hugely disappointed with Wise Man’s Fear– in a way that made me question why I even liked the first instalment. My increasing despondency to this series hasn’t been helped by the huge wait between books. That said, this is the sole book on the list where I’ll happily read more and the only one that I think has a strong chance of redeeming itself with a killer finale.

poison study series

The Chronicles of Ixia– ah this is another one it pains me to think about these days cos I *loved* the first book. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep up its unique momentum in book 2 and managed to get progressively more generic as the series dragged on. Such was my disappointment that it’s even tainted the earlier books for me and, as much as I still have a soft spot for some of the characters (*cough* Valek *cough cough*), I always feel a twinge of sadness when I think about this series.

maximum ride series.png

Maximum Ride– now I didn’t want to include a lot of books from my childhood, because I know that my tastes have changed over time, I usually just read things based on what was available in libraries and mostly I look back on them with rose-tinted glasses even if they were lousy- BUT I can’t forget how much this series crashed and burned. It started out as a great concept and then flew wildly off track. Such a pity.

There you have it, these are all the series that cut me to the quick! 

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So do you have any series or books you used to love, but don’t anymore? Let me know in the comments! 

Queen of Air and Darkness Left Me Stumbling In the Dark

*Spoiler review*

queen of air and darkness book

Do you ever feel like a book is such a hot mess that you have no idea how to review it? Well, this was my first book of the year and I’ve been at a loss how to express all that frustration/angst/gosh-darn-whys I’ve been feeling about it for a month now- which is why I’ve decided to recruit some help for this post! *Give it up for the lovely Monkey Baby who’s gonna hold my hand through this review!*

monkey baby final

Bonjourno mon belles bonbons 

Would you guys believe she’s actually much better at French than me? 😉 Now, as you might remember, neither of us were especially happy with the last instalment– nonetheless both of us had high hopes that this one would redeem the series. Fortunately when I cracked this open, it had tumultuous, emotional opening that I was certain I was in for a wild ride. Buuut it all went downhill from there.

Honestly the beginning bored me so bad I was loathe to even continue.

Yeah it was a pity you didn’t even like the opening- especially when it’s such a behemoth of a book. Seeing it in person, you can tell it’s too long. My mum took one look at it and said “they’ve not edited that”. Frankly, I’m not sure it was. Interesting storylines were relegated to needless drama; the best ideas were downplayed and disappointing. There was more than enough fluff here to make a monstrous, gigantic teddy. Thanks to this, the pacing was simply way off. The story stalled at every turn; I realllly struggled to get through it. It took you a while to read too didn’t it monkey baby?

It felt like an eternity on a long disused rickety, lame ghost train to get through. Every time a chapter finished I thought “gosh darn it there’s still so much left to get through of this drivel. Why am I still reading this? For the love of goodness sake someone put a stop to this madness!” I was secretly hoping you’d tell me what happens so I wouldn’t have to continue with that pathetic monster book. 

Well you could have told me that and I’d have spared you it! Okay so we’ve covered the length- let’s talk about the actual meat on these big bones 😉 While the parabatai mystery was fascinating, it unravelled as the plot went on and for me wasn’t resolved in a remotely satisfying way. Nor did I like the Unseelie Queen plot, since it was written more as setup for future series. Even if I enjoyed it in part, I didn’t like that this entire book was a pitch for another series- especially when this was supposed to be a grand finale in its own right. This level of delayed gratification is just. not. cool. Worse than that, it felt like fanfic of itself at this point. There were some goodish twists (and since this started out as fanfic, it’s kinda fanfic of fanfic…). Don’t get me wrong, aspects like the inclusion of Sebastian’s son and their detour into Thule (/what-could-have-been land) were entertaining up until a point. But even that they took wayyy too long with it. Now, I remember you had different thoughts about some of the plot- and what I liked you hated and vice versa- eh sis?

The shadowhunters definitely fell off their high horses- or should I say motorbikes- in this book. The plot was all over the place in the cauldron of characters she created. There were glimpses of interesting moments like the giant angels but for the most part it was so all over the place and please I don’t want to read mortal instruments from how it could have happened perspective. 

Ach- I didn’t even like the oversized angels (even writing that phrase makes me feel silly). One thing we did agree on was this: even the usually-well-done relationships left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, this was partly due to shadowhunters being a shadow of their former selves. Especially Christina- who left a lot to be desired in the personality department- though apparently not in the desirability one 😉 She literally had NO FLAWS- except that apparently she was simply too lovable. Make of that what you will.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH CHRISTINA!!!!!!!!!! SHE IS MY LEAST FAVOURITE CHARACTER OF ALL TIME!!!! She is the most boring individual to ever grace paper! It felt like she was interloper of the whole story everytime she popped up I just thought oh here we go again. And why was Julian’s character ruined!!! In the first book and even in the second he was such a cute, adorable strong character. I wanted to shmush him:) But blocking part of his emotions was ridiculous!!! It meant that for most of the book he had no character!!! And was almost as dull as Christina! 

I seem to recall you dubbed her “perfect Christina” 😉 The cohort also sucked and not in the good-they’re-scary-villains way- in the *there’s no tension* these-people-are-a-joke kind of way. Now I don’t see why I should have to talk politics, cos this is not what I signed up for with paranormal YA, but it’s kind of impossible not to say anything when they’re caricatures of *EVIL* right wingers (with a definite slant towards the “all conservatives are eeeevil” view) (nice and counter-productive to discourse). It would be bad enough if the preachy levels were though the roof (which they are) or if their being annoying whiners merely took the sting out of how scary they’re supposed to be (which it does) BUT they’re not even consistent in their viewpoints. If Clare wanted to strawman arguments, she could have done better than having the staunchly right wing Zara Dearborn resort to left wing talking points like unearned privileges- I guess they’re staying true to the socialist part of the national socialists? Let’s be real though- the parallel with Nazis is insulting to the realities of history and does a disservice to those that actually suffered at the hands of that regime. Ultimately it’s simply lazy, poorly developed characterisation that fails to reflect the complexity of human thought.

AH the cohort!! HAHAHAHAHA! Please when you’re writing a villain make them actually I don’t know be more villainous!! Every 2 seconds you’ve got Zara pouting or Horace speaking drivel!! And the whole book was self righteous talk that quite frankly I never opt to read and felt like pulling teeth for the sheer hammering it did on my poor brain.And the worst offender of this book is the dreadful names!!! Horace and Zara could these names be any more ridiculous for villains!! just saying them makes me laugh at the thought that they could even be portrayed as so called villains! 

I forgot about the name thing LOL! As much as it used to bug me that all villains were called THE DARK OVERLORD I think it’s worse now that a lot of them end up called Bob or Horace- not exactly intimidating or enigmatic. And that ploy they did at the end was so pointless! Worst. Baddies. Ever. However, like I said earlier in this review, I didn’t entirely hate this book (surprising given the amount of salt here, I know 😉 ). There were some good aspects, I’m simply suffering from more than a little fatigue when it comes to these stories. For me, this was particularly noticeable in the epilogue, where Clare does her typical trick of trying to keep you hooked with new characters and cliffhangers. Sorry, but I’m officially done buying it. This is where I part ways with the shadowhunter world. What about you baby face? I know you said you might continue…

The only mildly redeemable part was Kit, Ty and Ash’s Characters! The stories were pathetic but very promising for a new book! Although I am beyond loathe to touch another of her stories if she persists with this Mary Sue characterisation and political blah blah! I am very torn whether to touch another of her books as I really loved the mortal instruments and clockwork series but this book and series just felt like a landslide of rotten bananas that led to a whirlwind of peels thrown in my face! 

So, I’ve been really indecisive about my rating on this cos it left me pretty conflicted, but in the end I went with:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

And gallons and gallons of SALT!

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How about you Monkey Baby?

I think for this book it exhausted me so much all I can rate it is a broken heart! 

 

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Hope you enjoyed that! And *lots of love* to the Monkey Baby for her insight here! So have you read this? Were you as salty as Monkey Baby and I were? And do you have any series you’ve fallen out of love with? Let me know in the comments!

Discovering the Heart of the Lost Sisters

the lost sistersSo I wasn’t planning on giving a novella a full review… but *WOW* this packs quite the punch and has more than enough depth to warrant as much attention as I can give it. There are going to be vague spoilers for Cruel Princeso watch out if you still plan to read it.

Why was this so brilliant? Well, because it was completely unexpected. I was thinking this was going to be a simple short story that explained the actions of Tarryn and humanised her a little after her decisions in Cruel Prince. It’s not that at all. If you’re looking for a great explanation that redeems this character… sorry, you won’t find it. In fact, I think it’s actually been miss-marketed in that regard. This isn’t the story of how a heroine went astray- this is a villain origin story.

Right away, we’re plunged into Tarryn’s unapologetic apology. In a thoroughly unsympathetic tone, she reveals why and how she betrayed her sister- time and time again. If nothing else, I was impressed straight away by how distinct and persuasive the voice was. It was a subtle portrayal of a character and really opened a window into her mind. Whether you take her side or not, you’re going to have to admit she’s a very lifelike figure.

For me, this was a great twist on the YA trope of having the heroine do terrible things, but somehow get away with it cos *THEY’RE THE GOOD ONE*. It deals with the holier than thou attitude a lot of YA heroines have and twists it on its head. For me, this undermined that trope completely. The funny thing is Tarryn genuinely believes she’s the heroine in a fairy tale.

In fact, it’s because she views everything as a story that she thinks she can get away with whatever cruelties she commits. She doesn’t actually see how she’s done anything wrong and thinks she’s deserving of forgiveness just because. It’s a really twisted take on what it means to be a heroine and how someone might go down a wicked path.

Thus it perfectly embodies the idea that the villain is the hero of their own story. For all this tale’s simplicity, it’s actually a remarkable view into the human psyche. No, this doesn’t deliver anything new, but it’s quite the journey anyway. And yes, this is only a novella, nonetheless it’s also an ingenious twist on the YA genre and rather a pleasant surprise I might add. Sure, it doesn’t “save” the character’s reputation- and I won’t be expecting her to improve in Wicked King– however it is an excellent character study and is brilliantly executed:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

So have you read this? Do you plan to? And have you read any novellas recently that have blown you away? Let me know in the comments!