Who’s Into Who? (M or F? – A Book Review)

M or F?
Author: Lisa Papademetriou & Chris Tebbetts
Published: 2006

On Goodreads

M or F - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated C for quirky cute with a side of crazy and a sprinkle of boy trouble.

 

I’m thinking this whole thing will make a good movie someday.

Frannie has a crush on Jeffrey. Frannie is really shy. So, Frannie gets her fabulous (and gay) best friend, Marcus to help her, by having him chat online as her because she’s too terrified to do it herself.

In the chat room everything goes well, she even gets a date. But, as Marcus keeps chatting the more he’s sure that Jeffrey likes him, not Frannie. His best intentions to help his best friend goes down a shady path. If he doesn’t turn back soon, his and Frannie’s friendship could be over.

But he really likes Jeffrey. What will he do?

 

I plucked this up because it was bright and mysterious, like a bright beacon that said, “READ ME”.

This book was cute, filled with awkward teen spirit. Frannie and Marcus are best friends. Frannie is the shy one while Marcus is the outgoing one, making them two peas in a pod of sorts. They really encompassed friendship and I loved that, especially their telepathy. Everybody wants that with their BFF. I’m VERY lucky to have that with mine. These two were inseparable and it made me all mushy.

I really liked these two’s chemistry, but I also liked the way all of the characters interweaved together. Granted, Frannie was sometimes annoying and Marcus was a little obnoxious, but that’s what made them them. There was a lot of individuality.

I was kept guessing as I read. The way that everything got mixed up between everyone was comical. Plus, all of the drama made me antsy. It really made this book a fast read.

Thumbs Up

This book had one of the most unique styles of writing I’ve ever seen. It was creative and kept me invested with its occasional chatroom structure. That really added to the story. It was entertaining and had me hold my breath from time to time.

And the title complimented the story so well. Not only does the POV move between Frannie and Marcus, but the book is also open about sexuality and how difficult and tricky it can be in high school. I think it’s great to address this factor. Dating is awkward enough in high school, but the hardships and pressure that it can have is stressful.

There were many little surprises even though the whole book was pretty predictable. I really like when a book does this. It’s like sprinkles on a cupcake. Simply delightful. The best part for me was the Coda aka the Epilogue. It perfectly rounded out the whole book.

 

Overall

A fun book to read and fast too. However, it wasn’t memorable. It got a good pass for being entertaining and filled with high school drama, but that’s about it.

 

Quotables:

“If silence speaks louder than words, right then Frannie’s silence was saying crush, crush, crush, which is different than hot for, hot for, hot for.” (Marcus, p. 5)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? One Love by Mariana’s Trench.

 

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Summer of ’82 (The Sacrifice Box – A Book Review)

The Sacrifice Box
Author: Martin Stewart
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - The Sacrifice Box

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Never come to the box alone.

Never open it after dark.

Never take back your sacrifice.

During the summer of 1982, five kids—Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb, and Mack—all brought together under different circumstances. With nothing in common, they spend the summer together as unexpected band of friends. On the last day of summer, when they’ve been drawn to this mysterious box in the woods, they each put something into the box and the repeat the rules of the box.

The summer of 1986, the five haven’t spoken since the summer four years ago, but now, they wrangle together because something dreadful has happened. Somebody has broken the rules of the box. Now, the things they’ve given to the box are coming after them, trying to kill them. They have to figure out who before the evil within the box

You broke the rules. Now you’ll have to pay.

 

First off, if I love a cover, if it’s eye-catching, I have to gush about it, and that’s the case here. The cover is originally what caught my attention with this mysterious Stranger Things spin-off vibe with the red letter glow. The eyes staring out of the box at me were creepy too! Dark and ominous and such a classic feel. Definitely a fantastic work of art. Then after reading the inside slip, I was intrigued.

The 80s!! WOO!! A good time period. Before cell phones and computers. Geez, hard to think about that. While this book is set in the 80s and during the summer, (the best of the four seasons—fight me on it), the book takes place in the UK/England is what I’m guessing at because there weren’t major specifics, and I was just trying to pick it up from the description. The imagery brought to the story was vivid and lush, and I was soaking it up like a sponge (much like this plotting cat). Just stunning visuals. I could see it all so clearly like I was there.

Currently

I really enjoyed this book. It was quirky, filled with humor, friendship, and fun. Quite campy. Also, September Hope is an awesome name! Each of the five are interesting, but I didn’t feel very much chemistry. I couldn’t understand what really brought them together even outside of having nothing to do that summer. I’ve had plenty of summers where I didn’t have people to hang out with and I was all good with hanging out with myself. The intensity between them all was great. It added growth to the story, but I didn’t get very attached to any of them, and I love to get attached. Attachment makes the heart break or flood and drown you in emotions. I just didn’t get enough to make me feel much for the characters. If anything I felt bad that these kids were having a shit time after screwing around with bad juju.

The build-up to the sacrifice box and its evils were making me curious. Kudos on keeping me intrigued. It got gritty and horrific pretty quickly too. That, and hilarious. You can’t say you wouldn’t laugh a bit if your teddy bear was chasing you everywhere. I understand that that’s also creepy because that fluffy little sucker was vicious and just not right in the head, but I couldn’t stop giggling at times.

Scarlet Reader

While there were many mysteries that I feel like didn’t get quite figured out, I was still engrossed in this. It was fast-paced and unique and original. And, it was dimensional. While the current five struggle trying to figure who among them is responsible for putting them all at risk, you learn about the group that sacrificed to the box before them. I liked the fluctuation between both times. It added an interesting history. BUT. I will say this. It wasn’t important to have that history. Not in my opinion. It just beefed up the story, giving it some interesting flavor.

However, I won’t say that this is some profound book. There are a few moments that get you thinking, but it doesn’t extend into something deep.

As for the box?

Scarlet Reader - Sacrifice Box

Your guess is a good as mine. It’s the biggest mystery. Where it came from and where it’s going and what’s really inside, nobody knows.

 

Overall

This was both creepy and beautiful with a dash of funny. Granted, there are still a lot of questions that I have surrounding the box and these kids, I still thoroughly enjoyed this. I’ve also come to the conclusion that sometimes, there are things that will never be known. Does that bug me? Yes. Was it super imperative to the plot? No. That’s because the plot was deadly, but not solely fixed on being anything other than entertaining and it succeeded. LOL. A fun read.

 

Quotables:

“A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch.” (Sep’s mum, p. 11)

“We’re all little miracles. Everything about us: all our stupid habits and our jokes and our weird faces, on a spinning ball that’s the perfect distance from the sun. And now here we are, you and me, sitting on top of a million years of history.” (Hadley, p. 137)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? In the Shadows by The Rasmus.

 

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Fall From Grace (Kissed by an Angel – A Book Review)

Kissed by an Angel (#1-3)
Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Published: 1998

On Goodreads

Kissed by an Angel

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

25/25

 

A love beyond life…a danger beyond doubt.

After a tragic car accident that killed her boyfriend, Tristan, Ivy is barely hanging on. She can’t seem to move on and her belief in angels is gone. She doesn’t understand why she is alive and he is not. They had a love that was meant to be and now she’s empty. Her new stepbrother Gabriel is there to pick up the pieces, and maybe more…

But when Tristan comes back as an angel he struggles to reach out to Ivy. She’s lost. She can’t feel his presence at all. Through her friends, he hopes to make contact with her. It’s imperative that he does because her life is in danger. He’s learned that the car accident wasn’t an accident at all. Somebody tried to kill Ivy and they still want her dead.

Tristan will do whatever it takes to protect Ivy, even let her go and move on without him. First, he’s going to find out who killed him.

 

This book marks 25 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution. I’m a sucker for a sweet story with a side of forever and love. It’s a guilty pleasure. And it’s even better if there’s that element that makes it complicated. You know, like death.

           

Like The Vampire Diaries, this book hales from the 90s. I could actually see this becoming a show sometime. It’s got all of the plotlines to become addicting.

Lose your love.

Do anything to get it back.

Lose it again.

Move on.

Realize it’s all you ever needed.

Then, finale, after all of the pain and sorrow and hell you put everyone else through so you didn’t have to be alone in it, you two end up together forever…probably dead.

Let’s be honest, we thrive of that high-octane drama of betrayal and love and longing that twists the heart. We cling to our seats for it because it makes us feel.

I don’t know about anyone else who’s read this, but I got Elena Gilbert vibes. She and Ivy could be best friends in their brooding and mooning over their loves. The romance between Ivy and Tristan is certainly one of those forever kinds and definitely beyond the grave types.

Ivy was so broken hearted and I had a great appreciation for seeing her try to work through it. It didn’t just pass by like it was nothing. The heartache was deep. It was very realistic. And though it was realistic, it also dragged the story out a bit too much, coming off too repetitive at times. I was forced to do a dreadful thing. Skim in some places. Ick.

Scarlet Reader - Kissed by an Angel

Tristan, her great, true love, was such a heartbreaker (as in my heart broke for him) and a goofball. Totally sweet and everything you’d hope for in a good boy. The kind that hold the door open for you and lets you have his hoodie when you’re cold. Yup, that guy. Swoon, girls. He’s a keeper. And he’s now dead, so it’s also super freaking tragic.

Scarlet Reader - Kissed by an Angel

The side characters were an array of likes and dislikes. If I had to pick one that really grinded me up, it was Suzanne. She’s one of Ivy’s best friends and she acted like a real…argh! She got so jealous and petty about Gabriel, the creep, because that’s who she decided to get moony over. I got so fed up with her that I wanted to reach into the pages and smack her. Kudos on provoking that out of me. There’s one of those characters in every book.

This is a setting that we all know. High school. Home. Very simple and to the point. Very teen drama perfection. And don’t worry about the money because every family in this book was well off! It was the high school romance that we all know lasts forever that was important.

Sorry, dashed a bit of sarcasm in there. That romance is easy to get swept up in. The setting of the story just came out bland and the character interactions didn’t do well in coming out more important. In fact. It felt as if the setting wasn’t important at all, throwing the story off balance. It was just splashed in there like it was no big deal, which was strange since Ivy’s mother getting married led to a whole change of scenery and that’s a big deal. It all came across bland.

Scarlet Reader - GiferThe style is what I call classic. It’s longing and reminds me of CW shows. The drama is sky high. You get all of that ooey-gooey and heartbreak as well as a crap ton of frustration. This is also where ships began. I can just imagine how people would argue about who Tristan should be with and who Ivy should be with. And the OTPs, oh my.

The way chapters or books would end at weird place threw me off though. It felt as if they’d cut off in random spots like—Oh! This is as good a place as any! Buuuut, uh, no because instead of feeling the cliffhanger that I’m sure was intended, I felt confused. Some parts just moved too fast for me to get a handle on. It left me reeling and trying figure out—Wait, what happened? How? When? Huh?

I will say this. I got shocked a few times. There weren’t shock around every corner, but I got stunned good a few times! Like, whoa.

 

Overall

This was a sweet and tender book, well all three in the one. LOL. I can’t say I have a desperation to finish the series. I’m not clinging to dear life. But they were nice. I have the fourth one and look forward to reading it. In the end, when it comes down to finishing it, if I come across the final book then yay! if not then I’m not feeling too bad about it.

 

Quotables:

“One day she’d have the nerve to say it, all of the words out loud.”(Kissed by an Angel, p. 2)

“Your problem is that you take it all too seriously, Ivy. Romance is a game, just a game.”(Kissed by an Angel, p. 65)

“Ivy realized for the first time that the more you love, the more you hurt. What was worse, you hurt for him as well as yourself.” (Kissed by an Angel, p. 114)

“Life goes on, and you’ve got to get on with it!” (The Power of Love, p. 112)

 

 More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Sweet Creature by Harry Styles.

 

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Tea is at Four (The Hobbit – A Book Review)

The Hobbit
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Published: 1937

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - The Hobbit

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

20/25

 

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, in The Shire, is visited by a group of dwarves and Gandalf the grey. They seek a burglar for their travels to take back the Lonely Mountain from the dangerous dragon, Smaug. Gandalf assures the dwarves that Bilbo is the one.

Bilbo wants no part of this adventure. He likes his way of life just fine with his books, garden, and tea. However, convinced, he joins the dwarves on an unexpected journey he’ll never forget.

 

This book marks 20 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve always meant to read this book as well as Lord of the Rings. I’m glad to finally get the chance.

 

Where to begin!

I really enjoyed this. This is a classic for a reason. Light and humorous. Adventurous and filled with friendship. Non-stop action too. This truly was a journey I was not ready to get to the end of. From dumb trolls to escaping cunning elves and defeating the terrifying dragon, Smaug. The action was non-stop. This wasn’t the kind of story that had me holding my breath, but reading faster, eagerly.

Scarlet Reader

I have seen the movies and they were good. They even left me with that longing at the end with the beautiful score of music, but they don’t compare to the book. I am still surprised they made one book into three movies though. The book was beautiful in the way that it was simple rather than complex. It swept me away so easily.

The setting was brought to life with incredible imagery. Vivid in color and action. This is only a piece of Middle Earth, but it’s still stunning. And music. The songs in the book were so colorful and added to the story, making it lively and even joyous. Plus, it’s not a road trip without some tunes.

Scarlet Reader

I was thrown a little bit by the dwarves’ strong dislike for Bilbo. It’s worse than in the movies. They really thought of him as useless and a burden and it was heartbreaking. Although, it did make for great satisfaction when Bilbo proved them wrong even though he’s very honest about how afraid he is. As I’ve said before, it’s okay for the hero to be afraid. That’s when courage comes into play. Courage is when you push through those fears to the other side.

The dwarves were an interesting bunch. Quite lazy too. LOL. While a joyous bunch most of the time, they relied on Bilbo for nearly everything. Who knows what they would’ve done without him.

And Gollum! A lot creepier in the book. For sure. And I felt an even deeper pang of pity for him.

 

Overall

I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to get started on Lord of the Rings. Such a fantastic read that tickled my inner adventurer. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

 

Quotables:

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.” (p. 51)

“Why, O why did I ever leave my hobbit-hole!” (Bilbo, p. 66)

“Third time pays for all.” (p. 233)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Long Time Traveller by The Wailin’ Jennys.

 

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Mind Over Phobias…and Curses (A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – A Book Review)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

A family.

A curse.

A greatest fear.

Esther’s family has been haunted by a curse. See, each family member dies from their fear. Dad is agoraphobic. Mom is terrified of bad luck. And her twin cannot be in the dark. All of this leads to Esther living an interesting life.Esther is searching for hers and has an ever-growing list of phobias that might be what she’s cursed with.

When Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, a boy she used to know, she is left stranded at a bus stop. He took everything down to the fruit roll-up and that list of possible fears. They make a strange pair, but Jonah is determined to help Esther through her list. Turns out, she may be afraid of the one thing she didn’t even think about. Love.

This book started out curious and intriguing and snowballed into me loving it a LOT. This was upbeat, yet personally heavy. An incredibly unique story not only about fears and approaching fear, but also dealing with anxiety and other mental illnesses. This book made them so vivid real. For people who don’t fully understand what it’s like, they’ll get a close up

Scarlet Reader - Perfect

There are so many more phobias than I have ever thought about. (Here’s a site where you can have a look for yourself-here.)My best friend has countless. I love her to pieces and always ALWAYS support her and encourage her that it’s okay. It’s no joke to make fun of a person who has them whether they are rational or not. They give people some serious anxiety. I always try to help her work on them, but it’s easier said than done. Mostly, I try be the comic relief. It’s not dumb or ridiculous. I worry about her, but I know she’s a toughie. There are just some things that affect us. I have a fear of spiders sometimes, but that’s because they think I’m a jungle gym. My fight with the dark is worse than an on again off again relationship. More than anything, failure and the thought that I am greatly unneeded, are what often haunts me. By unneeded I don’t mean being a needy human. No, I mean that I have no purpose on this planet and am useless. These fears and matched anxieties are ones I am working on overcoming every day. We should all work on overcoming our fears. Oh, and heights. Heights are tricky because I’m not afraid of climbing them. It’s the idea of falling from them. And I certainly WON’T divulge on my clown fear. They eat people, people! *shivers*

The characters were phenomenal. Seriously. BRAVA. complex, diverse, and opposite of each other. Esther was extremely awesome. From being determined to face her fears even though some of them are pretty scary to dressing up as inspiring characters, both real and fiction, she was brave, strong, and human. Whether she realized it or not, people were drawn to her. Jonah Smallwood, for example. Funny and kind, he was the hot sauce on her ice cream. Sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so GOOD! So spicy and sweet. A fantastic combination if there ever was one. He supports her with no cruelty or frustration or impatience that could be normally received from somebody who doesn’t have any understanding of what it’s like to feel an uncontrollable amount of fear that just squeezes tightly around you like a boa constrictor, taking the air right out of you. He’s even kind to her whole family, not judging or distancing himself just because they have their beliefs with their phobias. I completely melted.

Dead of Winter

The style of story was buoyant, like floating in an air balloon, or so I imagine-the balloon part. All floaty, though there’s that bit of nervousness because all you’re in is a human-sized picnic basket with a massive balloon and a blazing torch keeping it up. So, a little nerve-shaking. But, the view is impeccable. Completely breathtaking and totally worth it. This book is definitely breathtaking. Invigorating even, but I can relate to it so much. The rule-breaking, risk-taking, and life-changing moments were unbelievable. Lighthearted, yet intense and heartbreaking. Just magical with so many emotions so perfectly placed and written.

The ending left me with my jaw on the floor. While the exploration of mental illness was quite serious, I was still left shocked because there was a twist! I was guessing on and off throughout the book about Esther’s serious need to face-off with Death and by the end I was breathless. I had to read it twice. I can’t give too much away, but I was stunned.

mindblown

Overall

Tackling a real world issue in a light of bravery and determination. This wasn’t about love conquering all. It was about overcoming an all-consuming struggle. It encourages understanding for those who face not only fears, but actual illnesses that most people don’t believe

Quotables:

“God, so basic. I can’t decide what would be more tragic, dying at seventeen, or having the most cliché funeral ever.” (Esther, p. 9)

“Fears can’t become full-blown phobias if you avoid them, and phobias can’t kill you if you don’t have them.” (Esther, p. 60)

“Tolkien knew a lot of stuff, but he knew nothing about the dark souls of moths. No way a moth would’ve helped Gandalf. Least believable part of Middle-earth.” (Esther, p. 94)

“Murals were a well-known-gateway drug to feelings, and she couldn’t have any of that.” (Esther, p. 101)

“Depression was a real sneaky asshole.” (Esther, p. 147)

“Love was a trap, a sticky trap of molasses meant to bind two people together. It was a thing that couldn’t be escaped, a weight that people strapped to their own legs before they waded into the water and wondered why they drowned.” (Esther, p. 268)

“Everyone we let into our lives has the power to hurt us. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t, but that’s not a reflection of us, or our strength. Loving someone who hurts you doesn’t make you weak.” (Eugene, p.315)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Lucky Day in Hell by Eel.

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That’s What Friends Are For – A Book List

Hello, loves.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I decided on a booklist to represent friendship. I know personally, I’m thankful for my family and friends. Sometimes I’m a lot to put up with LOL.

Whether we’re up or down. In great times of need. Blood or not. Friends are always there for us. This book list is dedicated to them. With love, tragedy, heartache, and hardships, life would be a different beast if we had to tame it by ourselves.

And sometimes it isn’t easy to have friends. You’ll fight and cry and may not speak for days or weeks or months, but you know they’re not far away and that you’ll make up. Sometimes you drift apart and that’s okay, too. Make room for as many as possible is my advice.

Like an onion or a flower, sweet or sour, there will be many. Only a few will crack open your heart and be in your special circle. The circle you pair your family in, and it won’t matter how far away you are from each other. It’s the heart that keeps you connected (and of course social media these days LOL).


The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

“Don’t live a little. Live a lot.”

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A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle

Scarlet Reader - A Wrinkle in Time

“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

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The Thing About Jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin

The Thing About Jellyfish

“But a person doesn’t always know the difference between a new beginning and a forever sort of ending.”

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Author: Rick Riordan

PJ - hypable

“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”

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Daughters of the Moon
Author: Lynne Ewing

Scarlet Reader - Daughters of the Moon

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You get nowhere standing up, so get up on that seat and go!”

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares

Scarlet Reader - Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

“Maybe, sometimes, it’s easier to be mad at the people you trust because you know they’ll always love you, no matter what.”

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The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger

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“You can lie to yourself if you want, but reality is going to catch up with you. I’ll be waiting when it does… whether you like it or not.”

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Pay It Forward
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Scarlet Reader - Pay It Forward

“What’s weird is when you mean a lot more to somebody else than they ever meant to you. I mean, a whole lot more. Like life on two whole different planets.”

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The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold

Scarlet Reader - Strange Fascination of David Hypnotik

“But I also know that sometimes—not always, but in the best of cases—innocence lost can be knowledge gained, and I think this is one of those times.”

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Sisters in Sanity
Author: Gayle Forman

Scarlet Reader - Sisters in Sanity

“It’s just that we’d like to think that craziness and sanity are on opposite ends of an ocean, but really they’re more like neighboring islands.”

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More to come soon…

-K.

 

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Thin Line Between Love and Alchemy (Bloodlines – A Book Review)

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: 2011

On Goodreads

Bloodlines - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

18/25

Love and loyalty run deeper than blood.

Sydney Sage is still suffering repercussions for aiding dhampir Rose Hathaway in a shaky alliance that has deemed her a vampire sympathizer by everyone. Alchemists believe that vampires—Dhampir, Moroi, and Strigoi are unnatural creatures, but they’re not there to stop them. They’re there to protect humans.

Awoke in the middle of the night, Sydney is given a second chance when charged with guarding the young Moroi, Jill Dragomir—younger sister of Queen Lissa Dragomir—at a California boarding school after an assassination attempt. As they try to adjust to being roommates at Amberwood Prep, threats, distractions, and forbidden romance test Sydney’s patience. She can’t risk getting to close to Jill or else she’ll lose whatever chance she has at regaining her family’s trust, but she’s beginning to care about Jill as she gets to know her and discovers her secrets.

This book marks 18 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve heard many good and interesting things about Vampire Academy. I also find alchemy to be intriguing.

I never read Vampire Academy. *GASP* I know. I know. How incredulous. There was and still quite a hubbub about it just like with Twilight and Shadowhunters and I just can’t get myself to. Not right this second anyway. Something about it having so much attention makes it feel overhyped and I don’t want to be overhyped in case my expectations take a shit. So there are a few titles on hold, but I’m going to say this spin-off is a delightful gateway.

Scarlet Reader - Giphy

I must say, while I expected more than just an investigation into students getting freaky abilities from metallic tattoos and Jill being stalked, I was intrigued. I find alchemy to be an interesting subject. Science + Magic = Alchemy. And Richelle brought a mysterious, heroic elegance to it. Alchemists are granted abilities, but like with the vampires of this universe, they aren’t invincible. I found that to be creative. The structure and building of this world was really interesting. I just wish there had been more to the supernatural feel.

Sydney (an alchemist) and Adrian (a vampire) were quite the opposites while Jill was softhearted with her other guardian, Eddie, secretly pining after her. Richelle created a delicate balance with these characters. I really enjoyed how she wrote them. They each had their own personal struggles that you wouldn’t see on the outside because they’re so well guarded. These characters didn’t give me any kind of over-dramatic feels even though there were times I wish they did. Sydney was serious while Adrian was comical. That can always be a fun dynamic. They were sweet, each like a flower. Maybe that’s tacky, but that’s how it was to me. There was an elegance.

I wasn’t thrown for any loops. Some parts were actually pretty predictable, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining when the villainy targeting both Sydney and Jill was revealed. It was the emotional pull that kept me attached. Sydney, though she tried not to, she became attached to Jill and even to Eddie. She didn’t wish any harm to them, though to others they, along with Adrian, are considered unnatural beasts. I could really feel that connectivity and that really kept me engrossed.

Scarlet Reader - Quirk Books

Overall

This was a book that had me a little curious, but it didn’t strike me as super interesting. I hope to read the next book though. I’m hoping to see what happens between Sydney and Adrian, because there’s DEFINITELY something bubbling between them. I also want to see more supernatural bits and rebellion. Sydney seems like the type that just might rebel. While this book didn’t feel intoxicated with the usual dose of magic and supernatural, it did strike closer to realism.

Quotables:

“It didn’t matter that people expected everything of me and nothing of him. We were still the same, both of us constantly trying to break out of the lines that others had defined for us and be our own person.” (Sydney, p. 282)

“Something in the way he was looking at me froze me up and made my stomach do flip-flops though I couldn’t quite articulate why. I only knew that he looked as though he was seeing me for the first time.” (Sydney, p. 413)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRupublic.

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