Author: Anna (page 1 of 46)

Quote of The Week #2 | Let’s crush our soul in a Fantasy novel

This is  Quote of the Week‘s time again! Every week we share one of our favorite quotes, depending on the theme we choose… and let’s be real, that shit is HARD, okay? CHOICES. CHOICES EVERYWHERE.

The theme for this week is :

~ a quote in a Fantasy novel that crushed our soul ~

And something small and insignificant inside me shatters, just like every night, and feelings hit too hard for me to stand. I bend at the waist and cling to the windowsill. I won’t scream. I won’t throw myself against the walls until the supports give and we fall into the ocean. I won’t think about swimming as hard as I can.”

About the book

Be careful what you believe in. Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life. TW – Graphic scenes of abuse.

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“Kell tried to pull free, but Maxim was built like a tree, and his massive hand gripped the back of Kell’s neck. “I can’t keep atoning,” Kell whispered into the king’s shoulder. “I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.

About the book

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London. Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

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“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

About the book

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

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Now, your turn! Tell us, which quotes crushed your soul?

Quote of The Week #1 | Let’s make our heart beat faster

It won’t come as a surprise that we Starcrossed ladies ADORE quotes – so much that one of us printed her favorite quotes and plastered them everywhere in her living-room *cough* CHELSEA *cough* … That’s why I am ECSTATIC to introduce our new weekly rendezvous, the Quote of the Week.

What is it, you’re asking?

Well, that’s pretty simple : every week we’ll share one of our favorite quotes, depending on the theme we’ll choose. WE HAVE SO MANY OMG *hyperventilates*

But let’s get started, alright? The theme for this week is :

~ a quote in a Contemporary novel that made our heart beat faster ~

“I was born seventeen years ago”, I tell him. “Do you think people have noticed that I’m around?”
“I notice when you’re not. Does that count?”

About the book

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

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“A thousand of those girls”—he made a slight motion with his head toward Braeden—“ couldn’t even make up one of you.”
“Romeo,” I whispered, caught up in the molten blue flame flickering in his gaze. 
“You know I was like that once. I’ve never made a secret of it. But you’re it for me now, Rim. There’s no one else. There never could be.”

About the book

It started with unspoken animosity. The bitter bite of jealousy. And now its full blown hate.
It was during my first football game that I first felt the first chill of hate. I looked it right in the eyes and felt its sticky tentacles reach out for me. I’d never experienced something so cold and empty before. The effect of that look lingered, like an unspoken promise, long after it was gone.  Becoming a couple – becoming the other half of a campus celebrity wasn’t easy. I let down walls guarding my heart and he looked past my glasses and accident prone tendencies. Romeo and I are an unlikely match, a #nerd and a jock. But we made it.  And we’re happy.  Zach doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants Romeo to pay for getting him kicked out of Omega and for the night he spent in jail. He’s going to use anything and everything he can to get his revenge. Including me.  As the weather on campus grows cold and the days become dark, revenge becomes the center of someone’s life and the happiness Romeo and I worked so hard for is threatened.  I can’t help but worry that our love is going to be overshadowed by hate.

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Now, your turn! Tell us, which quotes make your heart beat faster?

BOOK REVIEW – Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

BOOK REVIEW – Pretty Face by Lucy ParkerPretty Face (London Celebrities #2)
by Lucy Parker
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama

The play's the fling

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

I had written a little bit of a warning at first, stating that I would probably come across as condescending in this review and reaffirming that my aim was not to shame readers for enjoying romance novels I personally want to burn (not Pretty Face!), but then my warning *did* come across as condescending so I guess I CANNOT WIN so let’s write this review okay don’t hate me.

I need to face facts : I’ve not been able to call myself a romance reader for a long time. Those days are long gone, crushed under the weight of eight packs, sexism, instalove, slut-shaming and *secret wounds* (that will only be revealed around 70% because WHERE’S THE FUN OTHERWISE HUH). Also, I’m kind of… cynical? Sometimes? (which is funny for someone born on February 14th, but moving on). If there was a period of my life when I couldn’t stop reading them (you don’t want to know), now… Not so much.

Actually, I haven’t read a contemporary romance since –

*scrolls through shelves*
*scrolls some more*

I got one! October 26th, and, oh, MY, I had forgotten this one!

(never underestimate the bliss of oblivion. Truly. It was a gift)

I’m not even sure it counts, given that I had to DNF it due to a)extreme stupidity, b)girl hate, c)this sentence : “He smiled and I smiled. It was sort of contagious.” Wow, what a dream. *shivers* How can we possibly recover from such nonsense?

I won’t lie, I stopped reading romance novels because I just couldn’t stand them anymore – and this is the moment someone usually walks in to tell me that we choose to be angry about offensive tropes, that we just fucking choose to disconnect from the story we’re reading, that we refuse to let it go and just enjoy it, that we –

I can’t get past slut-shaming in a book, let alone a romance novel. I can’t. Not only because
✔ it’s offensive,
✔ often includes sex-shaming,
✔ polices what women should/shouldn’t wear in public,
✔ contributes to rape culture,
but because it’s lazy storytelling at its best. Yes. It IS. No author who includes slut-shaming in his romance deserves my praise. Period.

Why am I saying it’s lazy? Because see, in Pretty Face (that does not contain slut-shaming in any way) : Lucy Parker‘s story could have derailed a million times.

① Margo, the love interest’s ex, could have so easily been a vapid and hateful woman because of *reasons*. She is not, which means that the author had to actually create a real personality for her, complex and real – the author who uses a stereotypical and damaging portrayal does not. And do not even tell me some women act that way, because that argument doesn’t hold one second : in 90% of romance novels, the exception becomes the norm. Pl-ease. It’s Lazy Writing 101.

② When the male lead expresses sexist bullshit towards the MC, it won’t disappear from my mind later because he’s in love and we must forget and forgive he even said that (because he’s hot, because he’s a man – stereotypes work both ways – because the author couldn’t be bothered to actually deal with this issue) Nope. In Pretty Face , Luc has to actually think about it and deconstruct his biased bullshit narrative. Not lazy, and how so much more interesting.

③ Think about this : a woman meets her new boss who is full of shit when it comes to double standards – and who’s been pretty vocal about how dumb he thinks she is because she’s hot and plays a man-eater in a stupid soap. 90% of the time, said-woman will exchange a few words with (his abs) him and literally decide that they should get married because hot damn she’s obsessed with that little ass and fall in instalove. As a result, we the readers will get no character growth, not an ounce of building up and barely any tension. What’s the point, then? Tension is everything in romance as far as I’m concerned. But fear no more – in Pretty Face , if Lily’s intrigued by Luc, there’s no such thing as instalust or instalove. The treatment of double-standards, sexist stereotypes and, hey, knowing each other will have to come before exchanging iloveyous. It changes everything.

So I’m sorry, but your romances full of girl hate and sexist jerks? It’s not that I choose to not like them.

Of course it’s predictable and somewhat unrealistic at times, but if Pretty Face made me realize something, it’s that I’m pretty lenient with clichés when they’re not offensive : indeed it contains all the scenes you could expect from a romance novel, yet it didn’t annoy me one second. Perhaps that’s because I rarely read them anymore. Or perhaps the writing and the characters were compelling (and funny!) enough for me to root for them and to enjoy these beloved scenes. Icing on the cake, you get a male lead who actually understand the concept of boundaries, who is not a player (that trope gets old) and a MC who isn’t the Ultimate Lamb Who Is Not Like Other Girls. Mind. Blown. Adds a storyline that was actually interesting (and this is coming from someone who don’t like reading about actors for some reason) and you’ll get a fun, feel-good novel that’ll put a smile on your face (and we sure need them). If I had a complaint to address, though, it would be that as far as I know, the whole cast really lacks diversity – all the characters are straight and white – for a story taking place in London, I found it unrealistic, and that’s a pity. And before people say it – it’s not that diversity is a trend, but that diversity should be a given : we’re (fortunately) not living in a full white, straight world, are we?

Little hearts provided by Vecteezy!

*arc provided by Carina Press through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW – Homegoing by Ya Gyasi

BOOK REVIEW – Homegoing by Ya GyasiHomegoing Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

I can’t help writing about Homegoing for the simple reason that it is BRILLIANT. I don’t even know how many times I fell in love and got my heart broken but DAMN IT WAS WORTH IT.

The truth is though, many readers won’t read it, because of several excuses :

First off : Homegoing deals with slavery, through an incredible family saga. The truth is, I’ve always been wary of sentences like, we already know about this so let’s move on.

Haha.

We see how it goes when people *think* they know enough about History.

Proof #1 – French people rewriting history and stating things like, “we fought in 1940 so fuck off refugees!”

I’m sorry WHAAAAT? Nope most didn’t. Nope. Stop saying this. STOP. You’re merely showing how uneducated you are. Same with the ones who think that the EU was created solely for fighting the United States. Can you just stop? It’s starting to get embarrassing, Trump.

Proof #2 – Two days ago I’ve read a comment on Facebook stating that “Palestinians were just ARABS who should come back to their country of origin.”

Oh my God school is GREAT. TRY IT.

Proof # 3 – And then you have this :

(you can read her post here)

The disheartening and offensive papers this poor prof had to read show again that what we can be fairly uneducated on subjects we *think* we know, and in my opinion,
1) it’s never too early to start educating people about this and
2) we have to reevaluate what we know fairly often because our self-assessment scale is often broken.

About my first point : of course we’re not going to teach slavery in Kindergarten, BUT children of 8 to 10 can start dealing with these subjects. In my class, for example, I teach the broad lines of triangular trades, according to the National curriculum. Yes, we talk about how Bordeaux and Nantes’s merchants became rich because of it, and at this point, I don’t care if some pupils come from these families. They need to know it even more, because… you don’t get to be proud, guys. You don’t. I don’t care about fake patriotism. It’s unhealthy to create some phantasmagoric history of your country. It always is. I think that one of the worst misunderstandings these days is that bullshit that makes people say that you are being unpatriotic if you point your country’s flaws and horrors. It’s the opposite, guys. I am being patriotic when I talk about the French involvement in slavery. I am, because I am trying to make my country better in the future. By hiding behind fake news and rewritten history, you are not. You are missing the point entirely, because what you’re so proud of isn’t your country but merely a fake, dangerous and empty shell.

Then there comes the compelling excuse. “I’m not reading that serious book of yours, I’m here for the entertainment, ha!” You know what though? Homegoing is compelling and enthralling, I fell in love twenty times, my heart constantly breaking itself then healing then breaking then – the FEELS. .

So. Let’s sum it up.
1. You’re gonna fall in love and ship the fuck out of some of them and care and she manages to do that in 20 pages EVERY FUCKING TIME. Brilliant.
2. You’re gonna be captivated and forget everything that is not these characters.
3. The FEELS. Prepare your heart because WOW OKAY? I felt so offended and furious and despaired and FULL.
4. You’ll be a little further from an ignorant jerk. IN OUR WORLD THAT COUNTS.
5. It’s an ownvoice novel.
6. The writing is perfect did I say that????

Tell me now why you shouldn’t read this book.

Fucking tell me.

RELEASE DAY POST – Fearless Flying by Karen Gordon

 release-day
I am so happy to announce the release of Karen Gordon‘s new romance novel, Fearless Flying!
 
About the Book
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00005]
An amazing job, check
An adorable apartment, check
A super supportive best friend, check
There’s only one thing missing from Vivienne Ramsey’s perfect life…
And after ten years of waiting the time is finally right for her to seduce her dream man. Tonight she’s going to wear Danny out in bed until he dies a happy man. But before she can begin her carefully crafted strategy of seduction he’s headed for the door. And for once in her over-organized life Vivienne doesn’t have a back-up plan.
If he had only read the memo about his part in her happily-ever-after.
 
So… Want my early thoughts? The truth is, I started it yesterday and I wish I could read ALL DAY but life’s a bitch and I have to, you know, work. ANYWAY, look out for my review next week because if you’ve followed my romance experiment, you know that it gave me more fails than wins… (yes, that’s an understatement!) One might say that I’m hard to please in romance … The thing is, I CANNOT love a novel oozing slut-shaming and sexism through every page, and unfortunately most of them are FULL of this kind of infuriating (and damaging) stereotypes… Good news though, from what I read of Fearless Flying so far, I’m pleasantly surprised 🙂 CAN I HAVE A FUCK YEAH?!
 

Author Bio

karen-gordonKaren Gordon is an indie author who loves supporting strong and sexy women in fiction and in real life.

Born and raised in St. Charles, Missouri, she found her love of extraordinary stories about ordinary
places by finding excitement in mundane suburbia. Although she currently writes romance and chick lit, you never know what she might do next. (You’ll never find a woman-hating, bad-boy hero though.)

She currently lives with the loves of her life, three very cool geeky men and one perfect puppy, just outside of Memphis, TN.

 
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