Five Things Wrap Up: The Shining Girls

IMG_5077

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is a suspense thriller that follows a time-traveling serial killer. This novel has an interesting plot and a wide variety of characters. The idea of a time-traveling serial killer is unique and original. The story follows Harper Curtis who is a man that is able to step out of his time and Kirby Mazrachi the one girl who got away. Kirby is what Harper likes to call a shining girl, which is a girl who burns with potential. The women he targets range from 1934 until 1992 and include women that were involved in anything from strippers to scientists. Harper simply believes they have a shine in their eyes that he must extinguish. His mode of transportation through time is a decrepit house in the heart of Chicago. Overall it was a good read and I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up!

  1. The multiple perspectives were distracting

This book has multiple perspectives. It switches from Harper, the girls, Kirby, and Dan a man who works with Kirby at the Chicago Sun. Each chapter heading indicated the narrator and the time period for the chapter, however, with the shining girl chapters it was hard to keep all of them in order. At times, I would get confused about the girl and the time period, especially when specific girls were referred to in time periods separate from their own. Also, the time periods switched drastically from chapter to chapter, it could get hard to follow. I would have preferred the perspectives to just be Harper and Kirby only.

  1. Kirby was a great character

Kirby was the only shining girl to survive with her life and she wants to find the man who attempted to take her life. She is a spunky character who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. She has not let the circumstances in her life destroy her. She has been through a lot of shit, but she survives with her sense of humor and badassness. However, at times she does suffer from stubborn character syndrome. For instance, at times she does really stupid things, such as chase down Harper alone. Kirby is a smart character and does not wait for anyone to fix her problems, and does not complain about her problems. She is a refreshing female character. She represents a strong woman, and this book could be a commentary on how strong women are usually snuffed out by men that don’t think they can be in control and succeed. All of the shining girls were strong women making changes in the world, and Harper extinguished them.

  1. The writing style is at times aggressive

When Beukes is writing from the perspective of Harper, the writing style is aggressive. The word choice and descriptions at times can be a lot to take in. I understand that Harper is a serial killer, and it is justifiable that he uses the language that he does, however, it made me uncomfortable at times. This only happened while Harper was the narrator, so it was not the whole novel. Just beware there is vulgar language.

  1. The plot is somewhat predictable and there were plot holes

The plot is very predictable. We knew that Kirby wanted to find Harper and reveal her attempted murderer. Moreover, we knew that Harper was trying to find the girls to kill. There were no unexpected moments in the novel and lacked any type of nail biting moment. There were also many plot holes. The time-traveling aspect was not explained at all. There were loose ends that were tied at the end of the novel and things were explained. However, there was no explanation of how the house was able to time travel, or why it was only able to go as far as the early 90s. Beukes never explained how the house could travel. It was unsatisfying.

  1. Harper was never explained

Beukes never explained why Harper was a serial killer. She never went into his defining moments throughout his life that led him up to this. Moreover, she never even explained that there could be a possibility that he was born this way. I would have liked to see more development. Furthermore, there was no glorification of Harper, though, which I liked. Too often authors and TV producers focus on a type of glorification of serial killers making them enticing or even incredibly attractive. I have seen so many descriptions of serial killers and sociopaths as “very attractive,” and that is the last thing you should focus on with a serial killer.

Do you like thrillers? Have any suggestions? Leave your comments down below!

Read ya later!

Maddie

Top Five Wednesday: Most Hated Tropes

Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, readers!

Today is Wednesday, which means that it is time for a Top 5 Wednesday! Today’s topic is most hated tropes. A trope is sort of a cliche that is found in a piece of literature. This topic was easy to write about because there are plenty of stories with tropes that I dislike. Here we go!

  1. Love triangles

Love triangles are one of my least favorite tropes of them all. They do not portray healthy, realistic relationships. How many people do you know that are involved in a love triangle? Moreover, the girl that is involved in said love triangle usually acts like being in the triangle is the worst thing in the world. I mean come on… I’m sure anyone would love to have two people fighting to the death for them. Anyway, they are unfair and unrealistic of what love is supposed to mean. Love triangles get me so angry because the one in the middle takes advantage of both parties in love with them.

Books with love triangles: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

   2.  Absentee parents

Absentee parents are a trend in YA literature, which I feel is unrepresentative of real life. Most YA characters are parentless, or they run around and do whatever the hell they want. That is not real life… Like what are you doing? Where are your parents while you are fighting evil and crime and shit. Also, not all families are abusive or broken. Although, it is nice to have families that are unconventional represented in literature, however, it seems to be in all of the YA books at the moment. However, this is a trope that can be done well if the author makes it justifiable. There are a lot of books where this trope is done well, but if it is not… Then get it out of here.

Books with absentee parents: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Which is justifiable), The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

   3. Characters who die to further the development of a main character 

When characters die to further the devolpment of another character, it pisses me off. There are some characters that I grew to love, and they were torn away from me. There are instances where the author does this justifiably, but sometimes it hurts beyond belief. There is no excuse sometimes to create a character just to kill off to further propel a main character’s devlopment. Ahhh! It gets me mad!

Books that kill off characters: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

   4. The “John Green” trope

This is what I like to call the “John Green” trope. This is a trope in which the story is about the boy who finds the “special” and “unique” girl that takes his breath away. This trope is absolutely ridiculous and sums up everyone of his books. I enjoy John Green’s writing, it is spectacular, however, his characters fall short for me. He executes his stories so well, and he isvery talented. However, I can’t read his books because of his characters… they can sometimes be douche canoes.

Books that feature this trope: All of his books

  5.  Instalove

This is the most aggravating tropes of them all. There is no way you fall in love with someone you just meet. There is no possible way. I understand instalust, but instalove is just unrealstic. If two characters meet, and then instantly profess that they would die for each other, I instantly cringe away. There is nothing healthy about realtionships like this. There is a progression to love. Yes, you may really like someone when you meet them, but you’re not ready to say you love them just yet.

Books that feature instalove: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

What tropes do you hate? Comment down below and discuss! Also, check out my BookTube channel with Quirkymadsreads. Happy reading!

Read ya later!

Maddie

Five Things Wrap Up: Ignite Me

Ignite meIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi is the last book in the Shatter Me trilogy and was by far the best. This final installment displayed the most character development and completed the series sufficiently. Each of these books got better as I felt Mafi was able to get comfortable with her writing style and voice. I will probably read another novel by her in the future. Moreover, there weren’t any more strikethroughs in this novel, which made it easier to read, and the metaphors were few and far between. I gave this one a 3 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up!

  1. “Stupid girl”

Despite Juliette’s fantastic character growth, she still relapsed into “annoying insecure girl” every so often. She would still continue to say things such as: “Why would I ever think anyone could accept me. Stupid girl.” No. Just no. I can’t stand the phrase “stupid girl.” It is seen everywhere on the internet when teenage girls want to whine about how unimportant they feel. I blame books such as this one that give girls the idea that they are stupid, and that it is cool to feel worthless and hate yourself. Hating yourself is so 87′ (haha Heathers reference). Seriously, though, get a grip, girl. You just need to accept yourself, stop always complaining about how you don’t think you’re good enough. Ahhh, I just really hate that phrase. If I met Juliette I would punch her in the face and say “Stupid girl, you should learn how to block some punches.” Moving on…

  1. Adam is a dick

Adam is the worst character in the world. He berates and belittles Juliette. He is mad at Juliette because she finally has confidence and enough courage to be a badass. However, Adam whines that she has “changed.” Sorry Adam, I think you’re the only one who enjoys emo, Juliette. The things he says to her are unforgivable, and honestly he deserves to lose everyone he loves. He is completely prideful and selfish. I loathe his character.

  1. Warner’s character growth

Warner had some great character growth. He turned out to not be such a malicious person in the end and gained some mad respect. I still believe that his character is unredeemable. Furthermore, we should not be glorifying guys with bad attitudes, however, he started to grow on me more in this book. Mafi was definitely trying to make her audience fall in love with Warner, and it worked. I definitely liked him a lot more than Adam in this book.

  1. Juliette should have ended up alone

I will not reveal who she ended up with, however, I will say that she should have ended up alone at the end of the series. Juliette throughout the entire trilogy defined herself by a man. Despite the things she learns about herself in the final book, she still has a lot more character growth to do. I believe that she would have been stronger if she decided to learn how to be herself and grow into the new world rather than do it in a relationship.

  1. This was the best book in the trilogy

This book contained better writing and more character development. The writing style was clearer and more concise, which made this the best book in the trilogy. It had a satisfying ending and did not leave too much unanswered. Kenji was amazing as always, and still holds the spot for my favorite character. We saw him put down his walls and succumb to pressure in this book, which was nice to see. He kept the comedy coming and never failed to make me smile. The action in this book was not what I wanted though for a final book. There was barely any action that led up to the ending. Also, the superpowers in this book were never explained, which was disappointing. I felt Mafi focused too much on the romance and less on what made this book categorized as a “dystopian” trilogy.

What did you think of the trilogy? Comment below with your thoughts!

Read ya later!

Maddie

Five Things Wrap Up: Unravel Me

IMG_0974Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi was the sequel to Shatter Me, which was the first book in the Shatter Me trilogy. This book was definitely a step up to the first book of the trilogy in regards to writing style. There were less obscure metaphors and strikethroughs in this novel. However, there was not as much character growth as I wanted in this one, but there are some glimmers of character growth that I hope will resurface in the last book. I gave this one a 3 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up.

  1. There is an official love triangle

The love triangle in this book was disappointing to me because there was no reason for there to a be love triangle with these characters. The one character, has no regard for other people, and lacks empathy. Juliette wants to “fix” him and allow him to see that he is a “good person,” however, this character cannot be redeemed in my eyes. This love triangle is extremely unhealthy and is not representative of realistic relationships. Both guys are abusive in their own ways, and Juliette seems to need a man to validate her worth, which I am not a fan of.

  1. The brooding “sensitive guy” trope is annoying

Adam is such an aggravating character. He has no likable characteristics, and constantly whines. He wants to make things right with Juliette, and she does not want to have it. Also, for the entire book he was keeping secrets and allowed them to make him a miserable person. He does not open up no matter how hard Juliette tried to reach out to him. He made the people at Omega Point incredibly uncomfortable by putting on reality television worthy performances with Juliette in the cafeteria.

  1. There are less annoying metaphors

Mafi definitely amped up her writing in this novel. She graduates from her nonsensical metaphors and writes more concisely in this sequel. Her writing is more sophisticated, and it made the reading experience more enjoyable.

  1. Juliette has no character growth

Every time I thought Juliette was finally maturing, she would take two steps back. Her relationship with Adam was destroying her, and she still felt the need to constantly cry over him. She made no effort to work with the people at Omega Point or make friends. She constantly cried about not being able to focus and control her powers, and would throw major tantrums when things did not go her way. She still thought she was a monster and had no growth. However, towards the end of the novel, we see a shimmer of badassery that is hopefully more apparent in the next book.

  1. Kenji is the most positive character

Kenji does not take Juliette’s shit. He pulls her aside and tells her she is not the only person in the world, and she needs to take responsibility. Kenji gained so much respect from me in this scene. I always found myself laughing out loud at everything he said. He is definitely smarter than we thought in the first book, so he is definitely a character I am glad is in this book.

It was not the best book, but it was far better than the first. If the next book is better than the first two I will very happy. Regardless I found this an entertaining read, but it is still just a romance book set in a dystopian setting.

Read ya later!

Mads

Five Things Wrap Up: Shatter Me

Shatter MeThis month I read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, and I was surprised that I did not enjoy this book as much as everyone else has. Don’t get me wrong it was incredibly entertaining and I finished it in less than two days, but it was not my favorite read of the summer. This book follows Juliet and her love obsession interest, Adam. Juliet is not your everyday girl, though; she has the ability to drain the life force from any living creature with just her touch. This causes her to be of interest of the terrible new regime, The Reestablishment. These awful people are trying to wipe everything from our society that makes individuals unique. Warner, is a general of the Reestablishment who takes an interest in Juliet and her abilities, and takes her from the insane asylum that she has been locked in for a year, or almost a year I can’t seem to remember.  I would rate this one a 2 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up.

  1. The writing was trite

Tahereh Mafi was taking an artistic leap with her strikethrough text. This device was used to allow the reader to see what Juliet was actually thinking. It also fit in with the idea that the book was a journal. However, the first part of the book was littered with the strikethroughed text, and it got distracting. Moreover, you can tell that Mafi was getting tired of the device and cut down on it significantly towards the end of the book. Also, the metaphors in this book were nonsensical at points. For example, “He says it with a small smile the size of Jupiter” (p. 119). She does realize that Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, right?? That metaphor is completely contradictory and does nothing for me. I know Juliet is the artistic type, but the metaphors are clichéd and kind of pretentious. Another one to entertain you: “My jaw is dangling from my shoelace” (p. 310). That is quite grotesque, and it does not help make the writing any better. These metaphors are in every other line, so if you can’t handle this type of writing style I would not recommend you read this one.

  1. This is a romance novel, not a dystopian novel

This book is associated with dystopian novels, however, this was more of a romance novel to me. Juliet and Adam are nauseating. They have an instalove relationship that is extremely unhealthy. Juliet talks about Adam constantly. There is not a page that goes by that she doesn’t: ask about Adam, worry that he will leave her, talk about how “beautiful” he is, or try to suck his face off. They always seem to be fighting about how their love is dangerous. Neither of them seems mature enough for a serious relationship, and their obsessiveness just proves that even more. Moreover, the dystopian aspects of this book are just skimmed over and not developed very well, thus, the reason why I think that this is romance, not dystopian.

  1. Warner is the only character with potential in this book

Warner is completely disturbed, but he has depth. He has the potential to be a dynamic character, and I hope Mafi takes advantage of that. He is a monstrous 19-year-old general who completely lacks empathy. He also seems to have mommy issues, which I hope are explored in the next book. He kills without thinking and shows no remorse. He wants to rule the world with Juliet, but we see there is more to him. He is a character that I really hope Juliet does not fall for, though. He is a great villain, but please Mafi do not go there. He is a psychopath… just because he is hot doesn’t mean Juliet should hit that. I hate seeing assholes being accepted because they are “hot” and only “misunderstood.” He is crazy, end of story.

  1. Juliet has the “how could anyone love me” character trope going on

Now, I understand that Juliet has been ostracized and bullied her whole life, but she is so whiny. She lets her experiences destroy her, and she basically becomes Bella Swan. Someone who does not think they are good enough for anyone, and they just deserve to die. She would die without her love interest. It is sickening. She is not strong at all, and it is just excuse after excuse with her when she isn’t obsessing over Adam. She even acknowledges she needs to learn to be strong on her own, but never even tries to put in the effort.  Ahhh…. Man, I really don’t like her.

  1. However, it is entertaining

As much as I didn’t like some of the key elements of the book, it kept me reading. It was not the best written and the characters were nothing spectacular, however, I still blew through this book. I would not recommend this book to some as a “must read” however, it was not the worst book I have ever read. I own the second book as well, so I am going to continue on and read the second book. I will let you know if there are any improvements.

Read ya later!

Mads

Five Things Wrap Up: Outlander

outlander

Hey, readers! I am here to review the very popular Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It was absolutely stunning. I knew that this book was a romance novel, however, I was not aware of how romantic it actually was. The book follows Claire Randall who is celebrating her second honeymoon with her husband Frank in the Scottish Highlands. They were just reunited after six years of being involved in WWII, where Frank was in information and Claire was a nurse on the field. However, their honeymoon was interrupted when Claire touches a magic stone and is transported 200 years into the past. Here she meets the magnificent Jamie Fraser, and the rest is history. So, here is my Five Things Wrap Up!

  1. The writing is beautiful

Diana is a stunning writer. She has immaculate descriptions, and her storytelling is riveting. The beautiful Scottish Highlands are brought to my bedroom, and I am about ready to book a trip to Scotland. The parallels to both the present and the past in this world are perfectly done. For example, Claire mentions how decrepit the Castle of Leoch was only a day before she was thrust into the past. Moreover, this is a long book for sure, but Diana’s writing makes it incredibly enjoyable.

  1. Jamie Fraser

He is absolutely intoxicating. He was such a great character. He is strong, but he listens to Claire and values her input. He would do anything for her, and would even sacrifice his life and dignity. I really liked Jamie, and felt that his character developed quite nicely. We first see him as a naïve, cocky soldier, but then he transforms into a man with great responsibility. He is a wonderful male character, and did I mention he is devilishly charming and handsome?

  1. The romance

Woah!  I was not anticipating how graphic the sex scenes were in this book. When I was about fifty pages in I was raving about how great this book was to my mom, and I was telling her to pick it up and read it. Then I got about a couple hundred pages in, and I blush to think I told my mom to read this book. The sex scenes are definitely done tastefully, and they never dragged on. Moreover, they are not excoriatingly awkward, however, they do get a little blush worthy. Furthermore, the romance between Jamie and Claire is beautiful. The path their relationship takes is not as unrealistic as I thought! I won’t go on any further, but if you read it you know what I mean!

  1. Historical aspect

I thought Diana did a spectacular job with her research. The history was woven very subtly into the novel, and it never felt like a history lesson. There was historical truth behind the actions of the characters and this was done perfectly. I was surprised how historically accurate she was because I did not expect that much from a novel that was focused mostly on the romance element, so that was a nice surprise. Also, a comment on how some people find the relationship between Claire and Jamie as “abusive” for one particular scene in the novel. I find it very realistic to the time period. Women were seen as objects in the 1700s, and that Claire followed this archaic way of life was for survival. It was the way they lived in the 1700s, and it would not do the book or history justice if Gabaldon just pretended things like this didn’t happen to women. They were treated as children. So, if you find Claire a not strong character, you are mistaken she did what she did for survival, and she most certainly did not take any crap from anybody in this book.

  1. Claire

I really loved Claire. She was quite badass. She did her best to fit into the new world, and found her place as a nurse at the castle. She made the best out of her situation and did it with a wonderfully snarky attitude. She did not take orders from anyone, and was a strong woman despite the way women were treated in this time. She did her best to save as many lives as she could, and surprised me throughout the novel. She was not a damsel in distress, and was a great female character.

Read ya later!

Mads

Five Things Wrap Up: Siege and Storm

siege and storm

I have read the second book in the Grisha trilogy, which is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. This was a fabulous book and was a wonderful second installment. I loved it just as much as the first book, Shadow and Bone, and I felt that it was more epic than the first. This book did not fall into second book syndrome, and I am highly impressed. However, the characters got a little annoying this time around. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up!

  1. There are more epic components

This one definitely fits the bill for an epic high fantasy YA novel. This second installment had more magic and adventure. The majority of the book was on the run, or under siege. Ha, see what I did there? The first book dealt with Little Palace, and how Alina was transitioning into her powers. This book followed her through skilled fighting and tracking of mystical creatures, such as a majestic ice dragon. There are flying ships and valiant soldiers who want to stand by their leader, and an epic fight scene. In regards to more action and fantasy elements, this second book did a magnificent job. I am excited to read the final book, and unveil what will happen next.

  1. The absence of the Darkling

I enjoyed the depth of the Darkling, and the mood he set when he was in a room. However, this book he is seen sparsely. There is a lot of guessing about his state of mind and physicality. You’re not quite sure if he is getting weaker or stronger. I loved the sarcastic banter between him and Alina, and it reminded me of Spike and Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They have witty remarks, and Alina hates that she once fell for his antics. I really hope the next book showcases the Darkling a little more.

  1. There is still a lack of background information

I still have no idea about what this world is. There are new characters and there is no explanation why the Grisha have such a stigma in some areas of the world, and not others. There is a small peak into the Darkling and his family, but it is dealt with quickly. I do not want to give any spoilers away, but I am just still not impressed with the lack of knowledge about the world and the origin of the people and places. Everything that could hold an explanation, are just waved away as being a myth that people never knew actually existed.

  1. Mal and Alina get annoying

Mal and Alina have this thing where they are both stubborn and don’t like to communicate. They both hide things from one another and then lash out when they are confronted. Mal is an extremely insecure, prideful male and he just got on my nerves. Some of the things he would do were immature. Alina never opened up to him about her doubts or things that are troubling her. It gets old, and it goes on for the majority of the book. I don’t like whiny relationships. HOWEVER, Alina goes through spectacular character development. I was most impressed with Alina’s development. Bardugo focused on the crave of more power in the back of Alina’s mind. Not many heroines deal with wanting to attain more power in a selfish manner. This set Alina apart from many other YA heroines.

  1. Bardugo’s descriptions are flawless

Bardugo does a wonderful job at storytelling. The writing is haunting and beautiful. There are words written in blood on the side of a church that praise Alina their saint and savior. We hear the Volcra screeching a humanly shriek. We see the stark contrast between those who live in quaint villages and those who eat candied cuckoo in crystal bowls. Everything she writes has a purpose and is written brilliantly. I can’t wait to read the final book.

Read ya later!

Mads