Romance

Romance Analysis: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

In Gone Girl, we are told repeatedly that Amy had a lot of admirers that were overly obsessive.

There’s Tommy O’Hare, the guy that she briefly dated before officially getting together with Nick.

There’s Desi Collings, her highschool ex that stalked her.

And of course, there’s Nick Dunne, the husband accused of murder.

In all three instances of romance, we learn something about Amy and how she treats men. (more…)

[Review] Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

Series: None

Publication Date: June 5th, 2012

Publisher: Crown Publishers

Number of Pages: 415

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Romance

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

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Top Things I Like/Dislike in Romances

 50ab0-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.

If I were making a fake statistic, I’d say that 99% of YA novels contain a romance of some sort whether it’s implied or not. I love romance in books but I’d have to say that it’s a complicated formula of balance. Too much romance might overwhelm the rest of the book. Not having enough can result in a complete lack of feasibility.

Without a doubt, the best romances have a simmering tension, the ones where you know the characters would make a great couple. Chemistry is crucial to a well-written romance.
There are a lot of constants in romance that people hate. Quite possibly the most common one is a love triangle. I don’t know why so many people hate the love triangle so much but I have a feeling it might have to do with the fact that they are in too many books and because Twilight popularized teams. I don’t have anything against love triangles. None. No hate for them because I haven’t had too many bad experiences with them.
So without further ado, my favorites and most hated aspects of romance.

1. Nerds

I love reading about nerdy love. Nerdy pick-up lines or super smart shy guys. Or the confident smart ones. Okay I just like smart characters. I absolutely love how they act in relationships. I find them more attractive than just a hot guy with a nice personality. I find something endearing and adorable about the nerdy character. My most recent fave was David Petrakis from Speak. I know there wasn’t really a romance but it was implied that he liked Melinda and his confidence and intelligence was something that I loved.

2. Meaningful gifts

If they have some special gifts like jewelry or promise rings or pictures… memorabilia that has some semblance of emotion or memories. I love stuff like that. It brings an element of closeness to the couple and depending on the gift and how well it’s written, it can make me so happy.

3. Friends-to-Dating

I personally think this would be the most reasonable way I’d want to date someone. Okay they don’t have to be my BFF but it’d be nice to at least know the person. It’s definitely riskier but I wouldn’t want to jump into a relationship without knowing them at all. To me, it’s weird to label someone you barely know as your “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” especially since the term implies that the two people are close. I like reading about these relationships a lot because it puts a lot on the line. It’s the ultimate gamble. Stay safe as friends or take the plunge and risk it all for a possibility of love? Oftentimes, couples that begin as friends have some of the CUTEST relationships and scenes.

Unfortunately, in pop culture and most books, the best friend often gets friend-zoned and given the “nice-guy” personality. The protagonist just ends up with better chemistry with the second guy.

4. Unique situations

When couples meet by coincidence or at some really unique setting, it hooks me in quickly. Things like weird settings where they might not be able to be together or the funny reunion is the type of stuff I love the most. One I thought of easily is where the couple meets unexpectedly somewhere and help each other. They part but then they meet again in some more permanent location. I don’t know if that communicated well at all but really different stuff like that is more memorable to me.

5. Cheating

I. Hate. Cheating.

A lot of books have cheating in it because it heightens the tension and chemistry. There’s a sense of sexiness and suspense because it’s so so forbidden.

Yeah well I hate cheating because it immediately tells me that the characters that are involved are untruthful and probably give in really easily. Honesty is something that I value a lot. It’s a sign of trust and closeness. And cheating goes against all of that.

6. Useless drama

I hate it when a romance is established and the characters are finally together and then some unforeseen drama comes and splits the characters again. The two have gone through so many trials and then something as petty as one of them getting jealous causes a rut between them. Or the girl gets so emotional she yells at the guy for something absolutely ridiculous. Or there was already so much drama that this addition just makes it all the worse. Some examples would be in The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Or any of your standard crappy fanfictions.

7. Nonexistent interaction

When there is a relationship, there is supposed to be interactions between the characters. How am I supposed to like it if the two characters never talk or see each other? Having them come back together once every hundred pages is not enough for my shipper’s heart. It’s even worse if the characters have horrible development. It’s like watching two strangers awkwardly hug.

8. Really trashy looking covers

For this particular qualm of mine it’s not even the fact that the cover is scandalous. It’s more like I find it a lazy idea. There are hundreds of romance novels that have the exact same idea for the cover. Shirtless guy with a big-chested girl leaning against him or some kiss scene. The cover itself isn’t notable or memorable since so many other books share the same idea. I think I’d be more inclined to pick up a romance with a unique cover rather than the same recycled idea.

9. Sex or love confessions the first time they meet

Please characters. Please have some dignity.

10. Loss of character

When a romance begins to define a character’s every decision, I’m pretty sure I want to slap somebody. I hate it when a super badass character suddenly becomes a cup of pudding when the romantic interest appears. It undermines the characterization that exists and it makes every other decision from that point on either dumb (bad) or infused with a lot of meaning (good or bad depending on situation). Generally, I don’t like it when this happens.


So what things do you like or dislike in romances?
 

[Review] To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Author: Jenny Han

Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1

Publication Date: April 15th, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  

Number of Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

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[Review] Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Series: None

Publication Date: February 21st, 2012

Publisher: Simon and Schuester Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 359

Genre: Contemporary, Historical, LGBTQ, Romance, YA

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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[Review] The Ring & The Crown – Melissa de la Cruz

The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)

Author: Melissa de la Crus

Series: The Ring & the Crown #1

Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Number of Pages: 384

Genre: YA, Historical, Romance, Fantasy

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

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[Mini-Reviews] 100 Sideways Miles, To Kill a Mockingbird, and More

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins

Wow okay Southern belle narrator.

Side note: Every time I was reading this, my brother would say, “Are you reading Rebel Bell-y?” And I’d reply, “It’s Rebel BELL. BELL. Get it right!” He’d then cackle and play Pokemon Omega Ruby.

I was, in short, kind of annoyed with this book.

The narrator is kind of dumb (in actions) and very selfish. I can understand why she would not want to help but it still annoyed me.

She is in multiple clubs and leadership positions, but her decisions…. are not the best. Her personality really grated on me and all of her actions even more so.

I didn’t really like how there was a love triangle. It’s really obvious who Harper is going to end up with and oh my dear lord she’s so dense. It’s pretty obvious to anybody that if some guy has been non-stop annoying you since day 1, that there is a good chance that he likes you. I found it so annoying that Harper would think to drag her boyfriend, Ryan, through all of this, especially since she feels guilty about it. Like seriously! Just break it off already!

On the other hand, I really shipped her with David. The playful banter and everything was perf.

The history of the mythology was well explained although it did feel info-dumpy at times. Overall it wasn’t too bad.

3/5 Stars

100 Sideways Miles – Andrew Smith

To be honest, I don’t really remember much from this novel, but I do remember wondering what the heck the purpose of the novel was. I mean, nothing much happens and there really isn’t much of a central conflict.

The protagonist, Finn, is certainly unique. He’s different from any other character I’ve read about, as of now. He was hit by a falling horse. I particularly liked how his father modeled his book character’s off of Finn’s scar. Super cool and I loved how Cade gives them different descriptions and names (even though 75% of the time, they don’t make any sense). He measures time in distance, which was cool.

The best part of this book were the characters but it was not enough to account for the lack of plot. I read on and on and by the end, I felt like I had missed something.

2.5/3 Stars

Beastly – Alex Flinn

Highly highly disappointing. I will never, ever pick up another Alex Flinn novel.

First off. Nothing can convince me that the narrator was a male. He was the most unbelievable teenage male protagonist I have ever read. The dramatic way he changes his name from Kyle to Adrian was asinine and proved to fail at progressing the plot. On top of this, he was really really annoying. I kind of really hated him.

There were a few redeeming characters. Most notably, his blind tutor, Will and his heartwarming Hispanic maid.

1.5/5 Stars

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

I was really really looking forward to reading this one and I’m happy that I finally got around to it even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would have.

The setting is beautifully drawn and I really want to go to a circus now. Everything related to setting and mood was exquisite.

The writing is amazing. Super smooth and really fits the story.

However, the plot dragged a lot. The book literally took me way longer to read simply because I could not get into it. I know some people that complained about the constant tangents into other subplots, but I thought that they were great because it helped make the reading process less of a chore. I also thought that it was really well planned. Everything intertwines beautifully to create a complex conflict. But it’s mind-numbingly slow.

I did find Celia and Marco (and the rest of the cast) a little bland. They felt superficial at times although I can distinctly remember that they were not. It might have just been because I could never really connect with them.

3.5/5 Stars

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I really enjoyed this novel!

The messages and characters are all really well drawn. I loved Scout, Dill (I SHIP IT), and Jem so much and I can easily understand why so many females swoon over Atticus. The plot itself is amazing and never once did I feel like it dragged. Sometimes the writing bothered me, but most of the time, it wasn’t too bad. I can definitely understand why it’s a popular choice of book for English classes but I wish I had read it ahead of time. I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t read it for school.

4/5 Stars

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

I read this for book club and it was never a priority book. While my fellow club members really liked it, I found that I could never get into it.

The narrator and most of the cast was very dull. I could never really connect to any of them.

I feel like for such a dramatic book, it should have had more suspense. Each event in the novel fell flat when it could have been so much more exciting. Even so, some parts were highly entertaining and THAT ENDING KILLED ME. I was in so much of a wreck after reading the last few pages and I wasn’t in a good place to groan about it either. I felt like screaming and ranting but unfortunately, I was at school waiting for my parents and everybody around me didn’t look like they wanted to be disturbed by a high-strung female highschooler moaning about her book. I’m pretty sure I know what happened at the end, but I’ll be reading the sequel JUST to find out if I’m right.

3/5 Stars

[Review] My True Love Gave To Me – Various Authors

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Author: Various

Series: None

Publication Date: October 14th, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Number of Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 Summary

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

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[Review] The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave #1

Publication Date: May 7th, 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Number of Pages: 480

Genre: Sci-fi, Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, YA

Source: Library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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