2

RoseBlood

This was a surprise of a book. Once I picked this up, strangely Rune became a very interesting character to read through. Since her gift is also her crutch at the same time, the only reason why she was accepted with a deeper meaning revealed towards the end. And the explanation regarding her entire background, felt so historical and at the same time interesting. 

While this retelling plays around with a phantom hundred of years after, which I greatly liked. Since it deals with all the creepy weird things which to me worked perfectly here. And that Thorn is mysterious, twisted but mysterious. And that I liked that the romance went slow, to them slowly meeting, slowly figuring everything out about them. And all the clues. Since I wouldn’t see them meeting under normal circumstances, 

As for the actual phantom and what he did, such as having Christine for a short period. Actually liking the way it went, where everything didn’t end well for them. And it drove him into further obsession, which I liked the way it was. Even pushing him to get Thorn. 

As for the musical inclination, any book would have gotten into me with just that. It just feels so right, and when her gift both suffocates and glorifies her at the same time. I really enjoyed it, the way that there was so much of exploration of opera. Of music and of her talent. As for the reveal towards the end, I feel that it was rather fitting to have regarding her talents. 

Even more so, her doubts are completely believable. The way that she her father died, the way she nearly killed someone. That was believable in my account that she would stop playing. 

However, I do feel that the issues of this book lies on the fact that his mother feels as though she’s a sex worker just because she had a child out of wedlock. That’s just wrong, really. It feels off. While the romance was on point, and the atmosphere captured me, this just doesn’t sound good at all. Also, where Erik takes him to the whorehouse and forces him to do all that. Yeah, I feel that it’s wrong too. 

Overall, I would say this book is creepy and rather gothic. Precisely the retelling of the Phantom of the Opera I was looking for, but there are issues that cannot be ignored. I would say that the romance captivated me, and the music was the one thing that kept me reading. So, pick it up and just see it for yourself. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

0

Jane Steele 

Jane Steele is surprisingly good, given that Jane here despite all her faults, despite all her murders managed to be sympathetic. She managed to make me feel for her situation. And I couldn’t turn away from her story the moment I read it, where everything goes downhill for Jane very quickly. 

Jane, whose mother may be a lunatic was sent to a schoolhouse where its headmaster is even worse. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed Jane Steele. As a murderer, she doesn’t regret too much. And most of them really deserved it, the fate that they got through the abuse of their power. I really enjoyed that part where Jane murdered them, and at the same time there were consequences for them. 

Even though she murdered one to save herself, the other to save her vest friend. The third for a woman who took her in. Her motives felt real, it felt plausible. And for her who already has her hands stained from the very beginning, she didn’t too much. At best, she was getting rid of another trash for the world. And I really like that. 

And then comes in Charles Thornfield, a man who also has his fair share of secrets and vices. And the moment at the end, where Jane and Charles have a long talk and she reveals all her secrets, I loved every inch of it. There is this charm about him that makes him fascinating, and that he is someone that accepts Jane for who she is. For me, I agree that most of the people she killed had it coming for them eventually. 

The plot is rather simple, and at the same time filled with plenty of obstacles that Jane encounters. Be it from those she killed, or those that she killed for. But it begins to change the moment she becomes a governess at the household she used to work at. Where Charles is introduced, and his character becomes interesting in the way he managed to keep Jane at a distance, yet still grew fond of her. And Jane, wanting to know more or finding the house strange. 

As for the style, where sometimes it breaks the fourth wall given that Jane sometimes speaks to the reader instead. But I found it quite endearing and interesting as an element to the writing. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book for what it is. Jane being a murderess and one that felt bad and at the same time didn’t look back on her victims. Charles who took in all she was, at the end. All the while looking at the society with all their problems, from headmasters abusing their power, to husbands deciding to marry another time. I would say that this is rather interesting and paints the Victorian world a lot less glamorous and lush than it seemed. Unless of course, you were of the nobility. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

0

Blood Rose Rebellion 

The first fifty pages were good, them everything went downhill. What killed this book for me? The romances Anna and various young men that I could barely be bothered to remember in explicit detail. The middle where almost nothing happened. 

I feel as though Anna could have been an antihero, one that was done well. She was angry with them, for condemning her just because she had no magic. That honestly was what was the drawing point, the fact that she didn’t have any powers. But the way it was handled, didn’t leave it much to be desired. 

The execution was rather poor too, the beginning was rather strong. She was sent to Hungary because of her scandal, and I would prefer that Anna had found a real reason why she wanted change. The many lurking reasons why she would have wanted to end this and free magic rather than allow it to continue. But it wasn’t explored at all. It never was really given enough depth at all. And it was like, she wants to break it for people. But she barely had seen some horrible things to say that kind of things. Quite reasonable reasons, but almost no justification. 

I did really like the world, be it about Luminate society, magic, or even about the fact that there was a way to restrict it. I really enjoyed this world regarding the distribution of magic, the way that many choose to abide due to their own worry that they will lose their magic. Or the fact that a rebellion happened, it was bound to occur. 

But other than that, the pacing was slow, and it was in the wrong way. Anna danced, kissed, flirted with all sorts of men. When I see that it could have been turned to the world, the true reality of her world. The way that she would find a reason as to why she should break the binding. And even making the word a little more grey, a little more fleshed out. 

But it all went to the endless romances, with some gone, some dying. Even then, I couldn’t care less about it.

So, overall I would say the world intrigued me, Anna was interesting until she became obsessed with boys and the fact that she thought of breaking the binding for them. There wasn’t really any reason why she should do so. I was expecting more stakes for her, more reason for her to do so. But I was sorely disappointed. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

0

Duels And Deception

I think that this authors has improved in her writing, or perhaps I have finally gotten used to her style of historical fiction for the young adult genre. Regency romance with a tinge of comedy. Such as having a main character becoming engaged in situations which puts her reputation at risk, and having the guy in some way save her, yet giving her enough agency too. 

Lydia, here thinks that she would inherit. She would marry someone of nobility. And I liked it when she realised who it was to quickly change things. And also, realising that she does have feelings. To me, I guess that this book focuses on the real Regency. The historical fiction without fantasy in it, and in its own way it is rather interesting. Lydia resigns herself to marry someone for the sake of her family, then realising that she had someone she liked at the end, and the guy she was about to marry had been a complete jerk. 

All the while, she is also bound by society norms since she is a heiress. And really, I like it when she throws it all out the window at the end and decided to follow her heart. 

As for Robert, I would say that he is okay. A pretty good decent male character, works hard. But nothing really underneath all that. 

As for the villains here, I could see why they would eventually just decide to go after money. Since they were in desperate need of it. But it makes no sense unless they were delusional or something. They knew that she would have this much money, they knew that they would only get it after she married inside. What’s the point of going after money that belonged to Lydia in the first place. 

In fact, I would prefer if it had been a scheme and she simply found out and ruined it. Since it makes me more intent to think that they should be heading to an asylum for hallucinations and psychopathy instead of jail. Would do them a lot more good. 

Generally, I would say that this book is meant for those who want to read a Regency romance. There is no fantasy here, nothing about intrigue either. Just a fun ride with Regency. So, I would say that this is a book you should read if you feel very heavy, since it’s light, easy and doesn’t take too much of your time. Overall, I would say that I liked it, even though it does have some flaws of its own. And that the main leads are likeable characters, one who simply needs to marry for the sake of her family, the other just following his heart without any signs of the typical jerk we see so often in the young adult genre. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

0

The Dark Days Pact 

This entire sequel does live up to its name. It managed to make it seem even more dangerous for Helen, and that as a woman she still needs her reputation. And it really makes the world seem rather real, with the way that a lot of things are neither black or white or even the truth. 

We do begin right after the disastrous ball, with her learning to be a full reclaimer in fact. The entire world isn’t that accepting, Helen has to face quite a bit of prejudice because she’s the first. Her mother neither had the training nor taking part in the actual reclaiming. She was merely a poor vessel used to dump all the darkness into. 

As for the constant danger Helen faces, it is indeed a rather realistic presentation. Since she is a woman and during those times, they were more or less sheltered from the world. And expected to be an ornament. 

I really liked that this felt that her struggles were real. That when she needed to be trusted, it wasn’t always a given to her. At the same time, the same goes through when it comes to her training. Some believe that she should step back, some believe that a male at her side would do her good. 

As for the ship, I don’t really care whether she ends up with Carlston or Selburn. I would rather if she became independent and tried to find another love. Both of them, just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Selburn tries to protect constantly, and it does come off as belittling her rather than actually protecting her. Carlston, I just couldn’t feel their chemistry. Here is where I would want a middle ground, a middle ground between all of them to decide and I would prefer if Helen ended up with neither. 

They just don’t feel so fitted with each other. 

As for the pacing and the plot, it does quickly moves rather than at the snail’s pace of the previous books. Slowly, Helen needs to make a decision. And every decision has its consequences. And here is where we actually see a lot of the work that Helen needed to do, and actually having to dress as a man. Which is the most interesting part of the book, seeing that men’s dressing clearly needed quite a bit of help too. They clearly couldn’t dress themselves. 

As for the way the world views Helen, I would say that it is really realistic if you ask me. She is a woman and she is a reclaimer. And more often than not, they think she would put her emotions first. But in reality, she is trying to do the best she can and making the most sensible decisions as she can. 

I would say that this sequel is up to standard with the previous book. And perhaps even better too. As for the romance, I would say it again, I ship no one. But the world is fascinating and interesting given how much it seemed gothic yet completely original in terms of abilities and worldbuliding. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

0

Wintersong 

This was one dark, painful and beautiful ride. The book itself reads like a really dark fairytale, the myths and the tales. The magic and the laws. They were all dark and filled with unknowing price tags that they would have to pay. 

Even Liesel, should she become a goblin queen would have the problem of losing what she loved. What she had. And most importantly, what had always belonged to her. 

The Goblin King too, where he had been the King because he had to be. He who loved games, and he who is an antihero. For forcing Liesel to become his queen and using Kathe to achieve that. And yet, he would make you care for him in some strange manner. His entire character, is one complex one. He is rather pitiful at times, and yet you would feel that he has his own problems too. 

As for Liesel and her siblings, their relationship was developed well and complex in their own right. The way that Liesel would never amount to anything as compared to Kathe and even Josef. One who was well liked and loved, Josef with his talent in music. 

And that she chose to sacrifice herself for her sister, even though at moments there are jealously. There are issues. There are also selfishness between them. This book isn’t driven by the plot, it is purely by the characters. The Goblin King was interested with her, and hence he did all that. Liesel also faces a lot of issues, a lot of problems. And unexpectedly at the end managed to find herself and become comfortable with herself. 

As for music, I loved its motif. Perhaps it’s the fact that I also have learned quite a bit of music in my life, but it was always suitable. Such as when Liesel composed, and she thought that every note to her needed to be revised and thought out. That is the truth for all musicians too, same even for any other writers or artists. I really liked the music overtone and showing me that Liesel was a musician rather than just telling me that. 

But the main issue is that it takes a long time, and often it is very painful and very bleak. So, for those who do not want something as dark without anything light to balance it out, avoid this book. It would make you feel and destroy you too. And that it often dragged at certain points too. 

The ending however isn’t horribly tragic or even sad, it is one where there is hope yet Liesel lost something. 

I would recommend it to those who like romance such as this, a lot of times painful and bleak. All the while having each character be developed in a poignant way. And also, if you prefer fast paced action book, this isn’t the book for you. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

5

Writing A Healthy Romance 

I would say that writing a healthy romance takes a lot of work. And sometimes a lot of skill too. To me, a healthy romance means that the characters should not be subjected to abuse with their beloved. That is just warped. 

Both sides should also fully respect and accept one another for their faults and their wishes. No one has to change completely to accommodate to someone else’s needs. Or one has to be the one always apologizing. Eventually, their relationship will break apart as it is unhealthy and wouldn’t be good to either side. 

Romance and love to me includes a lot of give and take and compromises. That is what love is to me. Not just having pure adoration or admiration. Let face it, admiring someone is placing them on a pedestal and being perfect. And no one is perfect. Admiration is not a good form of love, it can become an obsession or something unhealthy. It isn’t a good thing at all. 

So, the best kind of love is mutual respect and trust. They need to accept wholly the person before them, not just because he is hot so I will love him. That is a horrible reason to fall in love. Sadly, it is how most romances in young adult novels goes. It is just too shallow, and not about personality traits but about looks. Looks would fade, but the personality would never change. That’s the reality. 

So, to me a healthy romance can be quick or slow but just depends on how it is handled here. That’s all I would say about their development, even though I pretty much prefer a slower development of things. It allows a better exploration of how well a fit they are for each other and whether they will be able to live with each other or not. 

Because love isn’t shallow, it needs a lot of depth too. These characters are spending their lives and their years together, I would prefer to see a good healthy ending. Where both are able to accept each other for their faults and their weaknesses as much as for their strengths. 

These are what I would consider a part of a healthy romance. Feel free to leave a comment on what you think would be a healthy romance and what isn’t. I really look forward to knowing what you think.