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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. 

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Ruined


I should have known from the moment I had read the blurb, it was quite a disaster, though better than the Selection in some ways. But completely lost my interest for most of the book. 

The only thing that relatively interested me had been some moments of interesting conversations and how aware they are. Their parents were all indeed horrible people, and they have enough common sense to see it. 

But other than that, it didn’t hook me at all. It felt pointless to me actually, the ruined doesn’t feel dangerous. They are mostly messing with people’s mind except in the worst way possible. However, just killing a bunch of innocent people doesn’t really justify it in the least. 

But having them fall in love, it has made it impossible for me to like them. It was mostly setting up the book, the most interesting thing happened halfway where I couldn’t even be bothered to read most of it. And the queen did have potential, and the king to have moments where they could have some moments of cruelty and ruthlessness. They could also have some moments where their minds would have rationalized it, why they have done so. 

I would have also wanted a lot more on Em’s thoughts. About her struggle to understand why it needed to be so, how the ruined themselves had also done wrong. To me, here in actual reality the ruined aren’t perfect nor blameless, but neither the king is right either. There are far better ways than massacring them. 

But unfortunately all of it went to building the romance between them. Not entirely wrong, but clearly not the best way to go. I wanted a lot more on the politics, the motives as this is fantasy. I only managed to get a really shallow view of the villains here, Em, Cas, and all the characters. And really, it was a good plan in the beginning before it went downhill later on where it just dragged for so long that I could barely even continue. 

So, my issues was how the middle was handled and the ending where it completely bored me to the end. The main characters were actually decent, the villains could have been developed more. And really, it still felt better than the Selection. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

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These Broken Stars 


A pretty interesting kind of sci-fi. One that managed to keep my interest without me either losing it half way or completely having no interest whatsoever. 

What do I feel about this book? It’s not just about aliens, but also with romance. One which I could like and even enjoy, as they are simply stuck in a situation which they have no control of. They have no ability to control it, and they managed to do it well and controlled it. 

I really like how these two main characters have their own problems, one is a war hero and the other the richest girl in the galaxy. Lilac had plenty of weaknesses, and spent most of the first half being useless, but it’s reasonable and understandable when comapred to the soldier who spent years outside and had experience and training to handle such situations. 

But the most important thing is that they both are vulnerable, not even the Major was perfect in every way as well. He had his own moments of weaknesses, and vulnerability. 

Both have their strengths and skills, seeing as how they were brought up. Nor even Lilac had a life of luxury where she had freedom of choice. And what she does at the end is clearly well handled and even thought out enough for me to like them. 

The plot may seem simple, and ends with many questions as well. What are the secrets lying behind Lilac’s father, he is sketchy, really really sketchy. I mean what kind of father acts like he did to his own daughter. Most of the time, it felt more to me that Lilac had been his possession and no one else could have her. 

And the entire planet itself, there is just so much more than what appears on the surface. Even until the end, it is a mystery. One I hope will be explored later on. The love here for me was realistic, they are all simply surviving, not needing to kill each other, but developing feelings after who close they were, how dependent they were on each other to me was something I could understand. Well, I like them together. 

Overall, I really enjoy this book and work continue with this trilogy as well. It is definitely one of the better books I have managed to pick up in weeks, in the midst of mostly horrible books. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

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Barefoot On The Wind 


A retelling that I recommend. In fact, almost any retelling I would recommend from this author. She makes it a completely different story but still decent, and one that you will enjoy with her careful research, her descriptions and her characters.

Hana, one again I could feel her struggle. She is still blaming herself for her father’s death and did everything for it, such as taking on all the roles regardless of gender. Which to me is a sign of strength, you don’t find her complaining or even loathing her father for it. She is just doing all she can for the family, which to me felt connectable with the traditions and expectations. 

As for Itsuki, I do admit that this was actually someone that managed to find his own mistakes. Even if he didn’t do anything to prevent it, and really reflected about his own deeds. And he’s a male character that had done wrong and admitted it, and at least saw where he went wrong in. Also he shared some points with the original beast in beauty and the beast. Both were arrogant and felt entitled. 

As for the yuki-onna. I do like the curse that she laid upon them, her anger all she felt was realistic to me. And I might be thinking about the snow queen, seeing as how they are basically equivalents though I wonder whether the author might head in that direction next. After all, all her retellings have been on point and taking a twist with the actual characters. Hana is not a beauty, but she is a strong and self-reliant young woman although she did not read as much as Belle did. 

As for the retelling, the villagers are the servants of the house, all cursed upon with them just that they tend to be more cowardly. And the curse itself, laid by Oyuki can be quite similar to what the Beast he himself had done. Although the snow maiden and a witch is quite far apart. 

But I did enjoy the slow pace as it allowed me to grasp on Hana, and the story being a lot more on her development since she runs most of the changes. What happens later with her and the villagers have to be one of the best quotes in the book so far yet. As well as with Oyuki. And her goal to save her father from her own family. That had been what she had done as well. 

As for the ending, it is perfect. Tied up all loose holes and left everything as it is. But not without a nice ending that I enjoyed. 

Overall, I recommend this to those who have been fascinated with Japanese culture and always have been frustrated with the inaccuracies of certain books. And also, those who love retellings and want to see a feminist character that doesn’t whine to you about her life. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Reign Of Shadows

I can’t even find a reason why you should enjoy this book. Why was Luna blind? I don’t know. Why did bloody everyone hide their identities? I don’t know. And what is with the focus on the romance? I don’t know why, but it became the killing factor for the book. 

This was way too much on the romance, and so little on the actual plot. What do I know about the world? Some eclipse, some madman became the King, the previous king and queen died. That’s about it. And what was the actual plot about? I could swear most of the book was spent on developing the romance and pushing forward the nonexistent plot which still makes no sense. 

Luna has to be one of the blandest characters, all she cares about is the good, but I have no idea why. I barely even know her character and how she even behaves. Apart from her being blind, there is almost nothing about her that makes her compelling. She’s just so selfless I was laughing when she brought her plan to execution and ran away, and even more when Fowler revealed himself to be the son of the current king. 

It’s like both of them lack any compelling traits or even agency, Fowler too focused on the romance and Luna just on others. Does she ever consider herself? It’s like she was raised to be a saint. And I just cannot buy that. 

Also, why did the King kill random girls? It makes no sense at all, I mean if you want to get rid of your enemies there are far better ways than this. It’s like hanging a huge sign that you want them dead. You know what? It’s pointless to kill them for no reason even explained in the plot. 

This book felt like a setup albeit done poorly and failing to compel me to read further on. I just cannot recommend this book where it clearly doesn’t feel as though it was fantasy, it was reading a romance between two characters which could substituted for puppets and there wouldn’t be any difference. 

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Love, Lies And Spies 


It was okay I guess. This book had little of the typical ya expectation, having some supernatural twist. Even though it grabbed my attention for most of the book but it was mostly the plot which didn’t meet my expectations. 

The characters are intriguing and even quite unique. I mean, how many authors think of using a female wanting to get her research published as the main character? It really has a lot of potential, and I was expected some sci-fi twist at the end about her research. 

As for Spencer, I do like him even if I had wanted more about his espionage mission. It didn’t feel as though he had been a spy in actual reality, and spent more time just socialising than really feeling like a spy and gathering any form of information. I mean, isn’t that what a spy does?

I think that while this is a good historical romance, but in the genre it is in, I expected a little more than just the romance. They are good for each other with chemistry but it came a little underwhelming because of the lack of a big reveal, and the small decisions at the end really making it hard to move me to even care remotely about any character. 

And the plot, it was mostly just a letdown here. I couldn’t really feel anything for the main enemy, the Pyebalds which had been quite obvious front the start. And they also never really talk about motivations. The ending is nice and everything but didn’t really seem to tie up many loose ends as to what happened to some characters, what happened to them and all. 

It was just too much on the romance essentially. I just couldn’t feel wanting to care about them really, not when I could see the possible outcomes for Julianna and Spencer together being more than what I got. 

The writing however was a good point here, and really brought me back to the era far more. 

So, overall, I would say this is a good historical romance but as a ya genre, I would say avoid it if you expect supernatural or fantastical twist in such an era. This is pure historical romance, with no actual intrigue. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

6

Queen Of Shadows 


I feel absolutely nothing after reading this. Not interested in what happens next, neither caring for the characters in the least. And I personally was bored when I read it, it was long tedious and most importantly about to bore me to sleep. 

And the biggest complaint is having the king who is a jerk all of a sudden be revealed to actually be a good person. Can there be any one who is actually evil here that isn’t mind controlled? But there isn’t really. And being killed with almost no backstory regarding his transformation except getting possessed. 

As for Aborynn, I didn’t care more or less about how he died as the king of the assassins. He was boring and not interesting, there was almost nothing pulling me in for him. 

As for all the characters here, I want to see something more. Maeve is non-existent here, I barely even see her. But if she is also an antagonist, I hope that she isn’t just a misguided or misunderstood soul. 

Because after four books of reading the same villain, then all of a sudden he’s not one, I’m like: what’s the point of building him up to be this big bad then? 

As for Aelin and Rowan, couldn’t care less. I really could care less about what happens with them, and in the next book either. Their relationship didn’t feel like romance to me, neither did I want to ship them. Aelin really lost her charm here for some reason, as I tread through the book itself. Not that the rest were any better. 

And Manon, she wasn’t so bad. I managed to get interested in what she’s doing. And I get the feeling she’s not straight, like seriously. I don’t feel as though she would want to date a guy from what I feel of her. 

Nesryn, she really feels more like a plot device more than anything else so that Chaol wouldn’t end up alone. Chaol, personally, he at the beginning his reaction was more or less human. He was really human to be afraid of something that you have been taught to hate, and then he doesn’t have much development here. 

When I want to see development it means that they really have to struggle and suffer, which I really didn’t see here. Aelin was boring, Lysandra like a mirror and Rowan, was he even there? And be forced to make pretty difficult situations, as well as having the villain be something. I just simply didn’t see it here. It’s just what I feel, feel free to disagree but I just simply didn’t like the book and it took me a long time to read this, many days went where it still remained unfinished. 

Overall, I can’t recommend this at all because I really really don’t like it. And that I might not even continue to read  the series in the least, because It’s really tedious for me to go through. 

Rating: 2 out of 5