The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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Read on: 13/09/2015

Rating: ★★★ 3.3/5

“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.”

My biggest issue with this book was the main characters. I enjoyed the plot, it’s mysterious and you’re hooked from the very first pages, but I didn’t like the love interest and honestly the writing wasn’t that good.

I’ll proceed with my opinion on the characters and then talk about the plot.

On Noah:

Now, whoever believes Noah Shaw is the perfect boyfriend should seriously reconsider their standards. Besides not being perfect, which for me is much more interesting, although Mara keeps telling us otherwise, he’s an arrogant, controlling, patronising, obnoxious, pretentious asshole with a superiority complex.

Also, Noah’s fixation on Mara was creepy af! Like I was uncomfortable at first! Only when I realized why he was so fixated on getting closer to her did I managed to understand it. It still creeps me out how obsessive he is, though.

And I have plenty of examples of such behavior, so I’ll just list them here. [And I might resort to the use gifs to properly express my reaction to these excerpts.]

Noah placed his forefinger above my upper lip and his thumb below my bottom lip, and applied the slightest pressure, cutting me off. I felt lightheaded, and my eyelids might have fluttered closed. So embarrassing. I wanted to kill myself a little.
“Shut up,” he said quietly. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s just get her checked out, all right?”
I nodded feebly, my pulse galloping in my veins. Noah walked over to the passenger side and opened the car door for me. I climbed in.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “You’re evil.”
In response, Noah smiled, and raised his finger to gently tap the tip of my nose.
“And you’re mine,” he said, then walked away.

Noah grinned. “Glad you enjoyed it.” He glanced down at my clothes and nodded once. “You’ll do.”

“Hallelujah,” I said, smiling.
“What?”
“The song. I love this cover.”
“Really?” Noah looked obnoxiously surprised. “Doesn’t seem like your thing.”
“Oh? What’s my thing?”
“I had you pegged for a closeted pop fan.”
“Bite me.”
“If I must.”

Noah arched an eyebrow. “What are you smirking about, over there?”
“I’m more well-rounded than you.”
“Not possible. You’re American,” he said. “And if it is true, it’s only because you like crap.”

Alain stood, and fished for something in the pocket of his jeans, withdrawing a pen. “In case you get tired of friends,” he said, scrawling something on a napkin, “here’s my number.” He slid it over the surface of the table in my direction. Noah’s hand reached over my shoulder and took it.
Alain’s eyes narrowed at Noah. “She can make her own decisions.”
Noah stood still for a second, staring at him. Then he relaxed, and a spark of amusement lit his eyes. “Of course she can,” he said, and raised an eyebrow at me. “Well?”

I won’t even comment on this one because it’s laughable how ridiculous he’s acting.

The waiter appeared then, and Noah plucked the menu from my hands and handed it over, rushing off our order in Spanish. The waiter departed for the kitchen.
I shot him a dark look. “I hadn’t decided yet.”
“Trust me.”

I shook my head. “Why, Noah, do you know the word for vagina in every language?”
“Because I’m European, and therefore more cultured than you,”

Good thing I’m European then, I should learn how to say asshole in six languages too, in case I ever cross paths with a Noah Shaw.

“I’m picking you up tomorrow morning,” Noah said, as he brushed a strand of hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. His touch felt like home.
I blinked hard, and shook my head to clear it. “But it’s out of your way.”
“And?”
“And Daniel has to drive to school anyway.”
“So?”
“So wh—”
Noah placed a finger on my lips. “Don’t. Don’t ask me why. It’s annoying. I want to. That’s it. That’s all. So let me.” Noah’s face was so close. So close.
Focus, Mara. “Everyone’s going to think that we’re together.”
“Let them,” he said as his eyes searched my face.
“But—”
“But nothing. I want them to think that.”

Excuse me but since when is it okay to dictate others decisions? I’m confused, did she even agree with it? Also, just because he wants people to think they’re together he can’t assume she wants that too.

“That’s what I get for defending your honor.”
I laughed. “That was not for me. That was you marking your territory,” I said. Noah opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off before he could. “So to speak,” I finished.

If a guy decided that he was entitled of beating the shit out of someone on the pretense of defending my honor I can guarantee you I’d be the one beating the shit out of him. What happened to being civilized and standing up to someone with words and not violence?

“Have you kissed many boys before?” he asked quietly.
His question brought my mind back into focus. I raised an eyebrow. “Boys? That’s an assumption.”
Noah laughed, the sound low and husky. “Girls, then?”
“No.”
“Not many girls? Or not many boys?”
“Neither,” I said. Let him make of that what he would.
“How many?”
“Why—”
“I am taking away that word. You are no longer allowed to use it. How many?”

First of all, like you have any right to demand such information, and second,

On Mara:

I think Mara is a girl that went through a lot and this paranormal shit just makes her life even harder. I’m glad she has her family by her side because she definitely needs it. I like her most days, but it’s frustrating to see her lacking will power around Noah. She keeps saying that she hates him and she won’t let him mess with her. Guess what happens? She’s like a bowl of noodles around him, she has no backbone and he pushes her around and treats her like he owns her!!!

I wanted to take it and I wanted to spit in Anna’s face and I wanted to kiss him and I wanted to knee Aiden Davis in the groin. Civilization won out, and I willed each individual nerve to respond to the signal I sent with my brain and placed my fingers in his. A current traveled from my fingertips through to the hollow where my stomach used to be.
And just like that, I was completely, utterly, and entirely,
His.

For fuck sake! So he’s good-looking and flirty, has a cute accent and an amazing smile. So what? Does it give him the right to control you and mess with your head? Hell no.

Morales spoke in a calm, cold voice. “You may sit down, Meez Dee-er.”
“I’m not finished.” I couldn’t believe I actually said it. For a second, my legs threatened to bolt to the nearest desk. But as Morales quickly lost her composure, a juicy thrill coursed through my veins. I couldn’t resist. “In 1519 he founded Panama City. He was part of the agreement with Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro that allowed the discovery of Peru.” Suck it, Morales.
“Sit down, Meez Dee-er.” Morales began to huff and puff, strongly resembling a cartoon character. In thirty seconds, smoke would start radiating from her ears.
“I’m not finished,” I said again, delighted by my own audacity. “In the same year, Pedro de los Ríos took over as governor of Panama. Dávila then died at the age of ninety-one in 1531.”
“Sit down!” she screamed.
But I was invincible. “Dávila is remembered as a cruel man and as a liar.” I emphasized each adjective and stared hard at Morales, watching the veins in her forehead threaten to explode. Her corded neck turned purple.
“Get out of my classroom.” Her voice was quiet and furious. “Senor Coardes, “you are next.” Morales half-turned in the too-small chair and nodded at a freckled, openmouthed classmate.
“I’m not finished,” I heard myself say. I was almost bouncing with energy. The room itself seemed sharp and alive. I heard the footfalls of individual ants scurrying to and from a prize piece of gum stuck to a bookshelf on my left. I smelled the sweat that trickled down the side of Morales’s face. I saw the individual dreadlocks fall in slow motion over Jamie’s face as he planted his forehead on his desk.
“GET OUT OF MY CLASSROOM!” Morales bellowed, stunning me with the force of it as she rose from her chair, knocking over the desk.
At that point, I could hold it in no longer. A smug smile lit up my face and I sauntered out of the room.
To the sound of applause.

WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS?! Am I supposed to cheer and claim this as badassery? Because it was downright disrespectful. I would understand if she tried to calmly argue on her own behalf, but completely ignoring a teacher’s order, that’s just disrespectful and stupid. Was she expecting to get an A after that brilliantly stupid performance? Because if she hadn’t been stupid she could have taken the case to the principal and sort it out with him.

On Jamie:

Why did he suddenly disappear? I want a spin-off of Jamie because he was my favorite character and he deserves to be happy!!! I absolutely loved his snark, it’s off the charts. I wish we could have more Jamie in the book and if he’s not in book 2 I’ll be so freaking disappointed!!

On Daniel and Joseph:

On Jude:

I think this gif will sum up my feelings toward Jude beautifully.

On the plot twist/cliffhanger:

I THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD!!! I THOUGHT SHE WAS HALLUCINATING WTF!!!?!

On the paranormal powers:

I’m excited, I want to know what exactly Mara and Noah can do, if there are more like them and whether they have a mutation or something. However, sometimes all the hallucinations and nightmares get confusing.

I have this feeling that Daniel also has paranormal powers I don’t know why…

Overall this is more about the romantic relationship between Noah and Mara than the paranormal, but I’m curious about that part so I’ll keep reading. Hopefully, Noah will put the brakes on his assholery in the next installment.

Ms. Marvel – Volume 1

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Read on: 06/10/2016

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

“There’s this ayah from the Quran that my dad always quotes when he sees something bad on TV. A fire or a flood or a bombing. “Whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind… And whoever saves one person, it is as if he has saved all of mankind.” When I was a little kid, that always made me feel better. Because no matter how bad things get there are always people who rush in to help. And according to my dad they are blessed.”

 

Can I say that I absolutely love Kamala? Cause I definitely do. She’s so quirky and refreshing. The diversity in this story is quite important and, although I don’t know a lot about Islamic culture – probably because I don’t – I thought they handled it pretty well without making it the main point of the story. She’s a girl like any other, except she has certain routines that I don’t have, but I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. Kamala fights for equality and often asks why her brother can do things that she’d never be allowed to. I think she’s a great role model and I believe this comic is quite important, we need more of diversity.

I see a lot of potential in this, I very much look forward to continuing the comics. The art is beautiful and the writing is done quite well. Can’t wait to buy the next volume!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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Read on: 16/10/2016

Rating: ★★★★ 4.3/5

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

 

I quite enjoyed my first Gaiman’s book. I’d been planning to read Coraline for a while but, for some reason, the premise of this one caught my eye.

The story starts with a middle-aged man visiting his childhood neighbourhood for a funeral and finding himself in the house at the end of the lane, where a childhood friend used to live. We are transported forty years back to when this man was a little boy. Set in the English countryside we are introduced to a family that is struggling to keep their house. They start renting the little boy’s room and when one of the tenants commits suicide in the family’s car at the end of the lane, the little boy meets Lettie Hempstock.

The Hempstocks are a peculiar family of three women. Old Mrs. Hempstock, her daughter Ginnie Hempstock, and her granddaughter Lettie Hempstock. They live in a barn at the end of the lane. They look clearly out of place with their ancient clothes and strange way of talking, but it is a small pond, which Lettie calls Ocean, that catches the little boy’s attention the most. As the story progresses we face a creature from our nightmares as children and the little boy fights to keep it away from his family.

This book explores our childhood memories and fears, their impact in our adult lives and brings a bit of supernatural to the plate too. It is beautifully written, the story is gripping and transports you back in time to the cherished as well as the sad memories of childhood.

Favorite Spooky Settings

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October 26: Favorite Spooky Settings

–These can be settings that exist in books or ones you’d like to see in books. Also, if you are like me, you don’t really have to make this about horror or scary settings. You can also use eerie, atmospheric settings. Macabre settings. Eclectic settings. I’m not a scary horror person either, but I do enjoy the latter.

5. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

4. Prince of Thornes by Mark Lawrence

3. Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

1. Alice by Christina Henry

The Lady of the House of Love

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Read on: 09/10/2016

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.6/5

“She has the mysterious solitude of ambiguous states; she hovers in a no-man’s land between life and death, sleeping and waking.”

This is an empowering story about a female vampire. A young lady vampire is condemned to live a life (I know vampires aren’t alive but you get what I mean :p) of isolation in a castle in an abandoned town in Romania. Her days are spent waiting for her next male victim, who are lured to the castle by her mute maid when they stop by the fountain near the castle. The lady knows what she has to do, offer them a meal and a night in the warmth of her chambers never to leave. Although she doesn’t enjoy it, the lady vampire was cursed a long time ago to remain in the castle.

Everything changes when a virginal young Englishman arrives town in a bicycle. A soldier enjoying his last days before going to war. He’s lured to the castle just like all those before him but somehow he manages to leave the next morning, in time to fight in the War.

A beautifully written short story which gifts us with rich description and a poetic language, both of which I utterly adored. The fairy-tale appeal and analogy to Sleeping Beauty were so clever. The lady was both powerful and limited by the curse that kept her confined in the castle. The whole mystery surrounding the roses was quite interesting.

I’m quite excited to read more of Carter’s stories. I have The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories and Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales so I should read one of them soon. I highly recommend this story if you enjoy purple prose and a different take on fairy tales and vampires.

Carmilla

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Read on: 07/10/2016

Rating: ★★★★ 3.5/5

“But to die as lovers may – to die together, so that they may live together.”

I quite enjoyed Carmilla. Obviously, there was no wow factor, not like there would be if I had read it when it came out. However, I loved how beautifully written this book is, the femininity of the language and the sexual undertones. Their relationship is sensual and yet innocent. It’s so unlike what we expect of vampires, in the way that they are associated with masculinity. Carmilla is even more feminine than our main character, Laura.

Overall it was a pleasant and quick read. I’d definitely recommend it.

Survivor Type

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Read on: 13/10/2016

Rating: ★★★★ 3.8/5

“How will I chase the birds now?”

I was afraid to read this because well… it’s Stephen King and I’ve heard horrors about his work. Not in a bad way, I’m just not a fan of horror fiction so yeah. Although it was not very graphic, this short-story was still very, very disturbing and gross. It was highly engaging too, if you can overlook the disgust.
King writes quite well and the last days of Richard Pine were so convincing. It was clear the character was becoming insane due to lack of food and blood loss. The situation itself was driving him mad. King mad a spectacular job, the story was so realistic and at the same time surreal. This is a great piece of horror fiction, it was twisted and dark. But cannibalism is definitely not my thing.