Adorkable by Sarra Manning: review

10890319Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: May 24th 2012
Synopsis: Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging?

My Thoughts:

“We have nothing to declare but our dorkiness.”

Adorkable is a contemporary novel that I found to be undeniably charming. The book is fun, adorable, and has a really good message. Adorkable also had an uncanny ability to make me laugh, which is always a good thing 😉 This might not be a contemporary filled with emotion and impact, but it was fun.

I admit that the plot is a little ridiculous and the circumstances in the book can be even more ridiculous. I myself probably wouldn’t have liked this book as much as I had if it wasn’t for one thing: Sarra Manning’s great characters.

First is Jeane Smith, who is now one of my favorite characters. Jeane Smith is the blogger (see? She’s awesome already) behind the famous Adorkable, has half a million followers on Twitter, is the queen of jumble sales, and isn’t at all afraid of being her. She can be really terrible, but even then she is sort of fantastic.

“Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness like a shield.”  

Jeane is one of those people who, upon hearing that you don’t approve of them, will say, “So? I think I’m freaking amazing” and then walk calmly away as if you didn’t exist. I find that absolutely refreshing since there definitely aren’t many characters out there that are like that.

Michael Lee wasn’t as amazing as Jeane, but he was definitely good. I was actually surprised by how believable and honest he was written. Even though he is a genuinely good person, Michael Lee’s thoughts can be pretty unpleasant at times, especially when Jeane is being a little intolerable. But I’ve always valued honest and imperfect more than unbelievable and perfect, so me and Michael Lee got along just fine.

The chemistry and relationship between Jeane and Michael Lee: Perfectly written. Jeane and Michael Lee’s relationship is an undeniably messy one. The way it progresses is not the norm. But that messy relationship was perfectly written, and to be honest, even when Jeane and Michael Lee were verbally battling out, I wished that I was a character in the book so I could ‘accidentally’ push the two together.

Manning’s writing is great, with dialogue and narrative that really made me smile and laugh, making Adorkable a breeze to read. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to write and understood how she was going to do it.

Adorkable is a very good contemporary and is one of the more refreshing stories out of the genre. I would recommend this book to lovers of fun, adorable stories with great characters. Oh, and also people who want to take a step into the dorkside. Because the dorkside really needs some members.

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Our Happy Hours by Gong Ji-young, Sahara Mizu: review

Watashitachi no Shiawase na JikanOur Happy Hours by Gong Ji-young, Sahara Mizu (art)
Stand Alone
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Adult/Mature Young Adult
Genre: Josei, Seinen, Romance
Release Date: First Pub. 2007
Synopsis: “I have something I don’t want to lose—
So much so that these terrible feelings have grown.”

A pianist who attempted suicide 3 times, Juri, is taken to help her aunt at a prison where murderers who killed indiscriminately are sentenced to death. There, she meets a man named Yuu who took the lives of 3 people. A mother’s antagonism–a brother’s death… Together they embrace the violent rebellion in their hearts caused by the large, deep scars they carry. However, before long, they both embrace an earnest hope in their hearts. “I want to live”…

An adaptation of a novel by South Korea’s most popular female novelist, Gong Ji-Young.

My Thoughts:

Our Happy Hours. I don’t think that there could be any other name more fitting. From the very beginning I knew deep inside how the story was going to end. All I had to hold on to were the fulfilling, happy hours that Juri, a former pianist that has attempted suicide three times, and Yuu, a man on death row who killed three people, spend together. And when it all ended, I was just left remembering the moments they had together.

I do admit that the premise can cause eyebrows to be raised. A story about a depressed woman spending time with a murderer every Thursday is not a story that many people would call sweet, romantic, or, in fact, normal. But in reality, this story is sweet, in its own tender way, and romantic, in its own hopeful way, and, for some odd reason, the story does feel a bit normal when one actually reads it. And to top it all off, there is a very apparent sense of standing in the rain-like sadness and melancholy lingering in the atmosphere of Our Happy Hours that one can not just shake off. It isn’t the in-your-face kind of sadness as you can put up a little umbrella made out of the happy hours…

It’s just that sometimes I don’t like an umbrella being in the way!

Juri and Yuu are both characters that are hard to write and pull off. Juri mainly because of her depression, which is a condition that takes research and understanding to effectively write. Yuu because, well, he had killed people before. And even though he regrets it enough to actually long for death, his actions are still almost impossible to forgive. But even so, Gong Ji-young writes these characters in a masterfully skillful and sensitive way.

Gong Ji-young really shows how fragile and vulnerable these two characters are. I had this extreme wanting to protect Juri and Yuu, though I knew that it was impossible since I am kind of in a different world than them. Their development, growth, and healing are painful and inspiring at the same time. Seriously, the two leads’ characterization is simply breathtaking.

The flow of the story isn’t slow yet it isn’t fast. It takes its time presenting the characters, their emotions, conflicts, and wants before letting everything take off. I actually wish that the pacing was slower so it would have taken less time to get to the ending.

Let me explain. The ending is painfully sad. The kind of sad that might make you cry, your tears streaming down your face and ruining your makeup. I knew all along that it was coming but it still hit me hard and devastating me. I didn’t even have a tissue box available! It was a perfect ending with notes from the piano and love , but still painful.

Christianity does have a role in Our Happy Hours. Juri’s aunt is part of the clergy and Yuu does study to get his Christian name. I don’t think that this caused the manga to be preachy in at all. In fact, the manga shows the flaws of the people in the clergy (without making an offensive portrayal, of course) and there were some underlying messages that a person, Christian or not, could listen to and learn from.

The art, awhile not the most fantastic thing about Our Happy Hours, flawlessly fits into the mood of the story as a whole. The delicate character designs and carefully drawn backgrounds make the art something really pleasant on the eyes to look at.

Our Happy Hours is an absolutely lovely manga that deserves to have its large audience. It is rare to encounter such a beautifully bittersweet story. I will be cherishing Our Happy Hours for years to come.

Note: I have recently learned that Our Happy Hours is an adaption of a novel by Gong Ji-Young, an author who is considered one of the most popular female novelist in South Korea. Admittedly, I haven’t read the book, and am not sure if I ever will be able to, but I believe that the manga is a fantastic manga in its own right.

Seven Days by Venio Tachibana, Rihito Takarai: series review

Seven Days Vol.1-2Seven Days by Venio Tachibana, Rihito Takarai (Illustrator)
Series: Seven Days #1-2
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Shounen-ai, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Publisher:  Digital Manga Publishing

My Thoughts:

Now before I start babbling about how much I loved Seven Days, I need to say that I haven’t read much shounen-ai. Not because I dislike the genre, but because I always seem to be picking up the more… sexually explicit titles by mistake. These little mishaps has caused me to kind of avoid the genre except for on a few rare occasions.

But luckily, I stumbled upon a couple of raving reviews for this gem. And then I found out that the featured couple don’t do anything more than kiss a couple of times. So I started reading. I am so, so glad I did.

Seven Days first introduces us to Shino Yuzuro, a handsome boy who is described to have an air of perfection around him. But because of his blunt, kind-of-impolite personality, girls who date him become disappointed and dump him, and even his friends say he is a waste of a pretty face.

On a certain Monday, Yuzuru happens to meet with Seryou, a guy who is notorious for his habit of dating the first person to ask him out at the beginning of the week and then immediately dumping that same person on Sunday if he doesn’t develop any feelings for that person (which he normally doesn’t). And since Seryou makes that person feel absolutely special those seven days he is with them, he remains popular and well-liked.

After finding out that no one has managed to ask Seryou out yet, Yuzuru asks Seryou to date him. Awhile Yuzuru meant it as a joke, Seryou takes the request seriously and proceeds to stick with his habit. Thus begins a seven day love story.

Reading Seven Days was a bit of a surreal experience. I owe this to the fact that the seven days the manga covers starts to stretch into an amount of ‘time’ that feels longer than just seven days. It feels like Yuzuru and Seryou were together for more than just seven days. Which I feel is quite fitting since, crazily enough, it took three years for this short, two volume series to get completely published in a quarterly magazine.

Although the series is very short, the characters still manage to be developed. Seven Days balances the forwarding of the romance with the development of the characters. So at the very end, the reader know Yuzuru and Seryou well enough that they feel like real people with both flaws and good qualities. I do have a deep want to learn more about these characters, but given the shortness of the series, the creators did a great job at developing them.

The romance is really sweet. The kind of sweet that really makes a person giddy. The kind of way that makes a person go “awww” every few pages. Even though Yuzuru and Seryou are only together for seven days, the romance doesn’t seem to develop to quickly at all. The creators fit in that awkwardness that is present at the beginning of a relationship and everything after that. The growing feelings between seems very natural. Awhile it might be too early to say “I love you,” I didn’t feel like Seven Days had a bad case of insta-love.

One of the best things about the romance is how it is portrayed. It isn’t based on appearances, nor does it base itself on cliches. It is a very pure and captivating kind of love that develops between the two. They love  each other, flaws and all.

It should noted that the story doesn’t revolve around the fact that Yuzuru and Seryou are both boys. In fact, their sexuality doesn’t cause them much trouble at all. Seven Days is more focused on people and their personalities more than what gender a person is interested.

Takarai’s art is pretty in a delicate way. The characters are especially drawn nicely, and the backgrounds are pleasant to look at, also. The art also does a fantastic job at giving a very peaceful, mellow mood to read with.

I was thoroughly endeared by Seven Days. The characters, the romance, the story, the art. Everything is painted in such of an eloquent way. I can really see why this manga has obtained so many loving fans. This is certainly going to be a seven day story I won’t be forgetting.

Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer: review

Spirit (Elemental, #3)Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #3
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: K Teen
Release Date: May 28th 2013
Synopsis: With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

*Want to sample Spirit? Well, you can! The first chapter of Spirit is available here.*

My Thoughts:

Brigid Kemmerer has successfully taken my breath away. And I’m still struggling to get it back. Spirit is like a powerful punch to the gut with its emotional and quite addicting the story. Awhile the boy-meets-girl subplot is definitely there, like in the other two books in the series, Storm and Spark, the core of the story is an enrapturing tale of learning to trust that surprised me so much with the intense beauty it held.

Yeah, this is a beauty of a book.

If the writing was decent in Storm and great in Spark, then the writing in Spirit is gorgeous. Kemmerer has a gift for creating witty, substantial prose that will keep a person’s eyes on the pages no matter what happens. I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t have cared if a tornado hit because the writing pulled me in so much. (I am happy that a tornado didn’t happen, though. I do like being alive a great amount.)

The story, well, it isn’t very complex. In fact, Spirit‘s story is pretty simple: the Guides want all the Elementals gone, and a crazy girl wants to create a war. But the constant kicks to the feels, fast pacing, and clean execution make it absolutely amazing. And the refreshing originality is not something that should be missed!

The most risky, awesome thing about Spirit is the character and development of Hunter Garrity. A character that feels completely lost with a  habit of not trusting people and pushing them away and his yearning to please his father, even if he is deceased, is a hard thing to pull off, I believe. And the fact that he seems to be making questionable choices throughout the book doesn’t make his character any less riskier.

But Kemmerer seems to know what she is doing, and pulls off this feat magnificently. I could intimately relate to Hunter, and really felt every bump in the road he had to go through. I felt his anxiety. doubts, and hurt. I also felt hit growth as the story progressed. Hunter is an almost-tangible character.

There is another character, Kate Sullivan. And oh is she a sight to see! She is completely different from Becca and Layne. It only takes a few chapters for the reader to learn that this girl is flirtatious, confident, and bold. But she also has a hidden agenda that could put the Merrick brothers at risk. Kate, like Hunter, has her own self-doubts and apparent flaws. And she, too, gets a realistic development.

I expected a romance and wasn’t surprised when it appeared. I wasn’t expecting for it to be so good, though! Hunter and Kate’s romance is by far the best in the series. Their coming together because of their shared loneliness, self-doubts, and issues with trust, helping each other both overcome their flaws. Just wow. I don’t even know how to begin. Just know that the romance can be compared to many other YA novels and come out victorious.

And there is one certain character death that is just terrible. In an incredibly good, sad way. I was shocked and misty-eyed when it happened. The ending is pretty frigging emotional, too.

I am literally only centimeters away from taking over the world so I can force everyone to read this book. Centimeters away. We’re all lucky that I’m pretty daft and don’t know how to take over the world. If this is what Kemmerer can do, then I have no doubt that she will become one of my favorite writers.

Be sure to follow the rest of the Spirit Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden!

An advance copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer: review

Spark (Elemental, #2)Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #2
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Synopsis: Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own…

My Thoughts: 

There is always that fear of the sequel not being as good as the first book when you continue a series. Luckily, Brigid Kemmerer is starting to seem like the kind of author who does nothing but improve. Spark completely blows Storm out of the water– or should I say (…WAIT FOR IT!) fire!

There are so, so many things that have improved since Storm. The characterization is stronger. The prose has developed into something more witty than it was in the previous book. The plot is tighter and more exciting. The family dynamics are at their best. The romance is even more romantic. The whodunnit arsonist mystery is intriguing. And the ending chapters are just amazing.

Some people might be scared off by this installment of the Elemental series, since the novel is narrated by Gabriel. And they have good reason to. Gabriel was a complete jerk throughout the majority of Storm, what with all his sexist comments and insults. In Spark, though, I found myself not disliking him as much as I did because of the look in Gabriel’s mind that the book provided.

Spark shows that Gabriel, our fictional pyromaniac, is a complex, lonely character carrying a lot of self-doubt on his shoulders. He is extremely ill at ease about the fact that he lacks the control to manipulate fire, the Element he has a special affinity to, and feels inferior to his brothers because of that lack of control. And the grief he feels because of his parents’ death, which he blames himself for, is especially apparent to the reader. But he tries to hide all that from the people around him, hiding his true self behind the constant insults and fights. Because of this new depth that was added to Gabriel’s character, I came to love him. Sure, I still wanted to smack him in the fact at times, but there were also times when I wanted to leap inside the book and glomp him.

Layne, the other main character of Spark, is quite the heroine. I thought that she was a bit strange when I first ‘met’ her, since she seemed a bit high-strung. But she also develops into a character I thoroughly loved. Really, how could I not love her? She knew when to get angry at Gabriel when he was acting like a jerk, and how she handled the responsibility of taking care of her family that was left strained because of her mother’s ditching of the family is truly admirable. I could also genuinely relate to her and the bullying she goes through.

Sparks (sorry. I couldn’t help it) really fly with Gabriel and Layne’s romance…although, it does take a while to get the fire (again, sorry) going. There is definitely a awkward phase in which the two characters are very nervous about their attracting to each other. And then you have to consider that both the characters are insecure and tend to push people away. But that awkardness starts to become something very sweet and touching. The chemistry between the two is undeniable.

Some other characters I am interested in are Hunter and Michael. Awhile the reader knows Hunter’s personality, the reader doesn’t know much about him. The same goes for Michael.

Another thing that I have noticed about this series is how is addresses the bullying that goes on in school. First, in Storm, it was Becca becoming an outcast because people thought she slept with half the high school. Now it is Layne being bullied by people because of her burn scars and her brother Simon being bullied because he is deaf. And don’t even mention the beatings that the Merrick brothers get into. Brigid Kemmerer really knows how to show this ugly and common part of life in a way that makes the reader aware, but doesn’t make the novel an ‘issue book.’

The Elemental series is still going strong with its addictive, refreshing story, amazing characters, and occasional moments of substantial emotion. I’m really starting to think that I should just go ahead and marry myself to this series.

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer: review

Storm (Elemental, #1)Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #1
My Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: April 24th 2012
Synopsis: Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming.

My Thoughts:

Storm is a book people will open up because of other promise of five hot, swoon-worthy guys, awesome Elemental powers, and ultimately, lots of fun. And I doubt that many people will be disappointed. This book is nearly as fun as running around in the rain awhile thunder roars. Does anyone else do that? No? Okay then.

I believe that Kemmerer did a great job in the characterization department for this novel. I felt distant from Becca at first because her character was so… quiet, but as the pages turned, I started to understand her and feel a strong emotional connection with her. Chris is also very quiet compared to the rest of his brothers. Saying that he is the brooding type wouldn’t be a lie.

Then we have the rest of the Merrick family. We have Michael, a person who is kind of a jerk, but I think it’s because he has to. Protecting and taking care of all those boys isn’t an easy feat. And then there is Nick and Gabriel. We don’t get much of Nick in this book, but there is plenty of Gabriel. I can’t say I liked him very much since he came off as a sexist person. But I do think that he can develop into a better person in Spark, the next book in the Elemental series. Oh, and I can’t forget Hunter! He isn’t a Merrick boy, but his character is still very, very attractive 😛 He is a very sweet, caring guy, and he is pretty mysterious. My wanting to learn more about him is one of the reasons I was so glued to this book.

My favorite aspect of Storm is the family dynamics between all the Merrick brothers. Sure, they get on each others nerves and get in fights, but they always stay loyal. I found that to be very touching. The interactions between the brothers is fluid, seemingly effortless with all the witty comments and intense fights. I am always thinking that there should be more focus on  realistic sibling relationships in YA, so Storm was a lovely surprise.

The romance does take up a fairly large piece of the story. But it was a good romance. The featured love triangle between Becca, Chris, and Hunter is pretty well done. It doesn’t get in the way of the forwarding of the plot, but it does have the time to realistically develop. And I got to admit that the kiss on the last page of the book made me swoon ❤

Brigid Kemmerer’s writing is not the best I have read, but it is decent and gets the job done. There are some times when the writing has some dashes of snark and humor, which I really loved.

Awhile the little aspects the story has are definitely awesome, the story itself is pretty cool also. A book about a hot group of boys with the power to control the Elements and a girl trying to escape death? Sign me up! And the crisp, clean execution and the good pacing only make the story more addictive. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t any flaws, though…

I think that the ending is a little anti-climatic and rushed. It wasn’t a bad ending, I just think that, compared to the rest of the novel in which Kemmerer seems to take her time, the ending is just a little too fast. That’s really the only issue I had with Storm. The rest of the novel is great fun!

Storm is a very promising start to a series that I’m certainly going to continue reading. I can already feel the fire Spark promises and the power Spirit promises. I would recommend this first book to lovers of paranormal fiction, specifically ones that are fans of reading about the main elements being sources of power. And of course, fans of hot guys.

Every Day by David Levithan: review

Every DayEvery Day by David Levithan
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Synopsis: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

My Thoughts:

David Levithan, you have succeeded in creating a novel that is breathtaking, thought-provoking, and ultimately philophical. Plus, your novel has a pretty nice cover also 😉

Every Day is one of those beauties that make you think. Not just about what it’s like to be in a different body every day of your life (although, that in itself is a thing that can make you think), but also about the struggles that people go through. This book covers many different topics in such a short amount of pages. Not that this novel is short, but it’s able to fit in such a great amount of topics that it does, in fact, seem short.

What I loved most about Every Day is the wide range of people we get to meet because of A’s forced ability to go into a different body each day. In this book, the reader is shown the life of a girl with depression and many others. These lives are portrayed in such a sensitive and touching way. Some are happy, some are sad, and some are average. But Levithan somehow shows the light in all of them, no matter how dim it may be.

Levithan’s writing is very pleasant to read. It was pretty and sometimes lyrical, even. And the underlying messages that Levithan managed to insert in between the lines were very, very appreciated by me.

A is a character that has become wise because of his…unusual life, but is still very flawed. He strongly believes that love will conquer all when it really doesn’t, not all the time. I found this mentality to be grating on the nerves at times, but I understood why he thought that, why he wanted to hold on to that. Even though he experiences all these different ways of living for a day, he hasn’t experienced what an actual life is like, so he finds the little things to hold on to.

There are a few things that could prove to be a bit bothersome to people who want the stories they read to have a realistically developed romance and reasons of why things are happening to be explained. Like how A has an almost instantaneous love for Rhiannon, and that the reason A’s mind is teleported into a different body each day. But for me, that development and those explanations were not needed. They didn’t feel needed.

The ending is a certain aspect of the story that I feel conflicted about. In a technical way, it was perfect. It was hard on the heart and vague. There was not other way to end it. But I just couldn’t get myself to like it. I only occasionally like vague endings, and Every Day isn’t one of those vague endings I liked.

I haven’t read any other Levithan books, so this is my first taste of what this man can write. But I can promise that Every Day is only the beginning of my journey through the library, looking for books with the name David Levithan on the spine.

The Collector by Victoria Scott: review

The Collector (Dante Walker, #1)The Collector by Victoria Scott
Series: Dante Walker #1
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
Synopsis: He makes good girls…bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

My Thoughts:

I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book all that much. But in the end, I really found myself loving it. I got caught up in the story and the dynamics between all the characters, and just kind of got lost in the story. And the lolz.

Let me explain. The Collector is just one of those books in which I just can’t read without laughing. And that is all thanks to Dante’s way of talking and thinking. Awhile the guy can be a bit exasperating at times, it’s impossible to say that he is not funny. Because he is one of the funniest characters I have ever had the honor to read about.  And if you don’t think that Dante’s attitude is funny, my only response is:

And since we are talking about Dante, I need to say that he is a cocky, conceited, flamboyant, self-superior anti-hero that thinks he is the sexiest guy on earth. So if you don’t like characters like him, you won’t enjoy this book much.

But Dante does grow into a better person throughout the novel. There was always good in him, of course, but the events and people he meets in during the story help that good part of him become more obvious and apparent. Sure, he is still conceited at the end of the story, but his development as a character is exponential.

Charlie, the female lead of the story, is also a character that I loved a heck of a lot. She’s awkward, names cars, keeps a bag of Skittles in her pocket, is insecure, and has a really loving heart. I couldn’t help but love her. The girl is one of those impossibly nice characters that are also realistic in their very own way.

The dynamics between the main characters and the side characters is what made the book for me. Every interaction Dante and Charlie had with Max, Blue, Valery, Annabell, and Gram pulled me into the story more. Victoria Scott really did good with this aspect of the book.

I do think that the first part of the novel was much better than the second. It was more fulfilling even though the Boss Man vs. Big Guy plot didn’t fully kick in yet. Not that the second part was not entertaining, it was definitely entertaining, but I just believe that the first part was more… tightly written.

Final Verdict: The Collector is a pretty awesome book with great characters, humor, and writing. It’s just that not very awesome second part that bothered me. I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining story.

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.