Tuesday, 20 June 2017

MY FAVOURITE (GUILTY PLEASURE) TROPES IN YA

Last week I wrote about my least favourite tropes in YA, which you can read here. I thought it was only right that I told you my favourites too! Here's a fair warning, most of these tropes relate to love and relationships because I'm a bit of a sap like that.


1. Hate to love relationships

When that snarkiness turns to flirting and tense conversations, man I live for this shit! It doesn't only work for couples, I love when two people who despise each other become best friends too and join forces to kick arse, especially in fantasy.

2. Forbidden love

I just can't help myself. There's just something so satisfying about a forbidden love. The whole secrecy/keeping it quiet thing that more often than not results in a huge reveal where the characters put everyone else's thoughts and opinions to one side and just love each other. Brb, crying.


3. Training and learning

I love seeing our MC work to improve either their fighting skills or their knowledge. I appreciate this much more than those characters who are automatically "the best". The situations a character in training goes through can help them become a more developed character, so a good training montage/story line is one of my faves. Also it's super satisfying when a character is underestimated, they train and become really frickin' cool and then surprise everyone by kicking the shit out of those who disregarded them. YAS!

4. Fake marriage or relationship

Here we go again. I did warn you. Basically, point number four is dedicated to Lorcan and Elide in Empire of Storms. God I loved their story line. You know how it goes, two characters need to go somewhere or get something whilst remaining undetected, and the safest way to do this is to pretend to be a couple. AND if we're lucky, it eventually turns into to the real thing *smirking emoji*.

5. The bad guy who is actually a really, really good guy

When a character is introduced and you're all like "ugh no go away who even wants you here?" and by the end of the story you're crying "PLEASE FORGIVE ME, I DIDN'T KNOW THE TRUTH!" because they swoop in, deliver some brilliant lines and save the day. Rhysand, I'm looking at you (I love you).

So there are my top YA tropes! As you can probably tell from this, my favourite stories are typically fantasy with a good romance. Can you blame me? What are your fave tropes, I'd love to know!


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

LEAST FAVOURITE TROPES IN YA

We've all been there. Reading books and coming across the same tropes and situations time and time again. Sometimes. I'm all for it, I love some of them! While there are others I could totally live without. Today I've got something that is a little different to what I usually post but I had fun putting it together!


1. The protagonist who comes from nowhere and is suddenly better than everyone at everything

Grrrr this one really grinds my gears. You know, when one of the characters is just a normal guy or girl who finds out that something really bad is happening and somehow they are sucked into it. Suddenly, with no training, they are fighting like experienced assassins, are confident politicians in meetings, are knowledgeable in the ways of the world and outrank most of the other characters. Ummmm?

2. Young protagonists who have the life experience of a thirty year old

This kind of links to point number one. When the 16 year old MC has fought in wars, has had several serious relationships, possesses knowledge and behaviours way beyond their years, I find it super hard to get on board. Maybe 16 year olds have changed since I was that age, who knows?

3. Insta-love

"Our eyes locked, and I  could have sworn that sparks flew between the two of us. In that moment, I knew. I knew that we were meant to be, and that I would die to keep him safe".  YOU JUST MET, HE COULD BE A MONSTER!

4. Protagonists who has no self worth until the love interest tells them they're beautiful

The plain character who absolutely despises the way they look and thinks they are worthless until their love interest tells them otherwise. I'm all for confidence boosts, and understand that sometimes you just need that to help yourself feel better, but it's important to know that you are not defined by other people's opinions of you!

5. Perfect love interests

Everyone has flaws, at least one, and when a character is utterly perfect in every way, I have zero interest. Give me someone with a crooked nose, a bad sense of humour or a slight case of clumsiness and I'm sold.
   
6. The MC who thinks they are so strong and smart that they need to ask no questions  

"Oh, I need to join this revolution and sneak into the heavily guarded castle and kill the King and save all the hostages... Ok, when do we leave?" I'm not sure if it's just me, but I'd be much happier sitting down and forming a plan before jumping in head first (if I was at all capable of storming any castle and saving anyone, but that's besides the point).

So that's just a few of the many tropes we see in YA. After reading this back, it seems to reflect fantasy more than anything! This post was a little tongue in cheek but I hope you enjoyed it. What are your least favourite bookish tropes?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

REVIEW: ONE OF US IS LYING BY KAREN M. MCMANUS

While I do love a good mystery thriller, over the past few months I have leaned towards fantasy books more. I decided to mix things up and came across this absolute gem, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, on NetGalley which I was very kindly approved to read!

From the cover:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Thoughts:

The plot is unlike anything I have read before; I was gripped from the first chapter! I really liked the characters, especially the developmental journey that each of them experienced throughout the story which felt real and natural, and not just as though it was used as a plot device. I loved their relationships with each other too. They didn't become the best of friends out of nowhere, they were almost strangers in the beginning and throughout the story they come together to try and solve the murder mystery which was really interesting.

When I do read mysteries, I try my hardest to pick holes and guess what is going to happen, but I was far too engrossed in the story to bother doing that with this book. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. Told from four perspectives (the surviving students from detention) I didn't feel that I blamed any of them for the death, but then the idea of "unreliable narrators" seeps in and straight away I didn't trust any of them.  The several perspective narrative was also really interesting, and the story was very well paced throughout. Whilst predominantly a mystery, there was also a romantic aspect to this story which I felt was not over or underdone, it was just right for me. They are teenagers in high school, of course there is going to be romance! 

I was kept guessing until the very end with this book; the last few chapters are so incredibly tense! I feel that the ending was very well executed and thought out, and for a change with a mystery thriller story, I was happy with it. I felt that it was wrapped up neatly but not lazily which I really appreciated. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think the fact that I read it in less than 24 hours is testament to that. A solid and well deserved 4/5 stars from me!


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