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January 16, 2018

Ramblings about books I didn't quite like

I think every book have a reader but sometimes a book finds the wrong reader and I guess that's me – the wrong reader. I wanted to apologize for saying what I'm about to say but then I realized I'm allow to say ranty things about books. These are my opinions, take it or leave it.

01/ Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis > link

~ Warning: Spoilers Ahead ~

What I like:
(1) This is a Beauty & the Beast retelling which immediately gets me interested.

(2) The second setting – castle, ice, snow, beast – yeah, that's about it...

What I didn't like:
(1) The beginning of the story sounded so good and then it sort of became a teenager telling us how miserable she is living under ground, not having any friends and getting bullied and not being able to use her magic – you know teenage angst.

(2) Omorose? What now? I'm going to rename her Rose because that's a more sensible name. Why can't people have boring names?

(3) Omorose, sorry, I just can't type that name anymore, Rose is seventeen, I think. Honestly, I'm not sure and I don't want to reread but even if she is a teenager, must she sound like one too? The whole book sounds like a teenager's diary, which I wouldn't have minded except that I did minded it.

(4) The magic Rose has is to give life to plants/nature. If she uses her magic, part of her life force(?) would be taken away but that's not the part I didn't like. Rose have an inner rose where petals drop each time she uses magic. I suppose this sort of makes sense but it just sounds a bit corny to me. This aspect could have been written differently but all I can think of is that, it's just like Disney's Beauty & The Beast movie and I kind of wish it is done differently.

(5) The beast is named Cole which I don't like. Honestly, we should just call him Cold, like his attitude or the fact he lives in a castle surrounded by snow and ice. I'm sure there's some reason to call him Cole but I really just don't like that name which I know it's more of a preference.

(6) Cole is a shapeshifter and that's his magic. In his human form, he is described as "a foot taller than Rose and twice as wide." I assumed Rose is adult size but isn't this a bit of an exaggeration? Okay, fine, he can be huge but then wouldn't she be stretching her neck a lot to look into his eyes? Because there's no mention of her doing any neck stretching or heel lifting, I guess his piercing ever-changing eyes (the color of his eyes apparently changes hues all the time) allows her to see him without having her to bend or stretch anything or I'll just assumed she have extremely good eyesight and can zoom into his eyes like a binocular.

(7) Rose could see every one of Cole's emotions just by looking into his eyes – where does she get her amazing power? How could she be so perceptive about his emotions when they hardly know each other? I'm pretty sure looking into someone's eyes is a terribly awkward business and it will probably take more than a few seconds for her to see his emotions but Cole doesn't seem like someone who stands around long enough for Rose to be looking into his eyes for long amount of time.

(8) Honesty, Cole's side of the story is so weak with expositions galore – perhaps they should have told Cole's story in a different format. I kind of wish they have told it like a past memory. It's just a shame Cole couldn't share his memory with Rose with a magic spell, it's not like they want this to be a fantasy or anything, oh no, they have to share by talking, yes, that's how people communicate, forget magic, let's talk!

(9) Cole yells at Rose through a closed door – yet another reminder of the Disney's Beauty & the Beast movie and he even shouts some of the same words to her.

(10) Why is there a dancing scene? This isn't Disney's Beauty & the Beast, damm it. Just another reminder of the movie which I really prefer it would stop doing that. And no, I don't like how the wolves and company howling to make the music for Cole and Rose to dance to. It sounds a bit unromantic. How do you dance to a bunch of howling?

(11) Halfway into the book and already Rose and Cole are like old lovers – I think this relationship is in rush-mode. So it's halfway in the book but still, it seems they form a bond far too quickly without doing any actual falling in love. Physical attraction, yes, true love? Not to me. Maybe I missed something?  So this is like a fairytale and that in fairytales, people rarely get to know each other and they are usually told in a shorter format but this is a book, right? They can add more pages, right?

(12) The scene where Cole picks Rose up and throws her into a fountain of cold water and before he did that, he said "This is how I make breakfast" – is this romance? This is suppose to be a playful scene but I find it annoying.

(13) So the animals in the castle and hanging around Rose and Cole are all shapeshifters too which means some of these animals are Cole's relatives and his people – grown adults in their animal form. What creeps me out a bit is that they are grown adults watching Rose and Cole having their love fest and these animals are even there in the same room, sometimes in the same bed, isn't that a bit creepy?

(14) Not much magic, at least, it just seems like there is a lot of talk of magic but it isn't shown except for Rose's magic which seems nice but really doesn't do much but move things about and make the place look like a garden.

(15) Withering Rose is a stand alone but it is also the second book of a series but I didn't read the first book because I wasn't interested in that book. But here in Withering Rose, Jade and Asher (from the first book) just comes out of nowhere to deliver some news about an attack and also about Rose's father. It seems almost too convenient. Rose and Cole haven't heard a single word from the outside world and then these two just show up? What? It would have been nicer if they have two characters who Cole is already familiar with such as Cole's bodyguards and they have been out spying and now returns to report to Cole but nope. I guess the author wanted to tie the books together. Sorry, I really hate that. Jade and Asher are strangers that simply stayed strangers no matter what the connection between Asher and Rose have.

(16) The fairy that is in stasis seems like she should have been Cole's mother but she's not. A whole mystery is created around her and they make it like she's so important to Cole and then we find she's the fairy that pretty much killed Cole's family and his people. Why bother to make us think this fairy is so important and then she pretty much does nothing. Just what we all want – a very important character to have around but for later use in the next book, yeh! Not.

(17) So the truth is Rose's magical heritage is stolen and she is basically giving it back by giving it to the fairy and sacrificing her life in the process, so shouldn't Rose's curse be lifted then? Apparently not.

(18) Death solves everything and also those electric pad thingy called defibrillators – Rose died like she was meant to and then come back alive due to modern technology which is the whole reason the story is set in the modern world, right? So the whole point of Rose having a curse means almost nothing. To me this is sort of a cheat because, shouldn't magic have saved her? Shouldn't true love save her? Isn't that the whole point of the story of Beauty & the Beast?

(19) At the end of the book, Cole throws Rose over his shoulder and carries her off like a neanderthal or just what a beast would do with his prey after he have captured them – just what every woman want a man to do, yeh! Sighs.

I thought Withering Rose would be like a fairytale with magic and curses but it's more like another version of Disney's Beauty & the Beast movie which I think it's not a good thing – I don't want a reminder of a movie I have already seen. I'm sure if you're into romance books, you'll love Withering Rose but I didn't.

02/ Waters of salt and sin by Alisha Klapheke > link
The writing, the setting and the plot are all pretty good but I just wish the narrator Kinneret would stop swooning over her friend and the love of her life – Calev. Every time Kinneret talks about Calev, it is as if she have turned into a love-sick puppy – he's gorgeous, he's talented, he's good to her sister, he's the nicest, greatest guy in the world, we get it. It really annoys me a lot. So I skimmed. I'm sorry to admit this because this could have been a book that I would enjoy. But then again, all that talk about class and how Kinneret is going to get the money to upgrade to the upper class to match Calev's level really irks me. Calev apparently is too good to get down to her level and she approves & accepts this – why is she treating him like he's the king and she's his slave? Okay, perhaps that's an exaggeration. There are moments they seems like equals but mostly Kinneret is like, oh no, Calev can't sacrifice for her, oh no, not my Calev, he's too good looking to suffer. Okay, she didn't say that but she might as well. Too much lovey-dovey for me. I'm sure they thrown in the murders and deaths just so readers wouldn't get upset as this is sort of a pirate story. There are some actions but mostly I'm too annoyed by the love-sick puppy swooning to enjoy the book but the cover is lovely though.

03/ Dr Ribero's Agency of the Supernatural: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost by Lucy Banks > link
I would compare The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost to the 'Ghostbusters' movies – a bunch of people (Dr. Ribero & company) catches ghosts and then releases them in some facility later. 22-year-old Kester is the new guy learning the ropes with a new-found father – Dr. Ribero. Kester is an overweight guy who is sort of losing his hair, is very skeptic about ghosts and isn't too sure of himself – so basically Kester is average enough that we can relate to him. I don't want to say Kester is a loser but the way he is described, the way his attitude seems a bit haughty, the way he judges people, he just seem so unlikable. He keeps doubting people and he keeps doubting himself. At one point, he thinks Ribero and company are all insane when they started talking about ghosts. Why doesn't he have some reservations to believe them? Why does he judge people so quickly? There is a scene where Kester picks his nose – why? Who the hell knows. I sort of think this as a sign that Kester is a bit childish, someone who still needs his mother. Honestly, I sort of wish Kester have grown up a bit toward the end but he only changed his mind a little. And why does Kester who's new to ghosts suddenly is the one with all the answers when the people who have worked at catching ghosts for over twenty years didn't have the answers? He even have the power to get rid of ghosts. I don't think this is a spoiler or surprise as it is expected. Everything just works out without Kester having to suffer much or even work hard. It's just too easy. And Kester didn't become more likable, at least, I didn't like him any better which I was sort of hoping that I would. Overall, The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost seems a bit stale. Kester is kind of a dull man and all the side characters are a bit, well, ordinary and the only exciting or fun scenes are the ones with ghosts – the fire scene at the end was kind of fun. I guess readers who likes ghosts, a bit of mystery all told by an ordinary guy might like it but I find it a bit boring.

What books have you not enjoyed reading?
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