BLOG TOUR: Starr Valentine, by Wende Dikec

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Hello, there! Good afternoon and welcome to a blog tour hosted by Bewitching Book Tours! It’s my deepest honor and pleasure to introduce you to Starr Valentine, by Wende Dikec 😀

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Starr Valentine

Wende Dikec

Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi

176 pages

Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

Release Date: March 10th, 2016

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber (you get a free hug coupon for such a beautiful cover!)

summary

What happens when the beautiful swan becomes the ugly duckling?

Starr Valentine has a perfect life in Middleton, Ohio. She was named captain of the cheer squad, her mother finally allowed her to get highlights, and the cutest boy in school asked her to homecoming. But everything comes crashing down when she finds out her parents are actually monarchs in exile from a mysterious planet called Vega. Starr doesn’t want to leave, but loves the idea of being a princess, and decides moving to an alien world might not be so bad. When she gets there, however, she discovers that something is terribly wrong.

Starr has always been the winner of the family, but now everyone is fawning over her chubby older sister, Astra. And everyone, even a handsome and annoying young duke named Julian, seems to hate her. That is when she realizes the awful truth. Astra is now the pretty one. Astra has all the friends. Astra gets all of the attention. And Starr Valentine, voted Miss Perfect, is now the ugly duckling. Her biggest fear is…will she be able to turn back into a swan, or is she doomed to be a loser forever?

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purchase links

You can find Starr Valentine in ebook format 🙂

Amazon | BN | Kobo | iTunes | ARe

 excerpt

We all met in the captain’s lounge just after the transport ship had safely landed. My father wore some sort of military uniform, and he was completely dashing, as always.

“Girls, you both look lovely.”

I smiled up at him. “So do you, Daddy,” I said, and he patted my cheek.

My mom fluttered up to us in a cacophony of lime green lace and feathers. A large gold medallion was pinned to her breast and she had on the crown she’d worn for the nightly news. She reached for our hands, tears swimming in her eyes.

“I have something for you,” she said, her voice trembling. Captain Augustus stood behind her, looking just as handsome as my father. He held open a wooden box. Inside were two small, yet perfect, tiaras.

I gasped. “Diamonds.”

“These are not your true crowns,” my mother explained. “Those went missing during the confusion when we were trying to escape. These are just a substitute until we can find something better.”

I couldn’t imagine something better. The tiaras seemed perfect. I leaned over slightly so my mom could slip it onto my head, glad I’d decided to wear my hair up in a French twist. The tiara was beautiful. I admired myself for a few minutes in the mirror before looking at Astra. She and my mother stood side by side, their hair a riot of dark curls, their dresses positively painful to the eyes, and I sighed. I really hoped they didn’t humiliate themselves too much at the ceremony. They looked like clowns from a circus performance.

My father, of course, didn’t seem to notice. He bowed and kissed my mother’s hand gallantly before linking it through his arm and leading her out the door. I could tell it was a very emotional moment for both of them. They were returning to the home they loved after being exiled for so many years. Even I could feel my throat tightening up.

Astra walked up and took my arm. “Are you ready?” she asked, and I nodded. It was time to face the music, or the Vegonians, as the case may be.

We stepped out into a warm, sultry evening on Vega. Lights had been set up all around the landing bay, and we followed my parents to an elevated platform near the ship. People waited as far as the eye could see, and as soon as my parents stepped up to the podium, the crowd roared.

I stood arm in arm with Astra, taking in the moment. The city of Celesta glittered in the light of the fading sun, just beyond the crowd of people assembled before us. It sparkled like it was made of glass. I could see what must have been the royal palace on one side of the city on top of a small hill, and it made me think of Aladdin’s castle, all gilt and white marble. I decided I could definitely get used to living there.

As I stared at the people in front of me, I started to notice something odd. The women here were not at all what I’d expected. Supposedly the most beautiful women in the universe, they all looked a lot like my mother and sister, with short, oddly shaped bodies and large behinds. They also dressed just like my mother and sister, in a riot of colors and patterns.

A quick assessment told me that I was the only pretty girl around, other than Maya, and definitely the best dressed. Maya had been forced by her parents to wear some sort of Vegonian monstrosity made out of a hot pink iridescent fabric. Torture. I, on the other hand, felt like an elegant swan dumped into the middle of a bunch of plump, gaudy, peacocks.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I’d been a little teeny tiny bit worried when I’d heard about how beautiful Vegonian women were. It was good to realize those rumors had been pure exaggeration. No one in this crowd could hold a candle to me.

Another quick look around told me that there wasn’t a single bad looking guy here. I was completely devoted to Adrian, of course, but I couldn’t help but admire and appreciate male beauty when I saw it. The boys were all works of art. It was as if I’d been dropped into a huge candy shop full of the most delicious boys I’d ever seen, and knew I could have my pick. Of course I would never cheat on Adrian, but it felt like a candy shop here, nonetheless.

My joy proved short-lived. None of the boys even looked at me. At first I thought that several of them stared at me, which made me happy, but soon realized it wasn’t me they stared at. They had their eyes locked on Astra with the same sort of enraptured expressions boys usually reserved for me.

A cold wave of shock crawled over my entire body. Boys never looked at Astra like that, especially when I stood right next to her. Something was very wrong here.

I smoothed my hair, which was perfect and didn’t need smoothing. I stuck out my chest and turned my body so they could see my best angle, but none of them even noticed me. Astra had suddenly become the center of attention.

My mother gave a very lovely and heartfelt speech, which I barely paid attention to. The crowd roared and screamed her name, but I hardly even heard it. People waved and cheered with tears streaming down their faces, but I felt numb to everything.

When we were introduced to various dignitaries, everyone said “lovely,” and “a vision,” when they met Astra. When they saw me, they looked a bit confused and then mumbled something boring like “nice to meet you.” Something very strange was going on, and I had to figure it out.

I searched the crowd for Adrian, but he was nowhere to be seen. One sexy, appreciative look from him might have been enough to restore some semblance of balance and order to my universe. But he wasn’t around and I’d been cast adrift in a sea of beautiful boys to whom I was invisible.

“Art thou okay, Princess Starr?” asked Captain Augustus. “Thou art pale.”

I blinked as I digested his words. The Vegonians spoke English, but a weird form of archaic Elizabethan English mixed with modern slang. The only people who had spoken like that on the transport ship were the captain and the crew. All of the Vegonians who been on Earth for the last fifteen years spoke standard, modern English, although I’d heard a few “thou’s” and “thee’s” begin to slip into the language of the older passengers, including my own parents.

“I’m fine. Thank you.”

As the captain bowed and turned away, I realized I wasn’t fine at all. I stared around at the sea of happy, glowing, faces, including those of my parents and my sister, and understood that suddenly, and without any explanation, I had become the outsider.

“Thou art in hell, Starr Valentine,” I murmured to myself.

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be our guest post

AND GUESS WHAT?! Wende herself is here with us today! 😀

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Thanks so much for agreeing to be here today, Wende! It’s a pleasure ❤ I asked Wende to tell us five fun facts about her book Starr Valentine and it’s writing process and she indulged me! Let’s see what she has to say about the matter? 😀

My young adult book Starr Valentine is the story of a beautiful, popular cheerleader who finds out her parents are aliens and she has to return to her home planet. When she gets there, she realizes the standard of beauty if very different, and she isn’t pretty anymore. Not good news for the vain and slightly vapid Starr.

Five Fun Facts about Starr Valentine:

1) The book was inspired by a chance encounter near a tennis court.

Tennis season had just started for the boys’ team, and I was standing around, waiting for my son’s practice to end. I noticed a woman standing nearby with two girls by her side. I didn’t know her, but she caught my attention because she was remarkable. She had on brightly colored clothing in several contrasting patterns, a head full of curly hair divided into what looked like random ponytails, and a self-confidence that exuded itself in her booming voice and glowing, happy face.

Next to her stood a young girl who looked just like her, the same colorful clothing, wild hair, and extremely curvy shape. She was smiling, just like her mother, the spring sunshine kissing her face as she lifted it to the sky. They both looked so happy, so completely at ease.

And then I noticed the other member of their little trio, a girl shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot as she eased away from the other two. I could feel her embarrassment, a palpable thing, as if she wanted to physically separate herself from them. She had on a very plain navy blue skirt and a white t-shirt. A very pretty girl, she looked extremely…normal next to the other two.

And then I heard the whisper of a story start to swirl around inside my brain. What if?

What if I was looking at a family? What if a mother had two daughters, one who looked just like her and one who was very different? What if the “different” daughter was beautiful and popular, and felt ashamed of her mother and her older sister?

What if? I really need those words in a tattoo.

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 2) Starr Valentine was originally written as a short story called “So Pretty” that won third prize in Writers’ Journal Magazine’s annual science fiction contest.

I couldn’t get the image of the woman at the tennis courts out of my head. When I saw an advertisement for the Writers’ Journal contest, the “what if” started again. I thought, what if they are aliens? What if the way the mother looked is considered to be the epitome of beauty on that world? What if the girl who is pretty on earth, suddenly isn’t beautiful anymore?

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 3) My son helped make Starr into a cheerleader.

I have three boys, and while I was writing Starr, my oldest son was the school’s mascot. That meant he spent a lot of time with the cheerleading squad – on the bus, at football games, and at practices. He would come home and share some of their discussions with me, and that led to the creation of several characters in the book. Having girls is a very different experience from having boys, and I don’t think I realized how different until I started writing Starr.

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 4) I wrote Starr Valentine in ten weeks.

I already had the basis for the plot in my short story, but the rest of the book nearly flew onto the page. It was such fun to write, and sometimes I felt like I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the story that was taking place in my head.

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 5) I learned about different standards of beauty because I lived it.

I studied Japanese and International Economics in college, and spent six year living abroad. I learned that different cultures can have very different ideas about beauty. In China, for example, tiny feet are treasured, but have you ever seen what a bound foot actually looks like? It’s terrible. And painful.

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Interestingly enough, the reaction you probably had to the photo of the bound feet is very similar to the reaction I had from Japanese students when they saw my pierced ears. They often asked me to take my earrings out, and shivered in disgust when they saw the hole in my ear lobe. “How could you do that to yourself?”

Beauty. Sometimes it isn’t something that can be translated across cultures. Or, in the case of Starr Valentine, across galaxies.

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 I’m officially shocked, haha! But Wende has a very valid point: beauty is nothing but a standart and that’s why it is so important for us to not care about other people’s opinion about our own looks 🙂 I wish 15-year-old-me had known this, haha!

Once again, thanks so much for being here today, Wende!! I can’t wait to read Starr Valentine! *–*

the author

Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun. Fluent in several languages and married to a man from Istanbul, Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, master of the Nespresso machine, and mother of three boys. A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram

giveaway

One lucky winner will get a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

All you have to do to participate on this giveaway is to subscribe to Wende’s newsletter here. The winner will be announced on June 1st 😀 Good luck!

That’s it, thanks so much again to Wende for being on my post, thank you for reading this post and thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for my spot on this marvelous tour! 😀

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bewitching book tours host

COVER REVEAL: Shift, from Donnielle Tyner (The Caelian Cycle #3)

Hello, good morning! You’ll hear a lot from me today, haha! Welcome to the first of two book cover reveals. Our star of the moment, brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours, is the third book in The Caelian Cycle series: Shift, from Donnille Tyner!

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Shift (The Caelian Cycle #3)

by Donnielle Tyner

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal

Release Date: April 2016

Summary

Chaos is what rules Sadie’s life. Separation, lies, and an overpowering Talent have pushed her fragile sanity to the breaking point. Without Kian to fall back on, Sadie has to learn that her strength comes from within – as well as from those she loves. Just when Sadie begins to attain some stability, the true nature of her Talent reveals itself, causing her world to shift.

War is on the horizon. Tensions are rising at an exponential pace between the US government and the Caelian citizens of America ever since the exploits of the HPC were exposed. Communities are being torn apart. The United States is on the brink of another civil war. Mistrust, hatred, and fear are the fuel behind the violence plaguing its citizens. Something needs to shift.

Peace is what unites the HCA and the Caelian families who strive for positive change. Some progress is being made, until Miles Koenig reveals his master plan 20 years in the making. Hoping to enact change and unify the nation, Sadie embarks on a dangerous mission not only to stop her grandfather, but to transform the pending war into a revolution for peace.

Everything is going to SHIFT.

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Cool, right?! And this cover is amazing ❤ If you’re new to this series (like myself), here you can find the previous books on Goodreads:

Lost (The Caelian Cycle #1)

Bound (The Caelian Cycle #2)

Redeem (The Caelian Cycle #2.5)

Bellow, you can read a bit about the author, Donnielle!

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Hello! Donnielle here. I’m a new indie young adult author. When I’m not writing, I spend my time reading, binge watching Netflix, homeschooling my two children, and hanging out with my husband.

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

That’s it, thank you so much for reading! And thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the lovely reveal!

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Manga author: CLAMP

Hi, there! Good morning 😀 Today is Authors from my Heart <3, manga section! The chosen one was a group responsible for my entry on this world: CLAMP!

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CLAMP group back in 2006 😀

We first met in 2003, which was my official year of manga discovering (thanks, Rachel!). My first title from CLAMP was Chobits and I regret nothing ❤ I’ve read almost all their works (some not until the end, I confess), so I have a clinical eye for them. Strongest point is, for sure, the art and the clothing in all titles. Seriously, these women are AWESOME. Their plots are a bit temperamental, but I never outright hated anything, so I guess this is a plus. Weak point: subliminal messages. SUBLIMINAL MESSENGERS EVERYWHERE. Read Card Captor Sakura or Wish, YOU SHALL UNDERSTAND MY MEANING. And, at the same time that is very cool, it can be so frustrating! CLAMP is not known for sheets action, if you catch my drift, so we fans have to resource to dousjinshis to see what we want from any couple, hetero or homosexual 😦

Anyway, I’ve read 13 series from them until now and I promise to try to put them in chronological order of appearance in my life (or something that approaches that, haha!)

Warning: this post is huge. Sorry about that, haha!

  • Chobits
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from my Instagram 😀

Goodreads blurb:

Chi isn’t your average humanoid computer. She can’t do word processing, she can’t connect to the Internet, and she’s incapable of networking with other persocoms. Even her sound card seems broken. No wonder Hideki found her tied up in a pile of trash. But when the 19-year-old technophobe takes her home, he finds that she may be more advanced than her childlike behavior lets on.

The first one is always special, even not being the best. Already talked more about it here 🙂

 

  • Card Captors Sakura
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from my Instagram!

Goodreads blurb:

From CLAMP comes the thrilling adventures of Sakura, a fourth-grader who accidentally finds an enchanted book called The Clow. The book once contained a set of magical Clow Cards, but they all escaped while the guardian of the book fell asleep. Now, Sakura is thrust into a mystical journey to capture all the cards before they wreak chaos and destruction!

I’ve watched the anime on TV for years before getting to ready this title and it’s even better on manga ❤ CLAMP’s art is something astonishingly beautiful. My first yaoi couple comes from this series, in the form of Touya and Yukito. They were clearly boyfriends, but damn CLAMP and their subliminal messages! I only realized that years after, ugh. Still, they are adorable together:

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from left to right: Yukito and Touya* ❤

 

  • Magic Knight Rayearth

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Goodreads blurb:

Hikaru, Umi and Fuu are Tokyo schoolgirls with nothing else in common, until one fateful day changes everything: the three are summoned to the magical realm of Cephiro and find that their lives are inexorably intertwined. Princess Emeraude, whose willpower keeps Cephiro safe, has been kidnapped by the sinister Zagato, and the three girls must become the legendary Magic Knights in order to save her. It’s not going to be easy, as Zagato has sent his most powerful minions to stop the girls before they can fulfill their destinies. Protected by an ancient wizard’s blessing and determined to find their way home, Hikaru, Umi and Fuu begin the adventure of a lifetime!

This series is quite nice, but I confess it requires a re-read on my part, as I barely remember anything beyond the three main characters, oops!

 

  • XXX 1999

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Goodreads blurb:

As part of the X/1999 series, this volume features breathless action and stunning art. When Kamui returns to Tokyo, he learns that his childhood girlfriend Kotori and psychic Princess Hitoni are having strange dreams about his role in a coming apocalypse! Is he the angel of salvation, or the devil of destruction?

To be honest, I barely remember this series either. I’ve read it on 2003 or 2004 and only once, so this needs a re-read, haha!

 

  • Angelic Layer

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Goodreads blurb:

Angelic Layer is sweeping the nation! In the newest electronic sport, players enter their Angels in tournaments and battle for fortune and glory. Twelve-year-old Misaki just discovered Angelic Layer, and she’s already captivated by the game. But building a winning Angel takes money and experience, and Misaki’s short on both counts. With the help of a crazy scientist and a very special Angel of her own, she’ll give it her all to win the Angelic Layer crown.

This series is a sweetie! I love it so much! Its catch is similar to Chobits, in a way, as there is robots and common characters (oh yeah, they looove to do that and we love to spy their Easter eggs, haha!)

 

  • Tokyo Babylon

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Goodreads blurb:

Tokyo. The cultural and economic hub of the Eastern world. Not unlike the legendary city of Babylon, its man-made tower stretches toward the heavens … a symbol of its people’s ambition and their indomitable spirit. Nowhere on Earth will you find such vanity … or such beauty.

This is my home.

My name is Sumeragi Subaru, and I hunt the dead. Then I return them to peace.

No matter where my work leads me, I suspect I’ll never leave Tokyo in spirit. But then again, it seems so few people do these days…

If I remember correctly, this series is a kind of prequel for X 1999, but I’m not sure. Again, only read once in 2004/2005, haha! I need to re-read many things…

 

  • XXX-Holic

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Goodreads blurb:

Watanuki Kimihiro is haunted by visions of ghosts and spirits. Seemingly by chance, he encounters a mysterious witch named Yuuko, who claims she can help. In desperation, he accepts, but realizes that he’s just been tricked into working for Yuuko in order to pay off the cost of her services. Soon he’s employed in her little shop–a job which turns out to be nothing like his previous work experience.
Most of Yuuko’s customers live in Japan, but Yuko and Watanuki are about to have some unusual visitors named Sakura and Syaoran from a land called Clow…

This series crosses paths with the next of the list, Tsubasa. I didn’t finish either, but I always liked Holic best ❤ Yuuko is amazing and I love the bromance between Watanuki and Domeki, haha!

 

  • Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle

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Goodreads blurb:

SAKURA AND SYAORAN RETURN!
But they’re not the people you know. Sakura is the princess of Clow – and possessor of a mysterious, misunderstood power that promises to change the world. Syaoran is her childhood friend and leader of the archaeological dig that took his father’s life. They reside in an alternate reality…where whatever you least expect can happen – and does. When Sakura ventures to the dig site to declare her love for Syaoran, a puzzling symbol is uncovered – which triggers a remarkable quest. Now Syaoran embarks upon a desperate journey through other worlds – all in the name of saving Sakura.

I’m not the biggest fan of this series and I had never the opportunity of finishing it either, but I liked Phi and Kurogane (me and my males, I know). And the fact that here and there CLAMP made Tsubasa and Holic cross paths was super cool, haha! I need to re-read and finish this…

 

  • Clamp School Detectives

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Goodreads blurb:

A trio of pre-teen sleuths made up of: 6’th grader Nokoru Imonoyama– Student Body president– his family built the CLAMP school and he’s the top student in his school. He has the superhuman ability to detect a woman crying from 2 km away!; Suoh Takamura- 5’th Grader –Student Body Secretary– A master martial artist with 3rd degree blackbelts in Judo, Aikido, Karate, and Kendo.; 4’th grader Akira Ijyuin — A master thief, also known as the Man of 20 Faces. He’s popular with the ladies, and is currently dating the president of the Kindergarten. Together they are the Clamp School detectives and they help girls in distress around the campus.

THIS SERIES IS SO CUTE! Plus, one of the boys is the main character of Man of Many Faces ❤ Please, don’t kick me, as a great deal of those series (including this one) were read in my late childhood and teenies…

 

  • Murikuri

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Goodreads blurb [translated because the only available edition was in Spanish]:

An anthology with several short stories created by CLAMP, which portrays a series of closed worries in a funny way.

This was a bit weird and not really funny, but okay. I survived and now I pretend this does not exists.

 

  • Wish
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from my Instagram!

Goodreads blurb:

When Shuichiro rescues an angel he is granted a single wish. The problem? Shuichiro can’t think of any wishes that he couldn’t grant himself. Refusing to leave Shuichiro without granting a wish Amber, the angel, moves in with the young doctor to help out around the house and wait for a chance to return the favor. Of course, angels aren’t the only supernatural beings wandering the Earth. Soon, demons and archangels alike are stopping by Shuichiro’s house, making things difficult for his angelic roommate.

THIS MANGA IS CUTENESS ALL OVER! Nothing prepared me for it, really. It’s the series that best approaches boys love, but not there yet as we barely get light kisses, ugh. But most parties involved are males, so I guess it’s a start? One of my favorite series from CLAMP!

 

  • Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland

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Goodreads blurb:

There are many worlds in the universe outside of our own, connected by doors that are hidden to the eye. but if you chance upon those doors, you can be transported to a place where supple beauties reign supreme and all of your fantasies come allve. Should you pass through the doorways, be most careful, for the creatures you will meet can be as dangerous as they are beautiful. Many would die for a glimpse at those worlds–Miyuki would do anything to have them go away.

If you ask me, this series of short stories with poor Miyuki is awful and creepy, haha! I didn’t really like it.

 

  • Man of Many Faces

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Goodreads blurb:

Akira ljyuln lives a double life as a top student at Clamp School and as the infamous thief 20 Faces. He steals at the whim of his two crime lord mothers until his life is changed forever by a chance meeting with the lovely Utako. Featuring cameos by other Clamp School characters, Man of Many Faces is a romance that spans years, as childhood crush turns to true love. An absolute must that no Clamp fan can do without.

I loved this series! It was oh-so-cute and funny! Despite being an old title, it was only released in Brazil in 2014, so I didn’t know it. Now it’s one of my favorites ❤ SO. CUTE. Cute defines CLAMP very well. Cute and creepy, haha! Review here 🙂

  • The One I Love

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Goodreads blurb:

Drawing on CLAMP’s own personal experiences, The One I Love provides insight both into the creators’ own lives, and into the oft-elusive concept of Love itself.

This intimate collection of short stories and essays doesn’t skirt issues at the heart of the matter such as insecurity, honesty, distance, independence, age, and – of course – marriage.

This one-volume anthology comprises 12 individual stories, each of which consists of seven pages of manga and two pages of prose.

I’m very sad to say that this was the last work from CLAMP that I got to know and read for now and that, despite its cute proposal, I found it very boring… I feel so guilty, haha!

 

CLAMP has several other works, but I guess it doesn’t make sense for me to talk about those titles if I didn’t read them. (Actually, there are some titles in this list already that could have been cut because I can’t remember shit about them, haha!) My point is, I love CLAMP and can’t wait to read more series from them ❤

That’s it! Thanks for reading 😀 Do you know / like CLAMP’s series??

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*I do not own any of these illustrations, they were found on Google and are here displayed with the solemn purpose of illustrating points of the post. Those images belong to CLAMP group 🙂

What Lies Within, from James Morris

Hello, lovelies! You are not hallucinating, I did write a review in the middle of the weekend! YASS! *taps on her own shoulder* I would like to start this post by apologizing to James Morris with all my heart, as I took so long to read his book. I’m sorry and I hope the wait was worthy because here we go!

The book in question today is What Lies Within, from James Morris. We met through a common friend (hi, Lindsey!) and he kindly sent me his book in exchange of an honest review. This is it!

from my Instagram <3
from my Instagram ❤ Didn’t the Vampire Knight necklace match it perfectly?

The Story

Shelley is a girl that lost her mother at the age of 13 and still suffers with the loss three years later. She lives in a small city on the USA and plans on moving to UCLA on college. Her life could be described as very boring, if it weren’t for some incidents of anger, blackouts and a current nightmare. All in a good day of a teenager’s life, or so she thought.

One day, a boy approaches Shelley with an insane story about she being adopted and Shelley panics because it made sense. After running away from him and confronting her father about it, Shelley falls apart: who was she?

The more Shelley discovers, deeper the hole seems. Was she up to going until the end to find herself and sacrifice everything she thought she knew or would she stop and forget all about her birth parents?

The Analysis

Just remembering that these were my impressions and opinion while reading the book 🙂

The book started slow for me, I hated Shelley and it was a third person narrated book from her point of view only and solemnly, so I couldn’t take a break from her. Around chapter 5, I couldn’t let go of it anymore and I speed-read it until the end, that disappointed me beyond measures. I saw Shelley grow so much as person for it all to stop there? Once, Frank Herbert said that “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story” and I find this to be very true, allowing happy endings to books, movies and such. But Morris COULDN’T HAVE STOPED WHERE HE DID, OMG! I felt betrayed as a reader with Shelley’s final decisions and I cried hard for about half an hour after I was finished. I even forgot to post on Goodreads that the review was coming soon (I always do that when I rate the book), haha! The book hangover has so strong that I dreamed with its end tonight and then I decided I needed to do this review fast because I couldn’t handle it, haha! Oh, by the way, I gave it four stars 🙂 I considered giving three, but the book did impress me, it was good while it lasted.

The narrative is amazing. Morris writes perfectly and his rhythm and pace were perfect. Description, scenarios, tempo, IT WAS ALL PERFECTION. I don’t have what to say about that. But you must be wondering why the book started slow for me if all of those aspects were so good. Excellent question, my dear reader! The thing is I had a problem with Shelley, the protagonist, since page 1. So, in the beginning, on the “normal” part of her life, I was bored to my bones and now it makes sense: Morris wants us to feel how insipid was her existence, how immature she was and that was very, very tiring. After the trigger of her brother, you dive hard on Morris’ world and you feel like you are a part of the scene even with Shelley being the center of the narrator all the time. What she doesn’t know, the narrator also doesn’t, what is not revealed to her, isn’t to us either. On a mystery book like this, I think this narrative form worked until the end, when it all got doomed, haha! This is a standalone book and Shelley finishes it with tons of unanswered questions. We don’t reach that part of her life were things get stabilized when the book ends, so you feel like a piece of your heart was ripped apart from you. I didn’t thought it a happy ending and one star was lost for it – my reviews are fair, my ratings are TOTALLY personal, sorry.

I would like to open a parentheses here to comment something. I think it is amazing when a man has the capacity of writing a first person book narrated or following a woman as protagonist. It is very hard and Morris was very good at doing it – Shelley’s small worries about herself, her thoughts, her acts… Honestly, congratulations, James! It was amazing!

The plot was very good and creative. Morris mixes teenage life with science fiction, adventure, a bit of suspense and lots of mystery and it worked out pretty well. It is amazing how everything is connected during the whole book, how so many small things from the beginning made sense in the end. The problem were the problems that surfaced in the middle to the end of the book, that Shelley never had a chance to solve. The best part of it is there we get the chance to feel Shelley’s personal grown during the unwind of the plot.

In character matters, Morris was very realistic, sometimes to the point of pain for the reader. He shows clearly how it is ourselves who decide if we will have a quiet or exciting existence, that what really matters are our choices and not what lies within (you see what I did there, don’t you? Haha!). My favorites were Shelley’s father and Winston. And, judge me, Kevin. Shelley’s father has a heart bigger than himself (which is a great deal, as she describes him as a bear) and showed me something about myself as well. There’s this scene where Shelley asks him why he likes city models and trains and miniatures in general and he says that those stuff, he can control; he didn’t have control over Shelley’s mother death and he couldn’t control Shelley herself on any way, as any other aspect of daily life, so that was his private paradise. And it was there when I noticed that I do the same thing playing The Sims 2 (yes, 2, as I hated 3, the Medieval one, the mobile one and 4 is more or less). Every time that my life is going through a path were I can’t be sure what’s going on or what’s next, I start playing it on my free time as much as I can. I have never realized it and it is so true. The illusion of control is comforting and you know that, at least on one little world, your will is the law. Winston also showed me something: sometimes we make excuses for our tastes for our own sanity and not for the sake of others. He liked to blow up things, ships on the water. For Shelley, he said it was for a movie and he pretended to want to record the explosions with his camera. During his own personal growth in the book, we can see that there is no movie, just the same desire for control without attracting attention of a possible need for therapy. By the way, I don’t understand how people are so afraid to go to therapy, it’s great and delicious for the soul .-.

Anyway, sorry for the major reflections, haha! This book made me think a lot, oops! Let’s get back to characters: I hated Shelley. I thought she was a bratty spoiled girl, I didn’t have any identification with her and her reaction to being adopted was the worse for me: selfish and self-centered, just hurting her father to no ends. I have very strong positions about adopted children because I have a case very close on the family and I can compare, you know? I understand Shelley wanting to know where she came from and who were the people that gave up on her, but nothing justifies what she did with her father. Nothing.

Overall, it was a good experience, I was meaning to read more science fiction and this was awesome. Thanks again to James Morris for trusting me with his work! I would highly recommend this book to people who likes a good mystery, psychological research, personal growth, adventure and a breathless end. Oh, but stay away if you, like me, can’t handle an end without a happily ever after, okay? I don’t regret reading this, but it got me hard, haha! I hope there is a sequel for What Lies Within someday ❤

4star

That’s it! Thanks for reading ❤ Let’s see if I manage more reviews this next week, haha!

assinatura