Book Review: ‘Ruined’ by Paula Morris

Book Title: Ruined

Author: Paula Morris

Genre: YA Fiction / Paranormal

Summary: While her father is away for a year, Rebecca is sent to New Orleans to stay with family friends. The girls at her new school want little to do with her and the only person who seems remotely friendly is the very gorgeous Anton. It is not until one night in the graveyard that Rebecca meets Lisette and the two become friends, but with the friendship comes the unravelling of many secrets … and a family curse.

Favourite Scene: When the secrets about Rebecca’s past are revealed … I’m fairly sure Morris didn’t intend for it to be comical, but I was in hysterics.

Favourite Character: The cat.

Review: I read this book in a single sitting, not because I was enamoured with the characters but because I was hoping it would get better. The setting and the author’s knowledge of New Orleans is commendable – some of the descriptions of New Orleans had me ready to book a ticket there right now, and it remains on my “to go” list partly as a result of the ‘nooks and crannies’ detailed in this novel.

The story itself was … disappointing. While the idea behind the characters and plot were interesting, the overall execution was quite frustrating. Aside from being ‘a ghost story’, elements of the paranormal and the occult are sidelined for want of a love story. And that love story is pretty predictable and boring, to tell the truth. Remembering that this is a paranormal novel, there were aspects that were simply too far-fetched. In a paranormal setting I’ll accept most things with an open mind, but when [SPOILER ALERT] Rebecca’s past is revealed to her and “a friend in the CIA” assisted with changing her birth certificate (or some such nonsense), I couldn’t help but laugh. I mean, seriously?

Maybe I’m getting too old for YA fiction …

Book Review: ‘Wicked Lovely’ by Melissa Marr

Book Title: Wicked Lovely

Author: Melissa Marr

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summary: Aislinn can see fairies and has to keep this secret in order to avoid their unwanted attention, but when the Summer King, Keenan, takes a particular interest in her, Aislinn trusts her secret with her friend Seth. Keenan’s pursuit of Aislinn could have dire consequences for her and for her relationship with Seth – not to mention the intentions of the cruel Winter Queen.

Favourite Scene: When Aislinn tells Keenan her decision – Melissa Marr is quoted in an interview as saying that the message of the novel is that “there are always choices” and this is well presented in the novel. It was a (predictable) relief that Aislinn proved herself to be a strong and discerning individual.

Favourite Character: Tavish. Very sensible in his advice, in my opinion!

Review:  I wrote this book down as a “to read” book when someone (and I’m very sorry, but I don’t remember who) referred to it as a favourite on their blog. That was about three months ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf for two months until I finally got around to reading it. I quite enjoyed the book overall (from an entertainment perspective) and the core message was quite clear. The importance of making decisions and the celebration of strong, independent female characters was well done. I don’t know why, but I didn’t like Aislinn – and it’s hard to review a book when the main character bothers you. Sure, she’s strong-willed and able to articulate her decisions, but she felt a bit … I don’t know. I wanted to slap her sometimes! While I don’t think it’s a book I’ll go back to and rave about endlessly, I found it to be easy to read and the characters were each unique – though I must admit, Seth was probably my least favourite because he was so damn nice (grow a freaking spine) and while I listed Tavish as a favourite character for his sensible advice, Donia is a definite “character of note”.