Monday, February 25, 2013

Scent of Darkness

Author: Margot Berwin

Source: Publisher

Released: January 29th, 2013

Summary: (goodreadsEvangeline is eighteen years old when her grandmother gives her the ultimate gift-a scent she has created just for her. From the moment Eva places a drop on her neck, her entire life changes. Previously unnoticed, she becomes the object of intense desire for everyone around her. Men dance close to her; women dip their noses deep into her hair; even the cats outside her bedroom cry to be near her. Gabriel, the quiet student Eva has admired from afar, falls head-over-heels in love with her. But soon the gift begins to control Eva's life: strangers follow her around, sniffing and touching her at every turn. When Eva meets Michael, an artist who barely registers her smell, Eva wonders if he is the one person who can love her for herself. Or is her scent impossible to escape? A bewitching, wildly imaginative novel steeped in the mythology of perfume, Scent of Darkness seduces the reader's every sense.

Review: A tangling web of events occur in this New Adult Fiction novel, so rapidly that the reader may be left questioning what exactly was it that happened? Evangeline starts out an ordinary girl her age. A troubled relationship with her mother causes her to feel very alone when her beloved grandmother passes away. But an interesting twist begins her relationship with the hot waiter/medical student she saw one time. Except it isn't necessarily the type she wants.

Evangeline's flaws become rapidly apparent and her low self-esteem is almost palpable. She does not adapt well and refuses to admit to reality. Although the magic of scent is woven in to seem realistic, at times it is so closely woven that the reader wonders if it may not all just be in the unreliable head of the narrator. Evangeline evokes frequent sighs of annoyance from the reader through her senseless actions and infatuation with the power the scent provides her.

The scent really carries her rather than the other way around. Her newfound sexual power is misused and she entangles herself with a parasitic undesirable when she has hoards of men to choose from. And she forgets about who she claimed to love. She embodies the sentiment that it would be better for her to be loved than for her to love someone more. In short, Evangeline is lousy.

The prose was incredible! The writing elicited emotion and the descriptions brought a delightful sensory experience to this novel. It almost feels like the author wasted her talent in writing a piece with so little sensible plot. It was as if the label "New Adult" was a mold she was trying to break into. I've heard the term "College Erotica" thrown around to replace NA, and sadly this novel could easily be construed as so.

Margot Berwin is an amazing writer. The words were so beautiful at times that heartstrings were pulled. Tension and emotions are precisely described and the book was vivid. Berwin just chose to tell the story of a not-so-interesting college girl in need of counseling. Despite the negative reaction to the main character, this is still a recommended novel for those who love art and especially the art of writing.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Moments I Cannot Get Over: The Madman's Daughter

Rant time! Sporadically I will do posts like this where I absolutely cannot hold in my opinions, usually negative (But sometimes gushing.), of a book and would like a space to let it out. These posts are not meant to be taken as professional reviews and may contain high doses of snarkiness. Only read if you don't mind spoilers or if you have already read the book! :)

*Contains Spoilers*

Series: The Madman's Daughter

Title: The Madman's Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd

Summary/Review: Juliet Moreau is the daughter of a doctor exiled from England for his extreme scientific experiments. Among them? Vivisection. But when Juliet comes across her estranged father's assistant, she begs him to take her to her father in an effort to find the truth.

The Doctor lives on an island which ships pass by about once a year. The isolation is perfect for the madman because no law dictates what he can or cannot do with his subjects. Montgomery has been his assistant from very young and travels to England on occasion to bring back supplies...and subjects.

The themes are grossly fascinating and the thought of the possible advancements in science are astounding. Serious questions of ethics are posed and the characters bring to life the turbulence of being clinically detached, but not losing their humanity. Boundaries of society are tested and Juliet finds herself questioning whose side she is on. Did she inherit her father's mental sickness? Or is he simply a victim of an oppressive society? Overall, an amazing novel which I rated 5 stars on Goodreads. Read it if you haven't!

Rant/Gush: Despite how much I loved the book as a whole, there were a few things that really made me want to hurl the book. I found out after I finished reading the novel that this is indeed going to be a series. Which made it a little bit easier to swallow some aspects of the story. Like the fact that Juliet was totally kick-ass in the beginning of the novel! Totally awesome and I loved her character!

She was doing so well on her own. She stayed out of the slums after her mother died and worked an honest job to support herself which was tough for a girl her age and at the time. But then she screwed it all up. My opinion of her went down the drain as soon as she met Montgomery. She was whiny. Overly familiar with him despite the fact that they hadn't seen each other in YEARS. And she treated him like a servant! Even though insisting that they were equal in status since she was of course the daughter of a man that caused the scandal of the century. Juliet picked up her princess syndrome and did not let up THE ENTIRE NOVEL.

To the very end. it was all about how she was in such a difficult position and about what she wanted and how it was her decision. EXCEPT SHE NEVER REALLY MADE A DECISION. She says she is in love with Montgomery? Then why does she feel the urge to kiss Edward when she is with Montgomery? And then Edward makes advances and she daydreams about Montgomery. What is her issue?! I feel she only chose Montgomery in the end because Edward was irrevocably out of the picture.

But again, she didn't really choose Montgomery. She knew him well enough to identify his innate wildness, but refused to see the truth. She chose someone that adored her because she didn't want to be lonely. And because it was a sort of revenge against her mad father. Juliet thinks about how pitiful Balthazar is and how she is going away with Montgomery and never ever stops to consider what the heck MONTGOMERY might be going through. She is all-knowing, of course.

The irony is the regression of the islanders in the end is so much like Juliet's. Instead of growing in this novel, she seriously went backwards. I don't know if this was because the author someway into the book got the okay to make it a series and therefore had to leave room for Juliet's improvement over the course of a few books, but Juliet seriously needs help.

Ending was tragic. I was like...wait?! Is there another book after this?! Please don't let it be another Kartik-type ending! But I suppose the next novel will answer my questions. Like why the hell doesn't she jump in the water? Stupid Montgomery would save her. Would she rather float out to sea on the hope that the Polynesian traders haven't yet passed? Montgomery is usually so organized and he does seem to truly care for Juliet, so why would he just send her on her merry way to who the heck knows where? Or does he know something I don't?

As much as I despised Juliet by the end of the book, the story was extremely compelling. You can bet that I will be snatching the next one up as soon as I can and that I will probably completely be hooked by the plot. There is some seriously amazing stuff to be found and the dilemmas are quite pertinent. I just wish Juliet hadn't been so hot and cold and self-absorbed.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Sharing The Books I Own


So this post is just going to be a mash-up of couple of book things I wanted to share with you!

-Books I recently acquired.
-My book "shelf".
-I added more books for sale at

Favorite person in my neighborhood and possibly the entire state of Oregon? The mailman. Truly. A big thank you for those who deliver the mail and make someone's day...unless you are delivering bills. But I love getting books! It is like Christmas over and over and over again!

Guess what is in here?

Jealous? I've been waiting for this one to reach my hands since it has so much hype surrounding it. I recently finished it and it was really good! Five stars!

The next item of business is about my collection. I live in an apartment. A small one. My parents are not the most bookish supportive people out there since they say books can accumulate dust and have "weird" covers and take up too much space. Unfortunately, I have had to get rid of huge batches of my books to make room for new ones through donations to my high school library.

And guess what my friends get for their birthdays, Christmas and sometimes randomly? Books from me. That I cannot shelter anymore*tears up a little* T.T Handing out a book is never an easy process and I stopped donating to my high school library, because I didn't think that they were going to be cared for. Yes. I am attached to every single one. Even the ones I did not review because I despised them.

This is the tiny space they are allowed to inhabit. I'm sorry to all these pages full of beautiful words. One day I shall dedicate my own home to you.

I've decided to sell them instead. At least I won't feel like I am completely on the losing end. Don't worry if you are one of my close friends that lives near me. I will still be giving you books for your birthday and Christmas and sometimes for no reason at all. Mostly because I can just hand it to you instead of paying for shipping *shudders*.

Getting paid to part with my books sounds like a much better deal for me. I can then turn around and buy more books. Maybe I can finally put a dent in my atrociously long to-be-read list over at Goodreads. I'm telling my parents that the money will probably go toward my college textbooks, but we all know that Barnes & Noble will probably receive most of it! So that is my bookish post right there.

I mostly did this because I love looking at others' bookshelves, but realized I had not really shared my own. Currently, I am undergoing negotiations with my parents on finding a better place to put my books where they can shine in all their glory! Yay!