Tag Archives: Love is Hell

Love is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz

Overview
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Title: Love Is Hell
Author: Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 10th July – 24th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: There hadn’t been any Scarcity classes back in his day, and he never understood how I could get worked up over an ungraded course.

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Synopsis

Sure, love is hell. But it’s totally worth it. 88 In these supernatural stories by five of today’s hottest writers – Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is For Nightmares) – love may be twisted and turned around, but it’s more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the had-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.

Thoughts

I both thoroughly enjoyed this series and consistently wanted to punch some of the characters in the face. I was expecting tragic tales of passion, lust and love. Instead I got a series of young adult tales with some seriously whiney leads. Not in every circumstance. Not in all ways. But enough so that I couldn’t give this collection a five star rating.

There were a few stories in this collection that I thoroughly enjoyed. They reminded me of the books I read as a child that had just a tantalising hint of romance. Nothing overt and sexual, but enough there to make you think that happily ever after was possible. I even found some of the stories incredibly cute. after all, there is something enjoyable about the innocence of young love that I just don’t find in many of the books that I read today. There was also a lot that had me questioning what constitutes romance these days, and what love is truly about…

Love isn’t something that is simple, beautiful and complete. Or at least, it hasn’t been in my experience. It’s this intensely complex and difficult thing to deal with. It makes part of your life better and can leave you feeling more complete. But it also leads to a lot of complications and indecisions. Some of these stories highlighted that beautifully in this “love is hell” theme. Some not so much. But it was definitely worth the read.

 <- Love Struck ReviewSleeping with the Spirit Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Love Struck by Melissa Marr

Overview
Image result for love is hell book cover

Title: Love Struck
Author: Melissa Marr
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz) & Faery Tales and Nightmares (Melissa Marr)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticFae, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 24th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He paused, considered telling her that he suspected that Veikko had entrapped her, and decided against it.

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Synopsis

Alana has been entrapped by a selchie. But what if all of the stories she’s heard aren’t true? What if it’s love, and not entrapment?

Thoughts

I’ve read quite a few stories about selkies and the fae. Or at least, stories which have a moment featuring them throughout. This was an incredibly different take on a familiar tale though. Which I’m beginning to expect from Melissa Marr. For starters, the selkie isn’t the one necessarily doing the entrapment, and vice versa.

Alana is kind of a perfect partner for a selkie. A race of seal-beings who are all about lust, love and sexual fixation. Alana on the other hand is basically living a celibate life. She doesn’t necessarily want to pursue the lust that her mother has so heavily involved herself in. And she really doesn’t want to tie herself down to one being, regardless of how deeply she is drawn to him. It acts as a nice balance to the traditional tales.

The betrayal and secrets interwoven throughout this story are kind of beautiful. Even though I was pretty sure I knew who the “good guy” was, there were still constant moments of doubt. Moments where you wonder if what you perceive to be the truth was really the truth and so on. It was enough of a mystery to hook me in and make me want to never put the story down. And then it ended. And I was left feeling the urge to pick up yet another Melissa Marr story.

 <- Fan Fictions ReviewLove is Hell Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Fan Fictions by Gabrielle Zevin

Overview
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Title: Fan Fictions
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Mental health, Paranormal romance, Young adult
Dates read: 19th September 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Honestly, I’m worried about you.

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Synopsis

Paige is invisible. And ordinary. Someone who nobody notices. Until Aaron. But now she’s not sure if he’s real or just a figment of her imagination…

Thoughts

At one point or another, we all feel like we’ve been overlooked in high school. Or at least, everyone that I know feels that way… but this story took that feeling to a whole new level. And kind of a whiney one. I really liked the concept, and loved the writing (hence the four-star rating), but I seriously had to take a star off for Paige’s down right insanity…

Although I’m a complete bibliophile, and tend to have some insane dreams about what I’m reading… I’ve never taken on the persona of a book that I’m reading. Never felt those lines begin to blur as I take on a reality that is far more enjoyable than my own. Probably a good thing, considering I read a lot of stories with some incredibly messed up protagonists. But I have had moments when I’ve wished that more of my life could be like that in the stories I read.

From the title of this story, I wasn’t really expecting this kind of tale. I was expecting something with a character who actually writes fan fictions. But, in hindsight, I suppose that taking on the storyline that you’re reading is exactly what fan fictionists (is that even a word?) are actually striving for. After all, they’re generally writing a fan fiction so that they can immerse themselves into a world that someone else has created, and they’re just not really ready to leave… and what avid reader hasn’t felt that way?

 <- Thinner Than Water ReviewLove Struck Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Thinner Than Water by Justine Larbalestier

Overview
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Title: Thinner Than Water
Author: Justine Larbalestier
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Romance, Young adult
Dates read: 4th September
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I shivered.

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Synopsis

Jean has finally handfasted with the boy that she’s been dreaming of. But her family doesn’t think that he’s right for her. Will they ruin everything, or will blood prove thicker than water?

Thoughts

Yeah. This story didn’t have a happy ending. At all. Although, it was kind of bittersweet which made me enjoy it. Although I definitely wanted to punch Jean’s family in the face. They were just plain evil. And horrible. And it was all just heartbreakingly wrong!

I’ve honestly always hated the saying that blood is thicker than water. I think that it tends to be used a little too much to justify the atrocities that we commit upon our kin. So the play on this in “thinner than water” was really beautiful. Especially considering what a horrible family Jean comes from… and the small minded prejudice of the town that she is from.

Although this is a fantasy story, it feels a little more real world. It also highlights the fact that our unacceptance of others can have some incredibly horrible consequences. Not often involving a horrific death, but there’s often a death of some kind involved. And it’s the ones who have tried to survive and exist that truly suffer. The ones, like Jean who are left behind that have to feel the consequences of prejudice.

The messages in this novella have lingered long after I turned that final page. I think the horribleness and bitter sweet ending to this tale is why it’s hung around so long. The themes, the love and the loyalty were heartbreaking and beautiful. It’s not the kind of novella you’re likely to forget.

 <- Stupid Perfect World ReviewFan Fictions Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld

Overview
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Title: Stupid Perfect World
Author: Scott Westerfeld
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Romance, Science fiction
Dates read: 12th – 13th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: There hadn’t been any Scarcity classes back in his day, and he never understood how I could get worked up over an ungraded course.

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Synopsis

Scarcity class is a class all about what it used to be like when you needed sleep, had to deal with hormones and could catch a cold. Two young teenagers are about to discover the wonders of dreams and the challenges of the past in a two week project. One that could just lead them to their own little happily ever after in such a stupid perfect world.

Thoughts

The first part of this story really didn’t grab me. Which is why I didn’t just read through it in one sitting. It was late at night, and I quite frankly decided that going to sleep was probably going to be more beneficial to my tomorrow’s health than reading this short story. But then I picked it up the next day. And once you get past those first few pages, this short story is actually really, really good. It is fun and interesting. And kind of makes a mockery of the idea of creating a perfect world.

I’m completely new to Scott Westerfeld, so I wasn’t really aware that he wrote sci fi stories. Which meant that in the beginning when Scarcity class, trips to Mars and classes at the North Pole were mentioned, I had no freaking idea what was happening. I thought this story was in a collection of fantasy tales, so it threw me more than a little. Once my slow, tired little brain caught on however, I started getting really quite excited. This was a great concept. A future world in which all of the things we just take as part of everyday life (sleep, common cold, travel) have been removed. People live in this completely perfect world that has none of the annoying, time consuming parts of today.

There was a slightly satirical nature to this story. The title, and repetition of the phrase “stupid perfect world” reminded me that it’s all those horrible, annoying things that happen which can kind of make it all the more fun. After all, where would we be if we didn’t make stupid mistakes, let our hormones get ahead of us and have the most tripped out dreams? I feel like so much just wouldn’t happen, and life would certainly be incredibly boring.

 <- Sleeping with the Spirit ReviewThinner Than Water Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Sleeping with the Spirit by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Overview
Image result for love is hell book cover

Title: Sleeping with the Spirit
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Easy reading, Ghosts
Dates read: 10th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “Hello, Brenda.”

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Synopsis

Brenda can’t sleep at night, she’s being haunted by a specter in her dreams. But, when she realises what he actually wants, she decides that sleep might not be the worst thing after all.

Thoughts

I’ve obviously been reading much too much paranormal romance stories of late. Just by reading the title of this novella, I was expecting something far more erotic and a lot less… innocent. And kind of cute. It was a surprise, but it was a nice one.

This story made me really want to pick up tales of necromancy and ghost-speakers. The idea of a young girl seeing ghosts, not only her own sister, but also a boy who had been killed twenty years before hand was just a little too fun and close to other, similar stories on my shelves. But, I digress…

Brenda is a nice female lead, she’s scared by her past, unsure of her future and just generally confused. And, I mean, what teenager isn’t? The fact that she’s being haunted just seems to make it that much worse. Yet, in the end, she finds a way to heal, do the right thing and embrace the new life and reality that she wants in her world.

I was kind of expecting a bit of a murder mystery / thriller to this story. Especially when the fact that Brenda lives in a “blood bath” house was revealed. But it wasn’t even remotely about that. This story was about forgiveness and moving on. Finding hope in love, in whichever and whatever form that takes. Which is why I found it so sweet.

 <- Love is Hell ReviewStupid Perfect World Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers