books and reading

These Violent Delights

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Genre: YA historical romance

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover

This cover is gorgeous. When I read the blurb for it on Book of the Month, I knew this would be my choice. I’m a sucker for Romeo and Juliet retellings. And this story sounded like so much fun. Set in 1920s Shanghi, and instead of falling in love and dying, they just broke up. Now they are older and soon-to-be leaders of their gangs. All this sounds like such a fun book. But I was bored to tears. It took me twice as long to read this one than other books of the same length. I’m sure I’m in the minority, but it was well-written and the characters were dynamic. I just couldn’t get into it.

From Goodreads: The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

So the two have to work together to keep people from dying because for some inexplicable reason, even though family members of theirs die, the heads of the gangs have nothing to do with the problem. Juliette drove me insane. I didn’t like her character at all. But again, for no real reason other than personal preference. I was really hoping this book would be fun and engaging. But, for me, it just missed the mark.

books and reading

The Sun is Also a Star

Who doesn’t love a good Romeo and Juliet story? This one is a modern tale, taking place in NYC between a Jamaican teenage girl who is about to be deported and a Korean teen boy who is struggling with being put into a box by his parents. Natasha is literally being deported this very night, but she runs into Daniel first. They end up chatting and helping each other get out of some jams. Natasha is very skeptical of love at first sight, she’s a scientist at heart ruled by logic, but she can’t deny her connection to Daniel. He, however, is a poet at heart, totally believing he has been lovestruck and will do anything for Natasha, including helping her fight her deportation, even though she doesn’t reveal it to him until well into the book.

And, spoiler alert, this doesn’t end the same as Romeo and Juliet (no suicides, whew), but it doesn’t exactly end how you expect either. At least it was a bit of a surprise to me. Nicola Yoon has written a very sweet book with teens who aren’t the least bit annoying like many teens are portrayed in books these days. Natasha isn’t just a mushy girl who can’t think for herself. And even though Daniel is pretty starry-eyed for Natasha, he is brave and bold and can hold his own against her sometimes sharp tongue and skepticism.

This was a very quick read that left me giggling at how sweet these characters were toward each other. If the Romeo and Juliet story is one you enjoy, I recommend this book along with Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Both very sweet, delightful books.