“Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!”

Vermin has received another wonderful review!

Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte, especially ones that are part of series which are still unwritten/ released – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!

Ardin is an amazing storyteller! Though this is her debut novel, she uses good descriptions of actions taking place, good word choices, and the story flows wonderfully. I can envision the facial reactions of each character as described.

At the beginning, I will admit, I was a bit lost with the amount of characters that were quickly introduced. I found it hard to understand who was talking but that soon passed. I came to understand that it was necessary for the storyline to progress as the characters have different storylines taking place at the same time, eventually leading to one that comes together.

I loved the fact that the back stories of most characters were hidden and revealed along the way as the story progressed. Without giving too much away, I adored slowly finding out about what happened to Roland and his family, and also the history with him and Dianna.
Roland is an interesting character; we get sneak peaks into his past as it unravels. I would say he is the main character and discovering the hidden truths with him is something I hope to continue uncovering as the series progresses.
As readers, we were given just enough information to have us hooked and wanting more. I have many questions which I hope I get answers to in books 2 and…3?

There are many cute/ adorable moments between certain characters that I LOVED reading about. Certain scenes stuck out to me and will stick with me for time to come.
I am heavily invested in ALL of these characters (minus Peter, solely because he annoys me). Each page I turned, and each chapter I finished had me begging for more!

**Ardin, if this series gets dropped, I will be outraged!**

— Author, Lindsey-Anne Pontes

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews, and who have shared them with me! And no worries, the series won’t be dropped. I’ll be doing an announcement on book two soon, I promise!


Read More about Vermin

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April Novel Update

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Let Me Save You – Review

About

Seventeen-year-old Nila Izawa’s life in small-town Japan is orderly, simple, expected. On the walk home from school before winter break, Nila finally sees that she is crumbling under her mother’s strict expectations, both of them fueled by resentment towards Nila’s absentee father. Nila reaches for the courage to break free, but her fear of failure is overwhelming.

Wavering on the edge of stability – and adolescence – rude, annoying, beautiful Kai Kento’s insults, at last ignite Nila’s resilience.

Thoughts

This novel reminded me of some of my favourite emotionally charged shojo series like We Were There and Peach Girl. I think the reason Peach Girl kept coming to mind was because Nila’s father called her Peaches growing up.
The doll house thing made me cry so much. I also built one with my dad as a kid, and I could understand how Nila must’ve treasured doing something so special with her dad. I won’t say anything more about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.
I loved all of the character’s in this novel! I especially drawn to Kenji as he developed throughout the story. I think Kida was my favourite side character. She gave off cool big sister vibes, despite being Nila’s best friend, and she almost reminded me of a combination of Claudia and Stacey from the Babysitter’s Club. She was just cool, and it was obvious her and Nila truly cherished their friendship.
I cried throughout the last half! So much happened. I felt like I was right there with Nila, throughout all of the chaos…Nila’s voice was so clear throughout the story. You could sense her anxiety, joy, and defensiveness within each chapter. There was such a clear reasoning behind her actions, and her initial hesitance with Kai. Even her frustration with Kida, which I’ll be vague about to avoid spoilers, was understandable. Nila was hurt by the very people who were supposed to love and protect her, and although she responds differently to situations and people than her brother Kenji, who is more abrupt and rash, it is clear that the two of them need to lean on each other along with the love and support from Kai and Kida to pull them through. Nila is a force. I loved her story so much. She really blossomed as a character.
Kai was cheeky in a good way. He was adorably sweet. He really pushed Nila to come out of her shell and I don’t think it would’ve been possible if he hadn’t been so open and charismatic. Kai’s very upfront and forward, whereas Nila’s more reserved and in her head about things. I loved how honest he was with her, and how the two of them grew together. It was so cute watching Nila fall in love with him.
Lindsey-Anne Pontes did an incredible job of capturing those glittery…petal covered, panels you might see in a shojo manga, and also included some of my favourite tropes from the genre! It was so cool how she created the feeling of reading those emotionally raw scenes in this medium. Especially with the flashbacks!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of manga like We Were There, Orange, and Mars or coming-of-age novels such as The Steps or Star Girl. I think you’ll adore this book.
The ending was extremely satisfying!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

YA Faves

As YA week comes to a close, I’ve found myself reminiscing over some of my old favourite books that I read during my teenage years. Although I still read YA, there are certain books that just stayed with me over the years, ones that I often return too.

The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now by S.E Hinton.

S.E Hinton is still one of my favourite YA authors. I actually own an anniversary copy of The Outsiders, and adored the book so much as a kid that I nicknamed one of my own character’s Ponyboy. If you’ve read Vermin, you’ll also notice one of my character’s is named Kurtis, with a K. Ponyboy Curtis. Although the character’s have nothing in common, I couldn’t help it. I’d also be lying if I said that Kurtis was the only character in my work over the years to be named after a favourite character of mine.

Sometimes I also shout, “Do it for Johnny!” when I need to motivate myself to finish chores. Adulting, am I right?

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

This book was so good! Honestly, Mateo was one of my favourite characters of all time. I really wish Netflix or somebody would adapt this series into a show because trust me, it would be absolutely fantastic. I highly, highly recommend if you’re into sci-fi, thrillers and crime stories.

Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma.

This manga is one that you have to read twice, because once you reach the end there’s this HUGE reveal…and that is all I will say about that. You should read. It’s really good. I’m surprised not that many people have heard about it. I loved Rei Toma’s work so much, that I do have a character named after them in one of my stories that I wrote in high school.

Confessions from the Principals Chair.

I honestly can’t recall how many times I’ve read this book since I got it in the 7th grade. I read it over and over and over again. I just really enjoyed the characters. I’m curious though, if this book is actually middle grade? Probably, but I reread it all the time in high school and university.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

I know that this isn’t technically YA either, but I read a lot of Charles Dickens and classic literature while I was in high school and I absolutely adored all of it. These were books that I’d chosen myself, and although my Nana isn’t a big fan of Dickens (she prefers thrillers/mysteries and romances), her and my granddad got me Oliver Twist, and then let me keep my uncles copy of Great Expectation’s which I read the summer before starting university. Of course the one of the first books I was assigned was Great Expectation’s, and I chose to do my midterm paper on it. I also read A Tale of Two Cities in the twelfth grade, and again absolutely adored it. The only Dickens works that I’ve seen adapted into film however are Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol. Funny enough, I don’t own a copy of A Christmas Carol, but I’d very much like to.

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi.

This series is still one of my favourites. I recently recommended it to a few friends at work. It’s really good. It’s got mystery, romance, action, humour and suspense. Everything you want in a shojo manga directed at teen girls. In all seriousness though, this was and still is one of my top series. I cannot stress enough how much fun it was to read. I believe this was also one of the first series that I collected in entirety. Before I would borrow one or two from the library, but this series I borrowed the first 5 from the library bought the rest, and then years later bought book 1-5 to complete the set. Totally worth the money.

Two Steps Forward by Rachel Cohn

As a teenager, I think I read just about every book I could find by Rachel Cohn. Two Steps Forward was my favourite of all of them, possible because it was the first I read, not realizing it was the sequel to her book The Steps. I just loved the characters.

Naomi and Eli’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Speaking of Rachel Cohn, if you loved the Dash and Lily series, you have to read Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. There are scene from this book that still resonate with me to this day. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are such a powerhouse. I’d love it if they wrote another book together!

Happy Face by Stephen Emond

I wish more people knew about this book. I believe I read it back in the 9th grade, and it absolutely broke my heart. The emotional rollercoaster was 100% worth it.


Liked this post? Why not explore one of these from my blog.

If you’re looking for a new YA book to add to your own list, feel free to check out my debut novel Vermin.

Book Talk Episode 19: It’s YA Week!

It’s YA week on Goodreads, so I thought I would do a blog post (possibly 2?) about my favourite young adult reads and talk about how the genre has evolved since I first became a YA reader to what it is like now.

As Goodreads mentions in their article, the tropes and characters we see in YA today are vastly different from the ones we saw 10 years ago. I remember when Dystopian fiction was huge, with series like The Hunger Game and Divergent. Not only was I reading the YA in this genre, I was also writing it. Vampires and angels were also popular, at least among YA fantasy. Some examples that I can think of are The Vampire Diaries, Twilight and Fallen…and there are many, many, many more from this period.

What I’m seeing now is more of a mix of both high and urban fantasy being written not only for young adult readers, but for middle grade and adult readers as well. Personally, this is something I absolutely love. There is so much variety within the fantasy books that are out right now, and I often go to friends for recommendations.

I also noticed that, well at least when I was a teenager, a lot of the books weren’t spooky enough. Now, not everyone likes spooky, but now there are so many YA books that border along the lines of horror, mystery and thriller. I’m curious to know whether television created this initial shift, or if it happened naturally within the media. I know when my mom was a teenager, that a lot of the YA books at the time fell in line with gothic literature. I’d say, at least the ones that I can recall her mentioning, were American Gothics. As for the thrillers, the ones I read as a teenager were all about spies, and I beginning to think that those prep-school spy books may have also contributed to the ever popular dark academia vibe we’re seeing today.

Another very obvious shift in teen fiction is the variety of voices, not only are the characters from all different backgrounds, but the are authors come from all walks of life as well! Literature is beautiful like that. Although, I feel the process was slow, books have become a space where people feel seen, and I hope that it translates across all media as we move into 2022. I’m really looking forward to this period of growth.

One thing that I have noticed is that there’ve been a lot of complaints about the lack of YA fiction geared toward a male audience. I’ve also noticed that the market seems to be more favourable towards female readers at this current time, however, there are plenty of YA books and series out there for everyone! I know plenty of guys who read Twilight when it was first released, and enjoyed it. I also know plenty of guys who were (and still are) obsessed with The Hunger Games, any and every book by John Green, and who are extremely invested in all the books by Leigh Bardugo. To quote one of my friends from high school, “A good book is a good book. I don’t care if Katniss is a girl. She’s cool.”

One other thing I’ve noticed is that YA fiction has brought back illustrated covers, which I have missed an incredible amount! I hope this carries over into other genres, because it gives the books such a personal feel to them. I’ve also noticed this with romance as well, but I’m still waiting for the illustrated covers to be the norm in horror again. I don’t read a lot of horror, but the old illustrated covers in that genre were incredible! If you haven’t gone through and looked at old horror covers, I highly recommend it…unless of course you don’t like horror, then please don’t. I don’t want you to get scared. Some are really freaky!

Lastly, I want to talk about the insane amount of fairytale retellings. I don’t mean insane as in it’s a bad thing. It’s not bad at all! I used to adore retellings when I was a kid, but they didn’t make very many for teens at the time I was getting into YA. There are so many cool ones out right now and it’s not just fairytales, it’s myths and legends and all kinds of lore being retold and reimagined for new audiences! I like this idea of taking something familiar and flipping it on its head. It’s just so much fun, revisiting a story but having it be completely new to you.

What’s your favourite shift in YA? Is there anything that you miss about older YA books that makes you feel nostalgic?