Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 10th 2011 by Jonathan Cape

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador in the far north-east of Canada, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people share the secret - the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor, Thomasina.

The tale of an intersex child growing up into adulthood, Annabel is not the type of book I usually read, and thus it figures as the fresh and original meat of my pile of reads. I think this book is wonderful in the way that it deals with an issue that a lot of people need to relate with; as for if it's actually effective or not, I'm not certain I can entirely argue for or against.

Annabel is written in a very rich, poetic language, and I think that's the biggest pro of the book. I was touched by many quotes and words coming from the characters, and it's definitively an easy read for anyone, making it thus accessible to a wider public.

I will say though that I wasn't particularly hooked by the story. I was very interested in Wayne's/ Annabel's journey, but I feel like it never really met enlightenment. The characters have, of course, greatly evolved; I was most touched by Wayne's father turn of thoughts and epiphany at the end of the book, and this sudden expressive fatherly love. Yet, when it comes to Wayne, a lot of what I was expecting to see didn't really happen; he does not clearly declare himself either male or female, yet keeps living on as a man. Instead he spiritually accepts himself as both gender, and although that is perfectly reasonable and fine and cannot be argued as a plot's flaw (and could even rather be seen as the most rational conclusion to such a existential dilemma), it did not touch me a whole much. Maybe it was the lack of drama that didn't quite make it up to me, the lack of tension and the fact the Wayne sort of... went on with the flow.

Annabel is not a bad book; it's arguably great and even won a prize. It personally didn't do it for me, and I even let go off it for a few weeks before picking it up again. I also feel that I would have liked the story more if it was about a female relating more to masculinity rather than a male relating more to femininity. Would I be wrong saying that male going female cases are more spoken of rather than female going male cases?

Originality: 9.5
Plot: 8
Characters: 8.5
Writing: 9.5
Cliffhangers: 6

Annabel by Kathleen Winter
Rating: 8,3/10

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So Silver Bright

Hardcover, 354 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.

So Silver Bright was definitively better than its prequels. Even if Matchev has stuck to her random, desultory plot lining where events pile up without much structure and instead with fairy-tale-ish mannerism, the flow of the story is this time easier to catch.

Clearly, tremendous efforts were put in the writing style that came out quite literate, poetic and rich in imagery, even if it sometimes feels like over the top and a tad bit ridiculous with too much metaphors about cake and pie. I nevertheless appreciated this last installment for this very lightness and comedy that the author's writing style and plot brought to the book; I was in heavy need of a sweet, enjoyable read, and So Silver Bright was just my cup of tea.

Plot-wise, I think it concludes the series' well. There are sacrifices as well as lessons learned, and the final answers that we all craved for are given and spun in Mantchev's ever constant original telling. With the final mystery solved, I must admit these books' plotline is truthfully interesting and appealing with originality, and although I still think it could have been carried out better in many ways, I'll drop my reprimands and say everything is good enough in the end.

The main down of the book, and what I consider as a real shame, is that too much attention was given to Bertie. I feel as if Nate and Ariel were ever present only for the love triangle; I can barely recall them doing anything particular except fussing over Bertie or standing by her side. Bertie was always the one doing the confronting, and she ended up with a myriad of magical powers whilst Nate and Ariel never got their chance to be useful. Nate and Ariel never had time to settle their score or just become friends either, and I find that a lot more feelings could have been put in the other characters.

But well, that's all I've really got to say. I'm curious of seeing what other novels Mantchev will create, and I'm also very curious how a motion picture adaption of the series would look like...

Originality: 9
Plot: 8
Characters: 7.5
Writing: 8.5
Cliffhangers: 8

So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
Rating: 8,2/10



Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 27th 2011 by ACE

Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists...

Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.

But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.

And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to?

I'm really disappointed I could not find a hardcover or simply bigger version of this book. I'm also surprised the two bookstores I went to only had one or two copies of Geist and Spectyr, because these books should definitively be found in a larger number.

It only took me three days to go through Geist, and I can't wait to purchase the follow up. This novel offers one of the most original and inspiring fantasy universe that I have seen in a long, long time. It's fresh, loaded with action and strong characters and because the book can be relatively considered as an 'Adult book', it's devoid of the sappy, mindless drama that you drown in while reading YA novels.

I loved every single one of the characters. Sorcha with her blunt, strong attitude, Merick with his intelligent but young naivety, Raed and his pirate-ish, cool-headed mannerism. I enjoyed the fact they all brought something to the story and that the plot's fate didn't rest on only one character's shoulders. I loved the fact they all have both weaknesses and strengths. The world Ballantine created is also fantastic and refreshing, and I can't wait to read more. It's been a while since I've looked forward to a sequel like this.

Ballantine is very good at creating a stable, suspenseful plot. Just like with any other fantasy story, there may be a lot of elements to take in, the magic system can seem complicated at first, but I admired the fact all this universe was layered out one bit at the time in a very precise manner, and without some kind of major dumping of information on the reader, or on the contrary, none at all.

Having read other reviews, I observed that a lot of readers stated that the first few chapters were really 'boring and hard to pull through'. I personally disagree. The first chapter of Geist is already hooking the reader to the core of the action, and albeit one or two introductory chapters about the characters themselves and the world, Geist is action-packed till the end. I may even say that that's something to beware of; too much constant rolling action can get very tiresome and ridiculous, but Geist treated everything perfectly. I hope though that in the following sequels there will be less fighting and more interactions, more passive drama and also more deepening of the character's pasts and future.

In any case, I recommend this book to all those fantasy readers out there. Great, great novel and I hope it keeps being great.

Originality: 9.5
Plot: 8,5
Characters: 10
Writing: 8
Cliffhangers: 8.5

Geist by Phillipa Ballantine
Rating: 8,9/10


Monday, October 10, 2011

And we're back on a roll.

It's really impossible for me to stay away from books for too long, and I'm glad to say I'll be posting up some new, fresh reviews soon. I don't know about Aithen, but I've been spending some of my money on some sweet deals lately, and I'm just dying to share my thoughts online. Look forward to reviews of

'Geist' by Phillipa Ballantine
'So Silver Bright' by Lisa Mantchev
'Annabel' by Kathleen Winter
'The way of Shadows' by Brent Weeks

and many more to come. :)


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It has been a while now...

... since we've reviewed a book! And it may take some time before we update again.

See, it's not that we've fallen out of love for books, it's just that this summer Aithen and I have been concentrating a lot on simply writing! We've been writing our own stories, short and long, roleplaying and also getting ready for NaNoWriMo. We plan on participating this November, and thus we have to get mentally ready to write down 50 000 words in only one month. In September we're also entering College / 'Cegep' / 'Pre-Uni', which is a big change and will assure us a busy schedule.

This goes without saying that we haven't been reading much... It is really just a phase where we enjoy working with our fingers rather than with our eyes, but fear not! Pepper Ink is not dying and we're thankful for the attention we've been given till now! We'll continue on posting reviews whenever we finish a read.

We hope everyone had a great summer till now, and that the greatness continues till the end!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Before I Fall

472 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by HarperCollins
Genre: YA Fiction

"What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do?
Who would you kiss?
And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing."

It has been over two months since the site's last review! Gasp! We're awfully sorry, but school has been nipping at our heels. Here's a book I just finished reading a few days ago, and hopefully this review can make up for the lack of any recent ones... and the sparse that are to come until the end of the school year.

Before I Fall! A not so bad read. Telling the story of how a girl lives the same day through an entire week and how she comes to change herself and the people around her, it is an interesting book that is both realistic and relatable to. Samantha Kingston, your vain, simple-minded and bitchy teenage girl who sees the amount of roses you get on Valentine's day as important, suddenly dies on said Valentine day, in a car accident after your generic teen party. The next morning, she wakes up in her bed, on the same exact day. Fun stuff!

In Before I Fall, Oliver makes her protagonist go through the same day seven times, causing her to evolve into a better, nicer person as she realizes that popularity, sex and social power aren't the only things that matter, and that there are better things to concentrate upon. For a novel of 472 pages, there's enough space to clearly witness Samantha's evolution and for the reader to end up liking her. The story itself is gripping and holds some jolting twists at the end. It was my personal pleasure to see the story and mystery behind Sam's death and quest unfold so well.

The same day, seven times? Might be a bit repetitive. It was, on day 3 or 4, but the events vary. Even if I did approach the ending of the book with certain relief and impatience, Before I Fall offers many versions of the same day, and doesn't drag on the details that were already presented earlier. Character-wise, I think the cast is very realistic. All of Samantha's friends are the type of girls that one can classify as 'classical school bitch', and are presented such as that; bitching, being mean and vile, horny and self-centered. Lauren Oliver does, though, show their better side, a deepness to them that the reader doesn't realize at first. The character development is drastic and entirely believable.

Before I Fall captures the narcissistic emotions and feelings of high school very well. I think a lot of people can relate to the book and it's characters, and even if sometimes the repetition threatened to be overwhelming, the book satisfied me. The writing is engaging and flowing. A book I recommend.

Originality: 9
Plot: 8,5
Characters: 9
Writing: 8
Cliffhangers: 7,5

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Rating: 8,4/10

Monday, March 21, 2011






for the little price of 999,99$


Joke's on you. :P

This was, actually, Beryl's final high school thesis. She wrote a YA literature guide for teens ad this is the result. XD And it is no where near worth 999 bucks.
But, admit it. You were already taking out your wallet. Yes, yes you were.