Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review: Ninja Girl, by Cookie O'Gorman


Ninja Girl
Cookie O'Gorman
Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Contemporary Romance, Suspense, Young Adult Fiction
Source: Amazon

Book Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Snow-Soon Lee kicks butt -- literally. She teaches at her family-owned martial arts gym, The Academy, and cares more about training to be the next Bruce Lee than hooking up. In fact, Snow's never even been kissed. But when Girls Night rolls around, Snow decides to prove to her friends (and herself) that she's not just some boring tomboy. Impulsively, she kisses a hot stranger and even manages to escape his two security guards.

One stolen kiss…

Ash Stryker's senior year sucks. His politician father pulled him out of Chariot High, separating him from his championship-winning soccer team. Now he's stuck at a prissy private school with no friends, no team and no chance of being scouted. On top of that, thanks to the death threats his dad's received, Ash has a security tail, aka professional babysitters. When the mystery girl from the movies shows up at his school, rappelling from the rafters, Ash knows one thing: he won't let her get away again.

One interesting job proposition…

After a seemingly random attack, Ash's mother surprises everyone. She hires Snow to be Ash's personal bodyguard until after the election. But can Snow's kick-butt skills hold up against the rising threats to Ash's family? More importantly, can Ash convince his ninja girl to screw ethics and kiss him again?

Opposites attract in this YA romance where a smooth talker meets his match in the tough girl who (literally) sweeps him off his feet. Moral of the story:

Sometimes even bad boys need a bodyguard.




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34732613-ninja-girl?ac=1&from_search=true




This book immediately caught my eye when YA Bound Book Tours notified me about the blog tour. So, I signed up, then went on to Amazon and promptly bought the book!

Although I don't usually read contemporary YA fiction, I was willing to try this one because the plot fascinated me from the get-go! And I was DEFINITELY not disappointed! This novel hooked me in right away, and didn't let go until I had devoured it completely! In fact, I'm now wishing it had been just a bit longer, so I could have remained in this fictional world, with these wonderful characters, just a couple more days.....

Snow is such a GREAT character! Although I'm very far from being a martial arts expert (I rarely even go to the gym, lol), I felt and understood her passion for this type of sports activity. Her dedication to being as good as she could possibly be, her admiration for Bruce Lee -- these things made her very likeable to me. I have my passion for books and bookish things. I have my own literary idols, too. So yes, I could relate quite well to Snow!

Aside from her passion for martial arts, Snow is also a very caring person. She has a deep bond with her mother and close friends Min-Hee and Bae, whom she affectionately calls "Bae Bae". Also, she gives all of herself to teaching martial arts to both kids and adults, displaying endless patience with her students. 

There's one other quality that, together with all of the above, makes me wish I could be friends with someone like Snow in real life. (Yeah, I know.....I would have to become a teen again. I SO wish I could!!) What is it? Her sense of humor. She's not precisely snarky. In fact, I'd say her brand of humor is a bit self-deprecatory at times. But still, I do like it. And she doesn't always direct it at herself.

Paradoxically enough, I also loved that Snow was a bit insecure. She was far from being one of those people who brag about their accomplishments and/or abilities. She was instead very much down-to-earth.

I really felt for her in some parts of the novel, too, because she gets bullied by a group of "girly girls" who look down on her, due to the fact that she's a tomboy. But tomboys can harbor deep romantic passion ("still waters run deep", right?), and Snow makes this oh-so-evident when she impulsively dashes over to Ash, who is a complete stranger to her, in a movie theater, and steals a kiss from him. A kiss, that, by the way, sends her "up in flames", according to the story.

And now for Ash! What does this guy who gets a female bodyguard have going for himself? Well, first of all, he's SUPER COOL. He's not at all turned off by the fact that Snow can easily flip him over her head in two seconds flat, whenever she chooses. He's confident in himself, to the point that he doesn't need to "feel superior" to the female species. Of course, he's a hottie, but he doesn't act like one. No male braggadocio for him! (This makes him very compatible with Snow, since she doesn't brag about her abilities, either.) And this despite the fact that he's practically "a soccer god" to other male characters in this novel, such as Koi, the very funny co-owner of a restaurant and bar known by the rather unusual, and funny, name of "The Singing Fish".

Ash can see through Snow's brash exterior to the deeply romantic young woman beneath. He knows she's the real thing. He knows she's not into games. With Snow, "what you see is what you get". I know that guys in particular want to meet girls who are FOR REAL, who are not into manipulation or head trips. The same thing goes for girls, though. The fact of the matter is, PEOPLE who are genuine, who don't have a chip on their shoulders, who are not out "to score", are simply very appealing. And that's our heroes here -- Ash and Snow. No ax to grind. No "belt" to put notches on. These are just two VERY human, VERY REAL people, okay? And the fact that they get together is just WONDERFUL! This makes me jump for joy! Yeah, I know....a GIF is really called for here.... I'm not into those, unfortunately, but, if I were, I'd get the FUNNIEST, most ENTHUSIASTIC GIF I could possibly find, because Ash and Snow together just make me insanely.....HAPPY. And that's the honest truth, folks! I really and truly SHIP these two!!

Now, as for the plot and character development..... I did think these were a bit weak. I was able to identify the bad guy pretty early on. And I did want more background information on Mrs. Lee, Snow's mom, as well as on Ash's family. I also wanted to know more about Min-hee and Bae, and Koi, too. Heck, I want this novel to CONTINUE!!!! I want a whole FREAKING series here!! Yeah!!!! 

I also wondered if a guy like Ash really does exist. But then, there MUST be real-life guys out there who do not feel threatened by strong women. AND who are actually attracted to them, too! 

Also, would a parent actually WANT his/her son to have a female bodyguard? In that regard, I wasn't so sure whether this was a realistic take on our current gender roles debate. Still, it gave me a very hopeful feeling about this debate.

The secondary characters are part of this novel's delight. I GREATLY enjoyed them all! I especially liked Min-hee, Snow's best friend. She was always supportive of Snow, and had her best interests at heart. I also liked Bae, who was truly like a big brother to Snow. Furthermore, his stony exterior hid a real softie beneath. His attitude toward both Min-hee and Snow was always sweet, although a bit too protective for Snow's liking. Still, such an attitude shows that a guy REALLY cares. In fact, Ash himself frequently exhibited this type of attitude toward Snow. Not that he underestimated her in any way, though. Still, he cared enough about her that he just didn't want her to be hurt, whether emotionally or physically. And this is the BEST type of guy to have in a romantic relationship!

Adding to the more positive side, I LOVED the pacing of the novel. The action was very believable, although not exactly non-stop. What really kept the novel going, though, was the great dialogues between the characters. These were very witty and funny! They were also the perfect way for the reader to get to know the various characters.

I hope the author reads this highly enthusiastic review, because I want her to know just how much I enjoyed this story, these characters, this beautiful, REAL love story in which two people go beyond stereotypes and fall in love with what's truly GENUINE about each other! We need MORE such love stories!! 

I do hope the author decides to expand this book into a series, because I want to know MORE about ALl of these WONDERFUL people, and anyone else O'Gorman decides to introduce us to! And I'd LOVE to get to know Ash and Snow's babies!! We need a DYNASTY here, people!! 

Last but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST, I want this to be a (much longer) PRINTED BOOK. Yes, indeed!! 

I'm getting off my soapbox now....

In light of my overall enthusiasm for this novel, I have decided to give it five stars, in spite of the comments above about plot and character development. This novel is just a GREAT, FUN, TREAT!! Please give us MORE, Ms. O'Gorman!!


MY RATING:






 Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel, Adorkable, is out now! Her second book, Ninja Girl, was released March 30,2017!







4 comments:

  1. Great commentary on this book Maria.

    As we have talked about, it is seems very unconventional for a woman to be protecting a man. I believe that many men could accept this situation and even come to be attracted to the woman. With that, it would create all sorts of interesting thoughts and conflicts. It is too bad that character development was a little weak i this book as this could be explored in all sorts of ways.

    I agree that we need a lot more stories that break the traditional molds.

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    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks so much for the compliment!! <3 :)

      This type of situation is not very common at all, of course. In this novel, the only reason Snow is able to protect Ash is that she has expert knowledge of martial arts, which he doesn't have himself. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to protect him. Obviously, men have superior physical strength, so it would make sense for them to be doing the protecting, just from a purely logical standpoint. However, if more young girls were to be trained in martial arts, I think things would be more balanced.

      I wonder what would happen if a law were to be passed that ALL girls had to start training in martial arts from the age of 5. At the same time, boys would be prohibited from doing so. I know this sounds very authoritarian, but I think that such a law would bring down the incidence of rape and domestic violence. The thing is, girls have restrictions imposed on them from a very early age, precisely because of the fear of rape. After all, we still have the problem of violence against women. Women are still afraid of getting off work late at night and walking to our cars in a deserted parking lot. (I don't drive, though, so I don't have this problem, lol. But plenty of women do, and I feel really bad for them.) If a woman knew martial arts, she would be able to defend herself.

      Conservatives are very concerned that gender roles and differences remain in place. And it's true that there are some biological differences between the genders. However, as I've commented on one of your posts, not every man and woman exhibits ALL the behaviors traditionally associated with their gender. People vary quite a bit in this regard. So these behaviors should not be stereotyped.

      Having said the above, I have to confess that it would totally unnerve me to come across a man who enjoyed sewing and knitting and other traditionally female activities. And this brings up something I've noticed in my own experience. People in our Western civilization, particularly in America, seem more accepting of girls who enjoy sports and traditionally male activities than they are of boys who enjoy traditionally female activities. That's probably because male activities are simply accorded more respect and prestige than female activities, but also, Americans value independence and self-reliance, so we would be more inclined to respect, and accord more value, to activities that strengthened a person's ability to stand on their own two feet.

      The thing is, too, that traditionally male activities are simply more expansive, more challenging. Maybe I'm being chauvinistic here, paradoxically enough. Lol. But I'm reminded of the movie "Yentl", which Barbra Streisand directed and starred in. The female MC, Yentl, disguised herself as a boy in order to be able to study at a Jewish yeshiva, in the 19th century. Women were not allowed to study Jewish theology at that time.

      I am more interested in intellectual activities than I am in sports. (I've never been good at them.) Traditionally, intellectual activities have been deemed more appropriate for men. So I get more irritated when women are barred from such activities than I do when they are barred from certain sports, although I do realize that such barring is also discriminatory.

      At one time, I sincerely wanted to be a Catholic priest. Now I would prefer to be a pastor, although my life as it is now would not allow that. But there are still many churches that do not allow women pastors, because a woman is not supposed to have spiritual authority over a man. This REALLY irks me!! The Episcopalian Church does allow women priests, but again, that simply would not be feasible for me at this point in my life. However, I would definitely be interested in studying theology, as well as philosophy. Catholic priests have an EXCELLENT background in such studies.

      Well, this is turning into a blog post, lol. So I'll stop here.

      Thanks for the GREAT comment!! <3 :)

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  2. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed this one, Maria!! I was hoping you would after your recent post about it. This sounds like such a cute, wonderful story! I love what you say about the characters being real; that is so refreshing. Thank you so much for the wonderful review!! I always love hearing your thoughts *BIG BIG HUGS* <3 <3 <3

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    1. Hi, Michele!

      Oh, I SURE did!!! This book was GREAT!! And I say that in spite of the couple of quibbles I had with it. I'd LOVE to see this made into a movie!! It really IS what you say, "a cute, wonderful story"!

      You're very welcome for the review!! Thanks for the compliment!! I always LOVE reading your SUPER NICE comments!! *BIG, BIG HUGS BACK* <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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