Tag Archives: Fiction

Singing In the Shower Book Tag

This is my original book tag. Yes, I cringed too. So let’s waste no time and get ready to learn a few new songs, and stretch those creative muscles!! I tried to make this as surprising for myself as anyone else. So please enjoy, and if you decide to do it too please tag me or send me the link. I was surprised how many songs I could find that hit the mark so well.

  1. Select a theme song for #girlboss character that you’ve recently discovered.
    Serena from Serena is most certainly a #girlboss. I think she’d appreciate Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert, a sort of guilty pleasure.


  2. Your all time favorite character just pulled up in your driveway. What song is most likely playing when you climb in?
    All time favorite character? Seriously? Who wrote this?
    I’m going with Darrow from Red Rising because climbing in a car with him is going to result in some sort of epic adventure. He’s got Back In Black by AC/DC. And Sevro is in the back seat singing it and playing air guitar.


  3. Go to last book on your shelf (or stack no judgement!) A character of your choice from the first chapter is singing karaoke. What song do the pick?
    Mark Watney from The Martian belting out Destiny Child’s Survivor  You know it.


  4. Pick an anthem for a beloved rascal.
    Jesper from Six of Crows would definitely identify is with Florida-Georgia Line’s This is How We Roll. It’s just the kind of song that would mark him subtly different from the citizens of Kitterdam.


  5. You know that one couple that just wasn’t meant to be? What’s their love song?
    It personally wounded me that Dagny Taggart didn’t end up with Francisco D’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged. Their love song would be Night Train by Jason Aldean. *Dreamy Sigh*


  6. Randomly select a book with from an author with the last name starting with C. Flip open to a random page, and the first character you see is singing in the shower. What song are they singing?
    YEssss. It’s Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park!!!! He is belting out Africa by Toto.


  7. What’s song would be your favorite OTP’s first dance?
    My OTP’s are often not cannon, but Gale and Katniss from the Hunger Games should get a dreamy first dance in some secret, sweet wood. How about the acoustic Making Memories of Us by Keith Urban.


  8. The villain from the last book you read is looking for a theme song. What do you suggest?
    Pekka Rollins was a villain from the last book I read, Crooked Kingdom, and I guess he’d probably like the song All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled + friends.


  9. Think of a tragic couple, they are dancing their last dance, what song is it?
    Ruby and Liam from the Darkest Minds trilogy are my token tragic couple. Their last dance song: Rewind by Rascal Flatts.


  10. Your favorite stand alone book just got made into a movie. What song is playing in the opening credits?
    Alas, Babylon getting made into a movie would be beautiful! Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift & the Civil Wars would be playing for sure.


  11. Pick up the 5th book on your shelf. The main character is standing in an elevator with you- what song comes on that annoys them the most?
    Well, Darrow from the Red Rising trilogy is going up and Lorde’s Royals comes on. His eye rolling is constant.


  12. What’s the last series that you started? The kindest character from that series is sitting next to moonlight pond. What song do you serenade to cheer them up?
    Strange the Dreamer….and the kindest character was definitely Lazlo Strange. If he were sad, a moonlight serenade would actually cheer him up. I’d get someone that isn’t me to sing Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Suede.


Extra Credit: Do any songs come to mind that remind you a setting in a book you love?
The Red Mine that Darrow in Red Rising comes from, their song would have to be Drinking Class by Lee Brice.



So I hope you enjoyed Singing in the Shower Book Tag. And all you fellow book review bloggers, copy and paste. Let’s see what you come up with!!

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh B’Ardugo

Croo22299763ked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is the sequel to Six of Crows. It takes place in the same universe as her Grisha Series. If you keep reading, expect spoliers for both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

Crooked Kingdom picks up right were Six of Crows left off. Inej is kidnapped by Van Eck and Kaz is plotting on how to get her and the money back.

The first thing that has to be talked about is the fearless gang leader, Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker. Kaz has got to the best example of a sympathetic dark antihero. He isn’t this kind hearted soul wearing a thinly veiled tough exterior. Nor is he this obvious villain that has good looks and a little bit of mystery to compel some heroine to swoon occasionally.  Kaz is this complex, brilliant leader that calculates every move as if his whole life is a chess game that is infinite and could end at any moment. Kaz’s plans are even more brilliant than Six of Crows, and I think that is because he has home field advantage. I thought for sure it would be revealed that Nina healed his crippled leg before the effect of her drug high wore off. But that didn’t come to pass. Which also leads to more development of his skin to skin weakness which was so raw and this idea that his crippled leg is his advantage. People don’t look for other weakness, they are obvious. Kaz makes my favorite observation of the book. He’s recalling an old crime wizard that compares a lock to a woman but Kaz is annoyed by it. “Sure a lock was like a woman. It was also like a man and anyone or anything else–if you wanted to understand it, you had to take it apart and see how it worked. If you wanted to master it, you had to learn it so well you could put it back together.” Kaz also reaches and grasps his dreams. He starts he own gang which was no easy feat, it required breaking up with his boss in a public and dangerous display.

This might sound horrible, but I was really hoping that Inej wouldn’t escape by herself. It would have destroyed their crew. Instead, the tension and poison Bardugo created with Inej’s raw fear of having her legs broken thus tossed away by Kaz was so powerful and gut wrenching because the audience can completely get behind that fear. “”He’ll never trade if you break me.” You believe that line in your stomach and so does Inej. So she clings harder to escaping Kitterdam and Kaz with lofty visions of being a pirate of pirates. It’s so real. Inej is reunited with her crew in this elegant disaster and escape. She ends up fighting this insane assassin she calls her shadow. For this first time, I see Inej as a dark soul that has a lot to be sorry for, she isn’t just a victim of slavery and prostitution. She has done her own dark deeds.

Which leads us to this relationship between Inej and Kaz. They spurn their feelings for each other. It’s way too complicated and messy for either of them. Inej’s dark fear that Kaz would abandoned her if she was no longer an asset builds this tension that has be addressed. It’s at this point, pretty early in the book, things really change between them. Inej tells Kaz about Van Eck wanting to break her legs and how she convinced him that she’d be a useless pawn for him if he did. Kaz grapples with it too. Finally he says, “”I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together–knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”” This has to be the romantic line of either book. It’s not accompanied with any dramatic or physical gestures, but it’s this turning point. That doesn’t mean it’s roses for them afterwards. Kaz forgets her fear of being touched because he’s blinded by his own. Their is suspicion. But really from this point on, there is only reinforcement of their strong relationship. Inej displays unwavering loyalty. Kaz changes her bandages without his gloves. In the end, he spells out exactly how much he loves her, not with stolen kisses or well crafted words. He gives her freedom, her family, and her dreams on silver platter.

Bardugo doesn’t suffer from giving the audience too much information, especially with her characters. She lets them speak, rather than just telling us about them. The only dip in this if I find is with Nina. Nina is this almost trained Grisha solider. She is well educated and speaks a few languages. We are told that she is a fierce warrior, but I forget that sometimes and think of her as the softest one of the bunch. But then I have to take it back because boom, in the midst of street battle for her life she breaks her softness and destroys her would be assailant. Nina is also going through a sort of identity crisis. She is struggling with this new strange and dark power she has, and mourning the power she no longer has.

Matthias was under developed compared to the others and I think that is why he died. Bardugo didn’t bother to give him a future, a purpose beyond the moment. You can see it in the super sugary moments Nina and Matthias share like this: “”You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.” A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.””  I feel like his death was pointless. Not in the random way that sometimes bad things happen and there is nothing you can do about it, but in the let’s kill one of the main characters off kind of way. It was so anticlimactic and it lacked impact. I also thought it might be a sort of symbolic killing. Matthias was this traditional solider type with a streak of naivety and formality about love. His sort of ideas are dead, and so is he. I just sort of boxed him up and put it on the shelf.

Then there is Wylan and Jesper. I really feel like this was their book. These characters are two peas in a pod which strikingly similar obstacles they must over come. Both have pasts that are catching up them and problems with their fathers. They both try to hide their weaknesses, and both are struggling with acceptance. Wylan is rejected by his father, the odd man out in the crew with his upbringing, and even rejected (accidentally) by Jesper at one point. Jesper is also struggling with rejection from Kaz, fear of his father rejecting him, and rejecting himself, by rejecting his Grisha gift. This common thread is really the binding agent.

At one point, Jesper and Inej discuss forgiveness and she says “This action will have no echo.” I wish this was thing in our culture. It has so much more meaning than apologizing. Jesper really takes it to heart and it shows.

Wylan gets all the complexity he lacked in Six of the Crows. He is having a purpose crisis and rightfully so. He doesn’t really belong with Kaz and his group and he’s been completely rejected by his father. You see his toxic relationship with his father both in snippets like “I will treat you no more harshly then the world will. That was his father’s refrain.”  and the larger flashbacks like his father attempting his murder. Then the crux of Wylan’s purpose crisis resolving when it’s revealed his mother is alive. Wylan’s vigor is completely changed after that. He’s got this grit about him after that is respectable instead of just feeling pity for him.

I loved this book, it’s obvious from the time I took thinking about it. I want badly to give it 5 out 5 but, I just can’t because there are some glaring things I can’t over look. Leigh Bardugo wove an amazing tale worthy of praise. I wish our journey with Kaz, Inej, and Nina weren’t over. I feel like they especially have so much more to do.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Go ahead, dive and have a good time that will leave you whirling.

 

 

 

Pyromantic by Lish McBride

23310689Pyromantic by Lish McBride

Pyromantic is the sequel to Firebug which takes place in the same universe as Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and it’s sequel. So if you haven’t read Firebug, don’t start with this.

The short version: I loved it! I ate it right up and couldn’t put it down.

McBride is an excellent weaver of sarcasm and wit. Ava, like last time, is the main character that is full of actual flaws that have real consequences. She isn’t quite the same Ava from Firebug, she’s more mature and has a stronger mindset. A lot of the old crew is back. Lock of course, being his charming self, Sylvie gets to be more fleshed out of a character which is fantastic. Cade is sort of shoved in the corner and standby and watched Ava’s life, I didn’t like it. It seemed really weird, especially for a father. Then there is Ezra…Ezra might have been my biggest disappointment of this book, he didn’t really sparkle like he did in Firebug. He just seemed kind of there because he was expected to be. But then there are some new characters like Bianca and Alistair that were fantastic. Of course, the dialogue is what really propels this novel and I wasn’t disappointed.

The plot of this book has it quirks but where I think it really shines is that the characters spend so much of their time fumbling around. Normally this wouldn’t be a strength but the nature of the problem is really beyond their experience, so there wasn’t this nice yellow brick road that they followed that lead them from plot point to plot point. They spent most of the book just playing catch up to the problem. There is this believable scramble and they don’t have all the answers. It just isn’t a problem they are use to facing, it really makes them come together and grow. It’s very satisfying, and very human.

Overall: 4 out of 5 Whoopie Pies. 😉

Ready Player One

9969571Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Technically I started this book way before my summer reading challenge, but I muscled through the last half of it this week so I’m counting it. Especially because of how painful this was to finish.

I have no idea how this has such a high rating on GoodReads. It’s slow, monotone, and boring. The action of this book could be condensed to a fourth of the length, if you removed all the 80s movie, TV show, music and video game explanations. I know kids today don’t know about tape players and whatever but it was like a grandfather trying to cram “back in my day” disjointed stories down your throat and expecting you care. Or a grandchild to trying to explain Instagram to a grandparents. It’s just not the same experience unless you live it.

Then there are the characters. Wade Watts is the main character. He has almost zero character development. He is shallow and doesn’t understand having personal relationships which is almost understandable but when he does have the chance, doesn’t face any problems that someone that hasn’t had personal connections with other people would have. For example: when his girlfriend leaves him, he doesn’t display any sort of trust issues.

The other characters including said girlfriend are about as flat as a piece of paper. Two do good philanthropists, a token girlfriend, a best friend that has social justice issues, and a dark, evil corporate executive. Wade the MC, suffers from being good at everything. It’s such a burden. Of course he is poor so that is challenge enough I suppose. Wade can play a perfect game of PacMan, escape from slavery, has endless time to relive the entirety of the 80s multiple times, super polished hacking skills, and never has to worry about conflicts with his friends. (He says he doesn’t have friends but he has has at least 4 which isn’t awful.)

There were some good things about this book, the idea of the Oasis is fun. Traveling through it was great. The contest concept was interesting. I can totally imagine being in the Oasis and how addicting it would be. Final ruling: 80s Fanfiction.

Rating: Two out of Five Extra Lives.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Here is my partial rantings on Career of Evil. I wasn’t really impressed but continued to be entertained. I still feel like Robin is Emma Watson. Anyway, this isn’t really a review, it is more of airing my frustration. Spoilers are probably below.

  1. Pretty girl (Robin) stumbles and gets catcalls and lewd remarks from construction workers.
    1. Ugh, I am so tired of this stereotype. Construction workers are always painted in a negative light. I am sick of it. Construction workers have manners, they are very respectful of women, they don’t wait around for a pretty woman to walk by so they embarrass themselves and her. Construction workers aren’t not the end all of sexist pigs. I wish writers would stop categorizing groups of people by irrelevant criteria. If you want to show sexism, show characters being sexist, not faceless generalities that promote fear mongering and false pretenses.
  2. The constant comparison of Cormoran Strike’s hair to “pubes”.
    1. Does this need any explanation?
  3. The negative portrayal of Matthew.
    1. Robin doesn’t make much money compared to Matthew. Matthew supposedly uses passive aggressive techniques to compel Robin to do such boring tasks like “go to the food store” just because she makes less money than he does.
      1. Seriously? Uncontrolled, raging feminism. Every household has to have someone go to the food store or pay someone to do it. There is absolutely nothing wrong Robin doing this. Stop making Robin a victim of petty sexual repression to suit your soapbox.
      2. And guess what! A couple should try to contribute equally to a household. Whether it is through getting a spirit crushing job that pays the bills or doing chores. Work together! Man or woman it doesn’t matter.
  • While in the grocery store, she is treated like a sexual object again! A man stares at her breasts. Gosh, all this grocery store represents is woman’s oppression. What a terrible institution.
  1. Oh gosh, the food store drama continues: Matthew did the food shopping and told her about it! Matthew is now upset.
    1. Matthew can’t even hug her without Robin being repulsed.
  2. Also, when does the audience get to actually see any of these fights Robin and Matthew have? We get it all second hand from Robin’s memory.
  3. Matthew is a punching bag, we never see anything good about him. He represents all that is bad in society and poor Robin is stuck with him when all she is trying to do is follow her dreams.
  4. Matthew has been snooping on her! Reading her emails and using her computer.
    1. Robin must change her password in order to keep her privacy. Won’t she have a nice tidy list of reasons to leave Matthew when the time comes?
  5. Matthew insists that their lack of car is her fault for not having a high salary. (According to Robin)
  6. Matthew helps out at his future in-laws more than he does at home for Robin
  7. Matthew become publically dismayed over being given an old car from his inlaws proving that he is self absorbent and ungrateful and Robin should add this to the list of why she is leaving him.
  8. Matthew walks into a room after she literally threw a tantrum, politely offers not to discuss it, brings her tea, and then is regarded as embarrassed for her justified behavior and a terrible person. He just can’t understand.
  9. Matthew, by spending time with her parents that they traveled a long distance to see, is wasting his time by watching TV with them. Robin is going to important work on her computer, and be alone and taciturn.
  1. The antagonist is just another male supremacist. They litter this book.
    1. Says women are disgusting
    2. Refers the woman closest to him as “IT”
      1. This is a successful woman that brings home the money
    3. Purpose in life is expose his dominance.
  2. Other men that pop up randomly are more often than not shown in the negative light, especially with sexual inappropriateness.
    1. When doing their investigating work the men that hire them do it in order to keep tabs on their lovers like possessions. When a woman hires them it is for some noble cause like to keep a dastardly man from stealing his child in the middle of the night away from the mother.
    2. Cormoran’s step-father was sexual repugnant
      1. He walked around naked in front of his step-daughter causing the girl to run away from home.
      2. Step-father was also awful in other ways: insulting Cormoran, discussing murder, lies, abuses animals, and getting stoned.
    3. The police man that comes to collect the severed leg checks out Robin thoroughly despite this being unprofessional and his being married.
    4. Robin’s younger brother is the only unsuccessful sibling: lives with parents, doesn’t go to school, hasn’t joined the army.
    5. Men simply can’t understand the importance of human life. They are constantly glib about the poor dead woman’s leg. So improper and horrible. The list of offenders include: police officer, Cormoran, Martin, the brother.
  3. More sexism angles!!! Everywhere.
    1. “Has his employee been male, he wouldn’t be vulnerable…”.
      1. Seriously. Stop. Too much.
      2. But also as woman has been useful being a typical female: warm, gentle, ect ect. He owes her just for being a woman, to keep her safe.
    2. Robin’s mother brings up that men have a hard time when their women work closely with another man.
      1. Men are insecure and feel threatened by this.
    3. People with strange sexual fetishes on the internet could not be women in Robin’s eyes. They simply could not.

 

Things I like:

  1. Robin and Cormoran’s relationship
    1. This is very genuine
  2. The author makes her words very powerful
    1. Her word choice and diction is superb
  3. The personal side of Cormoran is slowly unraveled. We haven’t go to see much of Cormoran’s back story so far, just enough to be intrigued. This time the plot is personal.
  4. Cormoran’s disability is very reasonable.
    1. He does not find super human strength to overcome his missing leg.
    2. He experiences pain associated with being too active.

 

After this point. I stopped taking notes. So….enjoy these partial notes! Because it has been awhile since I actually read this……

2015 1st Quarter Wrap Up: Part One

I haven’t been doing much reviewing so I thought I would do a quarterly wrap up that would give you some insight on the books I’ve read so far in 2015. There won’t be any spoilers so have fun exploring and deciding if you want to pick up any of these books.

Because I completed 27 books, I’m going to break this up into multiple posts.

See Me by Wendy Higgins was the first book I read in the new year. Honestly I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It wasn’t spectacular and the male lead’s name was McKale. Shortened to Kale. The world building was mediocre, and the characters often silly but it was good entertainment. Give it a try if you like character driven, light fantasy. I gave this book 3/5 stars.

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt has it’s own full length review which you can find here. This was a very exciting read for me personally, because it was my first ARC! This also was a big encourager for one of the genres I want to start reading agian.  4/5 stars


Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen also has it’s own full length review here. I really hope all you murder mystery fans give this one a shot. The characters in this book were compelling and not I hope to see another book in this universe.  4/5 stars


Golden Son by Pierce Brown. There are not words for all my feels. Golden Son took us to even more unexpected places. This might be my new favorite series, ever. Red Rising set the bar so high but this is a completely different level. You, you need to read this. This series will be best enjoyed if you don’t know too much about the plot before you being. 5/5 stars.


Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Honestly after all the good things I heard about this I was a little disappointed. Other than being separated from your loved ones, her time in jail didn’t seem that bad. Overall I was bored and I can’t understand why they made a TV show abou this. 3/5 stars


The Martian by Andy Wier should have been a disaster but it was success on every level. There was a great balance of dark humor, nerd talk, obstacles, and creative problem solving. The only thing that really stuck me as unbelievable was the lengths his government went to get him back, but really who I am to judge? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 4.5/5 stars


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was the first book my husband challenged me to read. It could have been edited down to three chapters but driving the points home it what makes material like this stick. It did help me a few desperate situations though and for that it gets 3.5/5 stars.


Jackaby by William Ritter is a paranormal mystery thriller with a good helping of Sherlock Holmes. I had very high expectations for this book, overall it was pleasing. I actually enjoyed the female MC which doesn’t happen too often and the mystery while unique did feel lacking toward the end. 3.5/4


Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I began this book in December by due to personal drama the library autoreturned it before I could finish it. I did finish it Feburary and was disappointed. I really loved the other three books in the series but this book felt so lacking plot wise. As always the characters and prose were gorgeous. 3.5/5 stars


Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey was the most challenging read I’ve had in years. This book takes you places that scary, sad, and that are difficult to understand even though they are completely real. Maud had to be one of the most difficult characters to write and for the reader to truly connect with but Healey got you in the end and held the plot together with the smallest of strands. 4/5 stars.


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. So many times I almost gave up on this one. I don’t even know what exactly about it makes it so hard to complete. The story is compelling and the characters are great but it must be the pacing and the writing style. I would only recommend this to people that really enjoyed the Cuckoo’s Calling. 2.5/5 stars.


Pointe by Brandy Colbert was all over the place. It’s like the author decided she wanted to take on way too many topics for one book. In this book we have minimal ballet drama, boy drama, drug drama, under-aged drinking drama, eating disorder drama, friendship drama, school drama, and kidnapping drama. I didn’t like the main character and not (mostly) because she was edgy and devoid of morals. It was because she didn’t grow or thinks she needs to grow. It did compel me to keep reading though. 2/5 stars


The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin was the last book of the Mara Dyer trilogy. The most interesting parts for me were the back story set in India and England. Mara and Noah’s story was sort of boring despite the author’s attempt at drama. This is not a stand alone novel. 3/5 stars


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman was more of a character driven novel than a plot driven novel. I really enjoyed this novel because it didn’t spend too much time specifically world building, the world just sort of unfolded with the story. It isn’t too often I enjoy almost all the characters but I really did here. Seraphina was intelligent, courageous, and creative. I am excited to continue my journey. 4/5 stars.


So that covers about half of my reading in the first quarter. I bounced around so much from being ahead to falling behind and now, only 4 days into the second quarter I’m just a few books away from my half way goal. I am lacking in some of my categories for this year but am looking to turn that around this quarter. If you have any questions or want to share your own opinions that would make my day. For an up to date tracker of my reading you can visit the 2015 Reading Challenge page. I would love to discuss any books on that list with you.

Leave a comment below with your favorite book of 2015!!!

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

From Good Reads

Let me just call it like I see it- Taylor Swift fanfiction.

You know it. I know it. Delilah Montgomery is young Taylor Swift. Matt is based off one of those Jonas Brothers.

It was mildly entertaining but the style the story was told in was terrible. Mostly because it would switch in the middle of a scene.  One moment the protagonist Reagan, is recounting a scene like she is telling us like a memory but then wham! it’s like on going action that is unraveling in front of you. It’s sporadic and not well done. Even if it was well done that memory/recount into on going action doesn’t work well with contemporary fiction. It works well with Secondhand Lions and The Great Gatsby.

Anyway, the characters were totally predictable and for a story with a character driven plot- double ouch. Not to say that at times it wasn’t mildly entertaining.  I did snort out in laughter at some of the quips and my favorite part of the whole book was the improv lyrics that Matt sang under Reagan’s window.

Matt, Reagan, and Dee plus all the auxiliary characters felt so 2-D because their characters were built off cliches that didn’t deviate from the mold. We were suppose to be given some insight into fame but that didn’t happen either. Though the relationship dynamics of Dee and Reagan are refreshing. It is nice to see two girls that truly get along and help each other. The obligatory fight with Dee and Reagan came out of blue, the content wasn’t believable, and not for one minute did the audience believe it was going do harm to their friendship.

The romantics in this book were boring. Dee’s not relationship with Jimmy was refreshing at first, then her revelation at the end was beautiful but the way the author wrote their eventual confrontation was a disappointment. I thought Dee would embrace her epiphany but instead it seemed like she just picked up where her and Jimmy left off. Reagan’s relationship with Blake was mildly interesting but the audience was left with no doubts about the general events that ended that relationship, learning the specifics was only solidified the evidence. Reagan’s relationship with Matt did not give me any feels.  It had a very predictable order of events with a very predictable resolution. Spoiler: I did hope that Lord would surprise us with an ending that left both girls independent of men and ready to face the world together.

The redeeming quality of this book is that the heroines were not total drips. They did not have completely immature and illogical behaviors. The adults characters did exhibit some adult behaviors which was also nice which is why I am giving the book 3 out of 5 irises.

Three Irises from Positive Creations, dlhorch

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

In Honor of TBT: Here is the first review I wrote! When I started, I wrote with spoilers, so beware.

This book is about a princess trusted with special destiny in a fantasy world. Sounds boring already. The characters could have been so stale. The gender role bashing could have been eye roll worthy. The culture blending could have been so fake and over done. But it wasn’t.

From the first page Carson ignored pretenses practically required for writing this kind of story. Young princess in an arranged marriage that isn’t prattling about how unfair life is and how she wants true love? My hopes soared. A princess that isn’t a size zero and has trouble with over eating?  Normal sibling rivalry? I got scared in the next chapter I would be let down because everything good was in chapter one.

No. Nothing let me down, well…nothing serious.

Spoilers may exist from this point on-Read at your own risk.

The first showing casing of Elisa’s intelligence comes when she takes her sister’s advice. The sister she doesn’t like. The sister that is better at politics than Elisa. More than two thirds of young adult heroines would never do that. They have to be free and learn from their mistakes and yada yada yada.

The attitude that Elisa has toward her arranged married and Alejandro is jaw dropping-ly appropriate. She doesn’t balk at it, she doesn’t have false expectations about insta love, and she is clear about her desires. She tells her husband/acquaintance  right off the bat-“I don’t want to be intimate tonight.”

What a novel idea, communicate with words your feelings/preferences/control instead of acting crazy. Since Alejandro isn’t a scum bag, he completely respects that.

There is no insta love with anyone. Love isn’t even central to the story-plenty happens without it, like war council, kidnapping, battles, losing important people.

Oh and a mystical god gave her a belly jewel that makes her special and appropriately, she is pious, yet struggles with her faith. Some people think that makes this Christian Lit. I’m going go with no, while they might have a lot of common elements I am sensing Carson is just accurately portraying someone that had something supernatural happen to her in which her society has an explanation that works. The religion portrayed in this book has common themes with Christianity but I would not say parallels it.

I also love how Elisa isn’t an island. I mentioned this before, but Elisa doesn’t ignore everyone’s advice and just do in heart what she feels is best without reasons to back it up. She listens to the people that she respects and she learns without having to make disastrous mistakes. Yet, you never feel that Elisa is a puppet because she makes her own choices after mulling things over plus she has character growth over the course of the novel. She starts out self centered and then starts caring about the people around her more. She learns about her own abilities and their limits. She makes mistakes because she isn’t experienced and some have disastrous results. This makes her worthy of role model status.

Now the other characters are not as well developed.  Rosario, her nurse, Cosme, Humberto…they are multi-faceted but I don’t think they get the depth they deserve. Hopefully in future novels this will change. Alejandro did get a fair amount of depth but without true exploration. This is actually a good choice on Carson’s part  because there wasn’t time in Elisa’s life to truly get to know him. Elisa, and the audience, learned that he was complex but that was it.

I think Humberto’s death was appropriate. Too often love interests are saved by the author just because they are love interest. The world is cruel, war is brutal, and killing your enemies’ treasured ones is effective. Not killing them removes the horribleness of war.

Now, Elisa started off the novel overweight but then she goes through a tough physical trial and slims down. A lot people also had a problem with that because she changed herself. That is ridiculous. Elisa grew as a human being to have more self control and endurance and people are mad about that? Elisa is stronger for this change, not weaker. I applaud Carson for this realistic choice.

Some of the bad things-a few haired brained schemes worked when they shouldn’t have but this fantasy so I’ll let it go. The antagonist were not super developed and there should have been more time spent developing them, especially individual leaders.  And finally, after being made Queen Regent over the land Elisa carves off a part for a new country and makes a new Queen. Woah. No way is the Quorum going to be peaceful about that or the public.

 NO SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT.

I will be reading more of this series, I will be reading more from Carson, and hopefully if just gets better. I will give this book 4.5/5 roses for good writing and refreshing characters.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Here is another review I’m moving over here from Blogger!

I loved this book in a way that is pure enjoyment. It was like going to an amusement park, yes there were some cliches but there was also the unexpected and the entertainment was refreshing. I purchased this in actual, page turning book form which I haven’t done in ages but am so glad that I did. It is a quick read, I read it in two nights but could have done it in one if my personal life wasn’t demanding attention.

The plot had a lot of the basics, bad guy that does bad things for power; confused, inexperienced protagonist that turns out to be something special, parental units that hide what is really going on, and a beautiful, strong willed love interest. That being said, the execution was fantastic and I’ve never read about a necromancer before. The plot moved along quickly but without feeling rushed. There was a good balance of world building and action. One that initially bothered me but later did not was the change in POV. This book, while dark at times, actually had a fun feel. I appreciate the optimism and humor found throughout this book. I didn’t have a problem accepting anything but the ending. Actually one specific part of the ending—SPOILER ALERT— the part with detective investigating Brooke showed up and they told him everything. It was obviously a set up for something that comes later and it could have been done better.

The character’s in this were great, they felt like people instead of just roles with names performing. That is really my biggest thing while reading, I want my characters to be human like and not feel fake. This cast of characters was bigger than most, and I loved that too. I hate it when the main character is just an entity without participation in society. Sam was such a great embodiment of this: he lived in his own apartment, had a relationship with his mom that was relevant, had multiple friends that he actually cared about, and wasn’t a stranger to love (I am specifically referring to an emotional capacity.) Ramon, Brooke, and Frank all got varying levels of development depending on their relation to Sam which was totally appropriate but the best part was the relationships changed and grew. They didn’t stay stagnate.

Overall I would recommend this book to 16+ year olds and I give it 4 out of 5 zombies.

From SSpike’s Photobucket

Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

Overall, it wasn’t for me. I kept reading because the first book ended and I wanted to see how the main character, Lena, would handle the tragic ending. So I read Pandemonium which was much better than the first book but it’s ending twist wasn’t surprising at all. The third book I only started because I had it on my on phone. The third book has been the biggest disappointment. Lena’s maturity spirals away from her. The best part about the third book is the POV from Hana. Please proceed with caution, as spoilers are present, especially for book one.

The first book, Delirium, sets up a world where at 18, everyone gets a procedure that “protects” them from love. They will not longer love and thus be happier because there won’t be any heart break, no coveting, irrational behavior, ect. The author tried really hard to sell this concept and even though I didn’t buy it because people that can’t love and can’t hate wouldn’t be able to deal with children and teenagers that can. Also, because without love/hate our society might fall apart because it would destroy our sense of “care about that young child” and it would create a lot of sociopaths. But for the sake of entertainment I decide to ignore this and proceed with blinders. Lena the MC, is just a girl with family problems that worried about getting paired, by the government, and which college she will be assigned. She worries about becoming infected with “love” before her procedure but counts down the days until she will be safe. Her best friend Hana is a little more rebellious and introduces Lena to world that goes against the grain, which Lena balks at but you guessed it-she meets a rebellious boy, Alex. We get a sweet love story that transforms Lena from a blind follower to a “free thinker”. Of course they are caught and have to escape. It is entertaining, but not really substantive. The ending is a cliff hanger in which Alex is shot a bunch and left with the bad guys while Lena flees. I was impressed that the author attempt to kill Alex off, but wasn’t sure if it would stick. Overall I give this book three empty houses out of five.

The second book, Pandemonium, was my favorite in the series. The book is told in two phases-“Now” and “Then”. This was a good choice by the author because it fulfills the readers curiosity about how Lena recovered from book one’s ordeal without slowing down the action for the overall book. The Lena of “Then” is contrasted with the Lena of “Now” very well. You never feel like they are two different characters but that these two different phases in life are converging. It builds the drama well. We also get a good look at some new characters. Raven and Tack are handled well and like with Lena’s “Now” and “Then” you get a sense of how they developed which is very helpful because we don’t know them at all before this book. The only thing I will note is that the editing could have been better. There were some inconsistencies with the character’s descriptions, like Tack. Then there is Julian. He only appears in the “Now” section. Julian is a great character. He challenges Lena, he helps Lena, and he is considerate toward Lena. I also liked the plot of this book. The worst thing about this book was the ending. It was suppose to be this great shocking plot twist that CHANGED EVERYTHING. It wasn’t, it wasn’t even shocking, it was expected. It would have been more surprising if it hadn’t happened and honestly probably would have made the third book better. I give this book four riots out of five.

The third book was a mess. I’m not exactly sure what the plot was suppose to be, so we are going to call it a chronicle of Lena’s life and a chronicle of Hana’s life. Lena, as a character, acted like a spoiled high school girl and not a hardened warrior. She lost the maturity that she won in Pandemonium. Most of the book was spent agonizing/interacting with the love triangle. When there were scenes with other characters, they did not seem to go with general flow of the story. It’s like the author sat down and wrote “the love story” all the way through, then went back and peppered scenes with other characters in.  Julian, I am going to say has some character development but it was glanced over. I have nothing but eye rolling for Alex- there was almost no direct interaction with him, mostly observational which is messy. Think Edward Cullen in New Moon. (I cringed too.) This was emphasized with the POV switch to Hana. Hana’s story was interesting and I was most invested in what was happening to her than anything else. She had a lot to deal with and it was interesting to see how she managed despite being warped by a procedure that severely put her at a disadvantage. The ending to this book is left open for both Hana and Lena. The author knows how to write an ending, so I am sure this was done deliberately in hopes of continuing the series. Lena’s ending made my eyes roll but Hana’s mysterious ending was much more acceptable. I give this book two red birds out five. [Run!]

Is it just me or do these covers give off the “Garden of Eden”  but creepy vibe?

Enjoy!