This book was recommended to me by Goodreads itself, based on my ratings and my favourite genres. To be fair, Goodreads tend...more
Actual rating: 2,5 stars
This book was recommended to me by Goodreads itself, based on my ratings and my favourite genres. To be fair, Goodreads tends to get it right. Not this time, though.
First of all forget the title. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story. I picked up this book thinking, "Yay! A book from the 80's! No clichés that became obnoxiously ubiquitous in recent times!" Yeah... no. Heads up, this book contains a love triangle - that by itself made me want to put it aside. But I had actually ordered it for my birthday...
So onto the plot. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about it. Tevra, our main character, is at the top of her career. She's a no nonsense lady, she navigates well the sexist culture and the political traps that keep springing up.
That is, until she meets the Forest King and starts falling apart over her attraction to him. Despite being a strong and observant character (you can't get to her post without a gift for reading people) she is blind until the very end about the feelings of her closest friend/soldier, Hetwith. This dude could not have been more blatant about his interest.
The Forest King is basically an underdeveloped wishy-washy idiot who had been raised to be king but was so inept that he'd probably wear his crown pointy-side down.
Another thing, Tevra kind of sets out to be this experienced woman, one who's had lovers in the past and is unashamed and in control of her sexuality (as she should be). Yet, get her near a love interest and she acts like an inexperienced virgin.
Conclusion: a nice fantasy with well developed political intrigues, that got swamped by a love triangle and trite romance. (less)
An incredibly funny story! I've read the complaints regarding this book: riddled with clichés, an unoriginal story, etc etc. B...more
actual rating 3,5 stars
An incredibly funny story! I've read the complaints regarding this book: riddled with clichés, an unoriginal story, etc etc. But those are reasons why I liked the book!
Sophie is sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for witches and warlocks who have misused their powers. Hex Hall is pretty much what you'd expect for the genre: a school filled with shapeshifters, witches, warlocks, a few vampires... and a mystery.
I really can't say I predicted how the mystery was solved nor its outcome, so that's a plus.
The book was extremely funny, Sophie is an excellent narrator, very relatable, likeable, and never tstl.
So why the 3,5 stars? There were a few things I dislike about the book: Girl on girl hate, and a lot of it at that. A weird romantic interest, I really cannot deal with protagonists falling in love with people who are blatantly dangerous for them - that's not the message you should pass in YA books. And a hint of a love triangle in the future...
Still it was a very entertaining read - I think this will be perfect for fans of The Princess Diaries.
My heartfelt thanks to Susana, who gifted me this book for my birthday!!!
The amazing Khanh (check out her awesome blog Bookistry) once mentioned we needed to form a support group for those of us horribly addicted to Pride...more
The amazing Khanh (check out her awesome blog Bookistry) once mentioned we needed to form a support group for those of us horribly addicted to Pride and Prejudice retellings - and, more often than not, I'd finish one of these retellings feeling like I really, really needed help escaping this addiction: too much drama, too much angst, both Darcy and Elizabeth behaving like they'd been replaced by pod people considering how out of character they were both behaving.
Then the usual plot of Darcy and Elizabeth, once having declared their love, becoming these nauseatingly, irrecognisable, diabetic-induced-coma sugared versions of themselves: constantly spouting Hallmark card-worthy declarations of devotion. ...And I kept reading? And I couldn't stop? HELP!
But then we get books like Unequal Affections! Those rare treats that make it all worthwhile!
In this book Elizabeth is still the recipient of Mr Darcy's infamous declaration of love and proposal of marriage. She's shocked, as we'd expect her to be - but Ormiston took a turn I hadn't even considered: she made Elizabeth pause and think, "All this time I assumed he was attempting to put me down, showing his scorn... but he was actually in love with me. What else have I mistakenly believed about this man?" So, while not blithely setting aside the insulting manner of his proposal, she decides to give him a chance. She asks for time to consider his proposal, and best of all, she actively tries to get to know him.
She tells Darcy she does not share his affections - hence the title - but she is willing to get to know him better and perhaps become his wife. I really, REALLY, liked this! No lies, no pretending. Just an honest:
“Sir, I think it only right to tell you that I cannot, at this time, return your affections. If you wish to withdraw your offer in light of this information, then I would understand completely and not hold it against you.”
It's so refreshing to see historical romance characters behaving like rational, pragmatic adults!
And throughout the book we see them coming to turns with their pride, their prejudices. We see them trying to better themselves for the other, because that's what a healthy relationship is about: someone bringing out the best in you.
This book isn't all just happiness and sunshine. Both Darcy and Elizabeth, prior to their courtship, had been quite vocal about their thoughts of the other one's failings. These come back to cast a spectre over their blooming relationship, as do the expectations of their friends and relations: they had both been so adamantly adverse to each other, it's not easy to accept their new-found courtship. Some of them were quite funny, I must admit...
“Well, la, why should he want you, Lizzy?” asked Lydia tactlessly.
There are only two things I must point out in this book: There was a lot of talk about the difference in Elizabeth and Darcy's stations but, as Elizabeth herself told Lady Catherine, he is a gentleman, and she is a gentleman's daughter. Darcy has no title, what he has is money. Also, Elizabeth makes mention in the book that she has no dowry. In the original it's mentioned the girls will have £5,000 between them - therefore £1,000 each, with a further £100 per year while their father is alive.
But these are small things when considering how lovely it was to read this book!
If you like Pride and Prejudice retellings then this is the book for you! (less)
WIN AN EBOOK COPY OF COBWEB EMPIRE (see end of post)
Do you ever regret giving 5 stars to the first book of a series, not because it doesn't deserve i...more
WIN AN EBOOK COPY OF COBWEB EMPIRE (see end of post)
Do you ever regret giving 5 stars to the first book of a series, not because it doesn't deserve it, but because the second book is even better and you have no way to make the rating reflect that?
Because that's the case here.
I absolutely LOVED Cobweb Bride, I think I ended up making myself somewhat of a nuisance and recommending it to my entire friends' list on Goodreads because I couldn't bear the thought that someone somewhere was not, as I was, still trapped in that book's universe and willingly searching for Death's Keep in the Northern Forest. No, they were just going on with their lives...
Cobweb Empire picks up right where Cobweb Bride left off - I can't say where, and how, exactly, because that would just spoil the whole first book for those who haven't read it, but let's just say that Percy is a girl on a mission, appointed by Death himself (this is still weird for me, by the way - in Portuguese Death is a woman...) and the whole troupe is there with her.
But things are getting progressively worse in the world. It's not just the fact that people have ceased dying - places are disappearing at dusk, going missing into the shadows and sometimes, when light returns, they do not come back. So Percy's mission, which she undertakes accompanied by the Black Knight Beltain, must be completed with the utmost urgency. Still, Percy has some trouble dealing with her new "status", shall we say...
We revisit the delightful Lady Amaryllis and Lord Nathan of Morphea, who are still prisoners and have the most imaginative escape I've ever read! I love these two so much! I really hope we'll get to see more of them!
We are introduced to some new characters - I'll let everyone discover them on their own when they read the book, with one exception: the Sovereign of the Sapphire Court, Rumanar Avalais. I could spend the rest of my life writing about my fascination and, dare I say it, love for evil ladies. For instance, Princess Aurora is so dull, all she does is sleep and sing, but Maleficent? That's a lady with a plan, an awesome name, an amazing wardrobe, a clever pet, and the ability to turn into a dragon. Also, Izma, and Ursula, and all the awesome poisoners, schemers, power hungry women in every story ever. Evil ladies, what can I say? Role models, really.
Her Brilliance (a title I shall claim if my plans to rule the world come to fruition) Rumanar Avalais entered right away into this pantheon. She has the most amazing beauty routine, which consists of draining the life out of beautiful young girls and keeping herself forever young. Right there I was quite taken - but she did all this while ruling her own kingdom and being the very definition of "all shall love me and despair". Plus, she's quite the trickster as we come to find out in the very last page... I shall say no more but that Rumanar Avalais is probably my second favourite character of this series.
The first being, of course, the undead Infanta Claere Liguon who though admittedly lacking in evil ways makes up for it by being a very frail lady who suddenly finds herself empowered by her death (...or undeath) at the hands of her murderer turned... what? Yes, that's the only downside to this book. I was really looking forward to Claere and Vlau and their complex relationship. Because really, what do you do when you kill someone and then fall in love with them?
Still, I loved this book so, so much! I'm still suffering from an absolutely soul crushing book hangover because of it. Send help. In the form of the third book, preferably.
The Rise of Renegade X is, without a doubt, one of my feel-good books. If I'm feeling down, I'll reread it and it just puts a smile on my face. The...more
The Rise of Renegade X is, without a doubt, one of my feel-good books. If I'm feeling down, I'll reread it and it just puts a smile on my face. The Trials of Renegade X, however, was a bit angsty - BUT most definitely in a "hurts so good" kind of way.
Campbell has a gift: she wrote one of the most awesome YA protagonists to have appeared in print. There are plenty of sarcastic main characters, always with a quip at the ready, but Damien never, ever!, fails to be hilarious! So while other characters like this eventually just devolve into annoying static caricatures, Campbell lets us see the consequences to everything Damien says or does and - surprise, surprise - they're seldom positive. But what I love most about it is that Damien learns from his mistakes and evolves as a character.
There are some pretty big issues tackled in this book, as in the previous one in the series, on the nature of good and evil, and while they're masterfully dealt with I would be ruining the plot to expound on that particular part of the plot.
One thing I absolutely love about these books: family. In YA, parents are almost always absent (tragically dead, or in need of rescuing, or just conveniently gone with no explanation). That is weird, family is important throughout your whole life and it's always a missed opportunity to not include it in YA books - a genre aimed at a public who are most likely to identify with the struggles portrayed in this book. Damien was kicked out by his mother, who raised him by herself for 16 years, because he turned out not to be the son she expected him to be. The whole situation is complicated, she may have kicked him out but that doesn't mean either one of them stopped loving and caring for the other. Then there's Gordon, Damien's father, who Damien has trouble trusting - this guy only found out about his son 6 months ago, what's keeping him from washing his hands clean of the whole thing and sending Damien on his way? It's complicated, and real, and awesome. Campbell's ability to write family dynamics - not just parents, but sibling relationships as well - is amazing. I wish we'd get more of that in YA.
But don't think this book is some kind of downer, which I suppose my review is making it out to be, it's extremely funny! Campbell's dialogues - you read them and they just spark, they feel real, they are fresh and witty! I absolutely love them! Sometimes there are books that just attempt to sidetrack the reader with a lot of flowery descriptions to try and make up for the fact that the dialogue is sub-par, I prefer it when things are straight forward with no flourishes but the dialogue just zings - that's enough for me. Campbell, however, is talented enough to balance description with dialogue, a rarity among writers.
I just saw that there will be a 3rd Renegade X book and, quite honestly, I cannot wait, because I know Chelsea Campbell will not disappoint! (less)
YA UF in Botswana with a protagonist of colour? Sign me up! I tried to get the arc for this book, I didn't get it, but thankfully I requested it clos...more
YA UF in Botswana with a protagonist of colour? Sign me up! I tried to get the arc for this book, I didn't get it, but thankfully I requested it close to its release date, so I could just buy it and read it to my heart's content!
I was already excited about this book featuring a WOC, but I was even happier when it turned out she is biracial - I, myself, am biracial and if it's hard to find books featuring non-white protagonists, it's practically a miracle to find books featuring biracial ones. I'm sure plenty of people would think "Who cares about her race" - it's not about that, it's about visibility: media representation is important, if you grow up without seeing others like you on tv, in books, you are alienated. The beauty standards never reflect what you look like, your experiences are never given voice. So, yes, Conyza's race is important, and let us all be thankful that the cover wasn't white-washed.
Conyza (Connie) was a very sensible, realistic character. Her forays into what-ifs in her head are hilarious and relatable. Of course, she possesses the not so relatable ability to tell the future and see dead people. She starts out with these inklings of when disaster will strike and then she has a massive headache during which Rakwena, the scarred school's outcast, warns her something is imminent. When she wakes up, she is able to hear what people are thinking. Naturally, she is intrigued. How did Rakwena know what was going on? But everyone, including her grandfather, once a college professor like her father, and now a wise man to whom people go for advice, warns her away from Rakwena.
With her new-found powers Connie realises something: a group of young girls' minds are blank, as if they were being controlled by a puppetmaster. The whole thing is really creepy, since the girls are very young and they have periods of time they cannot recall, they're bruised and injured and they know they've been doing bad things - things they wouldn't do if they were in control of themselves. Connie makes it her mission to use her skills and free these girls with the help of her grandfather and her friends.
The book was a bit too slow paced and predictable at times, but the only thing I really disliked about it was the girl-on-girl hate. It was very upsetting to read Conyza being judgemental over Kelly's choices and putting her down at every possible turn, with catty comments about how being a Playboy centerfold is her most promising career option. It was upseting to read Lebz slut shaming a girl she was jealous of. Ladies, we need to move past these things.
But there are so many things to like! The fact that it's YA and it's in Botswana! Connie's relationship with her grandfather. Connie's relationship with her white father (my personal favourite). Connie's maturity in dealing with the fact that her father and grandfather do not get along ("(...)you two don’t agree on anything. But you’re both family, and you both love me. That’s enough."). Her friendship with Lebz and Wiki. And, most importantly the whole mystery that involves the paranormal but not the tired YA paranormal standard fare.(less)
Just bought this @ Kobo for 0.91€ - it was 2.72€ @ amazon >:( I wouldn't mind paying that (or even more, since I really like the author's work), but...moreJust bought this @ Kobo for 0.91€ - it was 2.72€ @ amazon >:( I wouldn't mind paying that (or even more, since I really like the author's work), but the author herself said it would be 99 cents (which would be 73 cents in euros) until the 24th, so amazon pisses me off!(less)
I tagged this as humour and, though I laughed, I must admit I finished this book thoroughly depressed...
Jeremy Clay, a journalist himself, compiled...more
I tagged this as humour and, though I laughed, I must admit I finished this book thoroughly depressed...
Jeremy Clay, a journalist himself, compiled the most bizarre news articles from the Victorian age and presented them divided by category: Animals, Love, Marriage and Family, Food and Drink, Health and Medicine, Coincidence and Luck, Sports, Hobbies and Pastimes, Inventions, Life and Death, Superstition, Arts and Entertainment, and a few others which defied classification.
Not to say that each and every one of these categories didn't contain extremely amusing stories, but more often than not there were articles about husbands beating and selling their wives, parents selling their children, people committing suicide in front of an audience (sometimes the audience was entirely comprised of children), mothers losing their children in horrific circumstances, and children living in appallingly abusive conditions. I cannot say I didn't get fair warning, before each section Clay writes a short intro - I must say, these intros were the weakest points in the book, and that's saying something when more often than not Victorian journalists eschewed description with the handy, "[events] may be more readily imagined than described." Clay uses similes which try to be shockingly funny, but end up being neither, for instance: "Like a spray of urine from a territorial tom cat, [these dates] merely mark the boundaries of our interest."
But for anyone interested in the bizarre, and the Victorian era (which, more often than not, go hand in hand), it's well worth reading. I'll finish with my favourite article, to give you a taste of the book:
A Strange Adventure A curious canoe adventure is reported from Frankfurt. Some members of the boat club in that city resolved to row to Mayence by night. They started at 12 o’clock, and pulled away vigorously all night, enjoying the pull exceedingly. At sunrise it was discovered to their great chagrin that the anchor had not been weighed, and that they had remained at the same spot where they had taken leave of their friends, by whom they are now known as ‘the explorers.’ The Evening News, Portsmouth, November 4, 1882
Well, it's about half past 5 a.m. and I just finished reading this, that should tell you something... Like all Downside Ghosts books - and do not be...more
Well, it's about half past 5 a.m. and I just finished reading this, that should tell you something... Like all Downside Ghosts books - and do not be fooled by this being called a novella, it was practically the same length as a regular book (yay!) - this was incredibly addictive (ironic, really).
We always get to see things from Chess' pov, and while we are perfectly able to infer what Terrible feels and thinks most of the time, it's a delightful treat to really get something from his pov, even if it's in-between books 1 and 2, so to be honest, I spent a lot of time going, "No, wait, you got past that, you guys!! Don't put me through this again, please!!"
There were mentions of Terrible's issues in the other books, we get that he doesn't feel all that confident about his looks, about his intellect, but damn, Stacia Kane has no problem whatsoever with ripping you heart out in her books. The reader can't help but feel down with Chess' pov, she has so little in the way of self-esteem (and who could blame the poor girl?) - I thought we'd kind of get a break from that with Terrible, but no. He really, really does not feel worthy of Chess, and it's all so horribly heartbreaking, that these two love each other so much, and are so afraid they'll never be good enough for each other, are certain that the other one deserves better.
But about the plot!Someone offed one of Bump's guys - they're thinking Slobag and Lex, of course, and then the plot takes the usual Downside dark turn when Bump's girls start getting raped. I read all the books in one go, not even a month past, so I can safely say this book is darker than the others. Of course, it would be, what with it being Terrible's pov. There's a lot more violence, for one thing. And we get to learn more about Terrible's past, and his relationship with Bump - awesome surprise that! I always disliked Bump, after this, I'm not exactly about to start singing his praises, but I kind of like him now, it's sweet that he cares about Terrible, that he worries about him. That he took him in during a really fucked up situation. And I understand the loyalty Terrible owes him now.
Another awesome thing about this book! We get a lot of Chess/Terrible "chatter". They meet up, and they talk and spend time together and it's all so sweet! But of course, this being Stacia Kane, all of those meetings have the constant worry of the participants not to hurt the other one by dredging up the past. No lie, it's painful to read about Terrible worrying how he should phrase things around Chess so she won't slip away into sad memories.
Check out this roundhouse kick to the reader's heart, courtesy of Stacia Kane:
“Trouble was, every fucking time he saw that look in her eyes, every fucking time he saw her frown like that, it got harder not to tell her to write down a list of names for him. Every single name she had a recall on, causen he wanted to hunt em all down one by one and make sure they knew why as they died. He honestly couldn’t think of much he’d like more."