I’ve been wanting to read Exit, Pursued by a Bear for some time and I finreview orignally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog
I’ve been wanting to read Exit, Pursued by a Bear for some time and I finally bought it over the holidays and decided to read it shortly afterwards.
The book is a YA contemporary involving rape, which I knew going in and caution anyone else about so they can decide if that’s a subject they prefer to read about. I didn’t have any real expectations, though I have to admit I did expect a somewhat dramatic novel due to the subject matter.
Surprisingly, the book was not the dark and turbulent novel I was expecting. Though Hermione did have to deal with being drugged, raped, and the aftermath, the book wasn’t focused so much on the darkness of the subject, but rather the support she received through her friends, family, and even her cheerleading team. Hermione was fortunate in many ways to have a support system and it changed how her story of survival went. Results aren’t typical for many people, but I was grateful for the unique perspective. She did not want to be a victim, a cautionary tale, or anyone’s object of pity, and she did whatever she could, with the help of her support system to maintain her normal life and recover.
There are a few negative reviews, admittedly among a sea of very positive ones, that mention how unrealistic the book is and how Hermione’s situation is an insult to real victims. I think there are hoards of rape stories from many perspectives and many, if not most, have fairly dark and awful truths, a lot of struggling and depression and blame going around. A lot of people don’t have support systems and most works of fiction involving the subject matter reflect that. They have to fight tooth and nail against legal systems, families, friends, social groups/towns, even religious groups, to be believed and heard and may not ever get any closure. It may ruin their lives in more ways than one and they remain victims of more than just the rape at that point. But one person’s experience (even MOST people’s experiences) does not negate the experiences of others. Hermione’s tale may not be typical, but it doesn’t make her story any less relevant or realistic. People with wonderful lives, friends, families, etc still get raped and have to live their lives after that. They have to deal with the situation, make tough decisions, and move on in whatever way works for them, through trial and error, with or without breakdowns. In fact, Hermione even mentioned to her therapist that she felt like something was wrong with her because she didn’t feel anything because she didn’t remember. I feel that Hermione’s determination to not be victimized by the situation was an attitude I admired, even though I realize it’s not that simple for most rape victims.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a story about a teen girl who was drugged and raped at a cheerleading camp and the events afterwards. She had a wonderful support system. No one really doubted her, the legal system did what they could to pursue the case. But even still, she had some tough and awful moments. She faced a decision about whether she’d have to terminate a pregnancy as a result. She lost time due to being drugged and struggled with waking up in the morning because she didn’t know where she was. She couldn’t remember the event, which halted her ability to really “deal” with the events because she had nothing to relive, no emotions to work through, until pieces of her memory were recovered after being triggered by certain smells, sounds, etc. Her lack of emotion regarding her own circumstances concerned her, since it felt like it had happened to someone else. In a small town, she also had to do her best to avoid being the tragic case for everyone to remember. She wanted to remain herself and hold onto the wonderful life she knew she had. But her support system made all of these things a million times easier than they are for many people and her friendships strengthened her.
I’d recommend this book. I recommend reading it for various reasons. As a person who has not experienced what Hermione has, it was helpful because I was able to see how much a support system matters and how not to treat victims, how to be sensitive without pitying, how to be compassionate without making the victim feel fragile, how to be a friend to someone who has had this terrible thing happen to them and be a good one. The book even talked about slut shaming, victim blaming, and the way society still places a portion of the blame on the victim by asking questions like, “what could you have done to prevent it” without even realizing how screwed up that mentality is. I don’t think all stories involving rape need to be focused on being a victim. I thought this book was refreshing because, in an ideal circumstance, despite the awfulness of the situation, Hermione could overcome the events that might have otherwise further impacted her life. It’s not always simple to decide not to be a victim, but her attitude and her support system allowed her to do so. Still, if you feel that it’s a negative thing to have a character not be defined by her situation or if you feel it’s unfair to showcase a victim’s perspective when they had it relatively easy, then this is NOT the book for you. For others, including myself, it’s a refreshing point of view.
Side note: Hermione does release a breath she did not realize she was holding. *That phrase does not bother me, but if you’re already on the fence about the book, you might not like the writing. ...more
I purchased Rebel of the Sands after seeing it win the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 category for the Best Books of 2016 on Goodreads. I’d seen the book around beforehand, but never picked it up. I read a lot of books each year and 99% of them I buy myself. I’ve been burned by new releases so many times, so I’ve been relying on reviews, overall star ratings, and things like “Best Book of the Year” awards to help me decide what to pick up instead of buying random books at the bookstore.
Rebel of the Sands was a blend of cultures. I expected Arabian/Eastern type of desert mythology, but I got a bit of American West at the same time. Amani’s life resembled that of the American West, a desert town full of guns and liquor and people who didn’t trust one another. At the same time, the creatures in the desert and the political setup resembled the East, a bit of Arabian Nights, with Sultans and harems. I don’t know that I’ve read a book that took place in the desert and combined Eastern and Western settings. I feel a little conflicted because I thought the combination was unique, but I wish there was an explanation for it. The author isn’t American, otherwise my first thought would be that she wanted to stick with her own comfort zone and she did that by including the American West, but that’s not the case. It’s just a little weird as I’m not sure those two things really go together.
Regardless, the book was compelling and I read it quickly. I liked Amani. I felt like she was a tough heroine who wasn’t afraid to try dangerous things. She wanted out of her life in a town where her gender determined whether she was listened to. Her uncle was going to force her to be one of his wives, but she needed to leave with money if she was ever going to get out of her town. There was a war going on and a ton of conflict, but Amani didn’t need to get involved until it showed up on her doorstep. Her path crossed with a mysterious foreigner and she was off on an adventure she wasn’t quite sure about.
A lot of reviewers have mentioned Amani’s lack of direction throughout the book and how she had no real purpose once she fled Dustwalk. What was she doing out there? Why was she so content to follow Jin? I understand the frustration when we are so used to heroines having something to focus on, even if it’s just revenge, but I liked that Amani didn’t really know what she was doing because I think sometimes that’s how life is. I get frustrated when heroines discover their strengths and somehow know exactly what to do to tear down some awful regime. I like that Amani knew what she was good at and every step she took lead her to discover the world she dreamed of wasn’t anything like she expected. Maybe she could escape to that city her mother came from, but then what? Why not just follow Jin and see what tricks are up his sleeve? At least by his side she could use her guns. She wasn’t trying to rage against the government or anything crazy. She just wanted out of her life and had no real other plan.
I do love that eventually Amani figured out what Jin’s whole deal was and found a bigger purpose. I liked that she didn’t just immediately jump on that bandwagon and that she stayed conflicted at first because it fit with her whole lack of direction. I don’t want to give too much away, but I liked how it all ended and how she ended up finding her place in everything.
I can see why Rebel of the Sands won the category for Debut in 2016 on Goodreads. It was an interesting book and it was certainly unique. I also like that, while it is part of a series, it didn’t end with some crazy cliffhanger that makes me regret reading it so soon before the sequel’s release. It was satisfying, but there’s still so much more that can and probably will happen. I definitely recommend the book....more
The Merciless was crazy. It was like Mean Girls, maybe a little of The Craft, and a dash of Stephen King. It’s hard to really describe it. I picked it up expecting a YA Mean Girls type of horror novel, not really sure how it would all go. It was recommended by a friend and she bought both of us a copy.
The story began with Sofia. She was a new student in her high school and had a brief encounter with Brooklyn, who seemed friendly enough, but a little rough around the edges. Sofia immediately drew the attention of the popular trio, Riley, Alexis, and Grace. She had never been popular, so she was happy enough to fit in with them. There was some history between Riley and Brooklyn, but Sofia wasn’t sure what it was.
The girls were religious, but not in the southern way that seemed familiar. Instead, they seemed heavily focused on Catholicism and had a ritualistic approach, relying heavily on those comforting things like holy water and communion. Their interest seemed obsessive and not necessarily genuine, which is partly why I associate the book a bit with The Craft. Riley accused Brooklyn of being possessed by the devil, sure that it was the cause of her wicked ways. The few strange things that happened in town, like the weird skinning of a cat in the school grounds, were attributed to Brooklyn, though Sofia wasn’t so sure Brooklyn was even into anything like that.
Sofia was a follower in every sense of the word and it seemed to work out until she entered the basement of one of Riley’s parent’s abandoned homes in a development and saw Brooklyn tied up and terrified. And Riley was ready to do an exorcism…
And then, things just got CRAZY.
I loved how fast paced the book was and how quickly things spiraled out of control. It teetered delicately on the line of being believable and yet completely insane at the same time, which was great. The ending was probably the best part.
The book gets a bit violent and horrifying, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not like nail biting scary either. It’s disturbing and fun and I’m glad I read it. I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes horror and stories where teens go a little crazy and gang up on others. The occult symbol and horror synopsis on a bright pink cover really says it all… lol....more
This is such a weird situation for me to be in. I enjoyed the book, butReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
This is such a weird situation for me to be in. I enjoyed the book, but I also don’t think it’s very good. I mean, maybe I just need to explain it better. Just when I’m rolling my eyes wondering what on earth I’m doing reading the book, I realize I’ve already read so much of it, I might as well keep going. And then something will hook me, I’ll be into it, back out of it, and then there’s always something awesome at the end that makes me want the next book. It’s no Game of Thrones by a long shot and it’s kind of jumbled and there are so many characters and none of them are particularly complex or likable, but I just want to know what happens.
Frozen Tides was an even bigger mess of unfortunate circumstances, but suddenly, it seemed the already unlikely alliance added a few more unlikely candidates to their group, which made it even shakier. Lucia turned to what could be the Mytica version of The Dark Side and was drunk on her own power, doing unspeakable things and even alienating her brother. Cleo and Magnus were the only characters I really cared about at this point, but King Gaius was even more drunk on his power than his crazy elementia daughter. It was just a big giant mess. Amara was deliciously evil, but somehow slightly likable, as she’s been throughout the series.
I enjoyed the plot. I finally got a little bit of a moment with Cleo and Magnus that I wanted, despite their reluctance to participate in liking each other one bit. Jonas didn’t seemed to have learned anything, and towards the end, I wanted to hit Nic over the head. If he’s so into Asher, why does he always act like a jealous lover with Cleo and her choices? Gah. It’s maddening.
Essentially, Falling Kingdoms is my new guilty pleasure. I love it, even though I kind of cringe at my own enjoyment. It’s not eloquent. The characters are lacking a lot of great complexities and the conflict is kind of simplistic if you really get down to it. But somehow, I’m totally hooked. I want to know what happens and I plan on seeing this through. I’m even planning on reading the spin off series.
I recommend the Falling Kingdoms series as long as you know what you are getting. Despite the beautiful cover and fantastic synopsis, the book is not the in depth and brilliant fantasy series you might expect. But it’s fun. Make some popcorn, dig in, and I’m sure you’ll be just as hooked if you see it from that aspect. Otherwise, it is likely to disappoint you. And if you don’t dive into good fantasy for the writing, you’ll love this series. It’s fun, it’s full of backstabbing and betrayals and alliances and rebellions. And romance. I can’t help it. I’m preordering the next book. ...more
I’ve been eyeing Tell Me Three Things for awhile, but hardcovers are exReview originally published at love literature art and reason book review blog.
I’ve been eyeing Tell Me Three Things for awhile, but hardcovers are expensive and I almost never fork out book money on hardcover YA contemporaries because I read them so quickly. And to be honest, I love waffles and I wasn’t quite sure if I only noticed it because of the waffles on the cover. I mean, that’s not a great a reason to pick up a book. I’ve been burned before by enticing covers. But when the kindle version went on sale over the holidays, I snatched it up. I’ve been in the mood for a nice contemporary that wasn’t totally dark or sad, so I finally picked it up and read it.
Tell Me Three Things was so good. I absolutely loved it. I flew through the book in an evening because I just couldn’t put it down without knowing who SN was. (See what I mean about how quickly I read contemporaries?)
Jessie’s life was completely upside down. Her mom died, her dad got remarried, they moved across the country, and Jessie ended up in an LA private school with a bunch of rich teenagers. And that was pretty much just the first paragraph. I hated being the new girl, so her situation was something I totally got. And while I fortunately have both my parents, I did have to deal with step parents and step siblings as a teenager, too, so I even understood that. It’s tough, and it’s even tougher when you have to also deal with grief. I knew I was settling into a book that hooked me.
After a rough first couple of days at her new school, Jessie received an email from SomebodyNoboby (SN for short) who offered to help her navigate the wilds of her high school. It was just the rope she needed to help keep her afloat. Here was a guy who really got her, but who was he? She took the help and ended up having some pretty meaningful conversations and he gave her some great pointers.
With SN’s help, Jessie was able to make some friends. She started working a project with a guy in her class and started to develop a bit of crush on him, but she was also desperately trying to figure out who SN was. She started a job and ended up working side by side with a guy dating one of the girls who was mean to Jessie, which created some drama for her. It was a complicated mess she was trying to navigate, while also trying to manage her home life. Her new home was huge, came with a flamboyant stepbrother who refused to talk to her in school, but was at least opening up a bit at home, a “helper” who made all of the food and made Jessie a bit uncomfortable, and a stepmom who was practically a stranger. The LA lifestyle was an alien world and Jessie was trying to figure it all out and still maintain her friendships back in Chicago.
I can’t really give anything away, but I loved the book so much. I loved the build up to the big reveal, the complicated boy drama, and the coming of age, figuring out who you are and how to be a better friend and forgive your parents. It was cute, but with just enough seriousness to balance it all out.
I loved the end so much I reread it a few times just to experience the moment one more time!
I definitely recommend Tell Me Three Things to fans of YA Contemporary. The book is every bit as delicious as the heart shaped waffles on the front. ...more
Basically, Kyra spent all of her time in The Replaced trying to find TyReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Basically, Kyra spent all of her time in The Replaced trying to find Tyler, who was rumored to have Returned after she gave him up to save his life. Through her adventures with other Returned, she was able to find out more about why she and the others were different and what it was about them that made them so different.
I did not like The Replaced at all and I’m very glad that I was able to borrow it from the library and not spend money on it because I would have been super mad about it. While Kyra was definitely doing everything she could to find Tyler, she was also letting Simon play this whole game where he was so obviously trying to be important to her and slide his way into her good graces. It was awful. And she just kept letting him. I was totally on board with the quick romance between Tyler and Kyra and I was committed to that, but the story just lost me with Tyler being ripped out of it and Kyra spending time distracted. I don’t have time for love triangles or other teenage nonsense. Give me insta-love and I’ll deal if that couple can hack it and just be the thing I’m rooting for, but I can’t get on board with a bunch of other awful YA tropes and plot devices thrown in. No.
The Replaced was like The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials with a bunch of betrayals and teenage camps and other eye roll inducing scenarios that just totally lost me. The first book wasn’t so much of an action packed story and was more focused on Kyra’s emotions and her fitting into a life that moved on without her and exploring her feelings for Tyler and I loved all of that, while the sequel was just more over the top alien abduction research plots that were always a tad far fetched, but at least that wasn’t the main focus of book one. I just couldn’t do it. I finished, but it was grueling and not satisfying. And to top it off, the eventual return of Tyler was even MORE frustrating and now I’m just mad I ever decided to read book two.
I know I recommended The Taking and thought it was entertaining and fun, but I’m taking my words back. I’m definitely not continuing the series. ...more
I purchased The Replacement because the cover was super creepy. I knew from reading reviews that the book wasn’t a horror, but I still wanted to read it because I was so drawn to it.
The book was about changelings. Mackie was not a normal boy. He was a replacement, a changeling, switched in place of a human baby. He was a rare castoff who survived. It was said that most of them don’t because mothers cannot love the changeling, but somehow, he survived. I loved the point of view, as most stories that involve changelings are never from the point of view of the actual being switched out. It was interesting because Mackie knew he was different, but didn’t grow up in the underground, so he lived his life an human and tried to avoid iron.
I love fae lore and how diverse it is. I loved that there wasn’t much emphasis on the glittering courts and queens and instead, it was a darker story. The town of Gentry was benefitting from the exchange of their babies, the sacrifice to avoid many of the problems small towns faced, but Mackie had to question whether it was worth it and if it was worth the fight.
The Replacement was a unique and somewhat dark YA novel with an interesting POV that I enjoyed. I recommend it, especially to fans of the darker side of fairies. It was certainly entertaining and I loved getting a YA POV that was not only a guy, but the changeling himself. It’s not a POV I’m used to seeing and male POVs are rare enough in YA fantasy, so it was refreshing. ...more
Winterspell was a story of a crime infested city, a curious girl, a staReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Winterspell was a story of a crime infested city, a curious girl, a statue, and a bit of magic. The book was inspired by The Nutcracker with plenty of parallels, but felt like a totally unique story.
Clara’s father was in deep with the various criminal bosses of New York, but after the brutal murder of Clara’s mother, he lost his way and couldn’t seem to keep everyone happy. His position as mayor was certainly crumbling, which meant a quite unfortunate fate for Clara and her younger sister. Fortunately, Clara had a secret with her Godfather, a life of training and stealth that allowed to her at least prepare for some of the unseemly events that others had been plotting to take down Clara’s father. And then, all hell broke loose from another plane. Godfather burst in with mad ravings and Clara stood in front of what used to be a statue and appeared to be a human. Which lead her to a place called Cane, where an even bigger battle of power would have to take place.
I loved the plot and Clara as a main character. She was smart, determined, and relatable. All she really wanted was to save her father, in both worlds. She didn’t realize she was something special and she certainly never realized her weird magnetism with the statue would eventually turn into a weird sort of attraction to a guy who was real.
I thought the book was a bit long, but I kind of enjoyed the length. I enjoyed seeing Clara balance the conflict in her New York life. It wasn’t really the fast paced OMG I Just Found Out I’m Special and I’m In Fairy World Now kind of book that gives a main character a normal life as just a backdrop. Clara had a real life in New York and she wasn’t just some extra in a play who wouldn’t be missed which made her feel a little more real. I admired her and the way she handled her strength.
I suppose the whole statue thing can be considered odd, but I enjoyed the relationship between Clara and Nicholas, from statue to prince. It was intriguing and different.
My only main complaint is that I’ve always been under the impression that iron was lethal to any fairy beings and it’s a product of the fairy ruling over Cane, as she created a bunch of mechanical beings and structures that didn’t seem to be lethal to anyone and so I think the fairies should have been something else in order to make sense in my brain. Also, it’s weird that a person half human and half mate or half fairy would be more powerful than undiluted fairy or made blood, so that was a little weird, too. Those things made sense in the story, but are way different from similar mythology which was the only reason it was a bit off putting for me.
I enjoyed Winterspell. I love Legrand’s writing and her imagination is quite vivid. I’m definitely happy I received the book in my Yureka Box and I recommend it to anyone looking for a winter fantasy with a little bit of magic and adventure. It was a little bit Nutcracker, Gotham City, and fantasy rolled together....more
My Name is Memory was the story of Lucy and Daniel. Lucy was a girl in high school with a crush on the quiet and mysterious Daniel. And Daniel was gifted with the memory, meaning he remembered all of his past lives and had known Lucy in most of them. But he scared her away by trying to explain all of that and calling her someone else’s name.
First of all, I feel like this is the non angel/paranormal version of Fallen by Lauren Kate with Daniel knowing Luce, Luce being drawn to him, and him having to explain that they’ve always known each other. I’m actually a little annoyed because even the names are practically the same. The books were published right around the same time, so I can’t really say anything about rip offs, but it’s just weird.I did not enjoy My Name is Memory but mostly because it felt like a cheap knockoff of a better concept. It was Twilight and Fallen and The Time Traveler’s Wife all rolled into something similar. The writing was more young YA/older MG despite the entire concept being about relationships and true love, which made it a bit diffiicult to read.
I don’t know that I recommend My Name is Memory. I really wanted to like it and I was in the mood to read a YA book dealing with romance and I wasn’t expecting anything super well written or even hard hitting, so I’m a little surprised that I didn’t enjoy it even a little. It just felt hopeless and slow. And towards the middle it was predictable. The ending was less than satisfying, too.
Sometimes my trips to the used bookstore result in hidden gems and awesome lesser known books, but this is not one of them....more
A Monster Calls has been on my radar for quite some time, but I never pReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
A Monster Calls has been on my radar for quite some time, but I never picked it up for some reason. I suppose the illustrations made me think it would be too juvenile or something. With the movie out, I’ve been seeing it around more, seeing other reviews, and the previews for the movie, so I felt it was time to finally pick it up. I had been warned multiple times that the book would be sad and it would make me cry, but I didn’t quite believe that I would be so moved by such a short novel.
A Monster Calls is the kind of story that will stay with me forever. It was so incredible. It was powerful and moving.
I did cry. I ugly cried and sobbed and gasped and loved it so much.
It’s hard to really go into detail because I didn’t know what to expect and I think it’s best that way. A boy encountered a monster who would tell him three stories. And the boy would tell him a fourth. The boy was sad, angry, and tormented by nightmares.
I cannot gush about the book enough. I never expected to like to so much. I see why it has won so many awards and received such high praises. It is a story we need and one I recommend. Not only is it enjoyable to read, but it perfectly describes the way guilt eats at us.
A Monster Calls is a must read. It’s short, so there’s no reason not to pick it up and add it to your to-read list. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did. Just.. bring some tissues. You WILL cry. ...more
I’m a huge fan of Holly Black’s novels, so when I saw White Cat at my lReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
I’m a huge fan of Holly Black’s novels, so when I saw White Cat at my local bookstore on a day I decided to browse, I immediately picked it up. The synopsis was intriguing, but I knew little about it. As a blogger and Bookstagrammer, I feel like there are very few books I’m unaware of, especially by some of my favorite authors, so I was excited to dive into a book I knew nothing about. When I bought it, it wasn’t even sure if it was YA or not.
I really enjoyed White Cat. It was an interesting story set in a world where some people were curse workers and had abilities like affecting memory, breaking bones, creating luck, transforming people and items, etc. At one point, these workers were banned from using their abilities and, like prohibition, it created a haven for mobsters and crime families to erupt and have an underground trade. Cassel’s family was one of those crime families, though Cassel himself had no abilities.
Cassel was in school, trying to live his life after a major mistake he made. He found himself waking up on a roof and everyone thought he was trying to commit suicide or ask for help, but he felt like he was sleepwalking. The event spun out of control and his family suddenly had him under his wing out of concern for him, but what was really going on?
I loved White Cat. It was dark, a bit gritty, and Cassel was such a great character. He was who he was and I felt like he was a likable character who was honest. The author is a woman, but she nailed Cassel’s character and his narration, which is something I don’t see very often. In a book where the main character is supposed to be part of a crime family and isn’t special, he could’ve easily come across as soft or too introspective or whiny and I think Holly Black captured his naivety and impulsiveness in a way that felt real. I’m so impressed by Cassel’s character and her portrayal of him and his whole family.
I highly recommend White Cat. I had so much fun, it was entertaining and dark and so intriguing. I love how Cassel conned people and loved it and still held grudges against his family for conning other people or using their abilities. I loved the family dynamics and being in Cassel’s head. I don’t know whether to continue the trilogy because I absolutely loved the book and I don’t know that I want to face the possibility of a second book syndrome or anything awful. White Cat is an absolute must read for fans of urban fantasy. ...more
The Historian was a well researched and fascinating book that mixed hisReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
The Historian was a well researched and fascinating book that mixed history and legend together to weave a tale about Dracula. Part historical fiction, part horror, The Historian was very well done. The author did her research and was able to combine fact with the legends we know about Vlad the Impaler/Dracula and tie it together with a fictional tale about a daughter and her father.
The story involved professors proficient in history and anthroplogy who happened upon a strange book that lead them to research more about the Dracula legends. For the characters involved, the research became highly dangerous. The main character, a sixteen year old girl, happened upon her fathers strange Dragon book and it prompted him to finally tell the story of his travels and his experiences with the book.
The book shifted from present day, with the main character narrating in first person, to the father’s tale that he told verbally throughout many of their trips together. Then, a series of letters were introduced by her father’s mentor and colleague, another Profressor who disappeared many years ago. Other series of letters were introduced, so the reader was slowly introduced to the full picture and everything came together at the end.
The Historian was very long and slow. I’m glad I read the book during a time when I didn’t have much going on and didn’t have any reason to start the lofty 2017 reading goals I set for myself. In some ways, I feel like the length and the slowness were worth slogging through, as the story was well told. In some ways, I feel like the book was too long, too over the top, and the author could have told the same story and condensed in quite a bit, solving both the length and the issue of it being very slow and somewhat boring in some sections. But The Historian was a debut novel and one written by an author more geared towards the historical and academic aspect of everything.
If you enjoy the idea of Vlad the Impaler, the Dracula legends, and the history surrounding all of it, The Historian is very enjoyable and worth the read. It’s sort of a combination of Dracula and perhaps The DaVinci Code, in that the main characters galavant all over the world in search of history and monuments, meeting just the right people at the just the right time in order to further their research, with a major threat hanging over them if they fail. I think the writing is likely a bit more intellectual than that of The DaVinci Code, but I still think it’s a fair comparison. For some, the coincidental convenience of the characters and their research will be too much and too unbelievable. I don’t know much about spending time in a dark and dusty archives and how plausible it is to happen upon people with similar research topics, but I was happy enough to let it slide by. After all, perhaps the history and location the characters were researching was one of those “small world” type of scenarios and they got lucky.
I recommend The Historian and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I do warn anyone that it is very very long. ...more
It’s so funny how different Stephen King books are and how some fans liReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
It’s so funny how different Stephen King books are and how some fans like some books and other fans love his other books. How can two huge Stephen King fans have such different opinions about his books?! But his books are so different from each other and there are so many, it’s just like a regular book genre. Some people like some books, other people don’t. Gerald’s Game is one of the books that seems to really test the line. Reviews go from 1/2 stars or 4/5 stars and there doesn’t seem to be very much in between. This book either scares you and impresses you or it makes your eyes bleed from boredom.
Gerald’s Game has to be the absolute worst Stephen King book I’ve ever read that I can remember. I hated it. I hated Jessie from page one and reading about her adventures handcuffed to the bed was the most awful thing ever. And it’s surprising because I certainly didn’t mind being in Paul Sheldon’s head while he was trapped in a bed going crazy, so it’s not that Stephen King isn’t great at weird story lines like that. Gerald’s Game is not a book for everyone. I’m a huge King fan and I usually like SOME aspect of a story and I really just wanted to either save Jessie or kill her, but just END THE FREAKING BOOK because it didn’t need to be that long. Ugh.
Some people really enjoyed the book. I would say that if you’re a fan of internal monologues and flashbacks and an overall lack of real plot, this book is perfect for you. And you’ll know within the first few chapters whether or not Jessie’s head is an enjoyable place for you. I didn’t enjoy myself at all and will be taking my shiny paperback to the used bookstore as soon as possible because I hated it.
And if you loved this book and love King, please do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES recommend this book to people who haven’t read King. No matter how you feel about it, it’s unfair to subject someone to this book without them at least knowing what King is capable of. I would never pick up a Stephen King book if this was my only impression of his work....more
I loved getting this book when I opened up one of my previous Owlcrate boxes. I loved Anna Dressed in Blood by the same author and I knew that she would weave and dark and unforgettable tale of three would-be queens. I did not read the synopsis before jumping in, so I only knew what I could discern from the title and cover, which is how I prefer to read if I’m in the mood to not necessarily know what I’m getting.
Essentially, the island has a queen. The queen has triplets. Only one of them can be crowned queen. To take the throne, she must kill her sisters and take the throne. Every generation. Each potential queen has an ability and possesses a certain strain of magic. In Three Dark Crowns, Katharine was a poisoner queen. She could ingest poisons with no real ill effect, but her power was weak and virtually nonexistent. She was, however, adept at poisoning and poison mixing. Having been subjected to rigorous training, she was shy and had no real confidence. Arsinoe was said to be a naturalist, which meant she should be able to control plants and animals. Instead, her power was also weak and close to nonexistent, though her best friend Jules was a very powerful naturalist and controlled a wild cat. Mirabella was the only real talented would-be queen. She was an elemental and could control the elements, generating storms and controlling fire. The other two were much weaker, but as long as they could put on a show, they’d get the opportunity to be courted and could kill their other sisters and win the crown.
The sisters were separated early in life and did not know each other aside from intelligence gathered by their supporters. Each sister was essentially trained and raised by those adept in their skills and guided each one. However, there was also a game of politics being played. No one wanted their queen to lose, even if their powers weren’t really strong.
I loved the premise of the book, especially as I got to meet the characters. None of them really wanted to be vicious and kill their siblings, it was simply what was always done and what was expected of them. Generations of poisoner queens had been in the lead, so naturally, the poisoner family of the Arron’s wanted Katharine to take the throne as the next poisoner queen to keep everyone in the lead and in the same position. Between politics and temples backing certain queens and not others, who knew what could happen to any of the queens.
As the story went on, I felt like i got to know and like all the sisters, so even I wasn’t sure who should win. Mirabella certainly had the most power, but she also had dreams, memories even, of her sisters and was less inclined to murder them. The temple attempted to take matters into their own hands. There was drama, mystery, romance, and violence in the book and I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to each of the three possible queens.
I definitely recommend the book and I can’t wait for the sequel. It was a good choice for Owlcrate and I don’t know that I would have necessarily picked it up otherwise!...more
NOS4A2 was completely insane, twisted, and engrossing.
It was the tale of Charles Manx, a man who kidnapped children in his Rolls Royce and took them to Christmasland where they would never die. It was the story of Vic, The Brat, McQueen, who had a magic bridge that took her places she needed to go. Every talent had its price. The book took place over the course of Vic’s life for the most part. She was the only child who ever escaped Manx, but when her own son was kidnapped, she knew she needed to find a way to use her talent again.
While part of me was blown away by the sheer uniqueness of the idea presented and the awesome way it was horrifying and twisted and completely messed up, part of me was a little uncomfortable because this really felt like a Stephen King approach to a novel and I’m disappointed by it. I think Hill did his own thing in Heart Shaped Box, but the span of time, the reflection on childhood, the classic car, the creepy old dude, and even the twisted Christmas theme just feels SO Stephen King! Scenes and quotes took me back to a King novel and, while I appreciate the style, I think it’s important that Hill stays in his own style. However unfair it is, he of all people has a tough act to follow when it comes to writing horror.
Despite the fact that I’m a little disappointed that the voice/writing seemed a little too close to his dad’s style, I can’t help but be impressed. I was sucked in through all 600+ pages and that counts for something. It was creepy and captivating and I’m eager to see what else Hill has up his sleeve. It’s clear he’s as imaginative and well versed as his dad, though I really do hate to compare the two.
I loved Manx’s character and the way that nothing turned out well for people. I love that there were consequences to the talents and that the characters messed up many times. It made it all feel a little real despite the obviously out of this world plot.
I definitely recommend NOS4A2. It was creepy. Just.. don’t read it before/during Christmas. Or you’ll be terrified of your tree. Or.. read it DURING Christmas if you’re hard to scare. Lol....more
Review originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog. I have come to accept that Adelina is nothing more than a villain and iReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog. I have come to accept that Adelina is nothing more than a villain and it makes the series so much more satisfying to read. I just reread The Young Elites and, while I enjoyed it the first time, it was a lot easier to read once I accepted that she was and would be the villain in the tale and that her flawed reasoning is what fuels her messed up journey. She could’ve been the good guy, but she let her own insecurities dictate her decisions and becomes darker as a result.
The Rose Society was awesome. Adelina was cast out of the Daggers and she decided, with the help of her sister, to find Elites and form a society of her own. She searched for Magiano, the famed magician, on her first quest and found him. Together, they found other Elites and men willing to serve her cause, promising to take the throne from the Queen and rule Kenettra.
I love and hate Adelina’s journey. Most of the time I was really on her side.. After all, the Daggers WERE turning their country over to an enemy country by aligning with Beldain, even if they had good reason to. And I felt that betrayal. However, Adelina consistently let the way they judged her to fuel the darker portions of her character when she could use her powers to be slightly less awful. While I enjoy the anti-hero and the villain, I suppose I dislike how often she flew off the handle and it continuously put her on a downward spiral instead of staying smart and staying ahead of the game. She was a cunning character that could have used the fear of others to fuel her power and then use that power to execute a plan and she just failed time and time again, then felt guilty for being so evil, and warred with herself over her harshness. I prefer characters like Magiano who clearly look out for themselves and would align with the wrong crowd in order to further himself, but who consistently keeps a cool head.
Adelina reminds of me the Queen from Snow White, obsessed with being cast aside, ruled by her own need to be worshipped, yet constantly doing things that would horrify even the most loyal subjects, which leads to them not being loyal, which fuels her insecurity and the cycle continues.
Still, I’m captivated by her story, eager to see if she will ever become something other than the villain or if she will die a lonely and terrible death after fully alienating those who love her. ...more
Vassa in the Night has to be one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. I mean, I think I enjoyed it, but I don’t even really know? How can I possibly explain this correctly?
There’s magic in Vassa’s world. There’s a convenience store that spins/dances and is the only thing open at night and they behead shoplifters and place the heads in the parking lot on poles. Also the nights are longer, but they last the same length of time, it’s just the hours pass more slowly. Also Vassa’s father left and she lived with her stepmother and half sister and stepsister and her dad left to become a dog. And Vassa has a wooden doll that she feeds and it talks.
So. Yeah. The book is super weird.
But the story was well told. It was a bit confusing, especially because even the things I mentioned above are revealed in a nonchalant type of way so your brain has no choice to be like “wait, what?” Because the rest of the story reads like a normal novel, it’s not the type of story that sweeps you away into some fantasy land. But as weird as it sounds, I kind of loved how unique it all was and how the author just threw those things in without making a big deal out of it.
The book is supposed to be a retelling of Wassalissa the Beautiful, a Russian folk tale. I do not know if it comes close or does it justice or anything like that, but the story was interesting.
If you’re easily put off by confusing books or world-building that isn’t super upfront and obvious, then this book is NOT for you. But if you have an open mind and want something a little weird, it’s definitely fun. It’s seriously perfect for those moments when you kind of get sick of so many similar plots and you just want a book to take you on an adventure you haven’t been on and can’t guess where it goes. Because there’s no way on earth you can predict what will happen next in this book. I promise. I’m giving it four stars just for being absolutely one of a kind and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.
Side note: I believe the story is easier to understand if you’re familiar with the original tale, so if it’s super confusing, I suggest trying to read that before giving up on this book. ...more
I absolutely loved Wintersong.Review originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog. I received a digital ARC from Netgalley.
I absolutely loved Wintersong. It was a beautiful story with such darkness and mystery. It was a dark fantasy romance and for once, it didn’t contain a vampire or a werewolf or the fae.. instead, it was a retelling of Labyrinth, complete with goblins! The heroine wasn’t beautiful and naive, but was instead more cunning and talented. She did not melt at the attention of men or even the Goblin King, desperate for attention, even thought she sometimes wanted to. I loved Liesl and her story.
Wintersong was gorgeous and lyrical, full of suspense and romance. I hate to give too much of the plot away, but it did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed it and devoured it quickly. I love dark romances and I thought the book delivered exactly what I wanted with a ton of twists and turns.
I will say that I have not seen Labyrinth, so I have nothing to compare it to. I don’t know how much was changed or what the differences are. That also means I had no expectations, so I was able to fully immerse myself in the book. If you have really high expectations as a result of loving the movie, since it appears to have quite the cult following, I can’t comment on whether it’s a decent retelling. Otherwise, I highly recommend the book.
Wintersong is a magical YA fantasy that delivered a unique retelling I didn’t know I wanted....more