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
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
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
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
Lords of Salem was a horror novel about the early Salem witches and the present daReview published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Lords of Salem was a horror novel about the early Salem witches and the present day descendant of one of the people who hunted the last witches, Heidi Hawthorne. She was a radio DJ and recovering addict, but strange things began to happen to her after a group called The Lords interviewed at her radio station.
In typical Rob Zombie fashion, the story was really weird and creepy. I vaguely remember that I did actually see the movie and thought the same thing. I enjoyed the story, but I felt like it wasn’t meant to be a book. It missed a lot of the character development that I don’t think movies/screenplays capture the same way.
For a creepy fall book that is easy to read and twisted in the way that most Rob Zombie films are creepy and twisted, it’s a great book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite horror read and it was lacking in the details and descriptions....more
Rook was basically a futuristic France where technology failed society and they no longer trust or use it, living in a society that resembled time before technology. It was quite the unique situation and I enjoyed the blend of historical with post apocalyptic. It wasn’t so much a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but there were certainly elements that were obviously inspired by the classic. While I have not read the classic, I was familiar with the gist, and the book paid homage to it in a way I enjoyed.
It was thought that the fall of society was due to their complete dependence on technology, unable to do hard labor or make difficult decisions because of their dependence, so when the world fell, so did most of the world. The exact details weren’t given, but the overall result was a society that was anti-technology, punishing and executing those who used and cherished inventions with many societies adopting Anti-Technology Laws. While I don’t know that I agree with the conclusions and I wonder why, if history was all but lost, they’d so closely adapt to a time period. Instead, I would’ve expected a blend of pre-technology societies and habits, but I’m not picky about the result. I understood the point and the reasoning, even if I don’t find it all that plausible. I think the author did well with her setting, despite whether I agree with the plausibility of that setting.
I enjoyed Rook. The story was compelling. Sophia acted as the Red Rook, saving prisoners with elaborate plans, while everyone chased who they thought would most obviously be a man. Her arranged fiancé was intriguing, but related to the man who sought the Red Rook, which created a major conflict full of miscommunication, mystery, and adventure. My only major complaint was that, despite the short length, it took longer than expected to get through. Something about the writing made it difficult and slightly boring at times, but other times I was completely sucked in. I’m not completely sure if the author was using a lot of passive voice, but that’s kind of what it was like.. not a whole lot of straight and to the point action, but elaborate Ah-ha moments that took forever to uncover, like the end of a Scooby-Doo episode where they sit around and talk about how they knew what was what. Which was fun in it’s own way, but it certainly made for a less engrossing book.
Still, I’d recommend Rook to fans of historical fiction and YA dystopian who feel like they’d appreciate the unique blend and aren’t afraid of the somewhat slow pace....more
I’ve heard great things about Joe Hill and his novels. I picked up Heart-Shaped Box from a used bookstore and I realized there was something familiar about his face. With some googling, I realized that he was Stephen King’s son and I was holding a horror novel in my hands. How did i not know about this person? I was super excited to dig in, but a bit skeptical because what if he either didn’t live up to his father’s name or what if the book was way too much like King novels? It has to be tough being a horror writer with such a famous father!
I really loved Heart-Shaped Box.
It was a sort of unorthodox horror tale with the main character being kind of dark and gothic and macabre already. How on earth could a ghost really get to him? But that was the best part. The ghost wasn’t a stranger like I had expected. In fact, nothing really happened that I expected. The book constantly took me by surprise and kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters were well developed, the ghost story riveting and believable. There were moments when I couldn’t read the book because old Craddock freaked me out and I found myself looking around, over my shoulder, afraid to climb the dark stairs to the bedroom each night.
I am very impressed with the writing. I feel like the book got to me like a Stephen King novel, with the author balancing storytelling and fear without going overboard, but the voice was unique and not like King at all. It pulled me in the way a Stephen King horror would, using music and pop culture in a similar way as well, but Hill is a fabulous horror writer who found his own voice, which is impressive. I highly recommend Heart-Shaped Box. It freaked me out, but told me a good story at the same time.
I will definitely read more of Hill. I have Horns on my TBR shelf as well, so I’m excited to dive into that book at some point this fall....more
Anansi Boys was good, but I don’t think it should be included with American Gods iReview published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Anansi Boys was good, but I don’t think it should be included with American Gods in one bound book because the tone is completely different and not at all what I expected. American Gods was so brilliant and serious and dark… And Anansi Boys was like a quirky circus and I wasn’t really happy about it if I’m being honest. I did not enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped and I know it’s 100% due to coming down from reading American Gods and being blown away and assuming Anansi Boys would be similar.
However, Anansi Boys was a great book. It dealt with a man named Charlie who had a quaint life and a dad who always embarrassed him. He received news of his father’s death and went to the funeral, which was the point where his life started to spiral out of control. His dad had always had a way with words. Despite not being fat for much of his life, once his dad nicknamed him Fat Charlie, it stuck and never went away. His dad was just like that. Turned out, Charlie had a brother who decided to pop into his life and seemed to exhibit the same tendencies. People believe what he said. His brother, Spider, took over Fat Charlie’s life, despite not looking anything like him. He just got people to believe what he wanted.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the audiobook is narrated by a comedian and is quite entertaining, so that may be a better way to experience the book. At any rate, just don’t read it right after finishing American Gods because it’s not at all enjoyable to do that. It took me ages to get into the story because of that. If you read it separately and expect more quirkiness and humor, it’s a great read and I definitely recommend it. My three star rating is kind of unfair, but I just can’t give it four because I did not enjoy it as much as I would’ve had I read it at another time!...more
I absolutely loved The Midnight Star and the conclusion to the trilogy as a whole. I teared up a bit at the end and I expected to be wholly disappointed because I didn’t see a way for Adelina to be anything other than a villain and the author surprised me with the entire plot of this book. I did not see the series going in this direction, but it’s a direction I’m glad of now.
Like many other reviewers, I thought The Midnight Star was really short when all signs pointed to complete chaos that needed at least a million pages to be sorted all out, right? And while I’m sad it ended so quickly, I think I’m actually satisfied with the length in that I’m left wondering about just enough to feel that perfect combination of satisfaction and disappointment that a good ending seems to bring me. I wanted more, but I hate when authors beat a plot to death. The whole book took a turn that I did NOT expect.
I’m left feeling like the ending was absolutely perfect and that the beauty of it all is that everyone had to go through their own trials and tribulations to be brought to the breaking point. The reason for the madness, the voices, the hatred that flowed through Adelina.. it was explained in a unique and mythological way that I appreciated.
The story was beautiful and I love the way it ended. I grew to actually love Adelina, a villain I was sure would only leave me cold and angry. I loved the quotes at the beginning of the chapters and the snippets of legends that had such relevance to the plot. The story was brilliant and well executed. Everything connected in a unique way. The Young Elites trilogy could’ve easily been about a naive girl clinging to the mysterious Enzo and learning her powers, going on Dagger adventures and having to solve some sort of conflict and then there would be swoony moments, which is sort of what I expected, and instead it was a story about something else altogether and I just love being surprised by stories like this. ...more
I really enjoy Megan Abbott novels. She somehow manages to capture the evil lurkinReview published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
I really enjoy Megan Abbott novels. She somehow manages to capture the evil lurking beneath the surface a relatively normal community and that evil takes different forms in her books, but is typically spawned by the greed or motivations of people who otherwise mean well. It’s fascinating. Her books are always well written and captivating when they could just as easily be a Lifetime movie plot, so I’m always a little impressed by them when I finish.
You Will Know Me was about Devon, a rising gymnastics star on her way to the Olympics if she follows the track set up for her by her coach. Eric and Katie, her parents, have made her gymnastics career their main focus, but suddenly, after a young guy dating one of the girls died, secrets seemed to pile up in front of Katie and she finally started looking at her perfect life with a little more detail.
I was suspicious of everyone, but surprised as more secrets were unraveled. I was on the edge of my seat. What happened to Ryan? Why was everyone falling apart after his death? Was it his jealous girlfriend? Why was she calling Devon nonstop? I had no idea what was going on or who was responsible, but it was obvious that everyone Katie knew was lying.
It’s so difficult to review Megan Abbott novels. Sometimes, I am disappointed because I expected more, other times I’m impressed, but I’m always satisfied by the way she weaves her stories. There’s something that she gets about people. It’s not dramatic for the sake of drama, but it’s always dark and somewhat haunting in a believable way. Abbott places the spotlight on a section of the world, in this case, the gymnastics parents and kids competing, and that spotlight starts to show the dark and awful parts of the lives of those people and it all just seeps out into a brilliant and haunting story about desire, ambition, and the struggle of being a parent of a successful girl. I think it’s easy to be disappointed by her books if you expect it to be some twisted crime novel, but her books are haunting in a unique way that doesn’t always address violence and crime the way readers might expect. It’s my favorite part about her books, but if you think you’re picking up a whodunnit novel, you might have the wrong expectations.
I definitely recommend You Will Know Me. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed it. ...more
Bella Forrest is the author of the Shade of Vampire series that is a major Kindle bestselling series. I’ve been fortunate enough to read a lot of those books and obtain some of ARCs as new books released until I just couldn’t keep up with the series. It’s a great series, but I was glad to get a request to read something outside of the Shade of Vampire world for a chance. The Gender Game is the author’s venture into YA dystopian.
Let me start by saying that I don’t like the title. I think the title combined with the synopsis comes across like the author is only acknowledging two genders, which alienates a lot of people, especially in the YA age group who are experiencing something else and are being exposed and introduced to the concept of non-binary people. Regardless of how anyone feels about the issue, that’s not really what the book is about overall, so it’s a misleading title that turns people off when those same people would probably enjoy the conflict and premise of the world.
The book explores the differences between a matriarchal society and a patriarchal society. Each society created rigid rules based on what they deem important. We all know that people don’t always fit neatly into categories and it’s obvious that some people are not cut out for either one of the societies and wish for something better. Violence was frowned upon and had steep consequences in Matrus and the punishment was much harsher for men. In Patrus, women couldn’t be alone or speak up or really do anything. Men in Matrus were limited to hard labor and prohibited from learning. In Patrus, women were limited to domestic duties and prohibited from learning.
Violet found herself in a juvenile facility for violence. While she was allowed to train in basic defense, she was limited in her training and she was prone to lashing out. However, she found herself chosen for an important task on behalf of the Queen of Matrus and was sent to Patrus as a spy. She would marry another Matrus spy, Lee, and the two of them would carry out the task and smuggle the item back into Matrus. If she succeeded, she would be able to see her brother who was sentenced to the mines of Matrus.
I liked the book and I enjoyed the plot. I felt like both societies were stifling in different ways. It was generally believed that women flourished in Matrus and men flourished in Patrus, but Violet experienced something else. She didn’t flourish in either society because of her violent tendencies. After watching a cage fight, she realized if she could just be allowed to fight, perhaps she could blow off some steam and be a regular citizen, but fighting wasn’t an option in either society.
I think the title may throw some people off, but the book was really interesting and it was a fun YA dystopian novel that kept me guessing. I recommend it if you’re looking for something short, different, and fun....more
Illuminae was one of kind, an absolutely thrilling story told in a uniquReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason Book Review Blog
Illuminae was one of kind, an absolutely thrilling story told in a unique way and had a flawless execution.
I’ve heard a lot of praise for the book, but whenever I picked it up in the store and saw the way that it wasn’t a story in the traditional sense, with strange pages and transcripts and emails, I would put it back down. That style of storytelling has never worked well for me and I’ve always seen it as a great idea theoretically, but it sacrifices writing and details and would be better told as a movie if it’s not going to be a true story. It feels like a gimmick and it feels like a gimmick that stands in place of true storytelling.
Illuminae completely blew me away and shattered my preconceived notions. I’m so glad I finally just grabbed it and decided to read it. I went into it feeling very nervous about it, afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up or that it would be dull or hard to read. But as soon as I dove in, it was easy and thrilling.
I cannot gush enough about how amazing the story was. Now that I’m done, I think the weird format was what made the book even better. It didn’t feel like a gimmick. It didn’t feel like the authors used the tactic to avoid writing well. There was incredible writing throughout the book and some poetic and moving sections. It was heart pounding. Terrifying. Absolutely mind blowing.
The book was a brilliant science fiction tale of loss, love, horror, war.. it was everything. Parts of it reminded me of Event Horizon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 28 Days Later, Starship Troopers… it’s rare that a science fiction YA novel really gets it right and Illuminae did it… and truly captured the essence of great science fiction.
It mainly featured Kady Grant, a teenager living on Kerenza who was pretty good wth computers. She broke up with her boyfriend and her planet was attacked by a giant corporation. Refugees were rescued by a scientific research vessel and a military vessel and were on the run from the corporate ship. The military ship did not come out of the rescue unscathed, leading to some problems with the ships being able to make a swift escape. It sounds cool, but it could’ve easily been an eye-roll inducing dystopian space novel and because of the writing and the layers of storytelling, it was so much more.
I did not expect the book to be so terrifying in some moments and I say that as a horror lover. The story was absolutely stunning and executed flawlessly. I can appreciate and savor each and every page.
Illuminae was smart, clever, adventurous, emotional, scary, and so much more. I highly recommend it. Do not let the strange format stop you from reading the book! It was brilliant!...more
I haven’t read the Chronos novels by Walker, but I have heard pretty good things aReview published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
I haven’t read the Chronos novels by Walker, but I have heard pretty good things about it. I requested The Delphi Effect based on the synopsis, but also knowing the author’s other books are widely liked. I figured it was bound to be as awesome as it sounded. Fortunately, I made a good decision! I enjoyed The Delphi Effect quite a bit. It was a great blend of ghosts, abilities, and government conspiracies. I enjoyed the plot and I had fun reading the book.
Anna was a likable character who had a difficult life. She had a strange ability that she tried to keep under control. She could talk to ghosts, but not like, all of the time. Basically, she was a vessel that ghosts could hitch a ride on, but she could control it enough to avoid a full blown possession. She had a friend in the foster system that she was super loyal to and a great doctor who actually believed her. And she kept her life under as much control as she could.. Until Molly.
Molly’s ghost hitched a ride and kept insisting that Anna tell her grandfather about it. She was murdered and she knew who did it and it was important enough for her to urge Anna to get involved. Against her better judgement, Anna complied and entered into a crazy whirlwind of danger, the paranormal, and government testing.
I loved the characters, especially the ones Anna got to meet after Porter finally believed her. She wasn’t as alone as she may have thought.
The Delphi Effect was the perfect book to lead me into fall reading since it wasn’t an outright horror, but it was certainly full of ghosts, a bit of gore, and an adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat. And even a little bit a romance peppered in. Slightly. I definitely recommend it and I’m eager to check out the other trilogy from the author now. ...more
Girl in Pieces was about Charlie Davis. She cut herself with glass. SheReview originally published at love literature art and reason book review blog.
Girl in Pieces was about Charlie Davis. She cut herself with glass. She was homeless at some point. The book began with Charlie in a mental health clinic and the story followed her journey from the clinic to the outside world where she tried to make a normal life for herself.
I really liked Girl in Pieces. The beginning was a sort of Girl, Interrupted story with the various personalities of the girls in the institution. Charlie wasn’t much of a talker at first, but she formed a connection with one of the doctors and tried her hardest to stay healthy once she was on the outside.
The book could probably fit into the whole agonizing YA problem contemporary like the Ellen Hopkin books, but the synopsis makes it pretty clear that it’s about recovery and its difficulty. I liked the harsh, dark edges of the story. I liked being in Charlie’s head and watching her go through her struggles. Maybe that’s because I don’t have any of her issues and I’m intrigued by those who do, so getting inside of a character with self harm tendencies was fascinating and raw and eye opening. Of course, there were moments where I watched Charlie make the wrong decisions, but it’s such a slippery slope, especially when you don’t have a family to take care of you. I was on the edge of my seat rooting for her.
Girl in Pieces was very well written. Some chapters were just a few paragraphs, some were longer, and some were just focused on one particular moment or idea, so despite the length, I tore through the book quickly. The choppiness was perfect for the subject matter. I felt like I knew Charlie and I wanted her to get better and be able to notice when she was being irrational or folding into herself or letting other people dictate her life.
I don’t know that the book will be for everyone because it can be tough to be inside of someone who has problems and who isn’t immediately getting better. But I felt like it was realistic because recovery isn’t easy and Charlie’s fears were pretty legit, so it’s like you knew she was being tempted by the wrong solution, but you understood the problem. It was such a journey and I definitely enjoyed it. I loved the characters and I highly recommend the book to people who can handle the subject matter. I’m not much for trigger warnings, but this book is seriously screwed up, so if you have ever had self destructive tendencies, it can probably be very hard to read. Or maybe therapeutic. I guess it just depends. I think honest struggle is better because it can reach out and hit home for people going through similar problems, but maybe that’s because I find those who act like it’s easy to get over major problems like drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, self harming, etc are just being fake and weird about it. So it just depends on what type of person you are, but it’s a good book nonetheless.
I am glad I got the opportunity to read the book and I definitely recommend it. I loved it....more
Alice was an extremely dark and horrific retelling of Alice’s AdventureReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Alice was an extremely dark and horrific retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There are many retellings of the famous and fantastic story, many of which are equally fantastic and quirky and beautiful. This was NOT one of those retellings. It wasn’t dark like a trek into a dark and mysterious forest as many imagine a dark retelling to be. Alice was a bit graphic, bloody, and haunting in a way that torture and rape is haunting (since those things were happening often). Alice was a twisted retelling in the sense that the story was slightly sick and twisted. I was 100% on board with such an awesome concept, but I feel like this book needs a disclaimer. People of all sorts enjoy Alice in Wonderland and will not enjoy the darkness that marks each page.
I loved Alice. It was a unique retelling that took a children’s story and turned it around into a haunting and graphic story about a broken girl. Her trek down the rabbit hole didn’t end with a bit of tea and an adventure. Instead she left bloody, broken, and scarred and was trying to find her way back to enact revenge on the creature who did that to her and save everyone from the dreaded Jabberwocky. With the famous (and crazy) Hatcher by her side, Alice made her way through the ruined streets of the Old City into a world she didn’t quite understand.
There are so many retellings that have elements of the Lewis Carroll’s world, but none of them have the grit and violence of Alice. The book was a modern and futuristic story, but doesn’t even really stand with apocalyptic or steampunk or science fiction. Alice is most fittingly placed in horror, with both psychological consequences and physical consequences of everyone’s actions quite apparent. The book itself wasn’t scary, but the world was terrible and bloody and violent, like a trip through an old insane asylum or watching the Saw movies. The characters have been scarred by their experiences and the book was absolutely stunning. I highly recommend Alice to fans of the original who are also fans of horror/gore/dark fantasy. ...more
Nemesis was a YA fantasy novel about a young princess who fled into an enemy terriReview published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Nemesis was a YA fantasy novel about a young princess who fled into an enemy territory and attempted to lay low, only to find herself in the sort of predicament she hoped to avoid. It was action packed and unique. I requested Nemesis because the synopsis immediately got my attention and I was into the mood for a YA fantasy full of romance and adventure.
I have to be honest, it took me a bit to get into the book. I felt restless for the first few chapters. It was interesting, but I just wasn’t connecting with Sepora and I kept wondering if we were going to watch her just attempt to survive while Tarik was over there trying to save his dying population. However, the book picked up a lot as soon as Sepora finally got to Theoria (especially because of how she actually got there) and I was hooked. I went from forcing myself to turn the page to staying up way too late to finish it.
Nemesis is proof that sometimes DNFing a book within the first few chapters isn’t always a good idea. I’ll be honest and say that I considered it and the only reason I kept going was because I was so behind with NetGalley books and I already DNFed a major title this year. But I got through the rough beginning and it became a book that I just could not put down. I was so invested by the end of the story. (Certainly I’m not criticizing people who DNF because I do it all the time, but it’s nice to know that putting in a little effort in the beginning pays off with a wonderful story sometimes!)
I enjoyed Nemesis a lot. I respected Tarik and the choices he made. I was intrigued by Sepora and her mountain home. It appeared there was an error in truth, as Tarik and Sepora had vastly different “memories” of why the kingdoms ended up the way they did and I expect the King of Serubel, Sepora’s father, was partly to blame, as I saw little evidence of Tarik hiding information, but maybe his father hid information from him and his kingdom was just as full of secrets. I think it’s important to mention that I respected Tarik because I think that was a large part of why Sepora was so drawn to him. It wasn’t a YA fantasy with a heroine who lost her mind about a hot boy, but a heroine who had felt used by her family and thought that was how kings had to rule, only to encounter a rich kingdom full of freedoms and a king who dressed “down” and visited local children in a servant’s disguise. I mean, I just loved how Tarik ruled and how Sepora had to make some tough choices because so much of what she experienced were things she just didn’t know how to process. I couldnt’ blame her for wondering in the back of her head if it was all just a ruse to get her to spill secrets about her kingdom. Sometimes, Tarik was trying to do just that, but was it just to get her to open up?
The back and forth between Tarik and Sepora was great. I loved her ruthless attitude and her failure to follow rules. She was an impulsive person, but her ideas were revolutionary. I feel like she would be a wonderful ruler if given the chance. I don’t know if I want her by Tarik’s side or ruling her own kingdom or maybe both?
On a side note, a few reviewers have expressed how much they dislike the cover. I have to agree, it’s a bit off putting. I hope perhaps the cover may change by the time it’s published, but I think the synopsis and title will drawn people in and the cover IS eye catching, despite how weird it looks.
I definitely recommend Nemesis if you enjoy YA fantasy. It was fun, fresh, and full of just the right balance of adventure, magic, and romance. I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Don’t let the beginning fool you, it’s a real page turner if you just keep going and give Sepora a chance to get to Theoria....more
I picked up OITNB to fit the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge category oReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
I picked up OITNB to fit the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge category of political memoir. I know, it’s not technically a political memoir, but prisons are hot button issues and the author is a huge advocate for change within the system after writing it, so it technically IS a political memoir and it saved me from having read awful current affairs memoirs about how great some politician is. (No offense to anyone who reads those for enjoyment, but I prefer my brain to not be stuffed with information that I have to sift through and determine which is true and which are stretched truths to perpetuate a political view. It’s so much work.)
I knew before going in that the book was not as entertaining as the show, which I’ve seen the first season of and thoroughly enjoyed. But the inner workings of prison interests me and I frequently watch Lockup on MSNBC out of curiosity. I also knew that Piper was a privileged middle to upper class white woman who was writing about her experiences from her own point of view and I knew that a lot of reviewers had a problem with that, so I went in fully knowing what to expect.
Here’s the thing. I really liked Piper and, despite how annoying it was that she called her fiancé “Darling” (rolls eyes), she was likable and aware of her own privilege. I would say that if had she written this book without realizing that she was somehow fortunate or different or better off, it would have been awful. But she wrote knowing that she had a ton of resources that other people didn’t have as well as a short stay and a way to prevent herself from coming back. And she managed to write from that perspective without being snobby. She didn’t set herself apart and think she was somehow better than other people because of her situation. I think it takes nerve to write about an experience that few in your own demographic get to experience and still manage to make it relatable and compassionate.
Piper made connections with the women in the prison and became a part of it while also managing to stay hopeful and prepared for life outside of prison. It seemed like a delicate balance. I thought OITNB was needed. Even on shows like Lockup, it’s clear that men’s prisons are more talked about, seen, shown, and understood. It’s rare to see a women’s prison and the dynamics are completely different from that of men’s prisons.
The author was writing about her experiences and while it may seem as if she had a different experience due to her background, I think it’s important that she wrote about them for her audience, which, let’s face it, is probably made up of the same demographic of middle class white people. And those people are often the people who participate in and have a say in local level and even higher levels of politics. There are a ton of class and race issues in the U.S. and it’s not a bad thing to raise awareness within a demographic that may see themselves as better or more removed from the issue. While Piper herself didn’t walk around with an air of superiority, perhaps readers of this memoir did/do and perhaps they thought/think poor and violent criminals made up the prison system and, for them, it’s incredibly shocking to realize that prison is possibly made up of normal people who made bad decisions, some of which weren’t really that big! The author fully admits to having been a part of something illegal as part of growing up and rebelling, which is something that I think a lot of people can relate to.
Piper did diminish her own responsibility in her drug escapades a bit, but I think that’s fairly normal to do when crime isn’t a part of your day to day life and you have the opportunity to grow up and live a normal life. If you ask everyone you know from middle class upbringings about committing crimes in their youth, I think the answers would shock a lot of people. Shoplifting, doing drugs, driving drunk.. These are things people do everyday and if they aren’t caught, they have an opportunity to grow on their own and realize they were just young and stupid. However, for people without opportunities and people in areas of high crime and low income, those crimes aren’t necessarily as forgettable when you get arrested for the same mistakes your peers made and have to wind up in the prison system to atone. And once you end up there, not having resources or a way to get a job and readjust to life outside could mean you end up in the revolving door of the prison system. It’s certainly an issue and I don’t think scoffing at Piper for considering her crime to be “no big deal” is helping the situation. For her, it wasn’t. It was a part of her past. Like that the of Chapstick you know you stole from the mall that one time.
Piper’s experiences were far different than a lot of her cell mates and she realized that. I think it’s a shame how many reviewers seem to think she had no right to write this because of that. Just because she came from a more privileged background and had a way out to prevent prison from becoming a revolving door doesn’t mean that her experiences aren’t valid or real. And it’s obvious that prison changed her outlook and she works within that community as a spokesperson for change and creating a more rehabilitative system for people. She brought awareness to a growing problem and she maintains the few relationships she can maintain from her time there.
It’s easy to roll your eyes and think Piper had it way too easy, but I think that’s diminishing the point of the memoir. Sometimes I think people were rooting for Piper’s failure or were hoping that she’d be knocked down a few pegs in prison and they miss the point completely. Piper could be annoying, but she wasn’t afraid to acknowledge her own privilege and I was not expecting that. She wrote from experience and made me realize just how many people end up in prison for minor crimes and how many of the rules were broken and how prison wasn’t nearly as rehabilitating as it’s supposed to be in a place with less violent offenders. It was a place to wait. And for nonviolent offenders, it wasn’t a place they could hope to readjust to the outside world. To the outside, prisoners are all violent and doomed, and Piper showed readers that it wasn’t that simple.
The show is much more entertaining and only loosely based on this memoir, so it serves a different purpose. The book is serious in a way the show is not. However, it’s still worth the read and it’s quite short. I definitely recommend the book, but I caution people because it differs from the show and it is also not all encompassing of all experiences in prison and could be less enjoyable for people who might not realize that....more
I read Ariel as part of the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge for a book of poetry. I love Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, and her collection of short stories in Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams. I have always wanted to read more of her poetry, so I picked up Ariel.
I have a weird relationship with poetry. I enjoy it, but I wouldn’t run around with stacks of poetry or expect to be as moved by a poem as I am by a full story. Even epic poems wear on me after some time. But sometimes, poems shock my soul and I do become the sort of person who would want to tattoo lines of it on my body or something. I suppose I save myself for the hard hitting poems and I don’t dabble in much poetry as a regular thing. Since I’m not a young girl obsessed with the idea of death, perhaps picking Plath seems weird, but I really liked the themes of some of her work.
Ariel had some great poems. Some of them were ones I couldn’t relate to, but I found some favorites and I’m glad I at least have one work of poetry to stick next to the stories I love so much.
I loved the added portions of the book by Plath’s daughter. She wrote a great poem about the way society views her mother and I feel like that one hit me the hardest out of them all. I enjoyed getting a bit more information about the whole Ariel controversy....more