Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze is a very well-written book about a war between the Chinese and...moreI have won this book in a goodreads giveaway.
Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze is a very well-written book about a war between the Chinese and the Japanese. For one, Harmsen offered an mostly objective perspective on the war, incluing some indications of his own thoughts. The book was written in a way that it almost seems to be a novel, except with little dialogue and way too much information. (It can be hard to remember all the names and dates, but that's why there's something called "re-reading".)
Unlike most Chinese- and Japanese-published books regarding this war, Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze give compliments and criticisms to both the Chinese and Japanese armies. Moreover, Harmsen also included the perspective of the civilians, journalists, soldiers, generals, and more. Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze is somewhat a cross between an essay and a story, not a mere cut-and-dry retelling of the war, which makes the book more enjorable to read.
It also includes also black-and-white photos taken during the war, giving the readers a break between all the information and making it more real.
All-in-all, I definitely recommend Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze to anyone to enjoys reading history books or even books about wars and battles. It is also a very good source for anyone interested in studying the Chinese-Japanese war at Shanghai.(less)
I've won Fairy Godmothers, Inc. from a goodreads giveaway, though it had taken the publisher a few weeks to send it over to me due to some miscommunic...moreI've won Fairy Godmothers, Inc. from a goodreads giveaway, though it had taken the publisher a few weeks to send it over to me due to some miscommunication. Then, it had also taken me some time to finish the book because I was busy. Anyhow, here's my review.
First of all, I like the story but I don't like the world the novel was based on. In this world, things from fairy tales, like being cursed to become a frog, are perfectly normal. That's fine with me. However, I find it really hard to like how people would intentionally curse others, or be cursed themselves, just to make the cursed person more appealing as a potential bride or groom.
It isn't even just curses. For example, Cinderella, or Rellie as prefers to be called, was deliberately placed in the household of an abusive stepmother and stepsisters, just so that she could follow a script of an abused girl who, with the aid of a fairy godmother, marries a prince after a chance meeting at a ball and becomes a princess.
I really dislike how normal and expected these things are to the people living in this world. There are probably only 5-10% (I can't really tell since not many characters are elaborated on) of that world's population who thinks a bit differently.
The True Love potion also threw me off from the getgo. If that's what it takes to get people together, then I really don't like the company Fairy Godmother Inc. who uses the potion in their assignments. (Fortunately, it is revealed later on that there are characters who dislike using the potion. If Kate had actually thought True Love was a good thing, I probably would have stopped reading the book right there. Or at least, put off reading it for another few days or so.)
Also, some of the characters are really 2D, and not at all likeable. The only 3D characters are Kate, Jon, and to some extent, Rellie, Lawson, Ned, and Rupert -- if only because Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is written from Kate and Jon's perspective.
Other than being busy, my dislikes for the world its placed in and certain 2D characters are also some reasons I put off reading the book for a little while.
Story world 2 Story 4 Plot 3 Characterization 3
All in all, Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is a nice light read, but it's hard for me to really enjoy reading it because the world its written in just threw me off.(less)
I have won The Almond Tree from a goodreads giveaway.
5/5 for effort and research 4/5 for Ichmad's charcterization 2/5 for description of relationships,...moreI have won The Almond Tree from a goodreads giveaway.
5/5 for effort and research 4/5 for Ichmad's charcterization 2/5 for description of relationships, and characterization of other characters 3/5 for pace 3.5/5 overall
The chapters are short, but each contains an incident Ichmad learn from, and hence, and grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, because of the short length, this book also tends to be fast-paced, often without a clear timeskip between each chapter. The fast pace is understandable as the novel covers about 54 years over a span of 348 pages (or 58 chapters).
However, because of the fast pace, there isn't as much characterization for most of the characters. The only 3D characters are Ichmad, and the few characters he interacts with most often. Everyone else is only given a personality trait or two, and are barely touched upon, even though they are important figures in Ichmad's life.
Take Nora, for instance. She first meets Ichmad as his student whom he is tutoring; and then, they fall in love in about 7 pages, get engaged in another 7 pages, and goes through their wedding night in 4. However, there is actually quite a bit of time skip in between, even though it's not really clear.
Nora is often described as a kind, generous, accepting, peace-loving young woman who always stands up for her ideals. There isn’t really that much more to her.
To me, she's just a 2D character.
The pace is too fast to really get a hold of their growing relationship and how they affected each other. In fact, I find that Ichmad's relationships with a majority of the characters to be rather flat. When reading about them, I could only take Ichmad's word for his feelings towards certain people. But, I just can’t sympathize with them.
I know that Ichmad falls in love with Nora’s beauty and her passion for peace. I know that Ichmad slowly comes to like Yasmine (as in, there is a large time skip in between). I know that Justice and Ichmad are friends. I know how many of his relationships are. But it is hard to really feel it since the pace was too fast. It somewhat seems like the author was just forcing relationships through, using Ichmad's thoughts to tell the readers what he thought of others.
However, because the novel is written in first-person and focuses on Ichmad, it's easy to see how he had grown up from an anger-driven kid to a peace-seeking adult. I really enjoyed reading about the many trials he had to go through and how he raised above all his disadvantages.
And it’s also easy to see all the research Corasanti had done for her novel. Really well done for that.
I personally think it would’ve been better if The Almond Tree was lengthened, with more elaboration on his relationships with other people.
Personally, I find The Emotion Thesaurus a bit expensive, seeing that I have thicker books which are still cheaper than this one, but it was worth buy...morePersonally, I find The Emotion Thesaurus a bit expensive, seeing that I have thicker books which are still cheaper than this one, but it was worth buying it.
It can sometimes be hard to think up of all the nonverbal cues an emotion would bring out in a character when writing a story. The Emotion Thesaurus is an easy way to find such information.
While there are nonverbal cues and emotions that are missing from the book, you could still mix and match things from The Emotion Thesaurus to get the description of the emotions your character is feeling. And it isn't as if you can come up with nonverbal cue ideas after referencing from the book and thinking back to when you, yourself, have felt a certain emotion.
All in all, The Emotion Thesaurus is a great book to have by your side when writing any story - children's books, short stories, novels, comic books, and more. It could also help in recognizing what another person is feeling through their nonverbal cues.
Even though Rowan is a sequel to Dahlia, I find that it could be read as a standalone. There are enough...moreI have gotten Rowan from a goodreads giveaway.
Even though Rowan is a sequel to Dahlia, I find that it could be read as a standalone. There are enough tibits of information in this novel regarding the history between vampires and fallen angels that I wasn't lost. (The history has a really interesting twist to it, as do some of the character's past.)
The book mainly focuses on Rowan and her relationship with Remy and various ancient creatures, both past and present. Characters from Dahlia do make an appearance in this novel, but as minor characters, helping to drive the conflict along and with Rowan and Remy's relationship.
Also, as far as I know (I haven't read the first book), the character Rowan was only introduced at the end of Dahlia, though she is the main character in this novel. Going by that, it could be speculated that Craven would play a large role in the next book because he, too, was introduced at the end of Rowan.
Since Rowan focuses more on Rowan and Remy's relationship, the cliffhanger (the intro of a new character who is apparently very important in the overall conflict) wasn't that bad. It makes you curious and wanting to read the next book, but at the same time, it doesn't leave you cursing the author for it. (Well, at least, I didn't.)
However, I find the pace going both too fast and too slow. The sexual tension between Rowan and Remy practically lasted the entire novel, but it was mainly due to the timing of events and Rowan's own insecurities. The actual conflict in the series, on the other hand, went waaaay too slowly in my opinion. Everything was dragged out, with no real conclusion, leading to the sequel.
In character-driven stories like these, I know that the plot itself is usually secondary to character relationships, but in this case, the conflict was so dragged out and in-the-background that I felt that all-in-all the novel was flat. Rowan just wasn't a page-turner for me. It didn't have me wanting more. Even though I've finished the entire novel in one setting, I know I could've put it down at anytime and pick it up again some time later when I'm in the mood to read it again.
4/5 for the well-written relationships and interesting characters; and how I wasn't lost despite not reading the presequel
2/5 for the lack of action and thrill (Well, there are fighting scenes and conflicts, but they were too in-the-background compared to the relationship focus)
(EDIT: Truthfully, I don't mind it too much, but my initial impression, before I had even gotten the book, was that there would be more thrilling action/drama scenes. So, I was disappointmented that the novel didn't live up to my expectations in that area.)
Basically, Rowan's alright, but I'm not going to bother buying the presequel or sequel. I might pick them up in the library if I feel like it, but I won't go delibrately searching for the other books from Blood Crave Series.(less)
Most of the peoms tell a story of how the narrator faces a problem (from what I understand, most of t...moreI won healing happens from a goodreads giveaway.
Most of the peoms tell a story of how the narrator faces a problem (from what I understand, most of those problems are actually metaphors for a more internal conflict) and is either aided by someone (usually a "he") or herself (the author's a female and most of the peoms seems to allude to the "he" as a lover of sorts).
I didn't really get some of the peoms, but the ones I did were well-written and quite interesting. I'm rating this book a 3.5/5 for being well-written but 0.5 was taken off since some of the poems just went over my head. (a rating of 5/5 means the book would be in my "favourites" category, so a 4/5 is already very high)(less)
I received Girl the Reaper from a goodreads giveaway.
I liked the book, but it just wasn't a page turner for me, so it took some time for me to actual...moreI received Girl the Reaper from a goodreads giveaway.
I liked the book, but it just wasn't a page turner for me, so it took some time for me to actually finish the book.
Girl the Reaper focuses on the maturation of the main protangonist, Cate Evans. Even though there is a paranormal element to the story, it is merely an important catalyze that leads to Cate learning about faith, courage, and how to let go.
THe way the book is formated is interesting. Each chapter is like a short story that doesn't neccessarily connect with the chapters before and after it, epecially since some characters are mentioned in one chapter only. So I often got confused as I was reading, which led to me putting off the book for some time. The only common points between all chapters are Cate and a small lesson she has learnt from her interactions with others, to which she brings with her to the other chapters.
All in all, Girl the Reaper is a nice and slow-paced read (not counting the sudden jumps from chapter to chapter) which leads the reader step-by-step through Cate's psychological, emotional, and spiritual maturation. (less)
I got an advanced copy of Stormdancer from a goodreads giveaway, and I had really enjoyed reading it.
Stormdancer is set in a Japan, during a time when...moreI got an advanced copy of Stormdancer from a goodreads giveaway, and I had really enjoyed reading it.
Stormdancer is set in a Japan, during a time when the Shogun still ruled, and in a land where mythical creatures and gods and goddesses exists side by side with a growing technology that mainly resolves around the blood lotus, a "daily neccessity" which poisons the land, the air, the water, and the people.
Yukiko, a sixteen-year-old girl, from the Kitsune Caln, along with a few others, journeys to find an arashitora (also known as thunder tiger or griffin), a mythical, practically extinct, beast created by Raijin, the Thunder God under the whim of the Shogun who had dreamt himself as a Stormdancer, a arashitora rider, the night before.
Along the way, Yukiko undercovers the hidden truth regarding her family and the country, what her father was willing to forsake honour for, and learns and teaches the nation to think for themselves and to stand up against their leaders and the Guild, who only cares about power and not of the people.
I really like how descriptive and detailed the scenes and people in Stormdancer are. It makes it really easy to picture the harsh conditions the usage of blood lotus brought to the land and people.
The book didn't finish off in a cliffhanger, but it left room for a development for a sequel, which is good since this is meant to be "Book 1" as said on the front and back covers. I can't wait to read the second book. I really hope that it's as good or better than this one.(less)
I got Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings from a goodreads giveaway.
It's interesting how the stories are connected as a chain/cir...moreI got Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings from a goodreads giveaway.
It's interesting how the stories are connected as a chain/circle i.e. 1st story is about A and B, 2nd story is about B and C, and so on until the last story which goes back to A. I haven't counted it yet, but according to Brown, there are 101 words in each story and there are 101 stories in total. And there is a list of references for each story at the end of the book so it can be assumed that the stories are true.
However, as interesting as the meetings of those infamous people are, I just don't find this book a page-turner. It took me some time to get through it (though my busy schedule as of late may have also contributed to that). Or maybe this book and the style just isn't to my preferences. (less)
I've received an advanced copy of Katya's World from a goodreads giveaway. And I'm very glad I've gotten it.
Right now, I'm rating it a 4.5/5, since it...moreI've received an advanced copy of Katya's World from a goodreads giveaway. And I'm very glad I've gotten it.
Right now, I'm rating it a 4.5/5, since it's very good, but not yet my favourite.
The book is very engaging. Every time something is resolved, another problem comes up. Also, there is a mystery, the mystery of the Leviathan, in which only small pieces of it are revealed here and there, creating a good suspence.
(view spoiler)[Katya's World is set in a futuristic world where humans have started colonies in new planets. One of which was eventually named Russalka, after a mermaid, man-eating mermaid. It is a strange plant with only the sea and ice caps which are barely inhabitable, but the deep oceans are filled with minerals. And that's why a group of Russians were sent to establish a colony there, under the sea.
Things happened and there was a war between Russalkin and Terrans (humans from Earth). Even since then, things have been strained between the two planets and more criminal activity arose in Russalka.
Katya is a navigator apprentice who celebrates her new adulthood as a co-pilot of a mini-sub, the Baby. Before the three crewmates could set off, they were interupted by an officer and his pirate prisoner, Kane; and the former comandeered the sub. Under the orders of the officer, they enter a rough area in the sea and come across an enemy that sank the Baby and killed one of them.
That is the start of Katya's adventure, and problems. She meets many people, both allies and enemies and those in-between. She re-evaluates her learned hatred against the Terrans. And all her skills, knowledge, and luck is put to the test. Death and danger comes at all sides. In the middle of the mess are Katya and Kane. (hide spoiler)]
I really like how the relationships are developed in this book. People aren't always as they seem and betrayal can happen anywhere and at any time. What I liked more was how (view spoiler)[the main female and male characters don't immediately become a couple. Given how it really is Kane's fault she's lost so many and could've lost even more, it wouldn't really make sense for them to go all lovy dovey, especially in the midst of all the secrets and danger. (hide spoiler)]
Anyhow, I can't wait for the next book. I really hope that it's as good, or even better, than this one. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I've gotten an advanced copy of Don't Turn Around from a goodreads giveaway.
Noa, a hacker who has cheated the foster system by faking a family record...moreI've gotten an advanced copy of Don't Turn Around from a goodreads giveaway.
Noa, a hacker who has cheated the foster system by faking a family record, finds herself on an operation table one day and her world turns upside down. She becomes chased by the group who had experimented on her. Her only allies come in the form of another hacker, Peter, who had discovered something he shouldn't have, and a "guardian angel" who goes by the name, A6M0.
(view spoiler)[Both Noa and Peter discovers more about Project Persephone, the human experiments, and the conspiracy that involves big companies and perhaps even the government. The story ends in a cliffhanger in which the main characters, having escaped the current problem, starts to issue a comeback against their foe.
This ending and senario is really similar to another book, The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn. Both novels' protangonists are up against a large company and the government. Both novels revolve around the protagonists discovering the truth and resolving to do something about it. Both novels end as a cliffhanger where the protagonists takes a stand. (hide spoiler)]
The Bar Code Tattoo had a sequel. I think that Don't Turn Around could do the same, but it's also fine to end like this.
I find that the characters are well-written and their personalities are constant and well-described. It's easy to like them, though it isn't that easy to sympathize with them simply because their life and situation are really far from normal. And the story revolves more around the chase and the mystery rather than the character development.
Well, actually, there really wasn't much of an actual development. Noa had always been headstrong, street-smart, and wasn't afraid to go up against the government. Peter founded a hacking group for the sake of helping others, so he didn't need much intiative to find out more about the secret project and help Noa. Amanda, Peter's ex... well, she really wasn't that important in this story despite having more scenes than the other minor characters.
All-in-all, I quite like this book and would love to read the sequel should there be one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I've gotten I Love You - Now Get Over Yourself from a goodreads giveaway. I rate this 4.5/5, only because a 5/5 rating from me means it's my favourite...moreI've gotten I Love You - Now Get Over Yourself from a goodreads giveaway. I rate this 4.5/5, only because a 5/5 rating from me means it's my favourite. This book isn't one of my favourites (not yet, anyways), but it's really good.
This guide book may be short (only 86 pages long), but it gives enough advice for most success/failure problems a person would have.
The font is large-medium-sized, there are bold and italic letterings, and the vocab easy to understand. So, this is a very easy read. The voice in the book is encouraging and clear. Think of the book as a coach or a shrink of sorts.
Other than her short chapters of different advice, Mott also included her client stories, to better make the readers understand how to apply the advice she has provided in her book to real life situations. With every client story, she gives a list of things you could/should do to solve any situations similar to the example given.
At the end of the book, she lists ways you could contact her and a list of recommended readings with a short summary of what she thinks of each of the books.
I think that this book is a very good starting point if you in troublesome situations, like procrastination, "so much work and so little time", and finding yourself in a career dilemna. (less)
I did enjoy reading Goodbye for Now, which I had received from a goodreads giveaway, but it just wasn't a page turner for me. Everything was just so m...moreI did enjoy reading Goodbye for Now, which I had received from a goodreads giveaway, but it just wasn't a page turner for me. Everything was just so monotone.
(view spoiler)[Sam creates a matchmaking algorithm, which was so good that the internet dating company fired him because their cilents found their perfect match and didn't need the internet dating company's services anymore. But, it was also through that algorithm that allowed Sam find his match, Meredith.
After the death of Meredith's beloved grandmother, Sam creates a computer stimulation of her. Eventually, they created a business, RePost, where people could talk to a virtual-version of their dead loved ones. Of course, they met quite a lot of criticism along the way.
Then Meredith dies, and Sam creates a virtual version of her. Through that and his family and friends, he eventually learns to let go of her. (hide spoiler)]
This story doesn't really focus on loss, despite the deaths involved. It's more about love and learning to let go.
I sympathized with the characters, but I just couldn't fall in love with them. I couldn't emerse myself into their emotions.
To me, the story flows like a gentle river on a breezy day -- no rapids, no waterfalls, and no large waves. It's sweet and bittersweet, but that's just it.
It's easy for me to put down the book when something else comes up. There are no "Oh my god, I'd better finish reading this part first, and fast" moments.
For those who are searching for a tearjerker, this ain't it. But for those who just want a sweet/bittersweet read on a nice quiet day, Goodbye for Now is pretty good.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)