Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake was what I wanted the previous book in the Goddess War series, Antigoddess, to be more like. Though there were still partMortal Gods by Kendare Blake was what I wanted the previous book in the Goddess War series, Antigoddess, to be more like. Though there were still parts where the pacing lagged, Mortal Gods had more action, and finally explained why the Greek gods and goddesses were dying. It also made Odysseus – one of my favourite Greek heroes; Perseus is the other – more like his reincarnation in that he's shown to still be wily (polymechanos, according to Homer) because he appears to have been keeping some secrets. As well, I like that Blake continues to have the gods remain prideful and not care too much about the effects on the humans involved in their affairs....more
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin had the potential to be a decent read. Unfortunately, its emphasis on romance came at the expense of chA School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin had the potential to be a decent read. Unfortunately, its emphasis on romance came at the expense of characterization and plot development. Whereas I felt like I barely got to know the secondary characters, the main character, Georgiana, came across as pretty immature and impulsive. She also kept complaining about her red hair and feeling unloved, which became annoying because she wasn't Anne Shirley!
As well, the short time span that the book covered made nothing feel believable. For example, Georgiana develops an invisible ink within six days, yet tons of people had tried to do something similar, with limited success. She also meets and falls for Sebastian during this time, and then is later involved in an extremely quick rescue of someone....more
Basically, if Kendare Blake's Girl of Nightmares had featured more of Cas hunting ghosts and less of him obsessing over Anna, I'd have given it a highBasically, if Kendare Blake's Girl of Nightmares had featured more of Cas hunting ghosts and less of him obsessing over Anna, I'd have given it a higher rating. While a still a solid sequel though, it just lacked the creepiness of Anna Dressed in Blood.
Since I wasn’t keen on the romance between Cas and Anna to begin with, Cas’ constant moping about Anna made me annoyed with him, especially because it affected his ability to kill ghosts. Thank goodness for Thomas’ optimism and Carmel’s levelheadedness! In fact, I really liked Carmel’s characterization in Girl of Nightmares because she wasn’t afraid to take a step back and stop hanging out with Cas and Thomas when she found the situation becoming a bit too much for her to handle. Unlike Cas and Thomas, who are used to not living a normal life, I thought it was a really smart decision on Carmel’s part to try and figure out what she actually wanted.
I also liked the expansion of the world from Anna Dressed in Blood as Girl of Nightmares explores Cas’ father’s past as a ghost hunter and the athame’s connection to The Order of Biodag Dubh, which eventually leads Cas and his friends to visiting London and Scotland. Besides the awesome and scary scene in the Suicide Forest, I enjoyed meeting Jestine, who almost seemed like a female Cas to me....more
While I liked the writing and the premise – the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology are somehow dying, and have, in order to survive, resorted to fiWhile I liked the writing and the premise – the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology are somehow dying, and have, in order to survive, resorted to fighting each other and trying to find the reincarnation of the Trojan princess Cassandra for answers – of Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess, it felt very much like a prequel. Nothing really happened for the majority of the book, and the question of why the Greek gods and goddesses were dying remained unanswered. Furthermore, the ending felt a bit rushed, with one of the immortal characters dying way too easily. Despite these flaws, I’m going to give Antigoddess’ sequel, Mortal Gods, a try. Having read her Anna series, I know Blake is capable of doing better!...more
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett had a rather predictable mystery. However, I did have fun reading it, and give points to Arnett for coming up wiThe Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett had a rather predictable mystery. However, I did have fun reading it, and give points to Arnett for coming up with a unique paranormal being – Nightmares. While the secondary characters could have been better developed, I liked Dusty, who I found to be witty and down-to-earth. A solid debut overall, I look forward to seeing what happens with Dusty and her friends in the sequel. ...more
If you had asked me how I felt about Marta Acosta’s Dark Companion when I first started it, I would have said that it was pretty decent. Yes, it was kIf you had asked me how I felt about Marta Acosta’s Dark Companion when I first started it, I would have said that it was pretty decent. Yes, it was kind of slow and didn’t have the most interesting protagonist; but, I liked the Gothic atmosphere. The story also seemed to suggest that it was only going to get better, and I couldn’t wait to figure out what mysterious and thrilling secrets Birch Grove Academy held.
Midway through the book though, the story took a turn for the worse. Since I don’t want to ruin the plot, let’s just say that the latter part of the book involves bloodplay – which I might have been okay with if Acosta had decided to take her story into the paranormal realm. Instead, the characters stressed repeatedly that rather than being paranormal creatures, they were only suffering from an ‘autosomal recessive genetic disorder.’ When combined with the super descriptive scenes, it just felt so, so weird!
Since I didn’t love any of the characters either, I seriously debated whether I wanted to finish Dark Companion or not. I did; but much to my dismay, the story didn’t get better! Not only did I slog through the awkwardness to get an extremely neat ending, but characters magically changed their minds or feelings to achieve that ending! (Oh, and it’s hinted that maybe there’s just a bit of paranormal to this story after all. I’m still not sure what to make of that part.)
Anyways, let’s move on to the characterization. In general, I thought the characters were one-dimensional and had incredibly unrealistic dialogue. Also, their tendency to have nicknames – two completely lame ones being Lucky and Ornery – and/or give it to what felt like every single person or thing just grated on my nerves! In spite of this, Mary Violet somehow managed to grow on me.
Jane, however, did the total opposite by becoming the epitome of a TSTL character! I get that she desperately wants to be loved, but it boggles my mind how amazingly dim she became after falling – instant love alert! – for Lucky, an abusive jerk who was so obviously using her (and even says so!).
Before reading Dark Companion, I’d seen reviews for it claiming how different it was. I’d have to agree … except it wasn’t different in a good way for me!...more
I’ve never read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; but through different retellings, I’m aware of the basic gist of the plot. As a result, I was curious abI’ve never read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; but through different retellings, I’m aware of the basic gist of the plot. As a result, I was curious about giving Tina Connolly’s Ironskin a try – especially once I found out that it involved steampunk elements and faeries. Sadly, while I loved the traditional Gothic feel of the setting, it was the fantastical elements of Ironskin that ultimately left me disappointed.
After being introduced to Jane and reading about her getting accepted as a governess at Silver Birch, I felt as if the pacing slowed to a crawl. I understand that Jane’s duties as a governess are going to be discussed, but who wants to read half a book about how hard it is for Jane to get her charge, Dorie, to obey her?! It certainly didn’t help that I couldn’t make myself care about the characters – or later, the romance (which if I wasn’t expecting it would have come as a complete surprise since Jane and Mr. Rochart hardly interact with each other before falling in love).
After waiting for what felt like an eternity for Jane to start caring about what Mr. Rochart did for a living, the second half of Ironskin dramatically picked up the pace. Unfortunately, I found that the plot became hard to follow with the greater prominence of the fey element.
I was also left confused by the theme of beauty in the book. For the majority of Ironskin, Jane desires to be normal and keeps thinking about how her life would have turned out had she been unscarred. To me, it seemed as if the author was suggesting that females should judge themselves based on their physical looks – (view spoiler)[particularly after Jane makes Edward put a mask on her so that she too could become beautiful (hide spoiler)]. However, since everybody that’s beautiful in the book has a bit of a fey in them, there’s also the sentiment that being attractive isn’t a good thing. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
If I could sum up J.A. Souders’ Renegade with one word, I’d use a word like messy because the frenetic pacing of the plot made it hard to follow whatIf I could sum up J.A. Souders’ Renegade with one word, I’d use a word like messy because the frenetic pacing of the plot made it hard to follow what was going on. It also caused the development of the world, characters and romance to be sacrificed.
My first problem with Renegade was that the worldbuilding was sketchy at best. As a reader, I knew that Mother, her dad and their friends moved to Elysium to avoid war on land. That’s all I got though, really. I couldn’t fully comprehend the way that Elysium was set up – a map might have been nice since Gavin (who I still feel like I barely know!) and Evie were running all over the place – nor did I know what was going on on the Surface because Gavin doesn’t really speak much about the subject. I assumed at first that the people of Gavin’s community were living almost a pre-Industrial lifestyle since Gavin talks people getting married at a young age, trading and going hunting; but I later had to amend my thoughts when Gavin mentions video games.
I also couldn’t make myself care about the characters. Initially, the tone of the novel was great because although things seemed perfect for Evie, there was this underlying feeling of menace. However, over time, Evie’s repeated episodes of forgetfulness became more annoying than chilling to me, and made it hard to connect with her. When characters themselves don’t know who they are, how can you get to know them properly?! Evie’s forgetfulness also seemed as if it was just a convenient way for the author to get her characters to uncover another secret.
Lastly, I hated the romance because I thought it lacked chemistry and involved insta-love. From reading Evie’s perspective, it felt as if the reason she fell for Gavin was because he looked so different from the people of Elysium – meaning not only was he a Surface Dweller – something she’s fascinated by – but also because he had gray eyes instead of the Aryan qualities sought and cultured by Mother. As well, I was a bit weirded out by the fact that Evie could be so casual about Coupling with a guy she didn’t know anything about!
With its flimsy worldbuilding and weak characterization and romance, this dystopian, unfortunately, wasn’t for me!...more
Thoughts on the Novel: One of the reasons I didn’t read Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood until now is because I’m a scaredy-cat and generally avoThoughts on the Novel: One of the reasons I didn’t read Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood until now is because I’m a scaredy-cat and generally avoid horror movies and novels. I finally decided to muster up the courage to read it though … and want to kick myself for not having read it sooner!
Blake’s descriptive writing makes it so easy to imagine the ghosts that Cas kills. I was especially delighted by the way that the reader meets Anna and the terrifyingly gruesome way that Cas’ father and certain other individuals are killed. I was equally horrified and disgusted, and then had to quickly look around to make sure that there was no vengeful ghost coming after me.
I haven’t read too many novels with male narrators, but Cas came off like a teenage guy to me. I also enjoyed his interactions with Thomas and Carmel. Despite doing his best to isolate himself, I liked how their friendship sort of snuck up on Cas.
I think my only complaint about Anna Dressed in Blood is the romance. Although I understood Cas’ fascination with and pity for Anna, I found the idea of him falling for a ghost a bit forced....more
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons is an action-filled dystopian set after the U.S. as we know it is gone and the Bill of Rights replaced by the Moral StatuArticle 5 by Kristen Simmons is an action-filled dystopian set after the U.S. as we know it is gone and the Bill of Rights replaced by the Moral Statutes. Although I thought Simmons did a good job of depicting Ember’s world, it was never explained how this version of the U.S. came about and what happened to make people so willing to accept the terrible conditions of their lived reality. This question bothered me the entire time I was reading Article 5 so it’s a good thing the novel is full of action that distracts you from thinking about its iffy worldbuilding.
I thought the characterization was much more developed; and I liked both Ember and Chase. Even though Ember was sort of naïve and made stupid choices (e.g. running away from Chase when it’s obvious that he’s only trying to keep her safe and knows so much more about surviving on the run than her) which annoyed me, I liked that she had focus, adapted to situations, and wasn’t afraid to take risks. Ember's memories of Chase before he became a soldier not only allows you to realize just how deeply Chase’s betrayal has hurt her, but also lets you see later on how much his experience in the military has broken Chase. His relationship with Ember therefore was full of misunderstandings due to a lack of communication (and mistrust on her part) but did develop nicely over the course of the novel.
Recommended for fans of Marie Lu’s Legend and Veronica Roth’s Divergent!...more