These Broken Stars is going to be a hit or miss for a lot of people because it’s a survival book that has the characters walkiMore of a 3.5, I think.
These Broken Stars is going to be a hit or miss for a lot of people because it’s a survival book that has the characters walking through the wilderness almost the entire book. I usually hate books like these since it can get very boring. So, for me, I feel listening to the audiobook version of this book was a good decision. It has three narrators and they all did a marvelous job keeping me entertained as Tarver and Lilac wandered and wandered and wandered. The thing I loved was the plot twists because they were totally WTF-worthy. This is another one that feels very classically sci-fi with a pinch of Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure. The ending was so science-y that I can’t even begin to pick anything apart, so I’ll just stare off into the distance until I have book two, which I hear features two different characters. Interesting!
------ I seriously love this cover! There's this really fun interview with both Amie and Meagan up on the blog where Kat designs faux covers. Also, giveaway of an ARC!
The first thing that came to my mind after finishing Stormdancer was the very eloquent: WHOA! The second more composed chain of thought was something The first thing that came to my mind after finishing Stormdancer was the very eloquent: WHOA! The second more composed chain of thought was something along the lines of: Why yes, that *was* just as badass as its cover suggested. Stormdancer had it all for me. Richly crafted world building, carefully placed humor, realistic characters, unpredictable storyline... I mean, I could go on and on here! This book was freakin' awesome! I went into Stormdancer expecting to fall in love with it because it has such an awesome premise. Which is saying something because I'm not a huge fan of Steampunk. *Cue the mock horror and shock* But you know what? I loved this book. Prepare yourselves, friends... for a glowing review.
Right off the bat the reader is immersed into Shima's culture with no hand holding from Kristoff whatsoever. The beginning is intelligently planned and doesn't insult the reader with countless explanations of terms, locations and titles. That's what a glossary is for. Thankfully, Stormdancer has one, which I found myself visiting often at first. However, those visits tapered off as I became more familiar with the story. It's almost like watching your favorite anime with subtitles. In the beginning you're doing a lot of reading, but halfway through you find yourself catching on, getting lost in the story, following along easier without the need of your training wheels. Good stuff, people. Good stuff.
The plot rocked my socks. It all revolves around a flower called "blood lotus" that fuels their machinery and the population's drug addiction to it. The Shogun believes he is destined to be a legendary Stormdancer, riding the back of a Thunder Tiger, leading his army to victory against an enemy he plans to enslave for further production of the plant that's choking the life from his country. Throw in Samurai with clockwork armory, a telepathic griffin and chainsaw katanas and you, my friend, have got yourself a damn good time.
The characterizations are phenomenal. I absolutely loved Yukiko. She's incredibly smart, fierce and independent. And her voice felt very real to me as a female. The best part of Stormdancer hands down was Buruu the griffin. HILARIOUS! When he and Yukiko first meet up he affectionately refers to her as "insect" and "monkey." Did I mention this dude speaks in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME? (He sounds like Zordon from the Power Rangers in my head. But with attitude.) I found myself laughing every time they interacted. His development was also an interesting one because he starts off with a simpler mind, thinking short choppy violent thoughts, with no understanding of sarcasm, only blood. But as the novel progresses you can see his sentence structure improving and his thoughts becoming more humane (darn!). It was all a very smooth transition until I couldn't see the final Buruu any other way.
What's that you say? You find it impossible that I can find no fault with Stormdancer? Well, that's not entirely true. But keep in mind this is coming from someone who doesn't read a lot of High Fantasy or Steampunk. Basically, ignore me. Lol. If there was one thing that bothered me, it was the beginning. It felt a little slow for me with the myriads of description after description. When my best friend asked me in the beginning what I thought of Stormdancer I told her it was kinda like when Rowling went nuts on describing the Weasley house. And her reply was, "Yes! I love tons of descriptions." And that's when I realized I was obviously the weirdo in this case. For once. Don't worry, I'll be back to being the "kool" one soon enough.
So why did I give it 5 stars? Why not 4? Truthfully, for about half the book I thought, "Okay, 4 stars for sure." But then Buruu and Yukiko brought the THUNDA with that fight screen against the Oni... and I was like whoa, dude! Oh, and when the minor character, Michi, started going into splits, cutting dudes to shreds!! OMG, it was like a serious Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon badass scene on steroids. And then with the plot twists! *takes deep breath* Sorry, I-I-I couldn't contain the fangirling. But it was awesome!
And that ending?! Wow. So much win and I never saw it coming! And damn you Kristoff for making me shed a tear! Who knew my cold, dead heart was capable of such emotions? But you know what they say, "The lotus must bloom." Heh. I am very thankful that salt wasn't poured into the wound with a cliffhanger, but I feel like a desperate lotus addict looking for book two to magically appear on my bookshelf. *weeps* It's not there! So I'll just be over here rocking back and forth waiting for my bookish fix.
ARC was provided by the publisher. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. Doubt me not, friends. These are my honest thoughts. Kristoff happened to write a book and I happened to love it.
I have to admit, Preloved truly surprised me. After finally getting a hold of Fury, I wasn't entirely sure how Preloved and I would get along because I have to admit, Preloved truly surprised me. After finally getting a hold of Fury, I wasn't entirely sure how Preloved and I would get along because Paranormal Romances with ghosts usually make me want to roll my eyes. However, in Preloved's case it worked really well for me. In fact, there is something really special about Shirley Marr's sophomore novel because while the blurb sounds strictly PNR, it gives off a very strong contemporary feel at the same time. I actually found myself enjoying Preloved more than Fury at times. You have your relatable characters, familiar setting, and a pinch of abnormal. What more could you ask for?
The 80's was an interesting time in history. It taught us all to "kick off our Sunday shoes," that anyone can become a "dirty dancer," how we shouldn't fear the "Thriller," how it felt to feel "Like a Virgin, touched for the very first time," and that you aren't truly a boss until you can pull this number off in leg warmers:
I'm still working on it.
Confession: I internally groaned when I saw this book had a heavy focus on the 80's. I mean, it's the 80's! Mullets, leg-warmers, bad perms, leotards! Need I say more? Thankfully, it didn't happen like that. Logan is a ghost from the 80's who happens to show up after Amy, a very lonely girl, acquires an old locket. Except the locket wasn't meant for her, but instead her beautiful, hipster, best-friend Rebecca, who Logan just happens to love. She initially sets out to help him connect with Rebecca, who bares a shocking resemblance to Logan's old girlfriend, but it turns out to be much more than she bargained for.
If I were to describe Preloved in two words it would be sugary sweet. I love self-discovery novels. They have a way of reminding me of times when I was naive, innocent, and unsure of myself. Amy is the kind of protagonist that is entirely relatable because she's a broken, teen girl searching for her identity in the world. I could easily connect and sympathize with her and not once did I grow impatient with her character. She's the kind of main character that continues to grow on you as the novel progress until you realize it's time to let her go, but your aren't quite ready yet. The supporting cast fell a little short for me mainly because I just didn't care for Rebecca and Nancy wasn't around long enough for me to properly form an opinion. However, I did like both Logan and Amy's mom, both important plot points on Amy's every shifting graph.
The romance wasn't something I was expecting to enjoy since it does contain a love triangle. But this one was unique since it was, but it wasn't. While most of the novel Logan expresses interest only in Rebecca, she never felt like a real contender in the race for his heart. I didn't feel the same "Oh, who are they gonna pick?" urge that I normally feel for say, a novel like Unearthy. But the relationship between Logan and Amy is one I couldn't help but cheer for. The way he affectionately called her Ms. Matey and blushed in his ghostly form really was the icing on the cake.
So if you are on the market for a lighter Paranormal Romance that is fun, relaxing, and sugary sweet Preloved may be just what you're looking for. And don't worry, I promise there is none of this going on: