I was quite excited about this one. Mainly because I'm a big Friends fan - when I say I watched the TV show 20 times, I really mean 20 times. At least. Although every time I re-watch it I find something else that's problematic which I haven't noticed the first time. Which is totally fine, because the times back then and right now were so, so different. I also felt like reading some non-fiction so this was perfect timing.
So why such low rating?
Because this book really didn't bring anything new to the table. Which is so, so disappointing. I wanted to find things that I've never heard of before, I wanted more insight on episodes, on actors themselves, maybe even some piece of juicy gossip. Instead, literally 80% of everything in this book can be found on Pinterest and Instagram 'fact' posts about Friends.
Things like 'the part of Ross Geller was written specifically for David', 'or Matt Le Blanc was really poor before landing this role', ' or the show was supposed to be named "Insomnia Cafe". Like, yeah I KNOW, what else is new??
The rest of the book wasn't much better - the beginning was so slow and boring I almost gave it up completely. First of all, most of it reads like a page from Wikipea, but maybe with a little bit of soul. Second, there was a lot of useless information about other shows of that time - most of which I've never heard off. Sure, you have to tell the story of how the Crane/Kauffman/Bright production came to be, but did you have to drag it out so long?
That is honestly my biggest complain - the book reads as if it only was written for people who grew up with the show, who watched the episodes as they came out. People like me, who started watching Friends only when Netflix acquired them, weren't really taken into consideration at all. Such a missed opportunity.
The book also went on exploring issues of racism, lgbt+ rights and sexual harassment associated with the show itself, or with the Hollywood, but I don't think it did a very good job on that. The thoughts didn't seem original or organic - they all were things said brother people. I honestly feel like the author didn't do much herself at all, except collect the information and type it all together.
I especially didn't agree with points of view that stated Carol and Susan's wedding was 'too straight' because they both wore dresses and because it all was so traditional. It says that they didn't want to be too cliche with it, which I agree with, but then it contradicts itself and says that they straight washed it all to be safe. Maybe they did, but with openly gay producer I'm pretty sure they knew what they were doing.
The book also seems to focus on the fact that 'Friends' were indeed friends. It repeats that statement at least once in every chapter. They were friends, they really were close, yes they were friends - which made me think 'maybe they really weren't?' Otherwise why repeat it so many damn times? Unless it's just bad, repetitive writing - which, I mean it was.
Big thanks to HARLEQUIN - Trade Publishing (US and Canada), Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for a digital copy of this book. all opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
“Tremble and fear, all enemies!” he shouted. “For we shall shake the air with thunder and blood! Your doom is imminent!”
Let's talk about this gorgeous cover. Gorgeous, but very misleading. Because from the cover it looks like a main character might be, ohh I don't know a 25 year old woman, while in reality Spensa is a 17 year old who acts as if she were 12 most of the time. The whole book is very juvenile, really. In fact it reads more juvenile than The Rithmatist did, so while this is marketed as young adult it's definitely more on par with books like Percy Jackson. Which there is nothing wrong with, I just prefer Brandon Sanderson's adult novels.
“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”
Before I go on any further I must say that the whole time I was reading Skyward I was thinking of Ender's Game. The atmosphere, the issues, the fleet of adolescents training to be deadly pilots, adults who think they know what they are doing but really don't - it's all really, really similar. I'm not complaining as both are great, but I am a bit let down by this. I was just expecting a whole lot more here. To me this book, while great in its own way, feels like a very watered down version of what Sanderson can actually do. Also for some reason I thought this was a stand alone?? Jokes on me, I know.
“I’d be offended if I could be offended,” he said. “Maybe I should start calling you a cow, since you have four limbs, are made of meat, and have rudimentary biological mental capacities.”
Spensa is not the easiest mc to like, but it's really not her fault. It's the way she was raised, it's the way the society around her thinks and operates. Spensa is forever branded as a daughter of a coward, and thus her only goal is to prove that her father wasn't a coward, and that she isn't going to turn into one either. Cowardice and bravery are basically the only things on Spensa's mind, obviously after her thirst to be a pilot, and the way she sees everything in black and white can get really annoying something. At some points I just wanted to pick her up and shake all of those stupid beliefs from her head.
The culture in which Spensa grew up has taught her that bravery is good and that all those who aren't brave are cowards. She lives by these words, often imagining herself as a nightly and brave warrior lurching for battle - and yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds. For a good half of the book it's really hard to take Spensa seriously at all. She does grow in her character and starts to question the world and her beliefs, eventually. It just takes her painfully long.
The side characters are nicely flushed out, Kimmalyn being definitely my favorite, bless her stars. But nobody is as hilarious as M-Bot is, Sanderson has an uncanny ability to create funny and sarcastic sidekicks. And one in this book is no exception. FM was a pretty good character too, I loved her quiet rebellion. And she definitely had one of the best lines in the whole book.
“Just because I want change doesn’t mean I’ll let the Krell destroy us all. But do you realize what it’s doing to our society to train our children, practically from birth, to idealize and glorify fighting? To worship the First Citizens like saints? We should be teaching our children to be more caring, more inquisitive—not only to destroy, but to build.”
The pacing was good, the plot, while not original in the least was still very engaging, and dialog obviously is superb as it usually is with Sanderson. But for me Skyward lacked something - a spark, a twist. I don't know, but it was definitely too smooth and too easy. I'm hoping book 2 whenever that comes out (the draft is 100% finished for it I just checked) brings out the big guns!
“They looked like two children," she told me. And that thought frightened her, because she'd always felt that only children are capable of everything.”
I'm not the one who reads a lot of literary fiction, I dabble here and there, but it's still not much. So, yesterday when I finished this book - I wanted to give it 2 stars because all I could think was "I have no idea whatI just read". But, as the hours wore on and I thought about it more and more I've come to realize that it is actually quite brilliant.
The book is very short, only a 120 pages, so I hoped to read it in a day, but that didn't happen. Because with Chronicle of a death foretold it's more about what's not being said than what is on the page. You have to look between the lines to find so much more meaning. The book itself is just one big allegory, but of what I won't tell because it is honestly up to the reader to decide.
“He was healthier than the rest of us, but when you listened with the stethoscope you could hear the tears bubbling inside his heart.”
I'm going to try and dissect the book a little bit here, so if you haven't read it yet and want to form your own opinions first - do not read past this.
When the whole town hears that Santiago Sazar will be murdered and does nothing to prevent it - it's like the whole town murdered him. And that's what the book really wants to stress across - the one single conscience of the whole town comprised of individual opinions and feelings. Did Santiago deserve to die? Who knows. But he was murdered because his name was spoken in a very wrong time. Now this is when things get political.
Angela, when asked who dishonored her, answers - Santiago Nazar and since the moment his name left her lips he was a dead man walking. The reader believes he did it, the whole town believes he did it. But as the book progresses we start to have doubts - why did we believe Angela so quickly? Because Santiago is a man? Because she said so? Then we start feeling guilty because now it seems that maybe an innocent man will die, all because we didn't check for facts, because we wanted to see justice done. But will there be any justice? In the eyes of Angela's brothers - sure. For them this is not as much about Angela's honor as it is about proving that they are real men.
Masculinity subject is so twisted in here - we condemn a man without questions because he's a man. A fiancé of one of the brothers (who did the killing) says that she wouldn't marry him if he didn't kill Santiago for his sister's honor because that wouldn't be manly. And the scariest things is that everybody thinks they are doing a good thing. A right thing. Because murder for honor is not murder at all. Unless the man is innocent.
As the book races to its gruesome and very macabre finish, one part was especially twisted - Santiago dies because his own mother locked the door in front of him. Not on purpose - which makes it even sadder.
Was Angela trustworthy? A lot of things we learn about her towards the end of the book definitely point in "no" direction. If anything, she turned out to be sex crazed woman who eventually lost her mind. Was Santiago guilty? He wasn't a nice person for sure, but did he deserve to die? Signs point to him being "crucified without questions" by the whole town because of the mob mentality. Did the brothers have any right to avenge their sister's honor with death? In their eyes they did - but in yours?
Wow this book is underrated. I found it in a corner of a used bookstore and just couldn't pass it up because of the cover of it. It's so unique and colorful and just so pretty.
“His small compliments and offhand remarks formed a new scripture, and in breathless conversations and lonely, dream-drunk nights they built whole theologies from them.”
I'm happy I dived right into this book without looking it up on Goodreads first (because sometimes that can definitely spoil the fun). I was surprised to see such low average rating (3.47), and I am happy to be in minority of people who truly loved this book. Minority is usual where I like to be when books are concerned.
I'm not a fan of magical realism at all, and I am not sure this book was magical realism, but it definitely had aspects of it. So, in conclusion, I have no idea what I just read, but I know that I really, really enjoyed it.
“I am going blind,” she had blurted to her mother, in the welcome dimness of the family coach, her eyes still bright with tears from the searing winter sun. By this time, her peripheral vision was already gone. Carolina could feel her mother take her hand, but she had to turn to see her face. When she did, her mother kissed her, her own eyes full of pity. I have been in love, too,” she said, and looked away.”
Besides not liking magical realism I also am not a fan of affair stories (usually that is). But somehow all of the stars have aligned and this story just spoke to me and I ended up loving every part of it. I do wish the ending was more concrete though, but honestly that is the only complaint.
I am going to say that this book is not for everyone (as evident by the low ratings), but when the correct person finds it - the sparks fly. The only time I remember feeling this elevated about a book was when I read The Night Circus and The Girl who Drank the Moon - all of these books are so very different, but all of them make the reader FEEL the book. Somehow these books engage all of the sense and you can smell, touch and experience the book almost in dimensional perception. Magic? I think so.
Now I know I sound like I'm gushing, but don't get me wrong - the book isn't perfect. It's far from it, but somehow in that imperfection it's ... perfect. The Blind contessa's New Machine made me want to appreciate every little detail. It made me touch the bark of trees, to feel the carpet with my toes, to sit with my eyes closed and juts breathe. And those little experiences to me are priceless. I spend my life hunting for books that make me feel like this.
The writing style was also one of my favorite things in this book - it wasn't wordy at all. It's more about what the book wasn't saying than what it was actually saying. It's about the things that lurk in the dark, the things about which we prefer not to talk, the things we do when the night comes and we don't think anybody would find out. But despite of that shortness, all of the descriptions were absolutely luscious and mesmerizingly real.
“The past and the present are within my field of inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer."
When I say that I read every Sherlock Holmes story at least 5 times, I mean that I really read every story at least 5 times! It's not a figure of speech. when I was in my early teens I was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes - the books that is (the very famous BBC tv-show wouldn't come out for at least 10 years). Yes, I'm old.
My old copy of the book looks like it's been through wart's so extremely battered. I would start from page one and once I finished I'd go back and start re-reading immediately. And then again. There really was a time in my life when I didn't read anything else, just Sherlock Holmes.
So it was very nice to revisit the world again now, after I've read so many different genres in the past few years. And it was just as good.
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
The hound of Baskervilles is a timeless story, and no matter how many times I read it - I still feel the atmosphere of fear it supposed to bring onto a reader. But the past part of this story is not necessarily the mystery - it's the character interactions that we see. Sherlock is at his peak of being a gentleman asshole for sure. He's sarcastic and pompous and the way it rubs other people wrong is hilarious. I've never been a fan of Watson's really, so when he falls for one of Sherlock's jokes is always a good time for me.
The writing is flawless, the pacing is perfect and dialog is sharp and witty. But then, would you expect anything less?
“There's a light in a woman's eyes that speaks louder than words.”
It took me 9 days to read this book. And it's only 390 pages. Sure, I have been quite busy lately, but it's mostly due to me putting this book down and not really wanting to pick it back up.
That said, this isn't a bad book. This is just very slow and tedious first book in the series. I'm sure things get going in book 2, but man book one is a drag, if I were to speak frankly (I always do, so I don't know why I'm being so proper).
“When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.”
To sum this best, would be to say that this book is quite a paradox: it's slow and boring, but it's also very good and interesting? Not things that co-exists usually, but it is what it is. And it's not like the book is overly descriptive, no, there are so many things that the reader doesn't get answers or explanations to, it's actually kind of insane. The whole time reading this I felt left out, as if the author knows things and I don't. As if the whole book is a joke that I'm not on.
“When you spring to an idea, and decide it is truth, without evidence, you blind yourself to other possibilities.”
With all of that negativity aside, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely continue, just not this year. I originally planned to read the first trilogy by the end of the 2018, but that's not going to happen. The first book is the smallest one, and it was so dense and, like I mentioned, quite boring - I don't feel like ending a year with those books. I will wait till 2019 instead.
Also, I have to mention that I was prepared for this book to be slow, and tedious because I read a couple of reviews prior to reading it (no spoilers of course), but still I was surprised by just how slow it was. The name, Assassin's Apprentice throws you off too, big time. It sounds badass, and action-y and all of that. Well, it's not. At all, so if you are to read this book throw all of those notions from your head.
I loved the writing though. Well, let me rephrase. I loved the way it was written, but I didn't like the way the story was told. I make total sense, right? The storytelling is very passive - things happen to characters, but they are told in a way that is not affecting the reader at all. At least didn't affect me. It's very dry, and removed way of telling things and I do not like it. I want feelings!! Think of Lord of the Rings way of telling (if you are a fan of LOTR - you cry, if you aren't - you are bored). Same here, really.
“My silences he mistook for a lack of wit rather than a lack of any need to speak.”
This book however, has a lot of wisdom in it. Wisdom about people - how we see each other, how we treat and label each other. How we treat those inferior to us, how we treat animals. The animal bonds in this book were absolutely precious, but also very sad. I loved and hated how all of those issues the book talks about are still very much prevalent in our modern culture. Did we really evolve from our crude medieval mindset, or did we get worse? Watch the news and the answer is clear.
“It was inside me. The more I sought it, the stronger it grew. It loved me. Loved me even if I couldn't, wouldn't, didn't love myself. Love me even if I hated. It set its tiny teeth in my soul and braced and held so that I couldn't crawl any further. And when I tried, a howl of despair burst from it, searing me, forbidding me to break so sacred trust."
A lot of the plot in the book revolves around politics, which I really enjoyed, but I also wish that more was done, more was revealed, just - more. Hopefully book 2 will answer my questions, whenever I get to it.
My review is all backwards, but this book also made me realize that I prefer fantasy books when the reader is thrown into the midst of action, instead of slowly building up to it, telling backstories and whatever else. I like to be swept off my feet, and this book unfortunately didn't do that. It maybe nudged me a bit, but that's all.
DNF at 33 %
So not the rating I thought I was going to be giving this book, I was pretty sure that this would have been a 5 star, boy was I wrong. Gorgeous cover though, so that's something.
To start off, I'm not giving this 1 star, despite having dnf-d it, because I only save 1 stars for books I really did not like. And I just didn't care for Iron Flower, it's not a bad book, but it isn't a book for me, unfortunately. The Black Witch was though, so I honestly have no idea how the book went from that to this...
So, let me summarize this book for you:
"Oh Yvan! Oh Lucas! Oh Yvan! Let me make out with Lucas. But Yvan is so beautiful! But I can't have him. Oh Lucas! blah blah blerhhh!!"
In other words, ya fantasy is dead because ya romance has killed it. RIP. The entirety of 33 percent of the book that I read was filled with Elloren wishing she was with Yvan, Elloren thinking that Yvan is beautiful, Yvan glaring at Elloren with passion, Elloren making out with Lucas, Elloren thinking how she can't have Yvan.... You got the idea. If romance overload and love triangle tropes are your jam, you will love this book. Me? I loathe those things.
For a book that's 608 pages long 33 percent is not little, so for nothing to happen in those 33 percent is really mind boggling. That's why I just had to give up reading - I couldn't care less about the romance, or Elloren as a main character, and with plot going absolutely nowhere and telling us nothing new, even Diana (what little of her was there) couldn't save this book for me.
Which is really sad because I was so sure that I'd have loved this. So what happened? The Black Witch (despite rising a storm of stupid controversy) was a wonderful and engaging book. Sure, the romance was still there but other things more than made up for it. I read Black Witch in 1 day! That's 608 pages in 24 hours people, and it isn't a small feat.
The Black Witch had a story - it was a beginning, a new chapter in life for Elloren - she was sheltered, she was naive, she was bullied and she had to go out there and find her truth. And she did, and it was beautiful. The Iron Flower focused more on which character was in love with which character, what material her dress was made of and how many times can Yvan stare at her without Elloren bursting into flames. There was very little substance, unfortunately, in it for me.
The writing also got very repetitive - there was a lot of "shivering", "glaring", "drawing a breath" and in general the descriptions were over explained an drawn out. The ending of The Black Witch had a huge cast of characters and they were all present almost immediately here without any throwbacks really, so it was hard to remember who was who at first. I'm sure the book gets better, and some things do happen eventually, I just don't have any patience to wait around for that.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with a digital arc of the book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
How much of a good thing is too much? Five books? Nine books? How about sixteen books? White Night was a book nine and unless something ground breaking happens I don't think I will make it to book 16 (there's more coming after that too I'm sure).
This was everything that a good Dresden Files novel should be: witty, non-stop action with some sexual tension and hilarious remarks. But I still felt a little bit bored. Maybe because we already met the villain in the previous book. Maybe because the concept seemed really cool, but then everything kind of got turned around 360 degrees and I just wasn't into it? I don't know, this wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly great either. Especially in the middle - things dragged quite a bit, despite the never ending action (I don't even know how's that possible).
But, once again the ending was amazing and I will be definitely picking up number 10, just maybe not too soon. This is definitely not a series you can binge, it does get quite repetitive. You want to stretch them out and savor every book a good time apart from one another. Don't worry about forgetting stuff - Butcher is great about catching the reader up (one of the best really).
What I love most about Dresden Files, besides the hilariousness that is Harry, is how relatable and real the books are. I think the crazy attention to details largely contributes to that. I love how Butcher never forgets that Mouse is a living, breathing, pooping dog and not just a super hero side kick. I love that Harry gets cranky and tired, and he sleeps and eats like a normal functioning human. In too many books main characters are portrayed as those "super warrior machines that only keep fighting for justice, or whatever". Harry is real and I think that's the beauty of it. Also, he can make fun of himself and it's hilarious and I just love it.
I also especially adore Harry and Thomas's relationship - those two give me life. I really need more of their interaction in every book. Even Bob the Skull is a fantastic and well rounded character.
I did think that there was going to be more of Molly in this book, but I guess after being the main distorter in previous book she kind of took a step back - which is fine, I'm not particularly fond of Molly. I liked how Elaine was brought back, but also thought that there was nearly not enough of hermit all. Also, I never really liked suzan, so can we just stop mentioning her? Plus, there hasn't been a sex scene in at least two previous books, Butcher are you okay? I'm worried over here. haha.
Despite being a tad bored with this one I still think that these series is a great fun and I love most of these characters dearly. Especially Mouse and Thomas *heart eyes* , he got me under his vampiric charm.
Enjoyed the diversity - hated pretty much everything else.
I'm going to tell myself that this is the last time I'm reading hyped book that everybody absolutely loved, but we all know it isn't true and I will never learn.
I bought the book because of the raving reviews and then it just kinda sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks, because I had an inkling that I wasn't going to like it. And look, I was correct. At least I know myself.
Main reason for me suspecting from the bat that I won't like this was the setting - I can't think of something I care less about than Hollywood (old Hollywood in this case). That's just not my thing. And while my opinion about the "stars" who would do anything (and I mean anything) just to get a little bit of spotlight was already very low, this book lowered it even more.
It's been a couple of days since I've read this, so my feelings aren't as angry as they were right after I finished it - so maybe this review won't be a disaster after all. But what used to be a very coherent and informative review in my head is now merely a half remembered ramble.
I guess saying that everybody in this book is a horrible human being is a good place to start as any. Except Harry and Monique's mother. Everybody else is honestly barely a human, they are quite the monsters. Starting obviously with Evelyn herself. I'm thinking that the idea of this book was to show that even people like Evelyn are real, raw and as vulnerable as anybody else. I think. Because I did not get that. If I was supposed to feel any pity whatsoever towards her - I didn't. I honestly think that she deserved what came to her.
And I love morally grey characters. They are probably the most interesting ones to read and "dissect" for me. But, Evelyn is not morally a grey character, in my opinion. Because morally grey characters do wrong things mostly for the very right reasons. Or do good things for wrong reasons - Evelyn did everything in her life for one reason and one reason only (pardon, two reasons haha) - fame and money. Even if she claimed otherwise, it was always about fame and money.
It's hard to talk about this book without smiling anything, so !!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!!.
!!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!!. !!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!!. !!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!!.
Evelyn is very flaky as a character. I don't know if it was done on purpose, or if she just wasn't fully developed as a character. As she is telling her story she makes both statements which contradict one another a 100 percent. Evelyn says that she learned her from mistakes and she knows that she did everything wrong and that she chose all the wrong things to pursue in life, while all she ever wanted was love and family. 30 or so pages down the road Evelyn says that she would do everything she did again exactly the same and that she doesn't regret a single decision. Which is it Evelyn? Did you learn from your mistakes or did you not? It's a yes or no question, Evelyn!
I don't think she learned anything. It is shown through many, many decisions she kept making throughout the book, but it is definitely solidified with her last decision. When Evelyn encountered something she couldn't cheat, something she couldn't sleep her way out of - she decided that she would just rather die than let the world know that breast cancer beat her.
First of all, how cowardly is that? Second of all, her daughter died from breast cancer - a true and loving mother would never take her own life, but would battle it and live through what her baby lived through, because no pain is too great for a mother that truly loves her daughter. If anything, a true mother would have thought that the experience, no matter how painful it is, would bring her closer to her daughter still. Third, for all her "caring" about Grace - did she even think how Grace would take these news?? Grace was sent on a lovely vacation - imagine her coming back and finding that her employed killed herself? Throught out the book it was made clear that Grace cared for Evelyn, so Evelyn's last act wasn't just cowardly and selfish, she managed to hurt another human being in the process yet again.
And how maddening was the scene in the hotel? "... and you knew that he wasn't going to use a condom...." Evelyn, you are a grown woman, tell a man to get a f-king condom or he can go and blow himself if he doesn't. She thought herself in control of that night, but that detail shows that she really wasn't at all. Sure, you can argue that her plan wouldn't work if she told him to wear a condom, but hey she's an actress she could have simply told him that they are too hot, too young and too famous to have a baby from the first time having sex (he's a grown man he knows how babies are made) and that would have sobered a rock star like him up real quick.
I can honestly talk for pages about how much I hated Evelyn, but there would be no point in that really. I can just as well love the book even if it has a horrible, morally corrupted main character (Lying in wait by Liz Nugent is a great example of that, I loved that sick and twisted book so much!), but other things have to work in the book for me. And so far the characters and the setting did not. So let's move onto the plot.
It was just okay, I guess. People keep calling the book revolutionary, but I just don't see it. The plot twists were pretty cliche, and not that well executed in general. Especially the scene with the car crash - oh don't get me started on the scene with the car crash. I'm sorry, are police officers on the scene were actually blind puppies?? Because you can't just pull a body out of the car, take it to the hospital and pretend that the other person (you f-king left there to die) was driving, and that the actual driver just died from a heart attack! The driver had cuts all over his face and his neck was bleeding, his blood was all over the car - Evelyn bought the silence of a cabby driver and some nurses, but what about detectives and police? This scene needed way more research done.
Also, what was the point of Monique's side plot line? To show that she could walk away from her husband? To show that she can get the job she wants? What was the point of her mother coming to town? I wanted to like Monique but she was so underdeveloped, it wasn't even funny. She was just there, just another captivated audience member to the show that was all about Evelyn. Sure, there was that big twist at the end, which wasn't as shocking as it surely intended to be. Sure, Evelyn was the one who would "understand Evelyn's need to take her own life and not interfere" because, her Monique is apparently also a coward). But as a whole, her character was very and sadly bland.
While I'm on the subject - we lost so many people to suicide in 2018, you'd think that a book wouldn't try and promote the message of "dying on your own terms" or whatever, any further. Suicide affects everybody - not just the one who dies, it leaves a plethora of hurt and pain and emotions to the other people. If anything books should be telling the message of "keep going" , "it will get better" , "get help" , "sure, it hurts, it's painful, but it's how the life is and it's worth it". You do realize that the book is probably influencing tons of depressed teens and adults who think "hey, if Evelyn did it maybe should I?". I wouldn't wish this kind responsibility on my worst enemy. Sure, Evelyn had no family left, but Evelyn is fictional, and the readers are not. By the way if you are reading this and you are in a bad place emotionally, just remember that you are not alone, you are loved and I am always willing to offer a listening ear and a comforting word.
Moving onto the romance - the only real feeling of love I got was for Harry and Evelyn - that was love, everything else was either lust, possession, obsession or the need to control. I felt lust between Evelyn and Celia, I felt great friendship between them, but their love was so toxic, I am hesitant to call it true love, because that's not what true love is or should be.
Speaking of true love, it seems that the concept is very lost in this book. When Monique's mom describes her love for Monique's father - in the book it's described as soul mate love, as the purest love of all relationships in the book. And it totally ignores the fact that her husband cheated on her? Kept secrets from his so called soul mate, and led a second life with a man. You don't lie to your soul mate - that isn't true love.
The only thing that kept me going with this books is how compulsively readable it was - it was definitely a page turner. But mostly because things kept getting stretched out and Evelyn kept hinting at things to keep readers engaged - which is a cheap writing trick, but hey, it worked really well. I honestly couldn't put it down, no matter how mad it made me.
Speaking of writing - I enjoyed it - it went really well with the tone of the book, and did a great job at describing shocking parts about the "glamour of Hollywood" But, to me it held no emotion. People kept promising tears with this book and I didn't even tear up once. I'd call myself a cold hearted bitch, but I cry at videos of puppies eating carrots, so I know it isn't me this time. The way things were written gave away a lot of the things that were going to happen, so when the sad thing happened, I already knew it would and thus had no emotion to show for it any longer.
Also, the conversations felt very stiff at some points. Especially when Evelyn was explaining her sexuality to people - what should have came out as a natural conversation felt like a school lesson with Evelyn just drilling the same point over and over again. I think that took away from believability a bit.
Obviously, from this long and ranty review you can tell that this book did not work out for me. But that's just me. Lots of people loved it. I am okay with being in minority. I'm not here to change people's opinions, I am here to simply state mine. I am also not here to apologize for my, I guess popular opinions, because there are mine. I felt what I felt and I constructively expressed that.
"Protect a flower, destroy pests who wanted to feed on it. Protect a building, destroy the plants that could have grown in the soil. Protect a man. Live with the destruction he creates.”
The problem with reading Brandon Sanderson is that after you want to read more Brandon Sanderson. I've tried reading two books after, but nothing just holds up.
If there ever was a book that played me for a fool - this is it. I spent 60 percent of the book rooting for the wrong guy and hating a very decent character. I still don't know how I let myself to be so blinded.
“They say a man doesn't know himself until he faces death for the first time. . . I don't know about that. It seems to me that the person you are when you're about to die isn't as important as the person you are during the rest of your life. Why should a few moments matter more than an entire lifetime?”
The characters of this book are phenomenal. I do have to be honest and say that Mistborn era 1 still has better cast (but only because it's larger), but Warbreaker comes pretty close.
Siri for starters is my new favorite female character. She is more than that - she is my soul mate. She is both a person I am and I person that I am always striving to be.
Lightsong is somebody that I'm having trouble describing. He's got so many angles - he's warm and funny, and fuzzy and precious, but he also has a very deep and emotional side. You just have to experience Lightsong, that is the only way to know and understand him.
Vasher and Nightblood are a charismatic duo. Vasher is a grump and Nightblood is hilarious in his own way. Now I also understand why people say that Clef from Foundryside is basically Nightblood's "twin" (by the way, if you haven't read Foundryside by Robert Bennett, I highly recommend that you do so - great industrial fantasy!).
Vivienna is Siri's opposite, in every way imaginable - but I loved how their thoughts and insecurities kept intertwining, in the end they were more similar than they knew.
There are more characters, but I don't want to give anything away.
“You don't have to believe in my miracles. You can call them accidents or coincidences, if you must. But don't pity me for my faith. And don't presume that you're better, just because you believe something different.”
As usual the book was full of wisdom and quotable sayings, as all of Sanderson's books usually are. It's hard for me to choose what I love best- the character developments or the way the plot kept weaving and twisting - they both are done exceptionally well. A new favorite, that's for sure. Which his what I've been needing lately, because nothing manages to hold my attention. So this book was a beautiful ray of color for my soul.
The Warbreaker does have an open ending of sorts. It's not a cliff hanger, but there are a lot of things that can happen after, and quite a few things that weren't fully explained. The book was published in 2009, and in 2016 there were some mentions of book 2, which is going to be titled Nightblood, but we're in the later half of 2018 and no news yet. It's going to be a long wait, folks. I don't know how those of you who read this when it came out survive it - I need more right now!
“You want to be competent? she thought. You want to learn to be in control of what goes on around you, rather than just being pushed around? Then you’ll have to learn to deal with failure.”
“Be careful what you say, Rah,” he said. “Be careful what you do. Open your eyes. Watch before you speak. Speak before you act. Trust those who have earned your trust. That is our way.”
I don't know if my expectations were too high, or what, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed every single other of Madson's books. The novel is brilliantly written, so this really just came down to my personal taste. Something just didn't click in We Ride the Storm for me. And with this review I will attempt to discuss what it was.
It didn't help much that I only enjoyed one character out of three. In my opinion Cassandra was the only one who brought something new to the story. With the strange voice in her head Cassandra was interesting, to say the least. Although I just couldn't buy her "assassin" side, if you will. It lacked development in the beginning and in the end it just felt too easy, too staged.
Didn't care one bit about Rah, his chapters were a chore to get through. 90 percent of the time Rah is there just sewing head off the bodies, and there's only so much excitement in that. He was too righteous for my liking, but also at the same time I found him to be the weakest character. Both in development and in character strength.
“Lesson number four. Sometimes those who seek to help you are the worst enemies of all.”
Miko. I don't know how to feel bout Miko, mostly because I just don't get it. I don't get the drive that she (and Hana) for that matter had for the empire. Although Hana had more reasons than Miko did for sure. Everything these "royal blooded" characters do is always for the empire, but we don't get to see the empire in the story much. Only when it's burning. But there is never any interaction between regular people, who compose the empire, and the ones who rule it. All of the action is always of political nature and is always done in the court of the palace. That is the big reason as of why I don't understand the drive, because to me it seems like they care nothing about the empire and it's people, they only want the throne.
For about 80 percent of the book Miko is very much like Hana - they both make very stupid decisions, and they both are driven by the same things. Even the way Miko took the throne was very similar to how Hana did. Altogether, to me We Ride the Storm was way too similar to the Vengeance Trilogy. I know the all of the things were just supposed to be nods to the other books, but with so many of them - they just became very repetitive. Most of the time I felt as I've "been there done that". Characters make a lot of the same choices, the driving force and reason are very much the same for both stories, there's the same war going on - I just feel like I didn't get anything new out of this.
Now for the only character I truly enjoyed, even though there was barely any of him in the book - Leo. Leo was great! That is all I have to say about him. I did like how the ending took a few interesting twists and am intrigued to see where it takes some of the characters. Particularly Cassandra and her new "companion".
All of Madson's book series can be read in any order - I read them starting with the novella, then Vengeance Trilogy and then We Ride the Storm. Reading them this way gives the most insight and background as stories just keep layering on top of each other, but you don't have to. You will discover all of the secrets anyway, no matter which order you choose.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Devin Mason for a digital ARC of the book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
When I think of urban fantasy genre Butcher's name is always the very first that pops into my mind, so I guess you can't really rival with that. The man is good.
I picked up book #8 after almost a 2 year hiatus from Dresden Files (not on purpose or anything) and man the way he catches the reader up with everything is phenomenal. I had no trouble remembering who is who and what has happened! Kudos, Butcher, kudos!
Dresden files is always a great and fun read for me. When I'm in the slump I pick up Dresden. when I'm in a reading mood I pick up Dresden. It's fun, it's fast paced (this book was almost 500 pages long but never once was I bored) and it's pretty funny!
Proven guilty was definitely a transition book, but I missed this universe so much that even that satisfied me. This book opened many paths for the next book, but unfortunately for me they will be focused heavily on Molly, whom I don't care for (but maybe she will grow on me?)
The ending scene with Molly was hilarious (once again me not liking her might have contributed to me laughing very hard at the scene, even though it was just a bit mean as well). But mostly hilarious. And the actual ending of the book was very sweet. Cannot wait to continue!
I have to admit, I was beyond ecstatic when I got approved for an ARC of this. I've seen it circulating on Goodreads prior and once I read the description I was SOLD! Well, if you know me then you know that anything that has "thief" in it sells me basically. I just love my grey characters!
But Sancia is much more than just a thief. Sancia is different, and I don't mean it in the "ohhh I'm so pretty but I think I'm so ugly special snowflake character" way - these should be outlawed by the way, lol. Sancia is strong, witty, brave and brutally honest. She also is not the one to fall down to peer pressure. You know how in most fantasy books it's "hey I just met you but can you go and do all this crazy dangerous stuff for me that can get you killed but it's a prophecy so you must do it" ? Well, Sancia is having none of that. Sancia knows how and when to say no, and when to say yes and I loved her for that.
If you can't tell, Sancia is my girl, and I truly enjoyed her character. Every little bit of it. And I also enjoyed Clef a lot. Clef is the most hilarious and at the same time the saddest character out there. You just have to read this to experience this paradox. And as I am a reader that always goes for the side characters, Berenice is the knees bees - the only complaint is that I wish we got more of her. Next book hopefully!
Now, the whole time I was reading this- I felt at home. Familiar. And then I realized why. It gave me the biggest, strongest Mistborn vibes. A street urchin with anxieties, a heist, a voice in the head, people able to fly in the air, god-like characters and much more. Is this Mistborn re-imagined or is this an ode to Brandon Sanderson? Fine with me either way to be honest, because I loved it nonetheless.
The writing did feel a bit silly to me at first, especially the dialog. Might be because before this book I just finished The Return of the King, and coming back to regular language after the grandeur of Tolkien was a bit shocking. But once I got used to it I enjoyed it tons. It was so readable - I flew through this in 3 days (would have read it faster if I didn't have to work). Damn you work!
The book held my attention almost completely, but it did have few moments in which I started drifting away, but which book doesn't, right? Also I must mention - the book got progressively more and more brutal. Like, wow hold on to your chairs brutal.
Lastly, I want to talk about this book's diversity. Flawless. You know how most books nowadays force diversity on the reader (because that's where them only are apparently). Well. not this book. It was so seamless, so perfect and it gave so much dimension to the story. Especially thankful for two main characters having ptsd and for how believable it was portrayed. But I am evermore thankful for my "ship" for sailing.
I was dismayed to learn that the book ends in a way that makes you want, need, must must must read the next book immediately. So, Jackson Bennett, you better write second book soon and quick, thank you.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy of the book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
So I resolved to dedicate the rest of 2018 to reading only fantasy books (adult mostly, with one or two YA thrown in). But for Dry I made an exception because when Shusterman writes a new dystopian I must read it!
This was an impossible to put down read, definitely, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be, unfortunately. Which kind of doesn't makes sense said together like that, but hear me out. The writing, the pace and the subject were gripping, but the character development together with some plot holes definitely put a damp into it.
The beautiful and also scary thing about Shusterman's books, is that they feel so real. So freaking real. This might as well have been a news report on TV - it was so believable. And that is the scary part of it. Sure, Dry is just a book, today. But tomorrow, or 2 years from now it might as well be a reality.
California draught is a real thing that has been happening, and as far as I can tell will only get worse. But will it come to the events that this fiction book portrayed? I think it will. And I also think that it will come to even worse of an outcome.
Environmental tendencies and using is the real reason why I love Neil Shusterman so much. Scythe was full of them , and Dry has even more. And I truly think that it's just way we need. We need to read about what might happen to us if we keep living the way we live now. We need to see the ugly side of humanity, if only so we can prevent it in the future. Hopefully. The sad part is, the natural disaster wasn't a true problem in this book. The true problem were the people who created the disaster in the first place. And who handled it so terribly wrong. I don't think that the planet will eventually kill us. I think that we will kill each other first.
The writing was superb. The pace made this book read like a movie - which I loved. The characters .... Ehh. They were good, or they had good potentials but I don't think any of them reached it. They just weren't flushed out enough. It may have to do with too many POV's throughout the book. The reader never got a chance to fully attach to a specific character, really.
The plot also had quite a few holes and things that weren't explained well enough (why was a 13 year old home alone for weeks? Were there two helicopters at the end? and many more...). I honestly kept wishing for more water shortage related facts - how they got there, how other states near the lake managed to be okay, but only California crashed and burned. I just wanted more science behind the disaster. But nook instead focused largely on the characters and how they were navigating it, which is fine, but I wanted more of a background.
Also, I thought it was quite comical that when we finally get a sensible YA main character it feels very weird at first. I couldn't understand why this girl was so mature and why wasn't she boy crazy and drowning in puberty? Which is embarrassing to admit, but it is what I've come to expect from YA books. But I seemed to forget that this is Shusterman we are taking about. And his girl characters rock hard (looking at you Citra!).
In the end, while I do think that the book could use a bit more flushing out and a bit more plot development I still absolutely recommend it to everyone. If only for the topic that it covers. It's so important. And we need more books like this. Real life dystopian books (is that a genre?Can it be one?)
Big thanks to the Simon TEEN publishing and Simon and Schuster books for young readers for sending me an advanced copy for the review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Not exactly the hobbit food, but my tomato sandwich looked so good I just had to include it!
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
This second installment (or the middle of the book to be more correct) is phenomenal. If you had some trouble trudging thought the songs and the first and second breakfasts in the first book, this book is your reward. The story, the characters, the sass! The Two Towers is the best of Tolkien bottled up in a bottle. The bottle of the finest, richest wine.
“I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to.”
Many new characters came onto the scene and I adored every single one of them. Treebeard especially, and the fact that he was somewhat based on Tolkien's friend Lewis (the author of The Chronicles of Narnia) was beyond heartwarming. Literary world needs more friendships as one that Tolkien and Lewis had. Two literary geniuses who inspired each other, put each other in each other's books and dedicated books to one another.
As with every great fantasy book that I read I find myself unable to pick just one favorite character - instead I have a small army of favorite characters. Because each of them brings something different to the book, something that I love. The Two Towers is full to the brim with my favorite characters, and yes, Treebeard is definitely one of them. An ancient race of tree beings (very badass beings at that) that can turn the ground upside-down if they get angered enough. But they also could spend hours just enjoying the wind and the earth.
Which brings me once again to Tolkien's tremendous love for nature and the environment - it is one of the very prominent themes of the book, and one that fills my heart with joy. Because of his innate affinity for beauty of nature - Tolkien's writing and descriptions are transportive. You can almost imagine yourself in Middle Earth - being carried high up by Treebeard, or getting lost in the marshes.
Another character that stole my heart with his very first appearance is Faromir - a man even more honest and righteous than Aragorn. Faromir is one of the very few (well one of the only two characters in the whole book who aren't tempted by the ring and its power, not even a little bit) and for that Faromir is definitely a top character for me. Because if you read the book you know how much it says about the person if they aren't even tempted.
But few rival to Sam Gamgee in terms of awesomeness. I am one of those people who thinks that Sam is the true hero of the story, and book two proves so much of that. Sam is the man, thetas honestly all I can say, because his actions speak for themselves.
“Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!”
The Two Tower's pacing is perfect, while The Fellowship of the Ring was very slow to begin, because of the extensive lore that was being explained, the second book is full of adventures, action, sassy comments, beautiful friendships and also sad moments.
Cannot wait wrap up my journey with The Return of the King, although I will also be sad to leave the Middle Earth.
Freelance BETA reader.