Water has been scarce for a while in California. Precautions have been put into place, fines for watering your lawn, pools outlawed and a number of other things; but it is not enough. When the pipes go dry, the world gets a glimpse at true human nature. Alyssa’s parents go missing. She and her brother go looking for them but can they survive this new world?
“…if there’s one thing I know about the news, it’s that it decides for most people – including the federal government – what is and what isn’t important.Alyssa, pg. 23
I am always up for a good dystopian story. I don’t know why but the idea of watching the way humanity reacts and behaves when the rules are gone is fascinating to me. I love human psychology. As a species we think we have everything in order. We think that because we are on top of the food chain that we can manage anything that comes at us. But within days of a crisis we see the real side of human nature. In the end we see that we are all animals and our primary instinct is to survive. Humans are just like animals, we want our species to make it to the next year and we will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.
I enjoyed this premise. I have read a number of dystopian novels and seen a number of shows but I haven’t see one that surrounds running out of water. Usually water is part of the survival series but it is never the thing that is missing. (Note: My timing of reading this book was very ironic because we have had rain every other day for about 2 months now where I live).
I thought the details about how this crisis would take place was well done. I found myself feeling the desperation and the thirst the characters felt. I am not an expert on what happens when you are dying of thirst but I felt like the progression of everything made sense and worked.
(Spoilers for the end, skip to the next “What I thought was okay” section if you want to avoid ending spoilers).
The end of this book was my favorite part. In these dystopian novels it is always about how the world finds itself broken and about the rebuilding process. They tend to end with the characters beginning to find a new normal. The world they knew is gone and not coming back. The government is gone, law and order idea is gone and they are literally starting by farming and beginning life again.
This book was different. It actually ended with the Tap Out being solved and civilization being restored. People are back to living in their homes, normal way of life is back. Things go back to the way we know them. School is back in session and law and order is the same as we have always known it.
There is hope here. Hope that even after a disaster like this one there is the possibility that we can have our lives back. We don’t have to see the end of all humanity in an event like this one. I liked that because it was nice to see that the world doesn’t always have to implode after something like a water shortage.
There is also commentary on the way people live their lives now. They have to live with the decisions they made to survive. They have to confront the darker sides of themselves and now live in civilization with a that knowledge.
“The question is, can you forgive them for being human anyway?”Kelton, pg. 150
I have to say that much of this book as predictable. I think that is mostly because I have read so many of these stories. There is a formula to this whole idea. The crisis happens, people begin to break down and then things enter into chaos. Our characters then have to fight to survive that chaos and this new version of humanity.
I felt like I knew where this was going the whole time. I wasn’t surprised by anything but the ending. There were some interesting twists, such as having Kelton be from a doomsday prepper family but there wasn’t too much more. I wasn’t captured by the story as much as I wanted to be.
“Sometimes it’s the monsters who survive.”Alyssa, pg. 351
I did not connect to any of the characters as much as I would have liked to. Alyssa was alright but I didn’t find myself loving her. Kelton teetered on the edge of interesting. He was supposed to be this tough guy who is broken down and rebuilt but there was just something missing from him. I didn’t love him or hate him. I just was indifferent to him.
I think all the characters would have been more interesting if we had gotten a deeper look at their changing personalities. We start to see them decide to do things in order to survive. But we never dive deep into that thought process or have time where they are contemplating what they are doing. In the end we see people reflecting on their choices but I wanted to see our core group be truly affected by having to do what they did to survive. Instead it gets a bit glossed over instead.
I gave this book 3 stars. While I enjoyed it I think I would have been more captured by it if the characters had more depth to them.
Everworld is a disaster. Senna has brought in her minions and is intent on destroying everything in order to get the power she wants. Christopher, April, Jalil and David have a decision to make. Save this world or return to their own?
(Spoiler warning for the end of the series)
I am going to do the last three books in this series in one review. I finished this a little while ago while I was on hiatus. I remember really liking the end when I read it years ago but this read through I found myself disappointed.
I find it really interesting how you change the way you see things as you grow older. As a teenager I appreciated the story, I loved the characters and their voices because they matched mine. I also thought the way the story ended was perfect.
Now as a 30 year old woman who has studied writing and is working on her own novel I find the ending of this series very all over the place. There was so much that happened in the last few books.
The whole Sennities storyline felt thrown in. found myself super interested in that storyline. I wanted to see more about how they took over. I wanted to see them adjust and the world adjust around them. I wanted to see how they make people change in this world.
One of the big points of this series is that Everworld is unchanging. They are stuck in the myths and beliefs they were given when they were created. They can’t change who they are because there are no people left to worship and change them.
Instead that whole story Sennanite story was left hanging. We have no idea how that plays out. We don’t know what happens to them. We don’t get any conclusion to that story other then they are running around shooting people.
Then there is the whole story of Ka Anor. The whole series is about all the gods trying to find a way to save themselves from this alien god. I swear I remember them finding a true solution to that problem. I swear I remember reading them going into a final battle while a solid plan. Instead we got nothing of that sort.
Again we are left with nothing. We have no idea how that is going to fix itself. We don’t know if they will win or lose. We don’t know the history of Ka Anor and why he just showed up in this world. His whole character is a vague shape that is just hovering around in the background. I found myself wanting so much more from that fight and storyline. I wanted to see at least that solved but we got nothing.
The only real satisfying end we got was from our four characters. Though I say satisfying loosely. I like the way they ended but I also think the decision they made could have been pulled out through the last few books instead of just the last one.
The four main characters choose to stay in Everworld. They realize that their lives are destined for that world instead of our own. You can’t go back after all they have seen and done. The issue is that in about 200 pages they make this huge decision. April goes back and forth trying to decide but her ultimate decision is made in a snap of a finger. I wanted to see her fight harder, wanted to see this decision truly be difficult for her.
In the end this series fell flat at the end. There was so much more that could have been done. I still like the series. I still love the idea of a world putting all these myths together like a quilt. I love the characters. I still think they feel real and true. I just wish Applegate hadn’t given up at the end.
Magnus and Alec’s relationship is new. They go on their first vacation together. Though things do not go as planned when they learn that Magnus might have started his own cult. Their time together becomes a race to find out what this cult is up to and to stop things before everything falls apart.
“It’s romantic because it’s sharing knowledge about the world… The one who knows about stars teaches the one who doesn’t know. That’s romantic.”Magnus – pg. 20
Alec and Magnus have always been my favorite characters in the Shadowhunters series. I was drawn to them because they were real and I felt like they were different then the other stories. I was very happy to see that they were going to get their own series.
This story took place when Magnus and Alec go on their vacation together after the initial battle in the first half of the Mortal Instruments series. It was interesting to go back and see what they were thinking and doing during this part of the story. I always saw the vacation as just a fun moment between them. I didn’t think there was too much that happened but this book showed that were was a lot more.
I think my favorite part of this book was that this story showed us the issues creeping up in their relationship. You see Alec wondering if this is right for him. You see Mangus wondering if Shadowhunters and warlocks can work or if they are always doomed.
I think it helped reading this knowing how this relationship ends up. I didn’t get too angry at some of the things that other characters said to them because I know they win in the end. I don’t know if this takes away from the emotional impact of the story though.
I also liked that this series is going to reference a huge issue I had with the Dark Artifices series. A certain character returns and there is no real explanation for it. In this series it seems like that will get answered.
“Sometimes, love worked, past any hope of change, when no other force in this world could. Without love, the miracle never came.”Magnus, pg. 79
I think the only true issue I am going to have with this series is that I know how this all ends. I know that Magnus and Alec figure things out. I know that they will be happy. Knowing all of this makes it hard for me to worry about the angst and issues brought up.
I like that we get to see where these thoughts creep in but I thought the original series did this well. I thought it did a good job at letting us know why Alec had issues with immortality. I feel like it will be more of me reading it going “Oh, so that is why he thought that,” instead of sitting on the edge of my seat upset and scared about what is going to happen to them.
I also wonder if this series is going to work inside the other story. I feel like there is going to be a lot that has to happen, but there was a lot going on in the other books too. I hope there isn’t a moment where things are just forgotten.
“Fear is all some people understand.”Shinyun, pg. 234
There was nothing that really through me out of this story. I enjoyed it. I did feel like some of the moments were a bit ridiculous, like the whole hot air balloon thing. I think some of the moments could have been toned down and more realistic but I still enjoyed the book.
I gave this book four stars. I am eager to see how it continues and if nothing else more Malec time is fine with me.
I was at my uncles and he was getting rid of some book and two of them were the prequel and sequel to the main Foundation series. I liked the summaries of those, so he recommended I read the original series instead. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to read the three main books in the Foundation series, it was a large book. In the end I got through all three books in about 2-3 weeks.
The Foundation series follow a civilization trying to keep themselves from complete destruction. Hari Seldon spent his life creating the Seldon plan. He knows that their universe is going to end up breaking down and falling a part. His math shows him that it will take 30,000 years to reinstate an empire. His plan will close that window into 1,000 years instead.
He creates two Foundation societies. These are placed on the opposite ends of the universe. They are in charge of following his plan and making sure that everything works to his plan. The three books go through some of the high points of following the plan.
One of the most interesting parts of this series is that it doesn’t follow a single character. We get to jump into characters during small portions of the time frame. The whole series takes place over hundreds of years. Instead of centering the story on these characters, it is the plot.
The creation of a new empire is the real character in this story. I was wrapped up in how they were going to make this work. They hit snags and it was fascinating to watch as different aspects of civilization popped up and faded away.
There was commentary on religion as a controlling mechanism that was interesting. I felt like I was reading about our own world’s history in fast forward. Trade came and went. Dictators came and went. The reader saw how this all could happen and why it was done to keep towards this path of a new strong empire.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this series since there wasn’t any characters to latch on. I am a character reader. I look for someone I can relate too. Instead I found myself wrapped up in the way this whole thing took place. I wanted the empire to survive and I was okay with however that was done.
My uncle is adamant the prequel and one sequel are not that good. They were written years and years later. I do have them and might one day read them but right now I think I will stick with just the original series.
Over the last few months I decided to take a hiatus from posting on my blog. There was quite a bit going on for me throughout April and May and part of June. I was super busy at work, events and ending programming and preparing for the summer.
I also got quite busy in my personal life as well. There was a moment I was spending quite a bit a time with people, but then walls were thrown up and that has nearly stopped. So my time was monopolized and I was staring to force getting reviews and posts out.
What I found out was that I was beginning to dread writing a blog post. I was dreading picking my next book to read because I didn’t know if it was going to be too long and thus make it hard for me to keep on any type of schedule for posting a review.
I found myself finding random things to post but not really caring much about what I was writing. Posting was becoming a job and one that I did not want to go to.
I also was realizing that posting was taking away from me writing my novel. I found myself using my blog posts as an excuse not to write my book. I knew that I needed to rethink my priorities and decide what I wanted this blog to truly be.
So, I took a few months off and let myself concentrate on what I really wanted to concentrate on. I gave my full attention to the work events that needed my attention. I figured out what I was going to do about the messy aspects of my persona life and I also truly sat down with my novel and found my love for that story.
I feel like I am in a better place now to start blogging again. I do plan on changing things up a little bit though. Instead of trying to force a schedule that is going to throw me back into writing just to write I am going to post when I want to. I know this is not good for cultivating a true following or search results but at the end of the day I just like talking about the books I read.
Yes, I did start this blog to help get my writing out into the world and bring attention to my personal pieces. I still would like to do that but in the end this blog is just a fun place for me to talk about my books. I want to make sure that I am doing that in a way that is enjoyable to me. So, there may be months where I post a lot and there will be months where I only post one or two posts. I am not going to stress myself over it anymore.
I have some books backlogged that I will write reviews for. I know some tags I would like to do. I will probably have a handful of things schedueled for a while but once I read a book and want to talk about it, I will review it. I am not going to shy away from a book I really want to read because it may take me too long and thus delay my blog posting schedule.
Hopefully you’ll choose to hang out with me and enjoy the reviews I post. I also hope to start reading other’s posts more. I do enjoy doing that but when I took my hiatus I wanted to put a wall up between me and everything related to blogging. Now I am ready to take that wall back down and start fresh.
(This is a review for the second book in the series. Potential spoilers for the first book)
Sari has finally found true love. She has found a way to move her home and start life anew. Though that is a bit hampered by the fact that she is dead. Minya is out for revenge and is the one that holds onto Sari’s thin thread of life. Can Sari save not only herself but her siblings and Lazlo from oblivion.
For me this series has seemed more Minya’s series than Sari and Lazlo’s. While I like their characters I felt like Minya’s storyline was the more intriguing and interesting of the three.
I thought the way that Minya’s and Nova’s stories of revenge and anger were told were interesting. I felt like Nova’s story shocked Minya and put what she was fighting for in perspective. Minya was blinded by her anger and her fear. She wanted to fix something that could never be fixed.
We see that Minya has been the one holding too many secrets for way too long. She knows what life was like before The Carnage. She knows what she had to do in order to save her siblings. She is a child that had to make adult decisions that became etched into her soul.
While Nova was angry at being separated from her sister. She was single minded and she was ruthless. We see that she stopped caring about anyone and I think seeing her and where she ended up shocked Minya. I liked the way the story used Nova’s story to give Minya to see the consequences of her actions.
I also like that we learn more about the different realms or realities in this book. There was a good hint at where a series could continue to go in this world. Particularly with Thyon. I am very curious to know more about him and would love to get a whole series or book about him alone. I feel like there is a deep story there to explore.
I stated it above but I felt like Sari and Lazlo were telling this story but shouldn’t have been telling this story. I felt like their story ended in the first book. They both got what they wanted, they fixed their issues and in this one they became more a victim of circumstance than anything else.
I felt like they had no conflict or place to go after the first book. There was no real development of either of their characters. They were stagnant. Not saying I didn’t like them but I wanted to know them better, feel more connected to them. In the end I just felt like I wanted to get around them to get to the other characters.
We got hints at the original gods story but we didn’t get nearly as much detail as I would have liked. It started off promising. We got Nova’s story which was the beginning of Skathis and his crew but then it was rushed through. We got a paragraph describing how he got to Weep and that was it.
I felt like we needed to know more about them. I wanted to understand them and why they were so cruel and evil. Why did they choose this city to use as a hunting ground? Why did they go after all the women here? Did they do that other places? What were their plans? What were their histories? It may have been too much for this story but I felt like we needed a bit more to them.
I gave this book 3 stars. I think if it had answered a few more questions and tied Lazlo and Sari’s characters into the story more I would have felt like it was more complete.
“Have an enemy, be an enemy. Hate those who hate you. Hate them better. Hate them worse. Be the monster they fear the most.” (pg. 35)
“You can be on the same side and have different ideas.” (pg. 110)
“The mind is good at hiding things, but there’s something it cannot do: It can’e erase. It can only conceal, and concealed things are not gone. They rot. They fester, they leak potions. They ache and stink. They hiss like serpents in tall grass.” (pg. 227)
“There comes a certain point with a hope or a dream, when you either give it up or give up everything else.” (pg 328)
“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.” (pg. 507)
Lazlo Strange is an outsider. He was orphaned by a war and left with a group of monks. He has grown up thinking he is nothing, just someone to be there to help but never to stand out in the crowd. He lives for one thing, the lost city of Weep.
He is the only one who remembers the real name of Weep which was stolen from his mind. He is the only one who believes that the place is real. He makes it his life mission to find this land and prove its existence.
That chance comes and he is taken to his long dreamed of land. Only it is not a magical place, like he thought. It is lost and needs his help. He finds that what he believed is not the whole story. Weep has a dark past, one that is being told from only one side.
On the other side of Weep’s story is Sari and her siblings. Children of gods who are thrown into a life they don’t know how to navigate. Are they the monsters everyone fears they are? If your parents do horrible things are you then horrible as well? Can you make peace with your past to live for a better future?
This book explores an idea that fascinates me which how is evil created. Is evil something that is born into someone or is evil created by circumstance? The godspawn in this story are the product of evil acts by their parents. They are babies when their parents are killed in what they call The Carnage.
They can’t even remember what happened, except for Minya; more on her in a minute. Sparrow, Ruby, Feral and Sari were left orphaned by the people who were wronged by these gods. They did not grow up with the anger and dangerously dark influence of their parents. They got to grow up on their own, teaching themselves the rules of the world.
The people of Weep though only see their parent’s past mistakes. They hold onto the memories of that darkness. They can’t fathom the idea that Sari and her siblings are not their parents. They believe these gods are evil to their core, that it is part of their nature. But we see that not being true. We see the good these characters can do. I loved that idea and the way it was explored through the different characters.
Minay was the most fascinating character to me. First she is stuck in the body of a six year old. We know she has the mind of an adult but her growth stopped after The Carnage. The idea of this angry child walking around stuck with me. I can see her having this rough and dark attitude but then being in this small body, almost too small to contain all that anger and hurt.
She is the only one who remembers The Carnage. She saved who she could and it eats at her soul that she could not save more of the babies. We see that she is full of anger and resentment towards the people of Weep. She blames all of them for one man’s actions.
It provides an interesting question for the reader. Who is in the wrong? Is anyone in the wrong? The Godslayer did what he thought he had to do to protect his people. Minya did the same. Both see the other as monsters and both are right in a sense. I am very interested to see how this plays out in the second book.
While I like Lazlo and Sari’s relationship it took me a little by surprise. They moved really fast in their falling for each other and for me I felt it was a bit too fast.
Sari has been manipulated and isolated her whole life and she finally finds someone outside of the other godspawn who can see her. She is captivated by him and I understand why. What I didn’t understand was why she fell in love with him right away. I wanted to see her explore who he was more, to try to underhand where he came from better. I even wanted her to be a bit cautious and suspicious of him. Instead she falls right into his arms.
While it didn’t annoy me too much and didn’t make me hate their characters, I did feel like it made them a bit cliche. I am always looking for a character to act outside the norm and wanted her to be a bit darker and edgier. I am curious to see how Sari’s character develops in the next book.
There was nothing that made me upset to removed me from the story. I did feel like it was building quite a bit and a lot of set up but the story telling kept me interested. I think the writing itself helped move the slower parts along.
“It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?” – pg. 25
“Beautiful and full of monsters?
All the best stories are.” – pg. 115
“And that’s ho you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.” pg. 135
“Here was the radical notion that you might help someone simply because they needed it.” pg. 287
This was one of my best reading months yet. It is rare that I can get through more than 3 books in a month. This month I read 8. (Now at least 3 of those were short and I was able to read them in about two days, but still). I have been in a groove with the books I have been reading. They have all been ones that I want to go back to over and over again.
I am currently 3 books ahead of my Goodreads reading goal, which is nice. I like to get ahead so that when I slow down my reading pace I have some room. I know that the next few books I plan on reading will be longer so that room will be good to have.
Haven’t written too much. Some personal things have made it hard for me to focus. I am still part of a writing group so that is forcing me to write something tangible at least every two weeks.
The only blog posts I have written have been reviews this month. I wanted to write more but have been preoccupied and busy. I am hoping to step it up a bit more next month.
Books I read:
The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman – This book started off a series that has potential. I wasn’t enthralled by the book but I did enjoy it and I do plan on continuing with the series soon.
In An Absent Dream– Seanan McGuire – The Wayward Children series is one of my all time favorites. The way these books can focus on issues and tell a compelling story is fantastic. This one hit home and I actually wrote a story based off a quote.
The World of Lore – Monstrous Creatures – Aaron Mahnke- This was fascinating with new information that I hadn’t read before.
Gateway to the Gods – K.A. Applegate – This one looked at the idea of these gods being trapped by their stories which was interesting.
The World of Lore – Wicked Mortals – Aaron Mahnke – This one didn’t thrill me as much as the first one. It veered away from the theme a bit too much.
The Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried – Shaun David Hutchinson – Great characters, might have worked better as a short story instead of a novel.
Brave the Betrayal – K.A. Applegate – Explored the idea of when to hold values and beliefs and when to think about your over all health and safety.
Inside the Illusion – K.A. Applegate – Gave us insight into Senna which helped round out the series.
Since all my posts were reviews this month and they are all linked above I am not going to link them again here.
Shows I watched:
Umbrella Academy – I have heard about this show for a minute and finally gave it a shot. It was fantastic! I adored the characters and loved the storyline. It felt new and refreshing. I adored Klaus and need him as a friend in my life. I really hope there is another season of it!
Queer Eye – The third season of Queer Eye came out on Netflix and I am in love. This show is the definition to positivity and happiness. I adore the way they help people be better and not change who they are. I cannot be unhappy after watching this show!
This is the one I have been looking forward to re-reading the most out of this series. In fact I jumped right into it after Brave the Betrayal instead of reading something else in-between.
This is the only time we get this story from Senna’s POV. I love when we get inside the head of the villain or the antagonist. I find it fascinating to learn how they think and how they make the choices they make. This time was no different.
As I have been reading the series again I found myself not caring much about Senna. I can’t remember how I read her when I first read the series as a teenager. She didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I was curious about her but I wasn’t dying to understand her.
In this book we see that the her past has colored all her decisions. She is resentful and angry. She is someone who blames the world for her issues and she is going to make that world pay. Senna is done being pushed around and left to the side. She is going to rule this world if it kills her.
I understand her anger. She was left by her mother, dropped into her father’s family and left on the outside of a seemingly perfect family. She knew she was different but no one was around to explain to her how or why. Naturally she become a loner and very independent.
Where I lose sympathy for her is her decisions in this world. She is only out for herself and she will use anyone to get what she wants. She doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t care who make it out in the end, as long as she is the one with the power.
Power has corrupted her. I wonder if her mother had been braver and stuck around how Senna would have turned out. I wonder if she would have learned to appreciate her power and use it to help instead of hurt.
I can’t remember exactly what happens from this point on. I don’t know how her story ends but I am almost positive it isn’t well. I am more excited now to continue the series because I want to see where her story goes.