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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee – Review

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Felicity wants nothing else in life other than to be a doctor; but she is a woman in a time that scoffs at the idea of educated women. She needs to find a way around the restrictions placed on her. She teams up  with a mysterious stranger, not knowing what Sim’s ulterior motives are. She meets an old friend and the three of them embark on a journey to save a secret and a legacy.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
In the first book, A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I didn’t care much for Felicity. To me she was nothing more than just the big sister character. She was there to tell Monty when he was wrong and to foil his plans. To me she didn’t hold any real personality of her own.

This book changed my opinion of her all together. We learn that Felicity is a woman stuck in a time that is not for her. She wants to be a doctor. She wants to be independent but she lives in a time where she is told that she is supposed to get married, have kids and take care of her husband. I liked watching Felicity come to terms with who she was and the world she lived in.

She had a fighting spirit that she kept throughout the story. I found it interesting that throughout the story she wasn’t told right out that she was some hero or someone who was going to change the world. She learned that she had to find a way to balance all aspects of her life. It was okay for her to be who she was and she learned that throughout the story. She was able to see that she didn’t have to resign her life to fit what she is told she has to be.

I also liked the three female characters and how they balanced each other throughout this story. Sim was a tough woman, she wanted to be recognized and trusted. She was adventurous and she didn’t back down. But she was also soft as well. She had a softer side which she showed to Felicity.

Johanna was interesting because she was someone who enjoyed dressing up, she wanted to be married and go to parties but she also wanted to study nature and make a name for herself. She liked being taken care of but she also could take care of herself when necessary. I think she played against Felicity’s character well.

The two of them together showed that there is no one way to be a woman. You don’t have to be all girly and poised or defiant and tough. You can be a mix and that is okay. That commentary on not belittling other women for who they are was poignant and important.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t thrilled with the end of this story. I felt a lot was leading up to a very epic end but we got a quick handful of pages. Things were taken care of quite quickly and easily. Our main villain was taken out pretty fast.

I understood why things ended as they did, and it made sense. I just wish there had been more. I felt like it ended and we got to that last point and were just like, “okay, that’s all.” I wanted a bit more to make me feel tense and feel like we truly accomplished something.
What I was just okay with
I read this book quite quickly. I didn’t get hung up on any details. I do think the main premise was a bit of a stretch. I kind of wished the creature they were after was easier to identify. I know it had to be something we have in our world today but I had trouble making a connection.

I think it would have made more of an impact if I knew what they were talking about. In that day and age it was common to mistake certain animals for mythical creatures. They gave these grand ideas and names to these creatures because they didn’t know better. I wanted to be able to say, “Oh, okay, I can see how they saw that as this.”
Four Star
I have this book four stars on Goodreads. I think if there had been a stronger end I would have given it a full five stars.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“I want to understand things. I want to answer every question ever posed me. I want to leave no room for anyone to doubt me.” (pg. 48)

“….it’s hard to be raised in a world where you’re taught to always believe what men say without doubting yourself at every step.” (pg. 69)

“But one can only spend so long booklets in the company of another human before one feels compelled to make conversation.” (pg. 210)

“You refused to let me – or anyone! – like books and silks. Outdoors and cosmetics. You stopped taking me seriously when I stopped being the kind of woman you thought I had to be to be considered intelligent and strong.” (pg. 246)

“So if you can’t win the game, you have to cheat.” (pg. 297)

What If It’s Us – Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli – Review

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Ben and Arthur have a chance meeting in a post office. Arthur stumbles over his words, completely out of his element. Ben is just trying to mail his ex-boyfriend his things back. What is the universe trying to tell these two? Can you be destined for the one you run into for a moment? How can they make this work? Should it work?

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I had to get this book the moment I heard about it. I adore Adam Silvera. His books are among some of my favorites. He has a way of making you feel deeply for his characters. Normally his books are extremely emotional, while Becky Albertalli’s book are sweeter, cuter romances. I was very interested to see how these two could create one story.

I liked that you couldn’t tell this was written by two different people. Sometime when a book is coauthored you can hear the different writing voices. I have been able to tell before just by word choice and way the story flows. In this book everything flows right. It probably helps that each of them wrote one of the characters. Silvera wrote Ben and Albertalli wrote Arthur. They were each able to give the characters their own personalities while keeping the story as one complete and whole story.

I will say I liked Arthur better in this book. Arthur was just adorable. He was this guy who had no idea what he was doing. He kept describing himself as having “no chill,” and there could be no better way of saying it. He was always stumbling over himself and his words. He was a lost little puppy just trying to figure out this new world around him. I thought he was adorable. I loved the way he tried so hard.

I liked the theme of this story, that the universe had some part in the relationship of these two. They meet in a post office but don’t exchange numbers. They then have to go through an elaborate scheme to find each other. I am someone who constantly talks about how “the universe,” needs to do this or that. I liked that they equated parts of their relationship to being done for them.

As the story moves forward you realize it is the work done by them that makes this work.  For all their talk about the universe they do what needs to be done to make this whole thing work. I liked the way these two idea flowed into one another.

All of the references to Harry Potter, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were awesome. As a lover of all three of those I adored the shout outs and references. It was nice nod to those popular things.

I know that the end of this book is a diverse one. I will say that I adored the end. The end, to me, fits perfectly with this story. It is real. It makes sense for their age. It also fits perfectly with the theme of the universe having a controlling force in their lives. I don’t want to go into too much more detail but the end works well because of how real it felt.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t as thrilled with Ben’s character as I was with Arthur. While he did end up growing on me at first he was a bit annoying. He seems a bit self centered and that was bothering me. You could tell that at first he didn’t quite want to be with Arthur. I felt like he was so hung up on his ex that he was being a jerk to Arthur.

I wanted him to just give Arthur a chance. I felt like he was acting like he was obligated to be with him, even though he searched for him. In the beginning I had a lot of trouble reading him and I didn’t like the way he talked with Arthur. In the end he did grow on me and I thought he was good for Arthur but it was that start that made me a bit unhappy with his attitude.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing in the book that threw me out of the story. It flowed well. The characters were good, Ben grew on me. The story made sense and I felt ended just as it should have ended.

Five Star
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads because I loved the sweet story. It was just a nice story to read.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“We’re not old-school Catholics who live by the Bible and convientienly ignore all the verses that contradict the hate coming out of their mouths.” (pg. 67)

“You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” (pg. 148)

“Except it’s not over, because Arthur and I have to carry this around.” (pg. 242)

“I don’t like that the same world that brought us together is also scaring him.’ (pg. 243). (This scene in the train is what ultimately changed my opinion of Ben).

“Maybe it’s all about people coming into your life for a little while and you take what they give you and use it on your next friendship and relationship.” (pg. 328)

“I don’t know if we’re a love story or a story about love.” (pg. 414)

The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas – Review

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Starr and her childhood friend Khalil make their way home from a party. The night takes a tragic turn when Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. Starr is the only witness. Starr must decide how she wants to handle the situation. How she wants to speak out about what happened and who Khalil is as a person. She learns she has to use her voice, her weapon to make the changes that are necessary.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I have had this book sitting on my physical TBR shelf for a long time. I knew it was going to be a tough read, one that I had to be in the right mindset to read. It was just recently that I decided that I was in the right head space to be able to read this book and take in everything it was presenting.

Starr was a great narrator. I felt like I was close to her. I felt like I could easily understand her and her choices. We are presented with a  young woman who is stuck in-between worlds. She lives in an impoverished neighborhood but goes to a wealthy private school. Her parents are making ends meets. They hold a devotion to their neighborhood and culture but also want to keep their children safe.

Starr states multiple times that she has to wear different masks depending on where she is. At her schools he has to be careful of how she speaks. She can’t use certain slang or a certain tone. She doesn’t want to be labeled as one type of person. She is very conscious of how she presents herself in that world.

At home she has to do the same thing. She is careful of what she says and how she acts, trying to not let out anything she talks about at school come out. She knows she has to be a certain person in this neighborhood too. She can’t be fully herself anywhere.

This was a tough part for me to read. She is always oscillating between different forms of herself. Reading about her trying to contain her emotions at school because she doesn’t want to be labeled as the “angry black girl,” was tough. I felt sympathy for her. No one, especially a kid, should have to always be watching themselves so people don’t label them as one way.

One of the things this book does so well is show you that there are so many different sides to a person and story. We have seen this story so many times in the news in the last few years. We always get the same way of interpreting the situation. The media gives us one story and doesn’t gives us the whole picture.

One of the things this book does so well is force to remember that you don’t know anyone in these stories. You don’t know these people and thus you do not get to pass judgement on them. A life is lost and that deserves to be respected. A few pictures do not tell a whole story. A few actions do not determine who a person is. What this book does is remind us that those who have been killed in these tragedies are human, just like anyone else. They deserve the same respect and dignity, period.

I also found the storyline with Hailey interesting. I know people who are similar to her. They make jokes, make comments not thinking about what they are saying. They think that if they don’t “mean” it, it doesn’t matter. They frame their actions through their own lens. They see their comments from their side but refuse to listen to the other side. They refuse to ask if what they said may hurt, refuse to see that they might have to change their thinking.

I thought this storyline was well done. You see Starr try so hard to make exceptions for this girl. You see Starr do all the work and finally realize that she doesn’t need to be the one doing the work. She doesn’t need to keep around a person who is narrow minded and refuses to realize that changing their thinking is needed.

What I was just okay with
There as nothing in this book that didn’t feel like it didn’t fit. It was a full story, it flowed well. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of this family’s life, watching as they navigate this complicated world. Their bound was strong and great to see. There was no forced happy endings. There was no forced ways of fixing the issues that weren’t realistic. You felt the connection between not only Starr and her family but also the neighborhood.

What I Wished was Different_
There nothing that did not work in this book. It was done so well.
Five Star
I am white. I don’t live this life but I do work with kids who do. I work in an inner city at the schools. I hear these stories from their lips and this book helped me understand them even better. I gave this book five stars because it is one of those books that everyone needs to read.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“….people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice.” (pg. 59)

“It is easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.” (pg. 169)
(This line hit me hard. As someone working in after-school programming in these schools in order to try to help these type of situations this one really did hit hard).

“My bad. I didn’t know shoes determined somebody’s race.” (pg. 235)

“I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving.” (pg. 246)

“We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us.What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” (One of the main points of this whole book)

“They with a capital T. There’s Them and then there’s Us. Sometimes They look like Us and don’t realize They are Us.” (pg. 343)

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley – Shaun David Hutchinson- Review

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Andrew should be dead. He was supposed to die in the accident that took his parents and little sister. He now hides in the hospital where they died. He is intent on evading Death, who is after him. That is until the night a boy his age comes through the door. Now he must save Rusty. But how do you save someone else when you have no idea how to save yourself?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
The characters in this story were compelling. Andrew was interesting because he acted beyond his age. He was able to take care of himself in the hospital. He was smart and clever enough to hide from the authorities. He wasn’t afraid of being alone. He showed wisdom beyond his age.

Normally this would throw me off. I would wonder how a child could manage all this, even a teenager. But it is well established that this kid has been through a trauma that allows him to grow up fast. We see that what happened to his family threw him into a whole new world. One where he had to learn to sink or swim.

I also really liked Rusty. This wasn’t his story per se but it felt like his story as much as Andrew’s. We learn what happened to him and why. The details that Andrew gets give us a clear picture of what is going on.

I also really liked that Rusty connected to Andrew so quickly. He saw a kindred spirit in this lost boy. Both of them were lost kids who needed someone to understand them. They saw that in each other and connected over it.

The addition of the comic Andrew was working on was great. I really liked being able to see and read the comic. I think something would have been lost without that addition. I don’t think just describing it would have been able to give the whole picture. With the periodic looks at the comic I felt the connection to the story as a whole. I liked the mix of these types of story telling to give one full story.

What I was just okay with
I felt like there were some stories missing. Each of the characters had a tale of their own and you got hints of them from everyone but never the full story of anyone. I wanted to know more about all of them. There was definitely something missing from Father Mike’s story as well as Aimee’s story.

I found myself anticipating what was coming for them and was disappointed when we didn’t learn what was going on. I could discern most of it but I didn’t want to guess at it. I wanted to know that these people all had problems just like Andrew. I think each of them revealing their secrets would have helped Andrew grow and find his way.

What I Wished was Different_
I adore Shaun David Hutchinson’s other books. I know this was written before those and you can see him finding his way as a writer. While this book is great it is very heavy handed with its message.

You didn’t have to guess at the message even a little bit. There was no room for interpretation in the message. It was plain and written out over and over again for you. I am used to his much more subtle way of telling you something in his later books.

I think that if I read this book first before the other ones I wouldn’t have had an issue with this way of telling the message of the story. But I know what he can do and am glad to see how he grew as a writer. You can see he found his groove with We are the ants and it is great to see.

 

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. While I enjoyed it it was missing the punch that his later books have.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“It begins there because it’s important to know that a superhero with no past began as a man with no future.” (pg. 8)

“Maybe hell is seeing the lost loved painted over the faces of the strangers we meet.” (pg. 58)

“Maybe our beliefs decide our fate after death.” (pg. 99)

“No one unravels all of life’s many mysteries. They grow older and become better liars.” (pg. 123)

 

Circe – Madeline Miller- Review

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How much do you know about Circe? Only remember her as the one who turned men into pigs? Ever wondered what her backstory was? Circe was disgraced, cast out and forced to find a way to stand on her own two feet. She went from wishing anyone would see her, to hiding from the world to finding her place in the moral and immortal world.

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

I have stated in past reviews and posts that I adore mythology. Something about these past stories still speaking to us today pulls me in. I love learning about how ancient people tried to make sense of the world we live in. Take that love and give me a new way of seeing a character I have read about before and you have my undivided attention.

I know of Circe as the woman who turned men into pigs and that was all I knew about her. So when I saw this book popping up on blog after blog I had to give it a try and I adored it. I thought the way this book breathed new life into a character I knew next to nothing about and really didn’t care about, was fantastic.

I loved the progression of Circe’s character throughout the story. She starts off as someone who is left out. She is the unwanted child of Helios. She is not special, she is missing something. She does not stand out and no one sees her.

I thought it was really interesting how she fought to be seen when she was younger. She goes so far as to trying to get herself punished. She thinks if she does something everyone hates at least someone will know her. Someone will notice her. I found it really interesting how this is the place where she started.

Throughout the book we learn how she was able to find a way to be true to herself. She didn’t need anyone to see her because she saw herself. She found purpose in her own life, in her own talents and destiny. She found her feet and she stood proudly tall. Her evolution was inspiring and great to read.

The writing of this book was lyrical. I fell into the words and they kept me captured throughout the story. The comparisons made were unique. I felt like I have never read a book quite like this one before. I never found myself feeling like I have heard the metaphors or similes used before. It swept me onward and through the the story and I wanted to read it not only for the story but for the way the words sounded in my head.

I also found it really interesting how Odysseus was portrayed in this story. I know him as this larger than life hero. He stands high and he is noble. He does everything he can to get home and take care of his wife and son. I saw him as this perfect man and this book gives us a different angle of this man who we thought we knew.

I liked that this story made Odysseus more human. He is flawed and we see that shine bright in this story. He is a man who will fight for what he wants and he kills whenever necessary. We see that darker side of him in this book, we see that he is not perfect. Through his story we get a look at PTSD in a character as well. The fact that this was explored without really naming it was interesting.

I also really enjoyed how this book explored bigger ideas that connect to us today. A good book can remark on our world without having to be outright blatant about it. You don’t have to give a lecture on rape culture to get your message across. Miller does a great job at commenting on real life events in a non-heavy handed way.

What I was just okay with

My only issue with this book was how it ended. I loved the progression of Circe but I thought we were cheapened by the end. It felt a bit rushed. I wanted to see the way Circe took that last step into becoming who she was meant to be. Everything led up to that point and then it happened in a matter of pages.

We really only get a summary of the last part of her life. I wanted more. I wanted to feel that final connection her and how she ended up.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of this story. I enjoyed the character development, the plot lines and the writing.

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads. I was enthralled the whole way through and am eager to read her other book, The Song of Achilles.

Quotes:
“Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.” (pg. 16)

“Sons were not punished.” (pg. 182)

“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep. ” (pg. 206)

 

The Darkest Warrior – Gena Showalter – Review

35575251Puck is cursed with the demon of Indifference. He hides all emotions from the world or else he risks being incapacitated. He is resolute on finishing out a prophecy made about
him and his brother centuries ago. That is until Gillian walks into his life.

Gillian is an abused woman who is struggling to find a new life. She has been broken by her past and she is unsure if she can ever have a true and whole future. She is presented with an impossible choice, one that ultimately saves her life. She finds out that her past doesn’t have to define her and love is something that can be hers.

(This review is for the 14th in series so there may be spoilers for previous books).

What I Loved_-4

I really liked how Gillian’s story evolved over this book. I remember when she was first introduced into the series back in the second book (I believe), she was so broken and so lost. She was desperate to find somewhere safe. She had no one and nothing to live for.

I enjoyed watching her starting to trust the Lords and their wives and girlfriends. I enjoyed watching her learning to find a way to live on her own. This book completed that journey. Though there was a serious time jump, she was able to find her own way to overcome her past.

Gilly became a badass. She was no longer the one to hide. She was no longe scared of every man who came near her. She was able to overcome her past and find her inner strength. She became a warrior. She fought for what she believed in. I loved that transformation. Loved seeing her be able to take care of herself and not need anyone else.

I also enjoyed the glimpses we got into the Hades and William storyline. While it was not nearly enough it left me interested in the next book. I want to know where Hades and his storyline are going. I am also now very intrigued where William’s story is going now that he is not ending up with Gilly.

What I was just okay with
This was probably my least favorite book in this series and there were a few things that I was able to handle but not be thrilled with and there were things that I just did not like. First I had a bit of an issue with the serious time jump in this book. In order to give us the character development of Gilly, we skip ahead about 500 years.

While this is fine I wanted to see that growth. I wanted to see more than through a few letters. I thought her character deserved us to see that transformation and not just the end. I think her story would have been even more powerful if we not only watch her transformation first hand but also saw how that connected to her growing love for Puck. That would have been the powerful story.

I thought I was going to be really upset by the fact that Gilly didn’t end up with William. The series did make it seem like those two would be together for about 12 books. I thought that would by hard for me to get over but I was okay with it.

While I would have preferred William and Gillian to be together, I do like the idea of them being friends. I think that friendship relationship could be explored more. I do like the idea of William being friend with a female and not sleeping with them. I do think that is a nice element to his character.
What I Wished was Different_
One of the first things that was driving me insane about this book was mainly in the beginning. Gilly is very against sex, which is undestandable because she was abused. I could not stand the way that Puck and even William kept saying that she would be alright with them. She would want to sleep with them. They could change her mind.

That is not how that works. Her wishes should have been respected. They should have stayed away and understood that she needed time to heal. If she was ever going to be with them they needed to give her the chance to make that choice for herself. Instead we did a 500 year time jump to skip over that healing process. There could have been serious commentary about sexual abuse and survivors in this story instead we stayed within the confines of the romance genre and didn’t try to go above and beyond.

I think this book would have been great if it had dared to try something different. There was so much potential to tell an interesting and different story. We could have had a story about Puck and Gilly using their relationship to learn how to heal. They could have healed each other. Puck could have realized he could be strong despite his demon and Gilly could have learned to trust and ended up with William.

Or we could have had a story where Gilly didn’t end up with anyone. She realized she didn’t need anyone. That a relationship and sex were not defining characteristics of her life. Instead we got neither. We got the generic usual love story, which was fine but wasn’t what I wanted from this story.

I gave this 2.5 stars on Goodreads. I didn’t despise this story but it was one I read through to just finish. I will continue the series because I have to know how it ends. I just wanted this story to be so much more than it was.

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire – Review

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Rini lands in the pond at Elenor West’s Home for Wayward Children. She is looking for her mother, Sumi. Problem is that Sumi died a few years earlier. Rini, with the help from some of the wayward children sets out to fix the past so that she can exist in the future

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

This was probably my favorite book in this series so far. This one I think had the strongest  and the most interesting plot. I love a good story about a paradox. I also loved that this was a journey to put someone back together.

I wasn’t sure how exactly this story was going to play out when I read the summary. I didn’t know if it was going to just be about Rini and her journey or if we were going to involve other characters. I loved that we got to see some of our favorites from the pervious book.

This book made me want to learn more about Christopher. I was only half interested in him from the other books. This book showed me that he has more to his story. I would love to have his book. I think he has a fascinating backstory and I want to know more about the world he was in.

I really enjoyed that the process of putting together Sumi involved more than just a simple spell or trick. Sumi was a complex person and putting her back together was a process. She needed all parts of her, not just her skeleton but her soul and her nonsense as well. This was a great look at how people are not just one thing, we all are complex human beings. If you lose one piece of yourself you are missing something vital. In the end Sumi needed the essential parts of herself to live again.

This book also looked at how nonsense and logic can work together. Just became something seems crazy or out of sorts doesn’t mean there isn’t some rules. Rules don’t have to be insufferable or annoying, they can be helpful. Rules don’t have to make life not fun. I think this showed how complex this world is as well. We get to see the different directions that exist int his world and are getting a even more clear picture of how this place works.

What I was just okay with

Each one of these books is short and I think sometimes that hurts the story a little bit. We get glimpses of people but don’t get to truly dive into anyone. We get introduced to Cora and Nadya, but we don’t get too much about them. We know they are both from water worlds but that is about it. We do know that Cora struggled with her body but I wanted to know more about her and her past.

We get hints at these characters but none are fully developed right away. I guess it does help build up for sequels. I hope we get more about them in future stories just so we have full pictures of them and they aren’t just side characters meant to fill out the cast.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing in this book that bothered me or made me have to pause while reading. I was able to get absorbed in the book and fly through it.

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. It was a fun ride that showed us more about the world and the characters in it.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.” (pg. 32)

“Futures, pasts, it didn’t matter. Everything fell apart.” (pg. 34)

“We don’t go where we’re not meant to be, even if we sometimes get born the wrong place.” (pg. 61)

“The fact that they had survived different somethings didn’t change the fact that they would always be, in certain ways, the same.” (pg. 106)

“It took me years of saving a world that stopped wanting me when I changed my pronouns to figure it out.” (pg. 110)

“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” (pg. 174)

Lost Gods – Gerald Blom – Review

511cMPGR0ML._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Chet has just gotten out of jail. He is determined to turn his life around. He finds his wife Trish and runs away with her. He runs to his grandmother’s house. A grandmother he thinks will protect him and help them all start fresh.

What Chet doesn’t know is that his kindly grandmother is actually a demon. She is hell-bent on capturing their unborn child and using its soul to rejuvenate herself. She kills Chet and sends him to purgatory. Chet finds himself in a hell-scape that is under attack. He must survive to find a key to get him home before Trish and his unborn child meet him in this underworld.

What I Loved_-4

I liked the setting of this book. It was interesting because it took place in purgatory. I have read very few books that take place in purgatory. Usually it is either Heaven or Hell, rarely is it in the space in-between. It was interesting to explore this world and see how it operates. It was much different setting than I have seen before.

I also thought it interesting that almost all the characters were expendable. Some times you get into a story and realize that no one is in any real danger. Everyone is protected because they are main characters. In this book Chet was the only one that I thought was always going to get revived. Some of the characters I thought were going to be big players throughout the story died early. I liked that because it keeps you on your toes and guessing.

I also thought the idea of the old gods and “One Gods,” was great. I liked hearing about this separation and how there were these two time periods of gods. I thought it was an interesting addition to the story. I love stories that explore the idea of gods and religion and putting all them into one was a good addition. I just wish that they had been the focus of the story and not Chet.

What I was just okay with
I felt like this was one of those stories that just ran from obstacle to obstacle. Chet would get himself into one issues, someone would save him and he would then be onto the next one. It felt very formulaic to me.

I wanted to see the problems grow on one another. I wanted to see him building up something and not just running around in circles. He would get captured, freed and captured again. It was a constant back and forth with the same idea. I wanted the plot to have a bit more substance to it.

I also thought the idea of how the gods could get revived by Ka was used way too much. As soon as we were introduced to the idea it was used every other chapter to heal someone. The idea I liked earlier of characters being expendable faded when this new healing aspect showed up. Suddenly everyone was savable.

The old gods we meet get taken down so many time to be revived over and over again. It was almost as if these parts were there to expand the page count and plot line a bit longer. We had about three different fight scenes where they all go seriously injured, looked like they were defeated and then were saved. We could have done one, two at the most. It got very repetitive.

What I Wished was Different_
This story focused on Chet and his desire to get home to save his family. That was fine but that wasn’t what held my interest in the story. I actually didn’t really like Chet or Trish. It thought they were very flat and didn’t strike me as appealing in any way. They could have done with more fleshing out.

What held my interest and the real reason I finished this book was the fight between the old gods and the Green coats and the “One Gods” part in it all. I loved the idea and I think the book could have been so much better had it focused on that fight instead.

That part of the story was how the old gods are fading because no one believes in them or prays to them. They were banished to purgatory by the “One Gods” or the gods of all the major religions of today, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus etc. They are fighting to stay alive in this new world.

The Green coats are souls who want to get rid of the gods and rule with demons and Lucifer. This was fascinating to me. I wanted to see how this played out. I wanted more about the old gods and how they ruled when they were on Earth. I wanted their full back story. I wanted to see them fight for their land and way of life. I wanted to see them encounter the “One Gods” and figure out how to co-exist.

Instead we got Chet running around and bits and pieces of the other story. I feel like there was a missed opportunity to tell the real fascinating story.

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I only finished it because I wanted to see if we got anymore from the god storyline.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Death is madness and chaos – a hundred gods fighting over the dead.” (pg. 93)

“Soon, very soon, souls will no longer kneel to the gods.” (pg. 150)

“A god, a true god, gives man meaning to their existence….” (pg. 280).

“Peace comes from knowing you helped those that you could.” (pg. 379)

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland – Review

30223025Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to dead began to walk at Gettysburg. Life is flipped on its head, when the dead no longer stay dead. Jane is raised in a world where survival is the most important aspect of life.

Jane is sent to Miss Preston’s School of Combat. Here she learns her place, learning survival skills to keep the rich white people alive. Life quickly falls apart around her. Jane realizes there is more going on then just the dead walking. She learns she needs to step up, take charge and save not only herself but those she cares about.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
This book was all over my Twitter for quite a while. Many of my favorite authors were raving about it which heightened my interest in the story. I was hooked at the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. In the end this one definitely lived up to the hype.

One of the elements I loved most about this book was the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. This was new and fresh. All the stories I know that involve zombies are set in our modern times. I have not read or seen anything where zombies exist in a  different time period.

Setting the story here gives the story the ability to do something new and different. We get to see how people would fight this threat without our modern technology and knowledge. It is interesting because it doesn’t seem like a hindrance to them. As I read I wondered if this would be the ideal time to have this kind of thing happen. These people all know how to fight to survive and thus are able to survive longer.

Another aspect I found interesting was the fact that this wasn’t about a complete apocalypse situation. They aren’t living in the woods or running from place to place. At first it seems like the plague is under control, at least in a sense. Not all hope is lost. They have managed to live life as usual with this threat, something you don’t usually see. Of course, there is more than meet the eye but I liked this fresh take on the situation.

I also liked the idea that the “shambles” or zombies are learning. They evolved throughout the story. I think there is potential for some serious interesting aspects to this zombies throughout the rest of the series.

Jane was a fantastic character. Not only was she strong but she was real. Sometimes these kind of characters are one we think have to be strong at all times. They don’t break which isn’t realistic. People are going to break when they are hurt. People all have their breaking points. It is only human to be vulnerable sometimes.

Jane’s character emphasizes this in a great way. She is able to stand up for herself when she needs to. She is a fighter that won’t take any crap but she is also human. She falls and needs to find a way to stand back up again. I admired her character. I felt like she was someone I could relate too. I am very interested to see how her character grows throughout the story.

This book is about race relations. You would think that in the zombie apocalypse race would not the a thing that would divivde people but that is not true. In this world African American’s are not slaves  but they are still enslaved. They are thought of being only useful to fight to keep the white people alive. It is preached that this is their punishment for being who they are. It is infuriating but it hits on points that need to be hit on.

This explores topics in a way that feel modern and present day. I think this does a great job at portraying one way of life while commenting on things that relate to us now. Nothing felt preachy but it made its points in a great way.

What I was just okay with
I enjoyed the story a lot. I loved Jane and Katherine. I just wish we had learned more about Jack. I feel like he has a good story to him. He seems misunderstood and I wanted to see more of him. I hope we see more in the coming books. I want him to be a deep character and I think he has great potential.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of the story. I was wrapped up in the tale the whole time and wish I had the next book right now.

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. The story was  fresh take on a stale topic, had great characters and was able to make comments about race and race relations in a strong way.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Sometimes you have to live down to people’s expectations, Kate. If you can do that, you’ll get much further in life.” (pg. 63)

“Lots of ways to pretty up the same old evils.” (pg. 243)

“It seems strange that in these very fraught times folks would be more concerned about hardworking people trying to find a better life than the monsters that actually want to eat them.” (pg. 360).

“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” (pg. 435)

Down the TBR Hole #5

Been a minute since we went through my TBR shelf.  I first saw this tag on on Howling Libraries  It was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Current TBR – 250

Chimera – John Barth 
I have this one on my shelf. I like the idea of telling different myths. I am currently in a myth mood so maybe I’ll pick this one up soon.
Decision: Keep

Legend- David Lynn Golemon
This is another one of those thrillers with a twist to history. I like the idea and I get into the moods for these stories at least once a year.
Decision: Keep

Cyptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
I tried to read this book years ago. I still have it but I remember only being able to get through about 50 pages. I remember it being hard to read and not holding my attention. I still own it but I don’t think it is one I will ever get back too.
Decision: Remove

I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
I liked the idea of the story but I have heard some not great things about the author. I don’t have a desire to read anything by him.
Decision: Remove

Turning Angel – Greg Iles
I have zero memory of this book. After reading the summary it just sounds generic murder mystery. Doesn’t hold any interest for me.
Decision: Remove


The Absolute Sandman, Volume One – Neil Gaiman
I have read the first issue of this comic. I enjoyed it. I just haven’t gotten around to getting anymore of them. I will finish it though because I have heard such great things about it.
Decision: Keep

Unwind – Neal Shusterman
I just finished Scythe by Neal Shusterman and I loved it. I am interested in this series more now.
Decision: Keep

Wither – Lauren DeStefano
This kind of sounds interesting but it didn’t stand out that much. I don’t know if would ever actually pick this one up.
Decision: Remove

The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
This summary reminded me of the movie The Village. I know that ending was terrible and I can’t get those vibes out of my head.
Decision: Remove

Delirium – Lauren Oliver
A world where love is outlawed? Sounds interesting.
Decision: Keep

Kept: 5
Removed: 5
Current TBR Count – 245

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