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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

Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson (and Nine other authors) – Review

31556153.jpgTen teens are left out in the wilderness to learn how to come together as a team and make their way back to the Zeppelin Bend an education camp for delinquent children. On the journey they begin to tell stories in order to not only learn more about each other, but to also stay sane.

Interesting thing is that stories tend to help you learn about the people around you, even if they don’t mean to let anything about themselves be known. As they journey they realize they have more in common then first thought. Connections are built as they work to survive this final test.

 

What I Loved_-4
I picked up this book because Shaun David Hutchinson was one of the authors. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, the story itself didn’t seem all that interesting to me but I figured I would give it a shot. I am glad I did. While it didn’t amaze me it was an enjoyable read.

I really loved the use of storytelling in this book. Each character gets a chance to tell a story, whether it is about them or about something completely unrelated. We learn about the characters through each of the stories. I loved how stories are used to get to the heart of the characters. We don’t have to just watch them trapeze through the woods and make assumptions.

We get stories that tell us something about all the characters. We don’t learn everything but we do learn that they all have something to relate to. They all are put into this situation because they are perceived as a problem. They made poor choices and are labeled as problem child. In the end we learn that they are all young people trying to figure out what they are doing in life.

While it is a cliche the characters do form a connection to one another. We know that at the end that connection is not going to last but it was a nice element to the story. I liked that each of them realized that they weren’t the only ones to have hit a rough patch.

What I was just okay with
There was nothing surprising or out of the ordinary in this story. It was a classic understanding one another story. They all had issues, tell stories and come to understand that they are alike. There is nothing that I couldn’t have predicted from reading the summary.

The journey through the woods was just the backdrop to the story. They hit a few snags but I never felt like they were at risk. I didn’t feel like this was much of test of survival for them. It was just a place for them to tell the stories. I kind of wanted a bit more from the walk.

What I Wished was Different_
I enjoyed the story but as I said there was nothing out of the ordinary in the story. It was pretty simple. I kind of wished for a twist. Maybe not to have a feel good ending. Maybe even though they tell each other their stories they don’t form an understanding. Maybe having one person or a few of them just not find a place would have made it seem different.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of it. I liked that this was how we learned about the characters. I just wished for a bit more depth or twists to the story.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“And sometimes when you’re telling a story, you can’t let stupid shit like the truth get in the way.” (pg. 1)

“It’s not that they lie intentionally, but when people describe themselves they’re really describing what they see in the mirror, and most mirror are too distorted to show the truth. If you listen hard enough, there’s more truth in fiction than in all the other shit combined.” (pg. 6)

“I guess what I like are stories that don’t just make you scared of what’s out there, waiting to get you. I like the ones that make you scared of what might be hidden somewhere inside of yourself. Not knowing one’s own secrets, never mind anyone else’s.” (pg. 161)

“None of that makes a difference, though.[…] Not if all people see is what we’ve done rather than who we are.” (pg. 266)

“You could spend a lifetime exploring the vastness between a person’s words and still never really know them. ” (pg. 305).

Thunderhead- Neal Shusterman – Review

91mya47EdnL(Since this is a review for a second book in a series there will be spoilers for the previous book. )
Citra has been given the role as Scythe, taking the name Anastasia. She is determined to be merciful and respectful to the lives she chooses to end. She will not take a life without giving them the proper time for that person to come to terms with their death. She is determined to make the Scythe purpose closer to the original purpose, taking life to help society but to never enjoy the act.

Rowan was not give a ring, though he does have one. He is out for revenge. He is out to take down those he believes are destroying the Sycthedom. He has taken on a name fitting to his purpose.

When an old threat resurfaces and is determined to destroy all those in its path it is up to Citra and Rowan to save the society they have come to respect and hold dear, even if it costs them everything.

What I Loved_-4
I was curious where this story was going to go in this sequel. I thought I had an idea, and I was partially right but it was much deeper than what I thought it was going to be. We got to see Rowan’s character develop as well as Citra’s.

I again felt partial to Rowan’s story. I think it is because his is a much more complicated storyline. I have always been partial to the storyline where someone tries to be good while doing bad things. I love to see the way their mind twists and tries to keep a moral high ground while doing things that we would normally find reprehensible.

Rowan starts this book as a vigilante. He is out to take down all the Scythe’s who abuse their power. He is ruthless and he even adopts the name Scythe Lucifer. I understood his point, he knew these were the Scythe’s that were destroying the true nature of the work they were supposed to be doing. The way he stalked them and killed them though was hard to read at times.

I wondered if he was going to end up a god-like figure. Someone certain people admired for his work but that wasn’t the case. He was feared, he was understood but never admired. I liked that part way through he understood that what he was doing wasn’t going to solve anything. He was helping to take out part of the problem but wasn’t solving the problem. I liked that this distinction was made.

I liked too that Citra seemed to come into her own in this book. We saw her decide to give her targets time to get their affairs in order. We saw her take great respect in taking a life. I liked how she was understanding enough to do what needed to be done while also still having the fighting spirit when necessary. I think her character plays well against Rowan’s character.

I also really enjoyed the addition of the Thunderhead as a sentient character. In the first book it was just a concept but in this one the in-between portions gave the Thunderhead a personality. I found myself feeling bad for it. It just wants to help the world. It wants to save humanity and yet it isn’t all powerful. I liked that it got frustrated and upset while, making it feel very human.

I am very curious how its character will develop in the next book. I can see it really becoming human like which will be interesting. The storyline of AI becoming human has been done many times before but I am still very interested to see where this one goes.

I also really enjoyed the ending, while the middle again felt a little slow the ending threw everything out the window. I have zero idea how this is going to play out. I am very curious where the story will go. How much time will pass and how this will all end?

What I was just okay with
I am still not a fan of the romance between Citra and Rowan. It is still feeling forced to me. I think a lot of times authors feel like YA books have to have a romance storyline but that isn’t always true.

These two feel very much to me like best friends. They care about each other but there is no real romantic feelings between them. I want to see them bond as friends who will go to any lengths to protect each other. I want to see them center their relationship on their shared experience and their shared desire to bring respect to death. I don’t need to see them try to find a way to be romantically involved, that would change the direction of the story which would hurt the story I think.

What I Wished was Different_

There was nothing that I really found out of bounds or threw me out of the story. I enjoyed the pacing. I enjoyed the story itself. I enjoyed the characters. I am eager to see where the story goes from here.

I gave this four of five stars on Goodreads. I loved the continuation of the story. I enjoyed seeing the characters evolve and loved the ending. I just hope this doesn’t swerve into a romance story.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Did people miss the dizzy extremes of imagination as they lived their endless, uninspired lives?” (pg. 15)

“Simply put, humanity had a need to be bad. ” (pg. 99)

“While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it.” (pg. 176)

“Faith is an unfortunate casualty of immortality.” (pg. 241)

“….finding an easy scapegoat for complicated problems had been a human pastime since the first mob of cavemen struck someone down with a rock.” (pg. 326)

 

 

Scythe – Neal Shusterman – Review

28954189Death has been conquered. You hit your head on the sidewalk, fall off a building or end up in a car crash and you are taken to a revival center. You body is mended and you are able to live your life again. Humans are immortal.

Death has been conquered but the world is not perfect. The population has to be controlled, a job left to an elite group known as Scythes. They are charged with “gleaning” or killing people in order to keep the world’s population under control.

The Scythedom appears like a well oiled machine on the outside but on the inside it is falling apart. Something that two new apprentices Citra and Rowan begin to learn quickly. They can become masters of death but is that something they want? What does it mean to be the one that controls if people live or die? What does that do to a person? Can you keep your moral heart and do this job?

What I Loved_-4

The concept of death being conquered is what drew me to this story. I loved the idea of a story that centers around reapers or scythes. This group is not one that you find in stories very often and I was eager to find out how this concept was interpreted.

I thought the idea of no one dying and what that means for the people was really interesting. It is pointed out numerous times that without the fear of death and an end to life, people have become complacent. They just live to live. They don’t work towards anything. They know they have literally eternity and no one really strives to make anything of themselves. They are all alive to be alive.

There are no more issues to conquer. There is no hunger, no war, no real crime and no death. All of life is controlled by an AI called the Thunderhead. Life is literally perfect and simple. But without anything new to discover and no problems to conquer what does life mean then? What do you do when you can’t change anything? What do you do when your job is to just keep you from being bored? What does life mean in this world? I loved exploring that concept.

I also really enjoyed Citra and Rowan’s journey’s. In this book Rowan stood out to me more than Citra did. I think it was because Rowan was thrown into a situation where he had to find a way to keep the good side of him alive. I really enjoyed watching him struggle between two sides of himself.

Rowan gets caught up with a group of Scythes that love to kill. They enjoy bringing death to people. In our world they would be classified as Sociopaths. They show no care or remorse for their actions. They take in Rowan and we watch as he struggles to not become them though that is not an easy task.

For a character who has always felt invisible or like “lettuce” as he puts it, he finds his new role enticing. There is power at his fingertips. There is meaning to his actions. People notice him. He is caught up in that feeling at times and we watch him struggle to keep himself from falling down a wormhole. I love watching characters struggle with their darker sides.

At first I thought I had an idea of what this story was going to be about. These two apprentices coming to terms with their new roles and then fighting to right any wrongs. It had some of that but there were some serious twists throughout the story. I actually found myself shocked at points. Any book that can throw me for a loop is one that I will enjoy.

What I was just okay with
There was a middle chunk where Citra was running away, for a reason that I won’t state to no spoil anything, that I thought was not necessary. It was there more to give her something to do while Rowan was completing a part of his story. It was also an update on another character.

I thought it felt like it was just there to buy time. There was no real consequences of the whole ordeal other than some character development. For the plot thought it really didn’t do to much. I think there are other ways for those moments to happen without needless running around.

I also had a little issue with how resolute Scythe Curie was about Rowan having turned dark while he was with his tutor. She was firm that he was not on their side anymore and that Citra could not trust him. I thought that seemed harsh. They didn’t even talk to Rowan at first. It was a decision made quickly without thinking about why he did what he did.

I think Curie’s character was smarter and could have seen that some of the things Rowan did was to save himself and Citra. I just felt like her character was not the right character to have this doubt. It just didn’t fit with what we knew about her.

What I Wished was Different_
The only true issue I had with the book was the romance aspect. I did not feel any chemistry between Citra and Rowan. I thought of them more as best friends. There was no reason for them to have a romance storyline. I think it would have been better to keep them as close friends and nothing more.

 
I highly enjoyed this book and went out at ten o’clock to Target to get the next one to continue the story. I ended up giving it four stars on Goodreads. It is a fun story about what life and death mean in this “perfect” world.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“So then, if we are no longer human, what are we?” (pg. 110)

“The sanctity of the law… and the wisdom to know when it must be broken.” (pg. 114)

“Immortality has turned us all into cartoons.” (pg. 191)

“Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy. The best we get is pleasantness.” (pg. 244)

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace of comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we were lose that.” (pg. 386)

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness – Review

8621462Connor’s life is in turmoil. Everyday is uncertain and he is beginning to become lost inside his world. He is expecting one type of monster to rampage through his life but ends up with a much different one. This one tells him he will tell him three stories in exchange for Connor telling him one.

Connor is apprehensive, not knowing what to expect from this new force in his life. As he hears each story he realizes how to deal with another part of his world. A world that is slowly crumbling and not even a monster can stop it.

 

What I Loved_-4
I have heard about this book for a while. It was recently made into a movie and that sparked my interest further into reading it. I knew the atmosphere of the story.  I knew that Connor was dealing with his mother being sick and her inevitable death. I also knew that this was going to be a  tough one to read and I was not wrong.

The atmosphere of this book is somber and haunting. I felt like I was almost in a fog while reading it. I felt his somber air hang over me as I went through the story. Connor is trying to deal with his mother’s illness, his grandmother stepping into his life, his father stepping father away from his life and the rest of those around him tip-toeing around his every move. He is lost in a  fog of his own, trying to figure out what life will be like and I fell right into that same pit.

I knew where the story was going from the very beginning. You know that his mother is not going to beat her cancer. We know this is a story about dealing with that pain. I thought it was interesting how the monster tied into all of it.

The monster is a manifestation of all of Connor’s fear and frustrations. Each one of the stories is about him dealing with a piece of his life. Whether that is his grandmother and how he relates to her. Or his anger at the situation he finds himself in or the invisible feeling he has to those around him at his school.

I loved the way the stories were used to explore these ideas. One of the reasons I love books and stories so much is because they give us a way to see situations and the world around us in a new way. We get a chance to come to terms with things that can hurt or harm us. We come to term with ideas or feelings that are building up and that we can’t necessarily explain in a concise way. The monster’s stories did that for Connor. Gave him a way to deal with things he couldn’t otherwise deal with.

I also found the parts of Connor at school and how he is treated at school interesting. While he is at school his teachers and other students kind of treat him as if he is untouchable. They are all afraid of doing anything to him because they don’t want to hurt him. In the end they are shunning him, making him feel even more disconnected from the world that he already is.

I thought the way this idea was explored was done well. By trying to help they were actually hurting him worse because they left him no one to turn to. They didn’t want to upset him and yet gave him no one and nowhere to vent his frustrations and pain.

I also liked the addition of the pictures in this version as well. I thought the pictures really enhanced the story itself. They kept the atmosphere darker and most somber. It also helped me visualize the monster better.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t a huge fan of the father’s character, which I don’t think we were supposed to be. I found it hard to believe that he would not try to be there more for his son. His son’s mother is dying and going to leave this kid all alone and he was barely there for him. He seemed more concerned about his other life while Connor was just a side issue.

Personally that bugged me because I have parents for who we (their children) are  their whole world and I could never see either of them doing that. I thought it made the father shallow but then again it did enhance the grandmother’s character. We saw how caring she was. When you juxtapose the two of them you definitely come out rooting for the grandmother and are thankful for her taking care of Connor.

What I Wished was Different_
I can’t think of anything that stood out as a real issue for me. The story flowed well. I understood what each of the stories were about and how they connected to the rest the situations at hand. I liked the metaphor of the yew tree and the monster itself. It was  quick read that was emotional, poignant and powerful.

I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads. It was an emotional story that was told well and did the story matter justice.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Stories are the wildest things of all. […] Stories chase and bite and hunt.” (pg. 35)

“Storis are wild creatures. […] When you let them lose, who know what havoc they might wreak?” (pg. 51)

“Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits.” (pg. 109).

“Stories are important. […] They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” (pg. 141)

The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater – Review

51LlOUzjzYL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe end of the search for Glendower is here. All that Gansey and his friends have been  searching for will reveal itself. Will they get their one favor? Will the prophecy about Blue and her true love come to pass? What will become of Cabeswater? More importantly who will everyone be after this adventure is over?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

The character development in this series was fantastic. I fell in love with Ronan, Adam, Gansey, Blue and Noah in the first book. The way they grew throughout the story was great. They all started out as pretty simple people but they gained more and more depth throughout the story.

This series is a character story. There is mystery, adventure and romance but none of those trump the character’s journeys. Each one of them find themselves throughout this hunt for Glendower. They all find their strengths and weakness. They learn who they are as individuals and as a group.

I think one of my favorite parts of this story was how each one of them learned that they can be individuals as well as a member of this friendship group. I think that was most evident in Adam. He was so desperate to be his own person he pushed people away. He thought any help was only going to make him feel weaker. We saw him learn how he can stand on his own two feet, as with his power over Cabeswater but he also needed the support of his friends. They were what kept him grounded and whole.

Gansey’s growth was interesting because we saw  how in the beginning it was all about him finding Glendower and taking care of his friends. As the story moved forward we saw him question his long time need to find the sleeping king. We saw him come to terms with the fact that he can’t live his friends lives. He had to let them make their own choices. He can support them but he can’t force them to be anyone they are not.

Ronan as my favorite throughout the series. He was so rough at the start but we learned quickly why he was that way. He slowly began to open up and let others help him. I liked seeing him getting control over his dream power and seeing him use it help. I am eager to see how he continues to grow in his own trilogy.

Blue was great as well. She was separate in the start of the series. She was the odd one out and she pretended to be okay with that. I enjoyed watching her open up, accept who she was and find people who accepted her. She gained more confidence and it was great to see that journey.

I also loved the slow burn romance in this book. I spoke about Gansey’s and Blue’s in the last review. It continued to spark in this one. Again there was no huge revelation or anything, it was just as if it was another character. It grew and we saw it become part of who they were as characters. It was natural and gentle and I liked that.

The other romance in this story (which I won’t mention to avoid spoilers) was great as well. It was built up over time and again so subtle yet powerful. There was no hesitation about it either. It was accepted and taken forward. It felt as if it was always meant to happen and I loved it.

What I was just okay with

I am not sure what I thought about the ending itself. It was very tough to follow and for me it left me wondering what exactly happened. I got the main points of it but it felt vague. I liked it because it fit the story. The story itself was vague and not detail heavy.

I had a bit of an issue with it just because I was expecting a bit more. I wanted a few more answers form the ending. I got some but not as many as I initially wanted. I think I would have been more upset over it if it wasn’t for the way all the character turned out.

I mentioned in my review for the first book that if I didn’t love the characters so much I probably would have disliked the plot. That same thought goes for the ending as well. I was satisfied with where everyone ended up. I didn’t get held up on the ending as much as I am sure I would have in a different book with different characters.

What I Wished was Different_

My only major issue with this book was Henry. What was the point of him exactly? The talk he has with Gansey could have happened with anyone. He appears, becomes fast friends with Gansey and that is it.

His robobee invention helped but I am sure there could have been a different way of dealing with that problem. Or Henry himself could have been introduced earlier in the series. I liked him but he felt unneeded. I think if we had gotten him earlier he could have grown like everyone else and that would have been interesting to see.

Also we kind of lost the women of Fox Way in this story. I wanted a more satisfying resolution to them. I liked their involvement in the other books but I think they got pushed to the side of the ending. I think they could have been utilized and made the ending a bit more dynamic.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I found it a great end to the characters. I do wish the plot ending was a bit tighter.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“It’s not always running away…..to leave.” (pg. 79)

“It was easier to tell hero from villain when the stakes were only life and death. Everything is between gets harder.” (pg. 121)

“If you can’t be unafraid…..be afraid and happy.” (pg. 210)

“I stopped asking how. I just did it. The head is too wise. The heart is all fine.” (pg. 338)

Origin- Dan Brown – Review

OriginLangdon is called to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain for a special presentation by a former student and good friend of his, Edmond Kirsch. A presentation that is heralded to change the way the world thinks. It promises to answer the questions, “Where did we come from?” and “Where are we going?”.

Before he can make his announcement Edmond is killed. It is  up to Langdon and the museum director Ambra to find a way to release the presentation to the world. They are not alone though, there are those who will stop at nothing to make sure the revelations of this presentation never see the light of day.

What I Loved_-4

I liked the character of Winston. I enjoyed the way the AI seemed so human. I forgot more than once that he wasn’t a real person. I enjoyed the play between him and Langdon. I thought it was an interesting touch to the story.

I wanted to see him involved more. I felt like there was potential for Winston to play a much bigger part in this story. I did like the reveal at the end that involved him, that was a fun twist. Though it wasn’t an unexpected one.

I also found the “Where did we come from?” question’s answer interesting. I have heard theories about that question and this was a different take on it. I felt like this could have been the whole presentation and that would have been perfectly fine. I thought it provided enough shock value to move the story and justify the other events of the book. It tied into the region theme well.

What I was just okay with

(Spoiler for the presentation at the end of the story.)

I wasn’t thrilled with the second part of the presentation. The answer to the question of “Where are we going?” was very anticlimactic. I saw that coming from a mile away.  How many times have we heard that technology is going to consume us and destroy human life as we know it? Probably about a 1000. It is on the TV all the time. There are always new studies about it. We hear numerous doctors talking about the danger of screen time. There was nothing new or astounding about this revelation.

He used a computer to run a simulation about the timeline of this takeover. Anyone could do that without a computer. It takes half a minute to see where technology is going. I was not shocked at all by this aspect.

I didn’t understand why people were scared by it in the story. Is this world different then our own? Have they also not read the studies or heard the news stories? Do they not live with the people who are constantly talking about how much worse this generation is because of technology? (Something I firmly believe is over-exaggerated).
Why is this new information? Why did it affect the world at all?

If I had seen that presentation the first part would have intrigued me. I would have probably shut off the announcement at the second part. I have heard it, not going to change anything and moving on.

I also kind of understood why Langdon wanted to get Edmond’s presentation out the world. He was a good friend and he trusted the man. But I still wondered why he didn’t at least preview it before posting it to the world. Edmond was killed because of it. Don’t you think you may want to know what you are responsible for letting out to the general public? He could have been calling for the extermination of a race and Langdon would have had to bear the guilt of hurting people. I just thought it was odd to see him trust the man so much.

What I Wished was Different_
I have read all the Langdon series books. I loved Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code. I thought both of those were different. They were fast paced, had intriguing plots and fascinating ties into history and art. This one has little to none of that.

I read Da Vinci Code because of the tie into art. I loved how there were hints and symbols in famous paintings. I actually was in Italy and France and found some of the pieces mentioned. I thought it was fascinating to see the different interpretations of these famous paintings and sculptures.

This one had a little history about places in Spain and William Blake but nothing significant and nothing that tied the plot together. None of the happenings truly hinged on the clues in history or literature or art. All of it felt very surface level. It felt flat compared to what I have read from him before.

I wanted the fast pace as well. I am used to seeing Langdon and his companion running around searching for clues. They always have someone on their tale and always are just lucky enough to escape. They go around whole countries and many times across other countries. They are always running.

This one felt like they were barely running. There never felt like there any real threat to them. Even when they encountered the main villain, it was a short fight with no satisfying resolution. It all felt too easy.

This books was also way too long. You could have cut about 2/3 of it out . There was so much repetition that it started driving me insane. We did not need to be told who someone was ten times. We are literally told that Monica Martin is the PR Coordinator for the palace every time she appears. After the fourth time I was getting angry. I know who she is, you told me already. There is no reason to repeat it over and over and over again. You have to trust the reader to pay attention. There is no reason to repeat details unless they are going to drive the plot forward somehow.

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I finished it because I just wanted to get to the end. I hoped it would get better but it never did. I hope that Dan Brown gets out of this form like writing he has fallen into and one day gives us a completely new and different story.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in the world for both.” (pg. 14)  ( I think if this had been more central to the plot the story would have been so much better.)

“But uncertainty is always a precursor to sweeping change; transformation is always preceded by upheaval and fear. I urge you to place your faith in human capacity for creativity and love, because these two forces, when combined, possess the power to illuminate any darkness.” (pg. 412).

“Sometimes all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.” (pg. 437)

The Hearts We Sold – Emily Lloyd-Jones – Review

34538054Need a new house? Want an old lover back in your arms? Want to become a singer or actor? Need money, a good grade or new car? Simple, make a deal with a demon and you can have whatever you want. Of course, there is a catch. You will be asked to give up your arm, leg, hand or if you are really unlucky your heart.

Dee is a teenager whose life is complicated. She goes to a private school that is her safe place. Here she is safe from her alcoholic parents and her emotionally abusive father. Here she can try to find her way in life. Then she finds out her scholarship is ending and she is left with no choice but to make a deal. She has to stay in school and thus she gives up her heart.

She loses her heart for a short period of time and learns what is means to exist without it. She learns that something more is going on with those she joins called the “heartless.”. She also meets a strange boy who she finds stealing what has already been taken from her. In the end Dee has to find what courage means and what she wants out of life.

What I loved:

Dee was a great character. She was much deeper than I originally thought she would be. I had no idea what this story was truly going to be about. I thought it would be more about learning to love without a heart and what that could mean. In the end it was about Dee finding courage in herself.

Dee is a character that has been stepped on and downtrodden for a long time. Her father is emotionally abusive and she hides at her school. She wants her mom to help her but her mom has taken to alcohol to help her deal with their reality. In the end Dee has to find her own courage. She has to find a way to stand on her own two feet. I liked the progression of her journey.

Dee becomes stronger in a very real way. She faces the trials around herself and she finds how she can fight. She starts unsure of herself and then starts to find that her opinion matters.

I also really liked James’s character. At first her seemed like a punk and I thought he was going to be a one-note character. Early though we realize there is something else to him. He has his own issues and wants. His character didn’t grow as much as evolve. I started with one opinion of him and ended with a completely different thought about him. I felt his journey was more of an evolution for the reader than for his character specifically.

I also loved the ending. I won’t go into detail as to not spoil it, but it was the ending the book deserved. Too many times these YA love stories can have a neat and unrealistic ending. This book ended as it should have ended. It felt right and left things in a encouraging place.

What I was just okay with:

All of the “heartless” characters, literally have no heart. They can’t feel their heats. It is gone but I felt like we didn’t see any real consequences of that. Dee talked about not feeling her heartbeat and not hearing it in her ears. Nothing more though. There was little to no discussion what is meant to live without a heart.

The story was more about the demon’s mission and why he created heartless when no one else would. I liked the story but I wished we could have had more about what living without a heart meant. Do you feel love the same? Is that a brain thing or does that come from the physical heart? Can you die in the normal sense of the word? Are you actually living if your heart isn’t beating? These are things I wished we would have explored more in the story.

What I wished was different:

I enjoyed the story but some of the writing threw me out of the story. The writing was very repetitive at times. The author would state that Dee was sending a text message, give us the body of the text and then end the paragraph with, “she texted.” We know she texted, she was just texting!

Or there was a part later in the book where we are told Dee has a backpack on. Then we are told that same thing about four more times throughout the next few paragraphs. The backpack never moved or did anything, it was just in her character description over and over again.

Description is good but there is no need to say the same thing over and over again. You have to trust the readers to pay attention and pick up on what is happening with a character. If an object moves and becomes important than mentioning it again is fine. If she gets interrupted while texting and then goes back to texting mentioning it again is fine. But if nothing changes, then it throws the reader out of the story. I felt myself getting a bit irritated at times because of this element.

 

The story was fast paced with a well-paced love story. The story came to a satisfying conclusion. I had fun reading it and I was glad it came in the book subscription box. In the end I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads.

Quotes:

“You get what you asked for.” – pg. 46

“….I like to think that I was the one who made the choices that brought me to this moment.” (pg. 128)

“I just want to matter.” (pg. 162).

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