Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Book Review


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles #1
First Published: 2012
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life become entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's she finds herself at the center of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.
Cinder is the first book that comes to mind when anyone wants a re-telling recommendation from me. And you know what's the real kicker? I freakin' almost didn't read it. I don't know why; maybe it was because it has cyborgs in it, and I haven't read many--if any--of those. Or because it was the only book out in the series at the time and I don't usually do those. Perhaps it was just because.

But for whatever reason, I am eternally thankful for Goodreads Group Reads, because without them I may have never given this a chance.

Don't believe me it's that good? Well, what if I told you this book could make you cry before it even really starts? Will you believe me then that this whole creation is awesomesauce? Because it does. It manages to make you so in tune with the characters and their feelings in such a short amount of time that you cry for them.

And this book pretty much starts by saying that in this Cinderella story, not everyone gets their happily ever afters.

Although, calling this a "Cinderella story" is not quite accurate. Yes, we have the evil stepmother. Yes, we have one evil stepsister, and we have the prince, the ball, and the shoe... sort of. But Cinderella is the theme - not the story.

Forget everything you know about the story of a servant girl who desperately want to go to the ball and dance with a prince, and a fairy comes along and--well, you've seen the Disney movie, no point in rehashing everything. Cinder has very little to do with that old age tale.

To me, Cinder's is actually, surprisingly, a story of slavery. It's a story about death. It's a story about dictatorship. And it's a story about finding yourself among the wreckage. This story takes your childhood fairytale and makes it something far greater, while throwing nods to the original version here and there that are sure to put a smile on your face.

The namesake of this novel, Cinder, is also the main character. And she. is. amazing. She's smart, courageous and strong. She is someone you can fully support and root on. Someone with whom you'll fall in love for sure.

Her love interest is Prince Kai, and he's one of the more likable princes I've read of - the title Prince Charming fits him well, as would Sweet Charming lol.

As for the romance between these two? I'll be honest. I don't think there was any--not yet. Cinder and Kai are attracted to one another. They are in the process of feeling more than just friendship throughout the book. But they still haven't went passed the 'liking' stage.

However, to me there is something immensely charming about the way they're testing the water; talking, sending signals, withdrawing them... Their real romance hasn't started yet - but you can tell it will be epic once it does.

All the supporting characters, with emphasis on the fantabalous Iko, added to the story and were well rounded themselves.

Now, I've seen people argue the book could do without the Cinderella theme because it makes the book predictable. I disagree, because it only makes it predictable in areas we would've already predicted, even without the theme.

And more often than not, things develop in such an unexpected way that though you did predict she'll go there, or do that, based on Cinderella, it's almost always shocking.

The only truly predictable thing has nothing to do with the theme, and to me it rather felt like Meyer blatantly intended for it to be obvious to the reader. I never felt like the "big revelation" was supposed to be a shocking, but rather the whole scenario leading to it.

Speaking of Meyer... I may be, possibly, in love with her writing style. She made us sweat for information. There is no such thing as outright explanations and world-building in Meyer's writing. Instead, most of everything we learn is through conversations, memories, and actions. She leaves it up to us to gather the clues, trusting our intelligence. And it works. It works brilliantly.
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blogger Confessions: I don't Believe Reviewers Who Never Post Bad Ratings

Hold your horses and lower those pitchforks, will you? No need to get so heated.

Here's the thing: some reviewers out there (plenty of them very popular) choose not to post any negative reviews on their blogs. Every book they review is between four starts to six (yes, some of them use the extra star method). And for some reason, I find it very hard to believe those reviews.

No, not for some reason. For a few very specific reasons.

It's impossible that you've loved every book you ever read. 

I would love for that to be possible, but it simply isn't. Saying you "know what you like" and pick only those books is ridiculous, because I've been burned by favorite authors and books that all my friends recommended and books that seemed like a shoe-in for me many, many times. Stands to reason that even if you're a very good picker, once in a blue moon you'll get a bad apple. Possibly even more often.

Not posting about those, makes the ratings seem inflated. I've just seen you post ten glowing five star reviews in two weeks. Could all those truly be five stars?

I get wanting to be positive, and I respect your decision to do so, but for me it's a matter of how can we know what your "great" means if we have no idea what your worse is? 

What a person hates tells as much about what he loves as what he actually loves does. It gives us, as readers, the necessary tools to compare, both their tastes with yours and how great your so called reads really are.

It's like, if there was no bad in the world there would be no good, either. Same goes with reviews for me.

You don't even have to write a full review. You can write mini reviews, or reviews in points just throwing out there what you didn't like.

This way, for example, I can tell you don't love insta-love, so I'd know to trust the romances you do love don't have that. You have no idea how many times I've been duped by reviews hailing romances only to discover the two meet one rainy night, and are immediately besotted with each other and can't think of anyone else, and in four chapters profess their love, if only in their heads.

This is not the kind of book I want to read. Not knowing whether you're okay with insta-love or not makes me wary that the romance you call swoon worthy I would call unbearable.

Am I making any sense? I hope I am.

It's not that I don't read these reviewers - I wouldn't notice their existence if I didn't follow them - I simply don't fully trust their ratings.

Of course, this is me speaking. That's just how I am. I know, I'm all sorts of suspicious. Must have seen too many episodes of Castle, but what can you do - you are who you are.


What about you? Do you share my feelings, or do you think positive reviewers are great? I would love to hear your opinion even if you disagree! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Promo: Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett


Release Date: 12/29/15
A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.
And things only get weirder…
Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.
Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.
Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.

BOOK TRAILER 
CHOSEN GIRL OF MYTH AND LEGEND by Giselle Simlet from Red 14 Films on Vimeo.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Giselle Simlett was born in England. She has studied Creative Writing at both Gloucestershire University and the Open University. She has a diploma in Creative Writing, Language and Literature and will soon complete her BA Hons Open Degree.

She does not as yet have a degree in the power and responsible use of magic, but she does have a young son, which amounts to the same thing.

She currently lives in Australia with her husband and son.


Author Links:

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Rant: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Part #5: Is This Supposed to Be Romance?)

SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #1
First Published: 2010
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

For explanation on this multi-parted rant, go to Part #1.

Know all the "still a better love story than Twilight" jokes? They won't work here. 

Guy is a jerk to girl all the time. Girl hates guy. But girl is also.... attracted to guy? An attraction that makes no sense, comes out of nowhere and has no basis in the story? But, yeah. She can't hate him for more than a minute (even though her hate is justified) without thinking about the dangerous, undeniable (I DENY) connection between them. Which I never once sensed/saw/understood/anything. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Rant: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Part #4: Vee)

SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #1
First Published: 2010
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
For explanation on this multi-parted rant, go to Part #1.

I have one thing to say to you, Vee dear - 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Rant: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Part #3: Patch)

SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #1
First Published: 2010
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
For explanation on this multi-parted rant, go to Part #1.

I despair for humanity when I think about the fact people like this guy. People fantasize about this class-A douche-bag. People swoon and sigh at his name. People need their heads checked, pronto. Because can any of you seriously tell me that in RL you'll want someone like this?! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Rant: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Part #2: Nora)

SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #1
First Published: 2010
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
So, as I explained earlier, every annoying, asinine character/part of the aforementioned novel is going to get his own special post, because otherwise it would be one gigantic review and you don't need that in your life. Like this, you will at least  have the choice if you want to read it or not.

So, to start this week long Hush, Hush rant extravaganza, let's take a look on the main character of this novel - Nora.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Rant: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Part #1: Overview)

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #1
First Published: 2010
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
Anybody who loved Hush, Hush, you better leave this review five part rant right now because...
And you know what? I am done apologizing for hating this book. Done apologizing for thinking that the world is effing crazy for loving this... thing. I respect your opinion, and if you like it -- good for you, but I still can't understand it.

I don't even know where to begin, there is so much wrong here. So many ire inducing parts and moments. It's setting my teeth on edge just thinking of this book. But I guess I'll zero in on the characters and the romance. Or whatever the heck that was.

Only, I'm going to do a quick overview here and then proceed to rant in details over each and every agonizing bit in separate posts, because when I finished writing it all it was four times the length of my normal reviews and I didn't have the heart to subject you to that without at least giving you the option to choose whether you really want more of this rant in your life.

In short (because the long version is super long) - Nora is an idiot, Patch is a class A jerk, Vee is the worst best friend in the history of literature and I wish she'd die, and the romance doesn't make sense at all. Unless you have a thing for stalkers who force you against walls.  

Seriously, there is not one selling point for this whole mess. And if bad af characters and romance aren't bad enough, there was so much inconsistency. It seemed like Fitzpatrick threw in information and people without a thought, reducing or ignoring them when she felt like it.

Like the school assignment that brought Nora and Patch together, and then conveniently disappeared from the plot. Conversations that Nora was supposed to have with her mother, but didn't. Discussions Vee and her should've had, but didn't. Or the tutoring bit.

That's not okay. Don't just put in things if you're not going to go back to them. If you're going to pretend they didn't exist. So much useless information just clogs up an already murky plot, and for nitpickers like me it just serves to drive us crazy, because we effing remember you put it there.

And the ending... just no. And I'm not even going to elaborate on that part because it just pains me to relive this and I would rather scrub it from my mind. But if you want to read what the ending should've been, check out Kat Kennedy's awesome How It Should Have Ended.

So, this is everything in a nutshell. I'll be posting the links here and on the other posts for each and every part of this elaborate rant, so if you are looking for a hefty dose of sarcasm and frustration (albeit funny ones), you can just drop by by the end of the week or simply follow the blog for quick updates every time a post goes live! ;)

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LOL, joke!

Go To:
Part One: Overview | Part Two: Nora | Part Three: Patch | Part Four: Vee | Part Five: Is This Supposed to be Romance?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Book Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Graceling Realm #3
First Published: 2012
Hardcover
Young Adult, High Fantasy
Rating:
Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.
But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck's death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck's reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and it's only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle - curious, disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.
Whatever that past holds.
Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . .
Bitterblue is the long awaited sequel to Graceling and Fire... though I didn't really wait for it, having discovered Graceling about a month prior to Bitterblue's release. Hearing it starts off eight years after the events of Graceling and will feature Katsa & Po was all I really needed to know before I decided to forgo Fire and jump right into this one instead.

Bitterblue is a hard book to read and rate. It has political intrigue, action, romance, drama and delves into the mind of a madman. All those are adorned by beautiful words and stunning imagery. But unlike its processors, where I found all the elements on par with one another, here some of them fell flat. 

The best part of this book is probably the overall plot of exploring Leck's madness. Through various characters we truly get to see it in a way we didn't before; it's overwhelming and all consuming. It's brutal and dark. It's heartbreaking and for some bizarre reason utterly fascinating.

Is the madman really ever gone, when his effects carry on long after his death? Or is he even truly dead, when his name lives forever in the hearts and minds and those whom he destroyed and their loved ones?

We've always known Leck was evil and cruel, but now we grasp the full scale of it. The journey to figure this out is something we do alongside Bitterblue, who's searching for answers. None of them are things she wanted to hear, though all necessary to make her more than a queen by name only.

An instrumental part in opening Bitterblue's eyes to the lies and half-truth she's been fed is Saf, A graceling thief who knows far more about her country than she does. I would tell you more about him, but I honestly don't think I ever got to know him more than that.

He is also the romantic interest. Which is, incedentally, the most lacking element of this novel. In the first two books we had convincing and delicious slow-burn romances, but here it kind of springs at you out of nowhere and you have no actual idea why they're in love. 

The entire book I found myself wishing Bitterblue would get together with Gideon instead, who was such an amazing surprise! He captured my heart with his sweetness and the way he supported Bitterblue, making him a much better fit to her than Saf ever was. First time I ever wished for a love-triangle to present itself, I'll tell you that...

But, the worst part about this book was the ending--because there wasn't one. I'm alright with open-ended endings; I loved the way Graceling concluded. But Bitterblue's is more than just open-ended. It lacked conclusion and felt like a book that ended mid sentence, closing at the beginning of something huge. Something we spent the novel setting up.

It felt like a tv show that's been cancelled on short notice, leaving the heroes dangling at the beginning of something amazing but never actually getting there. It was simply unsatisfying in every way, leaving me with a mountain of unanswered questions and a the feeling there should at least be one extra book. I wish Cashore would write it.
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Friday, February 19, 2016

#Fangirl: You Need This Trailer Artist In Your Life

Okay, so this is a really spontaneous post, as I've just discovered this incredible trailer artist. This fan makes "tv credits" for fictional tv shows based on the books she loves. She makes an art of assembling clips and it looks so professional. I would watch any tv show that had these for opening credits, especially if they're based on books.

Heck, publishing houses should hire her to create their book trailers because these are far better than any of the ones I've seen out there.

Take this one for the Raven Boys, for example:
Like, seriously. I watched this and I was in awe. It's absolutely perfect, and it doesn't look fan-made at all. what is this sorcery????

Is this what people call an instant-sub? Why, yes, yes it is. I didn't even need to go to see the rest of her tv credits before I subscribed, but I went after just for fun, and found more incredible pieces.

Such as this Cinder tv credits
But okay, I may be a bit biased because those are books I've already read and loved (which, ps. I'm totally isn't. I'm way harsher of variations/adaptations/etc for things I love. I'm nit-picky with them. Can't find a single fault with any of these, though). What about books I haven't seen/read?

Well, check this trailer for the short story "The Man in the Parlor" which was so good I went to read the short story after.
So, what do you think of her tv credits/trailers? are you going to subscribe to her too?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review: Tempt me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

Tempt me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
First Published: 2009
Kindle Bundle
Adult, Historical Romance
Rating:
He was everything she'd sworn to avoid.
Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal—only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.
And she was everything he needed.
Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy—except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm’s length…but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all...
When I started Tempt me at Twilight I was slightly disappointed to learn this was the story of Poppy, the third Hathaway sister. To me, Poppy was the least appealing Hathaway in the first two books, simply because she seemed pretty boring.

The Poppy I discovers in Tempt me at Twilight ended up being my favorite part of the novel. She was just... so great. She was brave. She didn't back down. She sees the best in everyone. She's exceptionally kind, but that won't stop her from telling some harsh truths. She is no doormat!

Then there's Harry. While I was compelled by him from the first moment, I can't say I liked him initially. His manipulative ways left a sour taste in my mouth, partly because he saw nothing wrong with them but mostly because I couldn't quite understand why Poppy brought it out of him. 

Sure, she's delightful - she's smart and inquisitive and all what I said before, but he knew her for mere minutes when he decided he wanted her. Needed her. Would "sell" the last parts of his humanity to have her.

Why?

This was a little too insta-love for my liking on that aspect. I would've liked for them to have had more talks, more interactions, before Harry decided on her so completely. Or at all, for that matter. And after they had married, I would've loved for more of those sweet small moments that explained why he (and she!) fell in love. That explained the change in Harry, which was fun to watch but done a little too quickly and drastically to be completely realistic.

They were there, it just... they weren't exactly enough.

Despite these, they were a really cute couple. I mean, really. They were funny and baffled and interesting and I just loved their interactions; how she was constantly a thing of marvel to him, how she found him both hateful and yet impossible to hate, because there was just something behind his eyes that spoke of a different story. How she made him better and he made her more daring. Made her appreciate the peculiarities of her family. Of their love.

Not to mention the hotel crew surrounding them was simply delightful. I would love for a spin-off series for Valentine, the Chef and possibly more eccentric hotel personals that we don't know yet. Make it happen, Kleypas!

So, a bit of tweaking here and there would have made this a full round four star, but in all honesty I enjoyed this greatly anyways. 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who Ever Said You Need a Parachute To Skydive?

Hey guys! This is just a quick, short post to let you know about a story I'm posting on Watppad called Who Ever Said You Need a Parachute To Skydive?

It's a comedic fantasy tale that I've been writing on-off for years and decided to start posting in order to motivate me to finish. I have a very (detailed) vague plan with it, but the story itself is just so fun I hardly care. Would appreciate if you could read and give me some feedback, and encourage me to finally finish :))
One madman.
One rich wannabe assassin.
One soft policeman.
And their supervising adult (who's really their age, so how did she get this job and how does she get out of it?)

This is the story of four idiots and their quirky adventure trying to find the kidnapped fairy princess, which they will do by bartering with the tooth fairy... or three... stealing numerous magical objects, crossing snowy mountains, fighting several monsters who want to kill them (including each other), and all that before dinner. Okay, okay, no dinners.
*click title to get to the story*

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments #3
First Published: 2009
Paperback
Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?
So, when I read City of Ashes and wrote my original review of it, I boasted at how I was certain I would start City of Glass the following week and finish the first trilogy of the series. I made a huge liar out of myself, because I ended up reading it a full year later.

Which is really one of the main problem I have with this series and Cassandra Clare's books in general. I just don't feel compelled to read them. At all. And even when I do, I end up reading them in triple the time it usually takes me.

I do somewhat enjoy them (not half as much as most of you out there seem to, though...), but that's just kind of my general feeling about them.

In this installment of the series, the tables turned. Where in the last book I loved Jace and was a bit disappointed by Simon, in this one I found Jace's pov to be extremely tiring, and Simon's rather delightful.

Which is too bad, because the whole romance part of the book is centered around Jace and Clary, who spend most of it dancing around--or with--each other, until they finally discover what we all knew (or at the very least I knew) from book one. Hooray and good riddance. But does that mean the angst can finally stop? According to the synopses of the next books, not even close. *sigh*

This makes me glad I'm never going to read them. #ThereISaidIt.

This book is filled with death, but most of it in the big sense of the word, an Avengers type of massive destruction that doesn't really touch you much because you are not too attached to any of those people. Except in one case.

You probably know which Death I'm talking about, and if you don't I'm not going to be the one to spoil it for you (though I did spoil myself for it), but let's just say it's one of my big No-Nos and I want Clare to somehow take it back *sniff*

But it's not the death and destruction that's truly frightening here. It's the fact that Valentine believes he is doing the right thing, the hard thing that no one else but him will do. He is not pure evil. And this type of villain is much scarier to me, because pure evil never stood a chance, that is what it is. But Valentine could've turned out a whole different. He could've done the world a ton of good.

The other villain we're introduced to here? He's pure evil. And I hate him. But not enough to pick up the next books and force myself once again through bazillion pages. #ThereISaidItAgain
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Monday, February 15, 2016

Why The Time Turners are NOT a Plot Hole | Harry Potter

One of my favorite thing in the world is Harry Potter. I was that girl who made projects on Harry Potter in school. And as such, I have a lot to say about it. Usually, my family bears the brunt of it but lately I realized that, hey, I could subject y'all to my never ending HP related rumbles.

Be... thankful?

One of the more rage inducing things I encounter every once in a while, is this type of memes:
Hahahahah, how 'bout no. I sincerely hope this is just for jokes because otherwise you simply read the books wrong. Or more accurately, haven't read them deeply enough.

Because there are two things wrong just in the above photo alone,

BUCKBEAK NEVER DIED. 

This seems to be the biggest complaint over the time-turners and it baffles me, because people seem to have missed the point where Buckbeak never died to begin with. Even in the original time-line Harry and Hermione saved him.

Rowling was very careful not to show his actual execution so when they go back in time, we'd realized we didn't hear Buckbeak's death, we heard the frustrated executioner murdering a poor pumpkin after finding he had escaped.

Dumbledore sent them back in time to save Buckbeak because he knew Buckbeak has already been saved by them. Dumbledore is no dummy.

To take things a step farther nothing in the original timeline has changed by Harry and Hermione's travel back in time as they followed what they knew should happen and therefore made it happen. So, basically, they went back in time to ensure the present remains as it must be and not to change the past.

A huge difference.

So, once again: nothing in the original time line changed, Buckbeak never died.

It's a time-loop, but one that makes a lot of sense. This is why Harry and Hermione remember both the original times it happened (when they didn't know they were the ones doing it) and the travel to make them happen.

NO ONE CAN BE SAVED FROM DEATH, BECAUSE PARADOX 

Dumbledore is 100% right in the first meme, because no one can be "saved" from death. Lily & James Potter can't be saved, Dobby can't be saved, Dumbledore himself can't be saved. In fact, you can't even go back in time to prevent Voldemort's rise!

Nothing fundamental can be changed.

Why? Very simple. Because that would create a paradox. Think about it for a minute. Were you to go back in time and save them, that version of yourself that needed to go back in time and save them never existed to begin with... so who went back in time to save them? 

But say this wasn't an issue, have you considered THE CONSEQUENCES.

Hypothetically, someone did go back in time to save Lily and James. Maybe it's Harry, maybe it's Sirius. They prevent these deaths. What would probably happen? Voldemort would take over the Wizarding world.

Wait, how did I reach this conclusion? Quite easily. What paused Voldemort's attempts for about fifteen years? The powerful spell Lily put on Harry with her death. So, if we follow this logic, if Lily was somehow saved she didn't put the spell on Harry, she doesn't inadvertently give Dumbledore the years he needed to figure out what Voldemort has done to himself, and how to reverse it.

So the Wizarding world would fight against an immortal, and they would loseAnd while dethroning a dictator is definitely an interesting plot line, it's not the story of Harry Potter.

Knowing this, would you change anything?
This meme intends to be funny, but it is exactly right. It's sums it perfectly.

You couldn't let Hermione use the time-turner in life/death situations. Wizards are a lot of things, but dumb they are not. That's why the time-turner was given to Hermione, the smartest witch of her time who would understand the consequences and not, say, Harry who would've fucked up big time.

Now, we've gotten the whole paradox and keeping-the-time-line intact, but for discussion's sake let's say it's possible to change the past without creating a paradox. Even if it was so, have you ever considered how it would actually, physically be done?

THE THREE CONDITIONS OF THE TIME TURNERS MAKE IT LOGISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

To go back in time, one needs to spin the time turner the amount of hours they want to go back, and be in the spot you want to come the other side of. And then you need to relieve those hours until you reach the origin point. These are the Big Three conditions that need to be met in order to work the time-turner.

It's impractical, not to mention near impossible.

Let's look at one of the things fans say could've been solved with the time turners - Voldemort.

To stop Voldemort, one will first need to have knowledge of where and when Voldemort will be at a specific point in time, as well as be certain he has not yet become somewhat immortal otherwise what's the point. So they'll need to know of the Horcruxes as well.

After we have all these, some poor soul will have to go to that location, and sit spinning that time-turner for days non stop. And what if someone tries to stop him if he's somewhere he shouldn't be? What if someone confuses his count? God Almighty, what if his hand slips? 

But say none of these things happen, s/he have succeeded in killing Voldemort! Banzai! Only... now they will have to relieve all these years. And in all actuality they can never return to their original point because now it doesn't exist, so they will probably have to carve a new life for themselves. Oh well, they were prepared for it, I guess.

The point is, these things are highly impractical, and damn near impossible, even without the whole paradox problem. J.K. Rowling was very careful in giving her time-turners obvious limitations and restrictions in order to make it clear they were not an all-fix, though a lot of people tend to forget all those and just focus on the time-travel.

So in a way, I'm glad she destroyed them in order to end that conversation, but she didn't need to because she has taken all the right measurements against it to begin with ;)

*Bonus point: according to Pottermore (or the old Pottermore), five hours is the longest period that can be traveled back without a chance of harm to the traveler.

Thank you for sticking all through this rant if you have, and hopefully you found it informative! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally | Rant

Hundred Oaks #1
First Published: 2011
Kindle Bundle
Mature YA, Romance
Rating:
ONE OF THE BOYS
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though–she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
Miranda Kenneally has been on my tbr for so long, it's ridiculous. I've heard a lot about her books around the blogsphere, but somehow I just kept pushing reading one of her novels for another time. Until a bundle of the first three Hundred Oaks books was on sale on kindle. I'm warning you now, kindle sales and forgotten tbr books are a theme that's going to repeat often on this blog.

Anyways, I was in the mood for something cutesy and fun, so off I went down the Catching Jordan lane. Did I get everything I had hoped for? 
Catching Jordan is highly readable. The writing is engaging and you kind of get swept in, even if the poetry is really not my cup of tea. And the friendship between Henry and Jordan (before the angst) was definitely the best part of the novel.

But at the same time this novel got me so very very very very very pissed. As in...
Why you ask? Well, mainly because of Ty, and Jordan's relationship with Ty.


SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS // SPOILERS

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fire by Kristin Cashore | Book Review

Graceling Realm #2
First Published: 2008
Paperback
Young Adult, High Fantasy
Rating:
HER BEAUTY IS A WEAPON - AND FIRE IS GOING TO USE IT.
Fire's exceptional beauty gives her influence and power. People who are susceptible to it will do anything for her attention, and for her affection.
But beauty is only skin deep, and beneath it Fire has a human appreciation of right and wrong. Aware of her ability to influence others, and afraid of it, she lives in a corner of the world away from people - not only to protect them but also to protect herself herself from their attention, their distrust, and even their hatred.
Yet Fire is not the only danger to Dells. If she wants to protect her home, if she wants a chance to undo the wrongs of the past, she must face her fears, her abilities and a royal court full of powerful people with reason to distrust her.
Confession: originally, I read Fire the last of the three books, despite it being the second published. I was just so invested in Katsa and Po that I was more interested in their future rather than a past they weren't alive in yet.

When I finally read it, I closed the book wanting to hit myself for waiting so long. 

Fire starts by giving us a very disturbing look into Leck's childhood, who we find out has been evil since the very beginning. When you want to cover yourself in something warm and safe from a toddler, it says something.

Moving from that fun little experience we're introduced to the monster Fire, a human beautiful beyond description who can invade and control minds. People either hate her or admire her to destruction, and with an infamous monster father created from the same mold as Leck, the hatred is palpable.

The thing Fire is most afraid of in the entire world is herself. She is scared to death she'll become something like her father because of her powers and abilities. But she's a dutiful, driven, loving person, who will do anything for those she loves. And so, when she's asked to do something for the king- she accepts.

That's where the real story starts. Before that, we get to know Fire, her routine, the dynamics she shares with those around her and her past, through beautifully done flashbacks that are never boring or meaningless. 

If this book excels in anything (and it excels in many things), it's in making you know Fire inside and out, on all her layers. It's in making you live inside Fire to to point of tearing up at the things she feels - without the need for anything truly "tragic" to happen.

Fire is as strong a heroine as Katsa, while being vastly different from her.

And Brigan is as amazing a male character as Po was, for different reasons. I feel like I want to let you guys discover him all on your own. 

Now, if that's not enough to make you want to read this book, what if I told you that the romance is of the slow-burn variety? What if I told you it's sort of a hate to love situation? What if I told you that two people who are uncomfortable with each other on sight learn to trust one another, become friends and eventually develop something more in the most real and believable way that will give you ALL the feels???

And what if I topped that by saying the romance is not the main focus of the story, but a delicious bonus? That the real story is one of self acceptance, forgiveness and repenting? That it's real and raw and human? That consequences exist in this world, for better or worse, and happy endings are not in the cards for everyone? That it's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, and that the combination is beautiful? 

I really can sing praise of Fire and Cashore's magic with words for days, you know. She is one of the most amazing authors out there to me. Once you get a taste of her writing, you really can't stop.
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Anime Review: Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S | Generic But Watchable

Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S
12 out 12 Episodes, completed
Aired: Apr 5, 2009 to Jun 21, 2009
Prequel to Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica
Drama, Fantasy, Music
Rating:
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S (yes, that is a mouthful!) opens with two unknown characters fighting. A little orphan boy is crying. His tears transition with the dropping blood of the winged woman, illustrating a connection. The boy starts to sing to make himself feel better, attracting the spirit. She starts talking to him.

And this is where it gets UBER CREEPY. This overly sexualized adult woman says she wants to keep the boy all to herself. Then she leans in for (what appears to be) a kiss, but gets interpreted.

Fast forward twelve years, and that boy is now studying in an academy famous for it's Dantists program. A Dantist is a specialist who attracts spirits with his music, and can use them to help him do all sort of stuff.

However, Phoron is not so good at being a Dantist. For some reason, his music doesn't transition with the spirits at all, despite his early childhood success. Remembering the song that brought the spirit to him to begin with, he sings it again (in his childhood, baby, girly voice to boot. That sounded very strange coming out of a teenager who has a very pleasant male voice when he speaks).

And thus, a spirit wakes up. Creating a bit of havoc, and with beautiful animation (one of the only beautifully animated moments in this series, which in on a whole pretty average to ugly in it's animation) a girl bursts from the raving spirit.

And who that girl is? The spirit he met at the beginning! Only... she now looks younger. I'm assuming that's done so it won't look so creepy between them, though that train has sailed on the first few minutes!

And thus, starts the adventures of Corticarte and Phoron. And yes, the names are hella odd in this series.

How did I do with this summary? You like? 
One of the only truly beautiful animation scenes. Couldn't find a gif, sorry! :(
For me, this show is probably between two and a half stars to three. On My Anime List I gave it a score of six which translates to "fine". My emotions about this series switched from exasperated annoyance, to mild amusement, to general meh-ness, to slight interest. In that order, actually.

If I were honest, I had no intention to watch this. I thought I was watching one of the shows on my "currently watching" list from three-four years ago which I'm trying desperately to clean up. But turns out, I was originally watching season one which chronologically comes after this one #canIbeanymorestupid

I don't think I will return to the sequel after watching this. I can tell, looking back, why I probably started with the first season. It's because of the music and the singing. I have this thing with musical anime. I kind of love them. And maybe the first season isn't an assembly of cliches like this show was, but in this one you could tick off the list with your fingers:

☑ A hero who doesn't want to fight, but will because the bad guys cross a line and they're "the only ones I don't want to lose to" - check

☑ Two to three girls in love with the main character at once even though he's kind of useless and oblivious - check
☑ One of them is a sickly girl - check

☑ One of them is an out-going honest girl - check

☑ The mysterious authority figure (headmaster in this case) - check

☑ The bad guys explain themselves to the good guys - check

Etc. And even the execution of the many tropes and cliches this show uses was generic to a fault. At least try to spice things up! Maybe the hero is unapologetic about being kind of not wanting to fight instead of saying sorry every two minutes. How 'bout that?

On the other hand, that didn't mean it wasn't fun to watch. I enjoyed rolling my eyes at the show. Enjoyded being like "AHH SO RIDICULOUS" when they were being super cliched. Enjoyed laughing at the "listen to your heart" and friendship is fabulous and don't give up and all that stuff. Enjoyed sniggering and tsking my tongue at it.

It that super cruel? yes.

Will it mellow it a bit if I say I also enjoyed it 'cause it was cute and from episode seven or so it really picks up on the action? No? hmm... figures, really. I am a horrible person.
Side note: the one-man orchestra looks ridiculous. Like an oversized butterfly, but not in a good way. At least not worn by our characters.