Friday, January 20, 2017

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule
Published March 11, 2014
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Part of me really disliked it because the pacing was so slow and Sing was so wishy washy as the main character.  However, the other part of me did enjoy the intrigue behind Felix, the magical tear, and the budding romance.  I’m not sure which part is more dominant right now but I’m sure that as I write this review, I’ll get a better sense of how I feel about this book.

Now where to start…let’s start with the pacing.  I actually contemplated about giving up the book because it was so freakishly slow.  Honestly, the entire book was slow.  Sometimes it’s just the beginning but once the action/meat of the story starts then it gets a little faster.  That was not the case for this one.  To be honest, the only time I was eagerly flipping through the pages was really the last 20-30 pages of the book when Daysmoor and Sing started to actually investigate their feelings for each other.  Other than that, I was just trotting along and hoping for the best.  I am actually quite proud of myself for finishing the book.

As for Sing, I really, really did not like her.  She had no substance and even Daysmoor pointed it out (which is why I was a little confused with the romance between the two).  She was constantly under her late mother’s shadow and her father was constantly pushing her to be better that she was lost under all that pressure.  And as a result, her character literally kept going back and forth between two extremes and it was to the point that she was conflicted herself.  Not to mention, her personality changed halfway through the book.  In the beginning, she was nice and considerate even though she was a bit shy as she started a new school.  However, somewhere in the middle, she got the notion that she needed to be a diva and became extremely haughty and rude.  And other than her family name, she didn’t have the right to be a diva.  Her singing was on and off at times – she certainly wasn’t amazing at it.  So I’m really not sure why she suddenly thought she had the right to steal the role from Lori (who, admittedly, is a complete bitch but still earned that spot with her own merits) whereas Sing used her father’s connection to kick Lori out.  Definitely not a character that I can respect and like. 

As for the magical aspect of the book, it was actually a little confusing in the beginning because some chapters would be from long ago as a flashback or something but you wouldn’t know until the end when everything finally comes together.  So I was very confused with the crow boy or the man who stumbled upon the Felix and got his wish granted.  It was all a little confusing but it was an interesting element to the book.  Without it, the book would have been a sliver of what it is now because god knows, just reading about Sing would have been terrible.  There was definitely a lot of “ah-ha” in the second half because I was finally understanding a lot of the side chapters in the beginning.

The relationship between Daysmoor and Sing was very strange.  There was no indication that either of them liked the other much other than Daysmoor occasional brooding glance.  So I was definitely more than a little surprised when Sing started to become interested in him and the relationship felt like it went from the negative to 100 within a few pages (the time when I was actually fascinated with the story).  And then there was that whole drama with the Maestro and Daysmoor.  I still can’t fully comprehend their relationship.  Why did the Maestro felt that it was his need to keep Daysmoor at the school and why did he feel this way?  Was he in love with him or something because it didn’t seem that way?  It was all a little confusing.

My conclusion is that this book is way too confusing.  After analyzing different portions of the book, I am left with more questions than answers.  The plot was slow, the characters lacked personality and charm, the magic was very confusing and the relationship between Sing and Daysmoor, while interesting, was a bit strange.  I’m not sure if I’ll recommend this one.
Rating:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Published April 5, 2016
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
So I was supposed to read this book out loud as part of the 2016 Read Harder Challenge but since I had originally planned to read it out loud to my foster kittens and because I was no longer fostering kittens (due to it no longer being kitten season), I couldn’t complete this portion of the challenge.  However, I still decided to go ahead and read the book since it was on my TBR list anyways.  This was definitely an interesting book with strange logics and plenty of twists and turns.

The biggest confusion, for me, in this book was the whole Nonsense versus Logic aspect.  I mean, other than the obvious definitions from those words, I don’t really get it.  I get the people who came from Nonsense worlds because it’s very obvious that those worlds are Nonsense but the Logic worlds are strange.  Not to mention that there are sub-categories too.  And the world that Nancy came from – world of the dead – what does that fall into?  Certainly not Nonsense nor does it seem like Logic.  The one thing I would admit though is that the author certainly had a very vivid imagination.  Either that or she went into one of these worlds as well (LOL).

The characters were definitely interesting especially taken into the account that they all lived a portion of their lives in some fantasy world.  Which means that they are most definitely not your average kids.  Because of that, I felt that the interaction between the characters a little strange to me.  Some of them were very socially awkward especially those who grew up in some dead world (like Christopher who grew up in the world of Bones or something and could communicate with bones).  And others seemed like your average kids since there were still cliques and being popular and whatnot.  In other words, it was a strange dynamic.

The culprit to the mystery definitely threw me off – I was not at all expecting it to be that person.  Mainly because that person came off as normal and not at all crazy.  But I guess at the end of the day, everyone in that school was a little bit crazy since they all experienced something otherworldly and are trying to return to that world rather than stay in our average normal one.  So while the ending to the murder mystery threw me off, I wasn’t surprised at Nancy’s ending.  On one hand, I’m glad things worked out but on another hand, it’s a pity that that was the ending for her. 

Overall, it was an intriguing read.  I just realized that there will be a sequel (two actually) and will be published sometime this year.  Unfortunately I don’t think this book drew me in enough to want to pick up the other books.  However, if you’re interested in these fantasy/crazy worlds, definitely check this series out.  
Rating:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow Like Ashes Trilogy by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes Trilogy by Sara Raasch
Published between 2014-2016
Summaries on Goodreads
Review:
So while the premise of this book was very intriguing, once I started reading, it became very obvious on how this trilogy would pan out.  There were still some plot twists here and there especially in the last book with Paisly but a lot of the major ones were pretty much obvious from the beginning.  Especially the crucial fact: who is the actual leader of Winter.  Plus, it was obvious who would end up together and who wouldn’t.  However, I still enjoyed reading about the process of how these things came to be so I personally still enjoyed the books.  But if you’re someone like my friends who hate predictable endings, then this trilogy isn’t for you.

I thought the relationship between Mather and Meira dragged on a little too much.  I mean, it was pretty obvious that they would end up together – they loved each other too much not to.  But the first two books was pretty much them denying any affection between the two even though they were both essentially suffering and moaning about how they can’t be together (mostly on Mather’s end though since Meira was a little busy trying to save the world from Angra’s evilness).  So I was definitely glad to get to the final book where they profess their undying love and whatnot and the world was able to move on.

The one thing that always confused me in this trilogy was the relationship between the Seasons and Rhythms and magic.  It was hinted in the first book how magic came to be but I wished there was a little more information.  Also, what is the relationship between Seasons and Rhythms?  Did the Seasons only get the ability to only have a certain season in their kingdom due to magic or was this prior to everything?  And if so, how did that come to be?  The kingdoms aren’t exactly located far from each other.  They’re all within a few days/weeks of traveling so it’s not as if the Winter kingdom was located in some North Pole and Summer was near the equator.  As for the Rhythms’ kingdom, how come they have normal seasons?  I mean, for me, just realistically and logistically, how is this even possible?  I just felt very confused and wished that there was more of a world and story building before all the action occurred.

The magic portion of this trilogy was also really strange.  I felt like it wasn’t explained very clearly.  How come Paisly’s magic allowed them to live pretty much forever? I get that it’s because they’re conduits themselves but what can they do?  And how come Meira’s magic is different from theirs?  What about Angra’s Decay magic?  He was just able to randomly affect people with his Decay?  How come he didn’t do this from the beginning?  Why did he wait till the last book to show everyone?

So even though I was confused with the magic aspect especially with the whole Hannah-being-in-Meira’s-head portion, I still really enjoyed the conclusion.  It was a good ending.  I really liked the whole development with the side characters especially the Queen of Summer and her relationship with Jesse, King of (I forget the name of his kingdom…).  And even though I was saddened to hear about Theron and what happened in the last book, I was glad to find out that everything worked out in the end.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this series and found it entertaining.  There was definitely a lot of action involved as well as romance.  A few of the scenes seemed a little graphic especially in Summer’s kingdom but it wasn’t terrible.  I would recommend this to people who like a little bit of fantasy and magic involved in their reading.
Rating:

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published November 3, 2015
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
This is my book club’s book for December and everyone thought it was a very cute book.  Honestly though, for me, I thought it was just okay.  A lot of my fellow book clubbers raved about the “romance” and the sex scenes between Jack and Beatrix but maybe I was expecting too much or something since I didn’t get a chance to read the book till after the discussion but I felt very let-down.  I do admit that I found it interesting and unique that, for once, it was the male who was a virgin and the girl who was experienced.  Usually in YA novels, either both are experienced or it’s the male who is and the girl isn’t.  And I was glad that the author didn’t make Beatrix come off as a slut for being more experienced. 

One thing that one of my fellow book clubber kept commenting on was how unrealistic the anatomy portions are in the book.  Since she’s a physical therapist and had to learn intensively about the anatomy and how things work, she thought it was completely unrealistic and was ranting about it (LOL).  Personally though, I think if you have just a normal knowledge of the anatomy, it wouldn’t bother you as much (certainly didn’t bother me as much as it did her) but it was also good to know that the author could have done some more research when she was depicting the different areas of the body.

I didn’t really understand the attraction between Beatrix and Jack.  To me, the romance between the two seemed unrealistic and illogical.  They met randomly one night and all of a sudden, Beatrix is going out of her way to find him and likewise for Jack.  She is supposedly a very calm person with a stable personality but her going out of her way to seek him doesn’t seem to be in line with her character.  However, Jack going out of his way to find her does seem like something he would do.  I mean, he goes around at night tagging different parts of the cities with mysterious messages.  Which is another reason why the relationship between the two seems strange because they’re so different from one another and it’s not even that “opposites attract”.  They’re just very different in their hobbies and personalities.

I did enjoy the ending though.  I found it heartening to read about what Beatrix did for Jack’s sister and for his entire family.  Also, for someone who was supposedly known to be mean and harsh, Jack’s father didn’t seem that way to me.  Yes, he was harsh in terms of disciplining his son (I mean, he was going around committing felonies); however, he wasn’t unreasonable.  He knew how to negotiate and work things out with the rest of his family so everyone could be happy.  On Beatrix’s side, the ending with her father and mother was nice.  It was definitely a very nice conclusion to a cute book.

Overall, while I didn’t rave about the book like my book clubbers, I did think in general, the book was cute.  There wasn’t much depth to it other than Jack’s sister.  I think that was really the only part where it was more than just simple romance and graffiti making.  This would be a good beach/summer read.  
Rating:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Monthly Summary: December 2016

Well.  This was a super slow month lol.  Too many holidays and parties and life that I couldn't find a ton of time to read.  Also apologies for the delay in posting - was too busy with traveling and dealing with life issues (my phone got stolen in Porto!) so...it was crazy.

Books I read:
1) Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez





Rating: 2/5
















SO MUCH to say about this entire series.  It's crazy.  Be prepared for like a 5 page review on this series LOL












3) Micah (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton





Read above.









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