Saturday, April 1, 2017

April TBR

So it appears I epically failed at my TBR last  month.  The reason I had no reviews posted is that I reread two books: Pride and Prejudice and Clockwork Angel.  I tried reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which was on my TBR for March, but it wasn't for me.  School is kind of stressing me out, and high fantasy was the last thing I needed for my muddled brain.  Thus, I turned to rereading my old fave to prevent a reading slump.

Unfortunately, I'm at the point in the semester where shit is starting to hit the fan, and I'm finding motivation to do - well, anything - hard to come by.  I am hoping to read the following this month, but keep your expectations low:

1.  The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - I was actually going to pick up The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, but it was checked out at the time I visited the library.  Since this was also on my list of eventual reads, I decided to pick it up.  I'm not sure about the writing so far, but I'm hoping I will come to like it.

2.  Scythe by Neal Shusterman - This was on my TBR last month.  Obviously I was failing at everything, but I have the book in my possession and hope to finally read it soon!

3.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed (Audiobook) - This was also on my TBR last month.  I am currently in the process of listening to it and absolutely LOVING every minute of it.  The audiobook has sound effects, which makes it feel like I'm watching the movie all over again.

Thanks for being patient with me, guys!
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March TBR

Phew! Made it to the halfway point of the semester.  I managed to read two books last month:

Notice I didn't end up reading Illuminae last month; it was a DNF for me at around page 130.  While the unique format was cool, I found the characters to be too annoying to continue any further.

I'm hoping my reading won't slacken too much this month, what with the Nintendo Switch coming out tomorrow! I'm SO EXCITED for the new Zelda game!! If I manage to get my shit together, I'll be reading the following this month:

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I'm currently reading this chunker of a book.  Hoping to finish it within the week!

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Audiobook) - I've read the book, watched the Keira Knightley movie probably over 10 times, and seen at least 2 other screen adaptations of my fave classic! This time, I'm listening to the audiobook narrated by Rosamund Pike (she played Jane in the 2005 movie!!).  I love listening to the elegance of her voice.  The ability to count rereads on Goodreads means I can finally reread my faves without feeling anxious about meeting my reading challenge!

3. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - I feel it is time to read a contemporary novel for a change! I've been reading so many high fantasy and science fiction novels lately that I really need something more simplistic.

4. Scythe by Neal Shusterman - I have to admit that I'm basically reading this for the cover and great reviews on Goodreads.

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed (Audiobook) - I spent a few hours today trying to decide what audiobook I was going to spend my audible credit on! I went to Reddit r/YAlit for advice, but nothing appealed to me.  I then took to browsing audible and came across this! I thought about reading the novelization after seeing the film and shipping Jyn x Cassian like cray, but for some reason decided against it.  The audiobook, however, seems too good to pass up (it even has sound effects!).
Friday, February 24, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Released January 31, 2017
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 2/5


Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever (Summary from Goodreads).


*Review may contain  minor spoilers*

I've seen the cover of this book EVERYWHERE - on Instagram, on peoples' TBR lists, booktube, Reddit...EVERYWHERE.

And it was a huge disappointment.

I didn't feel that way through the first half.  In fact, being on the Julian x Scarlett ship train blinded me to the flaws in the writing.  Three major things bothered me:

1. Metaphors were nonsensical

I have this bad habit of reading negative reviews on Goodreads.  Once a negative review points out something, I start to notice the problem, too.  I probably wouldn't have been bothered by the weird descriptions unless I was reading the physical book (I was listening to the audiobook), but once someone pointed them out, I couldn't stop noticing them.

Can someone tell me what violet feels like? What does midnight and wind taste like? I just can't with these descriptions.

2. The story was choppy

The summary seems pretty dang enticing - A story about magic and getting entrancing in a game! Well, we get magic and a game, and that's about it.  The story lacked structure (much like my reviews).  Most of Caraval is Scarlett reminding herself that she HAS TO SAVE HER SISTER and JULIAN'S MUSCLES!!  Every time Scarlett discovered a clue, it felt too perfect.  Too forced.

3. It was basically a fanfiction

The bridges in Caraval changed direction when people walked on them...sound familiar? It reminded me of the staircases in Harry Potter.  Okay, no big deal right?  Then we discover Scarlett is supposed to marry (*SPOILER*) a dude named Nicholas Darcy. DARCY - a rich dude that kinda acts like an asshole.  And of course I thought of Pride and Prejudice. We meet a side character named Iko and I immediately think of The Lunar Chronicles. At this point, I was starting to get annoyed.  Iko isn't exactly a common name.

But perhaps the most obvious sign that this is basically a fanfiction is the entire premise of Caraval being a mysterious show that doesn't stay in the same place for long and is a competition.  Um....even the cover resembles The Night Circus!! I mean COME ON.  How do books like this get published?

I don't typically give books such a low rating; usually I don't finish books I dislike this much.  When I don't finish, I feel like I shouldn't review unless I read over half of it.  I happened to actually finish this because it was an audiobook and I needed something to listen to while knitting a blanket.  Also, I didn't realize how much certain things bothered me until toward the end.

Audiobook Performance Review
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
Rating: 4/5

I don't have a lot of experience with audiobooks yet, but I felt that the performance was very good considering how bad the writing is.  I think it was actually the feeling exuded by Soler that kept me from noticing a lot of the writing flaws throughout most of the novel.  I liked that Julian's accent sounded Mexican (I could be way off base so sorry if my ignorance offends anyone!), because the names of the southern islands were Mexican.  The only voice I didn't care for much was Legend's - it sounded like an evil middle aged woman.  I feel like his voice should have had more of a magician's flair to it, confident.  I also like that she didn't try to make her voice sound manly for the male characters.  Overall, the voice acting made the book bearable.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
Author: Pierce Brown
Released February 9, 2016
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3.5/5


Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.


**This review contains spoilers**

Wow, so I think I'm just gonna start from the beginning.  I was going into this book with medium to high expectations after experiencing the greatness that is Golden Son.  The writing in the beginning was fantastic.  It captured Darrow's hurt and craziness from being imprisoned and tortured for over a year.  After he was rescued and reunited with Sevro, I was in heaven.  Sevro's lines are so funny, and I think he is everyone's favorite character not just because of his shoot-first-ask-questions-later style, but because he seems to be the best developed character.

While the beginning parts were good...the middle of the book was quite stagnant for me.  In Red Rising, the side characters had some personality, but still felt like cardboard.  There was a lot of action and little twists and turns.  Golden Son improved on this issue of characterization immensely, and had PLENTY of exciting action parts.  But Morning Star turned all the side characters into cardboard, especially Mustang.  I didn't feel any emotion from her in this entire book, even in that cliche epilogue.  Where was her concern when Darrow was getting his freakin' hand cut off? Why wasn't there a better reunion scene between her and Darrow after his captivity?  It felt like the Howlers all had the same personality, as well.

The story wasn't as action-packed, and the parts that did have action felt unexciting to me. I feel like the descriptions are not clear enough for me to imagine the setting, yet also too drawn out to be exciting (if that makes sense).

I have to say that the ending was both good and disappointing.  When Cassius shot Sevro in the chest six times and I thought he was dead:

That's one of my favorite gifs lmaoo.  I was legit about to give this book 2 stars.  But then we find out Cassius and Sevro were acting and almost everything was right again...except, I can't help but wonder what the point of that was?? Why didn't Cassius start kicking ass before Darrow got his hand cut off?? I was just confused.  Even with the plot twist, the end fighting scene just seemed...dry.  BUT, I was still happy with the ending, because my Sevro was still alive (basically the reason I gave this 3.5 stars instead of 3).

It seems like most of this review is a rant, but I did honestly like the series as a whole.  As I was reading Morning Star, I couldn't help but think of how far Darrow has come from his meager beginnings as a Red Helldiver in the mines of Mars.

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