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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

(https://www.amazon.com/Cinder-Marissa-Meyer/dp/1250007208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505363729&sr=8-1&keywords=cinder)

I haven’t read that much this month. I have mostly been reading Manga and Graphic novels. Thinking about reviewing some of the graphic novels/manga that I have read but not certain. If anyone would like that let me know.

Anyway, on to the review, so I was pretty hesitant about this novel since it is, technically, a retelling of a fairy tale. I tend to dislike retellings and I don’t go out of my way to read them. I do remember picking this novel up back when it came out but I passed up on purchasing it because it was being marketed as a retelling. I wish I had not passed it up back then. The fact is that this novel is a loosely based retelling but it is about so much more than that. I was immersed in the world the Meyer created from the first chapter. I was interested to see what happened and I loved Cinder because she was independent, brave, stubborn and knew what she wanted.

The novel centers around Cinder who is a cyborg in New Beijing. In her world, being a cyborg is taboo and a lot of people will not interact with her due to that and she also doesn’t have any rights. Everything she does is controlled by her step-mother/guardian. There is a disease going around the world and people die from it and there is no known cure. There are doctors who are trying to find a cure and one of the ways they do so is by experimenting on cyborgs. This is one of Cinders greatest fears because her guardian has the right to force her to volunteer. There is a Prince in the novel and Cinder and him end up having interactions. While Cinders stepmom is pretty mean to her she is not the ultimate villain of the novel. That falls to Levana, who happens to be queen of lunar.

Cinder is the first book in a series and I thought this book did a nice job of introducing us to the world. It was pretty predictable but predictability isn’t always a bad thing. I think that the writing in this novel was actually pretty good. It was engaging and it flowed well and it pulled me into the world faster than normally happens for me.

I don’t know that I saw any flaws in this novel other than it being predictable in a number of places. I think that I probably would have rated it higher than 4 stars if it had not been so predictable. I am definitely interested to see where this series goes.

 

 

 

 

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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

the fifth season

(https://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Season-Broken-Earth/dp/0316229296/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503699443&sr=8-1&keywords=the+fifth+season)

N.K Jemisin has been on my radar for a while. I know someone who read 100 Thousands Kingdoms trilogy and really enjoyed it. I have also been hearing a lot about The Fifth Season Trilogy. I decided to start with The Fifth Season since N.K. Jemisin has won the Hugo award for the books. I admit I was a tad bit nervous about this trilogy because it won an award and there have been numerous times in the past where I have read a book where an award was given and I hated it given that fact I went into the novel quite cautiously and I can say that I absolutely loved the novel and I can’t wait to finish the trilogy.

The story is told from three different POV’s and those POV’s are Damaya, Syenite and Essun and they live in a world where ‘natural’ disasters can occur and they all happen to be Rogga who are people that can control the natural disasters in a sense. In their world, Rogga, are not liked and face quite a bit of discrimination. The novel starts out with Essun coming home and finding out that her husband killed her three year old son. She assumes that the reason he killed the boy is because the boy is a Rogga like his mother. Essun ends up going on a journey to locate her husband as well as the daughter that her husband took with him when he left town. The story takes off from there and shifts between all three characters.

Within the first chapter I could tell that the story was going to be really compelling and I was even more excited for the series. I can say that the story was told in a weird way and it did take time to get used to the writing. Essun’s perspective is told from second person which was a tad bit off-putting and hard to adjust too. It was probably hard to adjust to because there aren’t a lot of novels that are told in second person. Essun’s POV was the only POV told in second person so when it switched to Syenite or Damaya it was hard to readjust. However, after reading the book for a bit I was able to adjust and I enjoyed it. I do wish that some of the reviews for this novel had mentioned that part of the book was told in second person because it was weird to go into and not really expect that.

Despite the writing I did enjoy the novel and I also enjoyed how all three characters perspectives ended up coming together for the end. I think that the author did a good job of writing these characters and I felt connected and invested in each of their stories. I did have an issue with the way in which the author didn’t really do much world building. I mean, there was world building to an extent, but it felt like the author kind of just threw the reader into this new world and expected the reader to understand the terms, the way the rogga’s ‘magic’ worked and the way that the societies in this world worked. That left me confused for a bit but once I read a decent amount of the novel I was able to adjust and learn more about the world. Also, there was a glossary in the back of my novel so I was able to look up some words that I did not understand.

While the lack of world building and the second person POV was a tad bit off-putting I can admit that I am glad that I got through the novel.

I loved how diverse this novel was. The three main characters were female and while I know there are some fantasy novels turned from female perspectives it doesn’t seem to be as common. I also appreciated that the author included LGBT characters but their sexuality/gender was not a huge focus. Their sexuality/gender was made known but it wasn’t a plot point or plot twist. I appreciated that because a lot of authors struggle with not making the characters sexuality a plot twist/plot point. I also appreciated how the persons gender/sexuality was pretty much seen as normal. It might or might not have been accepted in that particular world but the characters who interacted with the LGBT characters accepted it like they would accept someone who was straight.

I don’t know that I have ever read a fantasy novel that was so diverse. I am sure there are probably more out there but this was a really nice novel to come across and I hope to finish off the trilogy in September!

I gave this book four out of five stars. It would have been five star if I hadn’t been thrown into the novel not expecting the second person POV and if the author had spent a little more time world building and letting me know about the world and how it all worked.

 

 

I have returned!

I have been in a slump most of August. I did still read but mostly Graphic novels and Manga and I don’t tend to review those to the extent that I review books. Due to that I have not really reviewed much of anything all this month. I did recently finish The Fifth Season and that was the first book that I was able to finish without skimming most of the novel. Therefore,  I will probably upload a review for that later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Starting in September I should be reviewing books a tad bit more often as well. I don’t think I am going to do a TBR for September though because I just want to read books that sound interesting. That being said, I am thinking about doing a series review for The Fifth Season books. I still want to review the first one here but I might hold off on reviewing the other two and just include them in a series review or I might just include my thoughts on the entire series in the review for book three.

There are a few other things I want to try and do in the next few months as well. I am thinking about doing a Harry Potter reread and discussing my thoughts for each book. I know other people are doing this and I figured it would be cool for me to do since I haven’t reread the books in years so my thoughts and feelings on the books might have changed.

If anyone has any things they’d like to see incorporated in my blog feel free to let me know!

 

All is Not Forgotten

all is not forgotten

(https://www.amazon.com/All-Not-Forgotten-Wendy-Walker/dp/1250097932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499388292&sr=8-1&keywords=all+is+not+forgotten+by+wendy+walker)

Triggering Content: Rape, suicide, self harm, drug abuse

This book was done really well and overall I did like it. I can’t say that I enjoyed it because the topic was difficult and the way the author used graphic content to detail the events was rough to read through. But, overall, the novel was intriguing. I believe that it is considered a thriller but it is a really slow moving novel that might not interest a lot of people due to how slow it moves.

The novel focuses on Jenny Kramer and her family after she is brutally raped. Her parents make the decision to use a drug that will allow Jenny to forget her rape. They think that allowing her to forget will be the best course of action in order for her to move on. However, they are made to realize that making her forget probably wasn’t the best course of action and they end up seeking out the help of a Psychiatrist. The story is so much more complicated than the blurb makes it out to be and I wasn’t expecting it.

It is told from the Psychiatrist’s point of view and I will be honest and say that the psychiatrist was extremely unlikable. He is arrogant which can be really frustrating to read about but I honestly think that the author made him unlikable on purpose. It made the story work better.

The story covers some really controversial subjects. If you have experience with sexual assault you might know that within the mental health community there are people who say that people can’t forget their memories and if they ‘magically’ remember them those memories are false. There are professionals on the other side who say that people do forget their abuse at times and when they remember those memories are not false. The thing that both sides do seem to agree on is that memory is suggestive so if repressed memories are not handled carefully then the person can be subject to getting false memories. This novel talks a lot about suggestive memory and repressed memories (although in Jenny’s case the memories were repressed because of a medication). I suppose I found the subject of this novel so interesting because of my own past. As such, I thought that the way the author covered the issues was done well and what I read seemed quite accurate.

The other reason I liked this novel was because it discusses how ‘forgetting’ your abuse/rape might not be the easiest way to heal. As a survivor of sexual abuse I used to feel that had I never really remembered the abuse then my life might not have been so difficult. As I went through treatment I realized that remembering helped me to heal in the long run and if I hadn’t been able to deal with the trauma head on I probably wouldn’t have full healed. This novel touches on that fact in a really good way. What would happen if there was a drug that could help people forget something traumatic that happened to them? Would the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?

This novel was excruciating to read and there were times when the narrator would go on a tangent and I would get annoyed. It’s possible that this book could have been shortened but at the same time all the tangents that the author went on ended up coming together towards the end. I usually don’t like when narrators go on tangents or, as with this story, the narrator discusses one part of the story and mid way through moves on to discuss something else. However, the way it was done in this novel intrigued me. It left me wondering how exactly the pieces would all come together.

I rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars. I think that this novel is something many should take the time to read as long as they can deal with the triggers which were quite prevalent in the novel.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

raven boys

(https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Boys-Maggie-Stiefvater/dp/0545424933/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1498797492&sr=8-3&keywords=maggie+stiefvater)

This book was absolutely phenomenal. It centers around Blue Sargent who is from a family of psychics. However, she does not have the psychic gift. Instead she is able to make the psychic gifts of others stronger. Since Blue was a young girl all the psychics around her have told her that if she kisses her true love she will kill him. Blue ends up meeting up with four boys from Aglionby which is a private school for very rich individuals. The story, essentially, takes off from there. The boys also bring Blue into their search for a Welsh King.

This novel was written really beautifully. Even though it is a YA novel the writing is done quite well and it could easily read as an adult novel. I do love YA novels but sometimes the writing is too simplistic for my tastes. I was worried about that being an issue with this novel and was glad to see, early on, that that would not be the case.

The novel is written in a way where you are given bits and pieces about the characters but you don’t know the full story. For some people this might lead to them being confused about what is going on but I was so intrigued and wanted to learn more about the characters.

This is part of a four book series though so a lot of questions were still left unanswered. I am hoping that some of the questions I have will end up being answered in the next novel in the series.

The content of this novel is very dark and touches on triggering topics such as grief, suicide and abuse. There is a chapter towards the end where physical abuse is described quite graphically. If you think that might trigger you then you might want to skip this novel. Towards the beginning of the novel one of the teachers at the school makes, what I felt, was an unnecessary comment about suicide. However, that comment did not annoy me enough to not enjoy the story.

I give this book 5 out f 5 stars!

 

July 2017 TBR (Quite Ambitious)

These are the books I would like to get to this coming month:

 

Tigana is a book I am going to be reading as part of a reading group.

Concussion is one of the novels that was chosen for my book club. I was able to read the other one on Monday. I am currently waiting for it to come in at the library which, hopefully, won’t take to long.

The Raven Boys series is one of the three series I would like to try and get read by the end of September. The other two series are Shatter Me and Darkest Minds.

The other books are just books I’ve been wanting to get to for a while. Hoping to be able to read all these books this month but I know it’s a bit ambitious especially given that the Tigana is close to 700 pages.

Wish me luck!

Edit: I forgot to add a book and that is

men we reaped

 

Murder on Orient Express by Agatha Christie

murder

(https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Orient-Express-Hercule-Mysteries/dp/0062073494/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498534122&sr=8-1&keywords=The+murder+on+orient+express)

I am not 100% sure how I feel about this novel. I think it was pretty mediocre but I really enjoyed the ending. If it had not been for the ending I probably would have given the book a lower rating than I did.

I didn’t really connect to the character or the mystery. I was waiting to get invested in the story but it never happened. The whole entire time I felt kind of detached from the story. I didn’t really care who did it as much as I was curious to see how the author brought together all the pieces. I know that Agatha Christie is hailed as a really awesome mystery writer but I am not sure that her mysteries are for me? When I read a mystery novel I want to be kept at the edge of my seat and I didn’t really feel that way.

That being said, the ending was spectacular and I think that was definitely the saving grace of the novel.

I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Our Dark Duet by V.E Schwab

our dark duet

(https://www.bookdepository.com/Our-Dark-Duet-V-E-Schwab/9781785652769?ref=grid-view&qid=1498281745714&sr=1-1)

This is the sequel and conclusion to Schwab’s ‘This Savage Song’. It takes place a few months after the events of This Savage Song.

I was not a huge fan of the first book. I thought that it was well written but it just didn’t really do much for me. I ended up rating it 3 stars. I was hesitant about continuing the series because of that but I am so glad that I did. I felt more connected to the story and the characters this time around. I also thought that this story was more action packed and I found myself wondering how all the pieces would end up coming together.

I thought that the graphic nature of this book was done well. I know some people don’t like depictions of death and stuff like that but I think that by including those graphic depictions it made the monsters come alive. It was evident from very early on that the monsters in this novel were dangerous and scary and needed to be defeated. There were a few scenes where I was left creeped out by the gruesomeness which I wasn’t expecting since this is a YA novel.

The changes that the characters in the novel displayed were done well. Both characters changed in the six months that lapsed since the last book. I kind of liked how Schwab made the characters change a bit because every single person changes over the course of their lifetime and I think that after the events of ‘This Savage Song’ all the characters involved would have had exhibited changes.

I absolutely loved the introduction of Soro. I think that they might have been my favorite character and I liked how they didn’t really have a gender.

All in all I loved this novel and I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

the dinner

(https://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Herman-Koch/dp/0385346859/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498101427&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dinner)

This novel focuses on two couples who go to dinner to discuss their children who were involved in something horrific. The novel is really ambiguous about pretty much everything. You know right off the bat that the narrator’s son has done something bad but you don’t actually find out what until quite a ways into the novel. If you are someone that does not enjoy ambiguous novels it is likely that you will not enjoy this novel at all.

There are other things that are mentioned in the novel but the narrator doesn’t elaborate, even at the end. So, you are kind of just left wondering what exactly happened.

The thing that I liked about this novel is that as it progresses your views on the narrator and the other people at the dinner change quite a lot. By the end of the novel I actually did not really like the narrator or his wife.

This novel definitely shows the extent that some parents will go to keep their kids safe and their future intact.

I did enjoy this novel and I felt intrigued the whole entire time I was reading it. There were a few parts where I felt it dragged on a bit but all in all it was a really great novel.

I give this 3.75 out of 5 stars!

Mid Year Book Freak Out

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

wild swans

I read this book early on in the year and I still find myself thinking about it. I am not someone that finishes a book and ends up thinking about it a lot after wards.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

well-of-ascension
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

sandcastle
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

immortal reign
5. Biggest disappointment.

based on a true story

This book had an interesting premise but the story was so boring. I am actually surprised I was able to get through it. Ended up being a one star read.
6. Biggest surprise.

eliza
7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Francesca Zappia. Right after I read Eliza and Her Monsters I read her debut novel Made You Up. Definitely didn’t like that novel as much but I am excited to read this particular authors future stuff.
8. Newest fictional crush.

I don’t really get crushes on fictional characters but I suppose Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters. If I had met someone like him back when I was in high school it would have been perfect.
9. Newest favourite character.

Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters. I related to her so much. I may not have a huge online following but I do have an online presence on some websites and I was a lot like Eliza in the sense that I didn’t talk much in high school and got bullied for being different.
10. Book that made you cry.

I don’t think I have read a book that has made me cry but I don’t really cry all that often anyways.
11. Book that made you happy.

eliza
12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

the marvels
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

The Night circus

11-22-1963 by Stephan King

One Day by Dave Nichols.
14. Favourite Book Community Member

Sam from Thoughtsontomes or Kayla from Booksandlala