Saturday, October 17, 2015

Apologies and Smiles

If you've noticed a distinct lack of reviews from me lately, here's why: I'm writing a book. While I do continue to read (because books are life), it's mostly before bed in the wee hours of the morning and I don't get much accomplished.

If you're interested, I will soon have the first chapter of my book available for perusal online, so sit tight and don't let the vampires bite!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver

I absolutely loved this book. This series, beginning with Delirium was my first introduction to Lauren Oliver. She now makes my list of favourite authors.

The thing that stands out most for me in delirium is the character development. So many authors skip from one aspect of their hero to the next, while Oliver takes the entirety of the book to develop Lena, our heroine. We go from someone who buys into her dystopian surroundings as the utopia the government tells her it is, to someone who very slowly comes to the realization that it really isn't the utopia she's been led to believe.

The way Oliver immerses us in her storytelling is absolutely stunning. I found myself craving to read more and more. 

The story takes place in a world where they've decided love is a disease - you're given the "cure" at eighteen years old and are matched with a partner to continue your life in holy matrimony with. This first installment of the trilogy takes us into a world without love - into the mind of Lena Halloway, a girl excited to get her "cure".

Something I particularly loved about this book was the beginnings of each chapter. At the head of the chapter there is a quote from "The Book of Shhh" (The book of everything in the world Oliver's created). There are excerpts from stories, poems and rhymes, etc. and they really help immerse you in the story line.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of the YA Dystopian genre - a must read, for sure.

I know there's a pilot episode for a TV show based on the trilogy, but haven't yet had the gumption to find and watch it. It would be so sad to me to see all the characters I love in full colour on the screen and have it taken away from me since Fox decided it was a no-go. I've come to dislike Fox for what they did to other shows like Firefly. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Review: Dark Heroine – Dinner With a Vampire

Dark Heroine – Dinner With a Vampire
Abigail Gibbs
1/5 Stars

This is probably the worst book I've ever had the displeasure of reading. I should warn you, my readers – that I did not, in fact, could not finish this book. It was that bad.

Slut shaming, mysogony, rape, abuse, sexual harassment – all seemingly used as positive plot developments.

This book should have a trigger warning on a label on the front of the book – warning women who have been in abusive relationships to steer clear. Heck – everyone should steer clear, but my heart goes out to any women who have been in such a relationship that find themselves reading this tripe.

This is a book written by an 18 year old who self published online. It gained so much fame that an honest to goodness publishing company wanted to publish it. The problem is that there was next to no editing to be done between “internet stardom” and “published book”. The spelling mistakes fly at you by the page, in fact, often by the paragraph.

The story itself makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The entire book is based on the protagonist seeing some vampires kill people in a public square at night. So they “steal” her and take her back to their base because now she's seen vampires. So her option is stay there forever or become a vampire. This would be fine and dandy as an explanation to keep her prisoner if it weren't for the fact that people in the outside world (political officials and the like) already know about vampires. Also, she's put in a scenario where she could just leave (escape) – but doesn't. The plot is wonky at best and offensive at worst.

I also felt no love for the protagonist, Violet. In fact, I kind of hated her. She annoyed the crap out of me throughout the entire book (or at least the three quarters of the book I managed to finish).

I pushed and pushed and pushed myself to try and finish this garbage, but in the end I could not. It was so bad I kept glaring at it on my nightstand, despising that I would eventually have to open it again to finish it. At last, I gave in and started a different book – feeling like there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

Avoid this book at all costs.

Review - Ascend - #3 Trylle Trilogy

Ascend – Trylle Trilogy #3
Amanda Hocking
2.5/5 Stars

Ascend is the finale of the Trylle trilogy – a series which I read back-to-back (to back) because I had them on hand and enjoyed them enough to do so. Ascend was probably the most disappointing of the trilogy – which is sad, as it's the series finale.

The book felt like a hastily written ending, which tried to wrap itself up too quickly.

It felt like Hocking was trying to force her readers to create “Teams” for her two...or three male love interests. You could either be “Team Finn” or “Team Loki”. Of course, there's also her platonic husband, Tove – I'm not sure if anyone was “Team Tove”, though. She introduced Loki far too abruptly and the entire relationship between him and the protagonist, Wendy seemed contrived at best. That being said, her relationship with Finn frequently made absolutely no sense – he likes her, he doesn't – he loves her, he won't look at her – just not a character you envision being the main love interest. I wasn't happy with who Wendy ended up with at the end of the book – but, to be fair, none of the options would have made me happy.

I did enjoy the changes we saw in Wendy – becoming a much stronger person and a better leader for her kingdom. It was probably the only thing I didn't mind being revealed to us too quickly.

The entire series could have fit in one book and made more sense. The constant reminders of a previous books activities were frequent and annoying. It felt like filler more than anything.

At first I enjoyed the series because it focused on a different mythology than what seems to be popular at the moment – it was neither fairies nor vampires. Trolls – neat. However, once the troll aspect was revealed, Hocking definitely dropped the ball on continuing to make us feel like we were in a troll populated world – they were just too human. Perhaps human living in a Renaissance monarchy – but still human, nonetheless.

The characters were poorly written and developed and bits of the story itself made no sense in the grand scheme of things. I think Hocking could have done a much better job with her Troll finale than what we were offered.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Torn - Trylle Trilogy #2 - Amanda Hocking

Trylle Trilogy #2
Amanda Hocking
3/5 Stars

Torn is the second book of the Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. After reading Switched, I immediately delved into Torn, only to be left feeling like it just didn't hold up against its predecessor. Comparatively, the “guys” of Torn really bothered me. We've got Finn – who, after more consideration – has very little personality, although when his personality does show through, it's varigated. He's smoldering, he's ignoring, he's here, he's there. As a reader, I'm not very interested in him, though I suppose our protagonist Wendy, a 17 year old girl, may think differently. Our second “guy” is Loki – who we get next to no introduction to and the whole triangle that seems to be forming seems very forced and contrived. Things may prove different as I read the next book, though this is the feeling I'm left with after Torn.
Aside from the “guys” issue, I did still enjoy the book. We're opening up into more of the Trylle world, along with their enemies, the Vittra and we're slowly being revealed more information about what's “really” going on. Things begin to make more and more sense with this addition to the trilogy.
We're also given a very small introduction to the Vittra kingdom – it felt too quick for me, but perhaps Hocking was just trying to keep pace with the rest of the book. It felt a lot like Wendy (the protagonist) is dropped for a split second into their world and then immediately leaves it, simply to introduce us to a couple of new characters.
I'm still excited to read the conclusion and find out what choices Wendy will make in regards to the kingdoms and to the boys in her life. It's not as good as book one, but certainly keeps the reader interested to keep reading.

Switched - Trylle Trilogy # 1 - Amanda Hocking

Trylle Trylogy #1
Amanda Hocking
4/5 Stars

I'm a big fan of Amanda Hocking – not because of her self-made status, but because of her writing style and how she steps out of the paranormal genre to include more than just vampires and fairies. This series in particular focuses on anthropomorphic trolls who still practice placing a changeling troll with human parents.
While some reviewers may think that our protagonist, Wendy, is just a spoiled teenager, I feel that Hocking is actually trying to show us how Trylle (or trolls) are different from their human counterparts, right down to their general demeanor. They like going barefoot, are picky eaters, and are generally pretty grumpy. They're trolls, right?
I found this first addition to the trilogy to be fairly well laid out – very much following Joseph Campbells Heroes Journey – however, it didn't feel as fleshed out as it could have. Some aspects definitely feel a bit too quick, not leaving enough room to fully develop the story. Despite this, I still quite enjoyed the book.
We are taken into a world of the supernatural – a completely fascinating one. Hocking will hint at little things, but doesn't reveal anything too soon – the mystery drives the story forwards.
Altogether, this book left me wanting more – lucky for me, I've got the next two books on the shelf ready to go.

If you're looking for something supernatural that's got a bit more imagination – check out Hockings Switched. There's no glittery fairy's here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Do You Ever...?

Do you ever start reading a book that is *so* bad that you avoid reading it at all costs, despite wanting to finish (for the sake of finishing) it? Well, that's what happened with me. I may write a review on said book eventually, but for now, I'm moving on! I read a palette cleanser:

(Orange is the New Black)

Which was AMAZING - but doesn't fit the genre I review for, so for now - just know that you should read it! Especially if you enjoy the show - it's nice to know the roots!

I've also been poking through some books by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins - but again, wrong genre of book to review on here.

I've started a new series by Amanda Hocking (one of my top authors) because... we ended up being able to go up to the Northlands for Thanksgiving and got to hit our very favourite used bookstore (Bearly Used Books) and brought back a whole wack-o-books! So there will be more reviews forthcoming.

Also, James bought me an e-reader for my birthday so I can review e-books now (though I still prefer physical books ANY day!)