Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian

 

I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 

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Charlie the Caterpiller

NetGalley was kind enough to gift my daughter and I with a copy of this book. I read this with my 7 year old daughter and after finishing, it was agreed that we were probably not the targeted demographic. There are important messages like loving who you are on the inside rather than getting hung up on the outside stuff and the friendships were meaningful and sweet. BUT the rhyme had no rhythm which came off as clunky and distracting. If there was some grammatical and tempo minded tinkering, coupled with the large pictures and cutesy message, this could be a very poignant and cherished preschool gem.

Simone: even more monstrous

NetGalley was kind enough to gift my daughter and I with a copy of this gem.

 

Who is the real monster here? Well it's all relative isn't it? In this lovely comic book Simone is the Monster in monster world. Each page is easy to read and a story in and of itself. Also, did I mention that the main character is a girl? As the mother of a precocious young lady, it pleases me immeasurably when girls are represented in books, especially when they are featured in roles with more substance than that of a sidekick.

 

The format is perfect for entry level chapter book readers or those preparing to level up to graphic novels. The pages pop with vibrant color, witty dialogue, short sentences, monsters that are not too scary and there is even topic resolution on each page. My 7 year old daughter and I devoured this book, repeatedly.

This one should be titled "Meh, Blah Blah Blah, oh wait something's happening...never mind it's just more Meh"

The Traitor's Game - Jennifer A. Nielsen

This book happend to keep me up until the wee hours, laser focused and transfixed. I'm not sure if it was the writing, the 3 cups of Jasmine black tea or my insomnia but I found it difficult to put down and then even more difficult to eject from my brain in order to let the sleep in. There were annoying parts a plenty... A voracious itch in my cozy reading space that refused to be satiated. This was mostly due to a drawn out, ferverous Hate to an All consuming, unyielding, unparalleled Love that blossomed in just 3 days. "I love her but does she love me? If she does I'll love her always but if she doesn't?!? I'll still love her. She does?..but she shouldn't, but she can't fight it, but she must..blah blah blah". It was sweet at times and the other times it was absolute torture to endure. There were a couple of plot twists that I was blindsided by...YAY!.. and a couple of easier ones to suss out...Meh. The story was told in a duo of dueling POVs. Both Kestra and Simon had unique voices so it was never necessary to flip back and forth in order to remember whose head we were in...especially since Simon's main concern was any and all things Kestra. Kestra on the other hand was a mess making, extremely pretentious turned slightly less pretentious though all around bull headed, wishy washy wet noodle (mainly on the Love front but still...), pain in the rear. I never fully got behind her no matter what her deal was at that moment, especially difficult to pull off since who/what she was changed so often. I wish I liked her better and was able to feel/experience along side her but alas, I found myself stuck between an obnoxious wreck of an MC and a whiny/pining lump of a supporting MC hence the lower rating even though it kept my attention quite handily. The story was interesting BUT, in my most humble of opinions, you've got nothing if you don't have at least one character you can really align yourself with and this bunch?!? They earned a big NOPE from me.


3 stars for the plot BUT the character woes, insta-love mess and overall sense of Meh it cultivated in me lead me to penalize the rating and ultimately wish I had skipped this one. Book #2, Traitor's Heart, is definitely not in my future.

Children of Blood and Bone: The OrÏsha Legacy (Children of OrÏsha) - Tomi Adeyemi

This book was hyped SO much that my trepidation had trepidation. Yes, the premise had LOADS of potential but it still could have squandered or floundered or other "erds"....BUT when I got to about the halfway mark I let go of the breath I was holding and just enjoyed the ride without over-thinking things. That is not to say that the beginning was slow or uninteresting, it just didn't command my attention like the second half of the book did.

 

This story, was told in an accompaniment of 3 POVs that worked together seamlessly. I loved the character evolutions and the ever-changing dynamics between the trio. This had an awesome hate to love friendship that truly felt organic and plausible. The gamut of feelings our kick @$$ Maji heroine Zellie ran through were undeniably visceral. Her conflicting emotions, with respect to the Prince, felt plausible though incredibly unlikely. Prince Inan's feelings for Zellie made a bit more sense, especially considering his unique skill set, and it really was satisfying watching it all play out. Amari turned out to be a really fantastic character/ally/sister/love interest?!? The tertiary characters were not only relatable & likeable but profuse to boot. Tzain was everything a brother should be (and more) and his unyielding love for his family was tender yet fierce. Diametrically opposed to Tzain's character was the vile King Sarran who made it oh so easy to root for his demise. The ending was a bit cliffy BUT still gratifying. I may have even shed a tear or five when the action was all over and the casualties tallied.

 

All in all it was a fun read. Did it completely live up to the hype? Welllll...kind of,

Ink, Iron, and Glass - Gwendolyn Clare, Mike Heath

This was a ridiculously entertaining, unique alt-history! It read like an upper MG-YA novel while never suffering from simplicity or babyishness...I know, it's not a REAL word but I like it...anywho, back to the good stuff...The characters were wholeheartedly likeable and I completely fell for the MC and her unlikely/undeniably cohesive ragtag conglomerate of Mad Scientist friends (?!?). The quest(s)/ plot twists were constantly shifting/evolving and thankfully, they were not easily foretold. The world(s) building, although thoroughly entertaining and oft times unique, could definitely have been a little more creative...the possibilities were endless afterall.

 

Ultimately it was clever, well written, nicely paced and all around good/clean fun. I enjoyed every minute and really, what more could you ask for in a new literary adventure? Even with the tantalizing cliffhanger, I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

 

Enjoy!

Shoot The Messenger: a reverse harem space fantasy by Pippa Dacosta

This was a very well developed futuristic tale with TONS of action and good old Fae vs Tek badassery. There was romantic tension but not directed at only one or two people, it was sprayed around pretty evenly. The ending was an annoying cliffhanger but the rest was done well.

I couldn't find the book's picture but thought it was interesting enough to share. Enjoy!

A Shadow Bright and Burning - Jessica Cluess

Ok, where to go with this review?? On one hand, the world building was rich and definitely unique. On the other hand, there were the characters...what a mixed bag. I enjoyed most of the characters. I even loathed and rankled in all of the appropriate places... BUT... I never fully fell in line with, or even truly liked, the MC which usually throws up HUGE warning signs for me. Henrietta wasn't dynamic or expressive (unless you accept self-hatred as a primary emotion to base a character on). She never demanded my loyalty, admiration or zeal and her powers seemed easily obtained- with few obstacles and a pittance of growing pains to boot. YES she read a lot on the subject BUT when she sought unorthodox outside help it just... worked... it dawned on her with no great effort and that is another BIG annoyance for me...it's like a relentless buzzing sound while I'm trying to concentrate type of annoyance. The betrayals were poignant but swayed and seesawed at the slightest of urgings. A character could flip on her and then back again with such ease it seemed implausible. She gained unbelievable alliances, especially ones who went to unrealistically extraordinary lengths to support her in the end. Ok, onto the monsters. They were the right amount of scary vs realistic (if such a thing could be possible in a Fantasy novel). I don't read many horror stories so take that last statement with a grain of salt, keeping in mind that I have been known to put down a book if there is too much gratuitous gore or rape or child harming. Thankfully ASBAB did not have much of the first, none of the second and gently alluded to the third. Even with the faux pas I listed (and some that I have the nagging suspicion I have forgotten) the book moved along swiftly with very few lagging spots. My attention did not waver and buzzing annoyances aside, this was a fun read. I will probably move on to book #2 but I feel compelled to say that ultimately, it did not live up to the great potential the synopsis intimated.

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One) - Tamora Pierce

I just finished this and I think I'll let it ruminate a bit because my thoughts and emotions are all akimbo. I will say this, the writing is silky smooth. The character and world developments were excellently crafted, nicely executed and richly tactile. There are characters that will charm you instantly and those you will LOATHE with a passion but even the tertiary characters are deep, visceral and extremely relatable. The magic system is intricate, well thought out and beautifully presented. This is a more MG/Young Adult read than those I have been immersing myself in and I think I'll have more to say later on but for now I wanted to put my racing thoughts to text before I lose the freshness of my feels. The ending was a little convenient BUT satisfying all the same. I definitely recommend this one! Enjoy

The False Prince - Jennifer A. Nielsen

~~~~3.25 - 3.5 Stars~~~~

 

This book was a mixed bag of uuuwww interesting...no wait booooo... yawn....no wait MEH... no wait YAY!! Confused? I was too but I'll elaborate.

 

I loved the MCs voice through and through! His attitude and delivery of witty quips was perfectly executed and fun to read.

 

The mission? Try and turn one of three 14 year old (illiterate?), uncouth orphans into a long lost prince in 2 weeks time in order to seize control of a recently vacated throne. Wellll....it turns out that making a prince is slow, tedious and oft times a chore to read about. The storyline wasn't boring per se but it felt like I was working...working on my patience/ concentration levels.

 

I know this book was very well received but, for me, I was ready to start skimming before the halfway mark (definitely NOT a good sign!). I have so many tantalizing books on my formidable TBR pile that wasting time on a read that has gone sour just feels wrong. BUUUUT I soldiered on. At about the 70% mark things picked up and even though the twists weren't entirely surprising, it unfolded brilliantly. I really enjoyed the main reveal and how all of the subsequent events played out. From page 1 Sage (prince Jaron??) felt visceral and his attitude towards possibly sitting on the throne (with the weight of carrying a country soon to be at war on his shoulders) not only felt genuine but congruant with who he was from start to finish. This will go down as one of THOSE books...you know the type...the ones that draw you in and then somewhere in the middle test your resolve to see things through to the acknowledgments page and then BAM!! You're suddenly as happy as a thoroughly petted pup that you chose to persevere because it was one of THOSE books that come through (shining big sunny literary smiles) in the home stretch....GASP...end of run on rambling!!

 

I definitely ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would but not LOVING it as much as most.

Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill

This is a very solid book with above par writing, a decent plotline and characters you can get behind. My main gripe was the sloooow pacing at times (typical for a traveling yarn) and the confusing romance. "I love you but you don't love me but then you love me and now you don't again and in the end I'm not sure how I feel now GRRRRR!!!!! The few major plot twists were pretty easily sussed out and the ending was weird but still satisfying in its own way. I will most likely check out book #2 from the library but I'm not compelled to do so anytime soon.

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) - Scott Reintgen

I went into this one expecting a LOT! What I got almost disappointed...almost. There were some lagging moments here and there but the world building made up for any down time, it was awesome! The environment and challenges were undeniably unique, well crafted and brilliantly traversed. The characters were fleshed out nicely and most were either extremely likable or unbelievably detestable. The MC was relatable, fallible and what will most likely be tested repeatedly, humane. What will the group ultimately face? How will they handle it? Who will survive and what alliances will be forged? Enemies made? What are the Adamites really like? What is the evil Babel corporation really up to? These questions and more are hopefully explored in more detail in book #2 and what a torturous wait it will be until then.

Finvarra's Circus - Monica Sanz

I loved every heartbreaking, achingly haunting, magic & miracle affirming minute. It was beautiful, painful and every detail perfection. There might be a more detailed review to come or maybe, after living with it awhile, I might decide that that is enough.

The Queen's Rising - Rebecca Ross

My streak has continued... I have been extremely lucky lately with my book selections and The Queen's Rising did not disappoint! It was beautifully written (though sometimes transparent and predictable) and it was ultimately, wholeheartedly and undeniably satisfying. Yes it did suffer a bit from Things-Conveniently-Falling-Into-Place- Rather- Easily syndrome AND the romance was a tad mechanical, saccharine and tame BUT it was ALSO a fun, engrossing, uplifting gem gifted nicely (and rather neatly wrapped) with a big ole Happy Ending for (Almost) All glitter bow.

A Darker Shade of Sorcery. (The Realmers Series- Book 1) - William Collins

This was action story of tropic proportions! There were a bevy of creatures, and realms and beasties...OH My! It is a coming of age trope-fest featuring 2 Earth (?) kids with magic (unbeknownst to them) who are forcefully enrolled in a special school with other (diverse and special) kids/creatures. Here they train to hopefully access and use their magic (and other skills) to fight The Good Fight...you know...kill all the "Bad Guys"...the Evil, malignant, dastardly demons and their evil Archlords.

 


The writing was nothing special. The world development was at times confusingly info-dumpy (just nod and move on please, this portion of the sentence is under construction) while other times just plain old confusing. The Character development was sloooooow to fruition but what the book lacked in those departments, it made up for with pure imagination. Will I move on to future installments? Most likely No BUT it was a fun read while it lasted.

The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli

This is set in a world of black and white and grey all over. This is Good and Evil and the eternal struggle to balance/rectify the two both in the world and in ourselves. In a land where being a recounter of tales, a lover of lore and a spinner of the yarns of old...where words hold the power to seduce even the most Amazing/violent of creatures...they can harm or heal.. they even might have the power to kill (?) What would you do with such power? Who would you be? What is the very nature of said Power and how does it contribute to the timeless battle between Good & Evil?

 

I wanted to put this down SO many times, to traipse off with another tantalizing book that caught my eye but each time I sat back down and gave it another try I got caught up for hours and was transported somewhere amazing/cruel/imaginative etc...in the end what more can we ask for from a collection of words on a page/screen? The writing was nice and comfy. It did not stretch the mind into uncomfortable positions just to comprehend what was happening. It also was not simple, base or crude. It felt like how I would describe southern cooking feels like on a depressingly cold winter's day, slow, comfortable, like aaaaahhhhhhh.

 

I liked every aspect of the plotline from the amazing depiction of Dragons to the awful dichotomies of family, court and social prejudice. The author traversed themes such as how much we allow other people's views/actions define who/what we believe ourselves to be? How difficult it is to shuck off negative beliefs about ourselves and become the best version of ourselves. How much do we let predjudices define how & who we interact and connect with? How much must we give up to be true to ourselves? What would some people do to have/keep the Power? Can you be Good if you have done bad things?... and more.

 

When it comes down to it I really enjoyed the total package and might have even shed a few tears...might I say. I think you'll like this twisty turny tale that will keep you guessing until the very last chapter.

I'm one of THOSE people...are you one too?

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

"If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse."


You know what?? I am definitely one of THOSE people....you know, those that swoon over plots rife with Political intrigue..one of those awesome people that love all (good) things Fae....those that bought into the (well deserved) hype surrounding this book...those that sing praises of the venerable Mrs Holly Black, dubbing her an irreproachably unequivocal Master of Words and Such..well that may be more of a Me thing than a Those thing but I digress.

 

Anyhow, not only am I a firm resident of all of those categories BUT I happened to have fallen in LOVE with this book to boot! I'm not embarrassed at all to admit it, I was ensorcelled (LOVE that word!) and I am sure you will be as well. Cruel Prince deserves all the accolades it gets! Was it a perfect 5 Star book?? No, but it was extremely well written, thought out and executed. The plot twists were a bit too predictable, though watching them unfold was extremely satisfying. The coronation was stab-tacular and Red Wedding(ish)! The relationships Del Amore were nothing amazing but at least they weren't insta-anything either. The MC was kick @$$ yet vulnerable (a combo I love to see in a complex, well fleshed out main character...or any character really). Jude's "nemesis" was more talk than action, especially with regards to her, and ultimately a bit whimpy ...NOT traits I find sexy in a possible love interest but HEY...you never know. I guess we'll all be (not so patiently) awaiting book #2 to see what type of person he will truly turn out to be.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough though the wait for answers seems cruel and insurmountable... and I say this from just having joined the ranks of the tortured this afternoon :::GULP:::

 

overall: I'm pretty enamoured but the wait is already killing me. I wish you all a day with no distractions so you can immerse, experience and fall in love with this book and THEN you can take your rightful spot next to me on the excruciating wait train.


"What they don’t realize is this: Yes, they frighten me, but I have always been scared, since the day I got here. I was raised by the man who murdered my parents, reared in a land of monsters. I live with that fear, let it settle into my bones, and ignore it. If I didn’t pretend not to be scared, I would hide under my owl-down coverlets in Madoc’s estate forever. I would lie there and scream until there was nothing left of me. I refuse to do that. I will not do that."