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Review
3.5 Stars
Great Start to a Paranormal Romance series, plus DRAGONS!
The Temptation of Dragons (Penny White) (Volume 1) - Chrys Cymri
eBook Icon Adult Icon paranormal Romance Icon Dragons Icon Others Icon Love Triangle Icon Sexy Icon
I won this from a Booklikes giveaway. I entered because dragons! While I love dragons, I’ve admittedly never thought of a romantic relationship with one, so that’s new.
 
I was worried about the religion aspect since I’m an atheist. But it’s handled really well. It does have plenty of references, mentions theological discussions, hierarchy, sermons, praying, etc etc. It’s very natural due to our heroine’s job and she does the job well. It’s interesting to see the inside of small town worship.
  • I like how Penny handles herself and situations.
  • I loved Morey the griffon and Raven the dragon.
  • I did not like how [Spoiler] worked out. It was like she was two different people with no depth or justification. This is what hampered the ending.
  • I enjoyed the geeky references. The author clearly know what she’s about. 
  • I liked the family drama and character progression.
  • I loved the crime mystery.
  • I did not like how the experts missed a clue when they shouldn’t have and she stumbles over it.
  • I liked how it’s a slow building up.
  • There’s not romance beyond “dates”, interest and very flirting.
  • There is a love triangle, one that makes sense: Torn between normal human and the complicated and new feelings of riding a dragon.
  • I liked how it has a solid end and it mostly worked.
  • I LOVED the world building and magical, mystical, fantastical creatures. I fucking love the way dragons act. Some absolute shits, but that fits.
  • I WILL be continuing the series.

Bottomline:

I did have some slight issues but it's enjoyable and worth it.
Recommended For: 
Fans of the genre and dragons. And if you don't love dragons, something's wrong. Note: I wrote this review after reading and it’s been sitting in this form for 2 weeks. I’d love to expand but can’t. I don’t know why.

 

Have you ever gotten stuck like this writing a review for a book you enjoyed?

 

Review
3 Stars
[Review] Heat Wave: Solid Alternative Castle Darker Crime Novel

For those that don't know, Castle is a fantastic police procedural on TV with protagonists Kate Beckett and Richard Castle. Kate is the tough woman who's been personally touched by a murderer and rocking it in a man's world. Richard Castle is the funny, geeky successful crime novelist that has poker games with the real big boys of his genre, including cameo appearances.

 

Starting out they've got the will they, won't they attraction down like Molder and Scully. (No lie, my first time typing that I used fan-contractions “Sculder” and “Moldey” XD) Of course, now Castle is in its 8th season and it's obvious how these two turn out. But believe me, the ride getting there was so enjoyable. Their OTP status is cemented.

 

Richard Castle tags along with Kate Beckett for inspiration for his next novel series. And what do you know, his protagonist is based off of her! During the show, his novels are mentioned throughout and it's a lot of fun. Someone had the brilliant idea of writing and publishing those novels as if Richard Castle is real. This is great for the shows fans like me. Brilliant, really. Makes me want to kiss whoever thought of it. But what about everyone else?

-read more-
Review
3 Stars
[Review] Rouge by Leigh Moore: NA Historical Romance Hits and Misses

Rouge follows mixed-race orphan Hale Ferrer as she performs in a New Orleans cabaret circa 1890. At 17, she’s been taking care of Teeny, another waif young woman who's approaching puberty. Soon Teeny’s talentless state will leave only one-way to make ends meet: backroom prostitution. Hale’s inching towards completing her plan of marrying rich for their survival until a stagehand begins making moves of his own.

 

From inception, Rouge drew me in with its shadowy, sparkling setting brought to life by Hale’s brave yet vulnerable voice. Its denouement surges forward, leaving my heartbeat racing and ready for more. It’s the middle--where stale, fair-weather love reigns--that drags ass across carpet seeking relief from blockage.

 

My first impression was similarities with Moulin Rouge. It’s not just its musical backdrop, but certain details like descending via swing and their secret affair songs. However, this isn’t necessarily a blow. Both works superbly showcase women surviving with little opportunity or hope yearning towards freedom.  It’s resemblance is sensible without pushing into wannabe status. For one, Moore’s protagonist is the opposite of Satine. Satine’s been around the block and dreams of becoming a real actress while just coming of age Hale wants, above all else, to protect her at risk ward.

 

Series: Cheveux Roux #1 Genre: Historical, Romance Age: NA Format: Ebook, 302 pgs. Source: Won from Bookhounds Rating: 3 Stars Recommendable? Yes CW: Rape. Graphic attack scene, forced prostitution, underlying and pervasive threats against women,  POC, and LGBT.
QUARTERFINALIST, 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Romance, velvet, sequins, and murder... Hale Ferrer is the rising star of the hottest cabaret in New Orleans. And her one goal is escape. Escape from the lies, from the crime, and from her growing fear that one day she'll have to earn her living in the secret back rooms, where the dancers do more than dance. But she won't leave behind Teeny, the orphan-girl she promised to protect. Freddie Lovel is rich, handsome, and in love with Hale, and he's ready to sweep her away with him to Paris. But her heart is captured by Beau, the poor stagehand with eyes as blue as Louisiana iris flowers. Denying her fears, Hale is ready to choose love and a life with Beau, until a predator hidden in the wings launches a chain of events that could cost her everything--Teeny, their one hope of escape, and possibly even her life.

Content Warning: Rape & Bigotry. 

Graphic attack scene, forced prostitution, underlying and pervasive threats against women,  POC, and LGBT.

 

The Good The Bad & The Other
Liked Hale, Teeny, and Roland High-school-y insta-love
Loved finding out about Hale’s parent’s past Her wavering over decisions was irritating
Their guardian/ward bond was compelling Middle section drags
Reminiscent of Moulin Rouge Predictable: didn’t see its outcome happening any other way
The beginning and ending were captivating After reading, feel a bit mislead by the blurb
Trigger Warning Icon New Adult Icon Historical Icon Romance Icon Insta-Love Icon Sexy Icon

 

Plotting Through Longueurs

 

Plot-wise, discovering her parent’s past was my favorite part; I wish there were more than mere scattered pieces. It's obvious who the antagonist is early so I missed this “mysterious” predator promised. Further, their struggle over Teeny doesn’t take center stage until midway.

 

Before that, it’s a young woman playing Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe to pick a partner. Even afterwards, Hale waffles depending on how the wind blows. Eventually, circumstances conspire to force her hand. Throughout, I worried about quality of life rather than death-dealing injury, rendering its blurb zero for two.

 

Dragging out romantic indecision left me waiting for something to happen while reading most of Rouge. Realistically, there’s little choice for Hale and series direction, so plot felt stalled. When events finally unfold, it’s enjoyable yet predictable. I missed that shocking tension built resulting from unexpected revelations. Perhaps I’m too cynical though.

 

The Charismatic Characters

 

Surprisingly, my favorite character was someone who worked within the system rather than subverting it and encouraged Hale to stop safeguarding Teeny at her own detriment, in spite of disagreeing. Enter Roland: gay black man that writes the cabaret’s songs. His loyalty and practicality won me over. Hale’s noble instincts needed a sensible soundboard. His straightforwardness gave Hale an opening to do right even when her friends didn’t agree. He maybe a voice of reason but not one of conscience.

 

As realistic as it was, Hale’s “omg you’ll burn in hell for being that way” worrying made me sigh. Thankfully, she doesn’t come up often or hound him. But it's clear she's not the best friend, and it's not just her homophobic beliefs either.

 

 She’s a compelling character, besides that and the Weeble wobble dance between beaus. Otherwise, she’d probably be my favorite. I liked Teeny in all her troublesome little sister-ness. Hale and Teeny’s relationship is fundamental; this story wouldn’t exist without it. Hale maybe an orphan but she’s fairly fortunate, considering everything. Teeny represents what could’ve been though. While unable to enact change, at least one small girl can be saved from the horror stories Hale’s heard.

 

It’s admirable, intense, and charming. Of course, that doesn’t mean every motherly decision was agreeable. At first, it’s annoying how sheltered she kept Teeny because staying naïve is risky. Later, this revelation dawns and so begins worrying whether to educate or not. Thinking, “what if I’m causing my child harm or doing it wrong?” cemented her parenthood status for me.

 

Romantic Disinterest

 

Under such heavy responsibilities, it was hard cutting Hale slack although she’s young and clueless. I’ve been a single working teenage mom, seeing her gravitation towards an unfixed fling while spurring a secure relationship was irritating. Her snipe hunt made me feel vicariously embarrassed. At no time did I believe Beau’s prince charming act would come to fruition.

 

"Next time, don't let your guard down because of a pair of big goo-goo eyes!"

Oh, look at his pretty eyes and cute smile! Add in sneaking around for make-out sessions and a jealous little sister, it’s no wonder the whole debacle felt high school-y. Beau gave the Charlie Brown football gag try, Hale got tingly as if he cuts off her circulation, and then they tangoed. The occasional tender moment with roses or the morning after wasn’t getting my motor running.

 

Bottomline:

 

3 stars for being an intriguing read with a likable heroine but instant noodle sweethearts and predictability left me wanting more.

 

Recommended for:

New Adult or Historical Romance readers, especially fans of Moulin Rouge’s sort. It’s a perfect chance to cheer on underdogs creeping towards their happily ever after by crossing a minefield. Be wary if high school-y love tropes aren’t your bag. Comes with a trigger warning for rape and bigotry.

Review
4.5 Stars
[Review] So Close to You: Historical Time Travel So Close to Perfect

I haven't read many time travel novels (Seriously, I just read A Wrinkle In Time) and discussions of plot holes and such within timelines typically turn me off. I just...don't care enough to try following the thought along.

 

So, I saw a pretty cover with an interesting blurb that was worth a shot and entered to win the first two So Close to You novels. (I assume, I've lost all track of how I procured the book. Sorry!) It took awhile to get to read but I'm glad I did. Now I'm really glad the second one is signed.

 

One thing that does bug me in and out of time travel novels is the lack of consequences. Using it as a get out of jail free card would've caused me to quit. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

 

Instead, I was greeted with a turn I wasn't expecting. Even with the gut punch and cliffhanger, I was happy. Because what happened mattered. It had an effect which wasn't erased to make it "happy". I fucking loved the ending and it is the reason I continued the series.

Series: So Close To You #1 Genre: Sci-Fi, Historical, Mystery, Romance Age: YA Format: Hardcover, 313 pgs. Source: No Idea Rating: 4.5 Stars Recommendable?Yes
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather. When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history. Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to questions all her choices - and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them... and herself.
The Good The Bad & The Other
Actions have consequences instead of being erased for feel good ending Insta-love with angles
Solid protagonist Cliffhanger, though not the worst kind
Loved the historical setting that takes up most of the book, makes it come alive Conspiracy theories=Meh but whatever
Romance wasn't too drawn out and heavy Would've been nice to see Lydia thinking about journalism beyond idealistic dreams
Young Adult Icon Historical Icon Mystery Icon Romance Icon Sci-Fi Icon Insta-Love Icon Page-Turner Postrs

 

Since time travel isn't my topic, what did interest me was how historical it leaned. Instead of lovers hoping around, it had a mystery taking place in 1944 and went back to investigate.

 

The conspiracy theory is an eye-roller as they always are but I was able to let that go. Maybe I'm more willing to suspend disbelief with teenagers, I don't know. YA is the only category where I can remember letting it go. Besides the complete balls to the wall, shut your brain off City of Dark Magic.

 

The young adult heroine, Lydia, helped with bringing in my favorite reading age group, admittedly. She's a pretty, typical, good girl but with a stubborn streak a mile wide and no annoying habits. I liked reading her and her perspective though it was nothing extraordinary.

 

I was wondering how an inspiring journalist would turn out. There wasn't any ribbing, defense of the profession or determination to be better. No worries of job prospects or career.

 

In the beginning, her journalistic drive was brought up a lot. Not that there was really much time or place for it after that, but it'd be nice to see a teen conscious of such considerations.  They do exist but /shrug.

 

The Always Included Romance

 

I wasn't too happy with the love angles sprouting up. I knew one was coming but still, I wasn't looking forward to it. Since Lydia corrected one side and the other side was tied into the mystery, it didn't drag the book down. There wasn't much hemming and hawing about it.

 

Mandatory Gif. Oh, yeah. 

There were some moments of "What are you doing?" and "Get over it!", mostly tied to Lydia's ditzy romantic side. But...I got over it and so did she.

 

Okay, so I've also got a thing for dark, mysterious and brooding. I blame Angel. It's still insta-love. And no, I wasn't swept away like Lydia.  I wasn't repulsed either. Just...added it to my list for suspension of disbelief. Usually that doesn't work but it did here.

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts:

Why call it TM and then try to be coy with saying it stands for "Telsa's Machine"? We all know it's a time machine, ffs. If they didn't want to label it such, they fucked up with the initialism. Make it different or make it standard, half-assing it sounds and feels like some weird knock-off shit.

Bottomline

4.5 stars for the ending above all else, for the historical mystery and for time travel that didn't turn me off or give me a headache.

 

Recommended for:

YA lovers, especially historical and time travel fans.

 

Note: I cannot find any information on how I received this book. It's gotta be a giveaway win or something, but nothing is coming up in my search. It's been so long, before the second one was even published since that one's an ARC. I'm so sorry! Please let me know if you're the person I got it from and I'll update ASAP.

Review
3 Stars
[Review] Elemental by Antony John: An Ambivalent 3 Star YA "Dystopian"
Cover with a ship approaching a stormy beach with an elaborate symbol in the top middle beneath the title Elemental in gold lettering
Genre: "Dystopian", Paranormal, Action/Advnture, Romance Age: YA Format: Hardcover, 320 pgs. Published: Nov. 21st, 2012 Source: Won,Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing. Rating: Wobbly 3 Stars Recommendable? Conditionally

I was all over the place with this one. There was a mix of the successful, acceptable, so-so, and lousy. Elemental felt like I would’ve, should’ve like it better, but couldn't. My hopes remain so close, yet so far.

 

When deciding a rating, it wobbled between 2 1/2 stars and 3. I went with the higher rating for benefit of the doubt and because I'm still hoping the next book, Firebrand will give me what I want. In the end, I will say that it was a fast paced, action-oriented read and enjoyable depending on what your preferences are.

 

It worked as the first book in a trilogy setting up, and drawing in while holding its own as a story. I will be reading Firebrand to find out what happens next but without a burning need to read it right now, I don't know when I'll get to it.

 

Hopefully, it recovers, strengthens, and clarifies to meets the high expectations I had for Elemental. It’s good enough with plenty to discuss, though it's not all pleasant. Most specifics are spoilers though, so that will be far down below behind tags.

 

A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . . Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe. In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.
Young Adult IconAction/Adventure IconApocalypse IconDystopian IconparanormalInsta-Love IconMixed Bag IconCover Love
Pros Cons
Cover Love! It's what drew me to Elemental in the first place  
Loved the premise and world World-building felt haphazard, not enough to start and patched as it goes along. Not enough for me
Fast paced and tons of action Struggled to get immersed and imagine the world at first; perhaps a forward or more information up front would've helped
Two favorite characters Didn't care for most characters: unable to connect and they fell flat, including Thom, the main character
Solid groundwork for a paranormal beach colony Dystopian doesn't show up as a possibility until the end, even so it might be better as a post-apocalyptic
 
The concept, the cover, the premise, and the world sound great and have a good basis. The problem comes in with what was lacking, mainly follow through. 
 
Characters were okay, only fell in love with two and neither was the main character. It was hard to connect with almost all of them. The pacing was fast but considering my other issues, slowing down or including a forward would've been preferred; something to set up what the colony and its people were like under everyday circumstances. I think that would've solved some problems, including forming a better connection. For instance... 
 
 The beginning was a struggle. It wasn't what I expected and it was hard to keep every one and thing straight. I wish there was a reference in the back to assist. There’s the saying about not introducing a lot of characters in the start of the book and skipping to the move might've been to alleviate some confusion by narrowing the focus but it didn’t help me.
 
It’s hard to get a handle on who these characters are, their relationships, their dynamics and what their baseline is, when we get told things about them in the beginning and the rest is spent showing the opposite. "He's always calm" yet he's freaking out over something the whole time, for a hypothetical example. It felt so topsy-turvy. There really is a lot going on here, and it maybe just too much to push into one book so quickly. 
 
 As for the writing, it wasn't bad but it felt like telling not showing. I went flipping back for an example, but couldn’t pinpoint anything. Maybe it was not being connected or having so much shoved at me in a short period.  It’s action-oriented so there’s the movie style factor, which I kept picturing as in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Though the only similarities are the pirates and ships. 
 
 With more of a Swiss Family Robinson than a dystopian feel for me, it was mostly confusion and disappointment at first. The only time it moved towards the latter is when Thom was trying to figure out everyday things from 'the before'. Of course, not necessarily dystopian, aliens would have the same reaction. The Plague talk is certainly post-apocalyptic but that's not the same thing--hint:government--and it didn't land with any impact anyways. 
 
 It should've garnered a reaction, but instead I felt like a neutral observer to another planet's problems. (Maybe I’m the alien here.) I think that comes from the kid's own inability to grasp how far widespread and devastating this event was. I think (hope) this will be amped up with the next book, Firebrand, especially due to the ending reveal and subsequent questions. 
 
Otherwise, it was a paranormal group of people with magical powers stranded on a island. Which isn't a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. 
 
 More Specifically: *Spoilers Below* 
 
 I keep it vague as I can in the beginning and hide true spoilers behind tags. But the only way to dig in is discuss in detail so.... If the spoiler tags don't work (on your device, RSS, Feedly, etc.,), let me know.

Characters:

  • Thom: I like him generally because he's a rather general boy like a placeholder to put yourself in the story, rather than a fully fleshed out person. I wasn't attached to him in anyway. He's very wobbly, like a baby calf standing up after being born. I’m sure he’ll get it eventually, just not really a fan of his in Elemental.   The only reaction to him I had was wanting to smack him for 50 pages due to whining about never again being touched or loved, when he could have just realized, “I’ll ask [person who would clearly know the answers] so it's not hopeless!” Even if Thom's would-be mentor was dead or is going to die, Thom could’ve showed some gusto by becoming determined to figure it out and standing up for himself.   Instead he continued the pattern of self-hate and self-pity. A boy feeling emotions isn't the problem, I'd hate a teenage girl whining about the same thing when it's clearly wrong, if they'd think for a second. Then there’s the  pathetic excuse of a love triangle. Oy.
  •  
  • Rose: Mostly defined as quite, meek, and shy. And by Thom’s attraction to her, which is superficial. He keeps saying "She's SO Pretty! She’s always pretty! Look at her hair and her skin and her face."  I wanted to start calling her Pretty Polly Pockets, after all they are both pretty blondes and need someone to move them around.   The personality is where? Oh, she's apparently really nice but I don't know about all that. I’ve been told that countless times but have yet to see it. She's mumbled about "my father shouldn't say those mean things..." and "you're special too..." but what about actually about being NICE?   She helps who she likes, when she wants but I don’t see her jumping to save Alice or being nice to Griffin. She decides to become her own person later in the book but it was so little, so late it didn’t really have an impact on me. She isn’t really active or payed much attention to, except for being leered at by Thom, so that’s a factor. Hopefully in the next book she’ll make more of an impression.
  •  
  • Alice: My favorite. She felt like a full character with her rebellious, spitfire personality. She's active and uses her strengths. Her motivations, and her reasonings are clear. There’s a standout moment at the fire where she stands up for herself and calls out Thom. It really showed who she was and how she felt. Of course, Thom’s like "I didn't think [it] had anything to do with [spoiler] me." Stupid, stupid Thom. And he’s supposedly observant? *snort* Anyways...
  •  
  • Griffin: My other favorite. He feels solid and compelling. There were so many moments and actions that showed who he was: strong, compassionate, talented and smart. I don’t know if I just liked him, or removing the ability of using (often) long sentences made it impossible to tell Griffin.    Maybe it was that he and Alice were different and stood out while Thom and Rose were bland. Maybe it was that Alice and Griffin struggled and overcame, while Thom and Rose wallowed or did nothing. Whatever it was,  it worked well for Griffin and Alice, not so much for Thom and Rose.
 

The Love Triangle:

 

I get why there’s a love triangle seeing as how they are a small isolated community. There’s limited options. However, it doesn’t work for me because of personalities, lack of connection and obviously skipping over other people. 
 
 I get why Alice likes Thom, and that Thom thinks Rose is the prettiest girl ever. However, I don’t get why Rose is into Thom besides being pushed together by parental figures (doesn't that usually cause rebellion?) and not having another option. When Rose finally showed some character, I was miffed at Thom’s dislike of her progression beyond convenient floral decoration. They don't line up and what's connecting them is shallow. 
 
 Then there's Thom's flip-flopping towards Alice. They're mainly friends, which is cool. But "more" only came when she was willing to touch him simply because she was willing. Settling for the better character because of desperation was irritating. Either appreciate her and return the feelings or fuck off. Then he goes back to drooling over Rose while bellyaching over how torn he is between the two. 
 
 It was all weaksauce. It makes me wish Rose was the nice, caring person she’s supposed to be and all of them realizing Griffin is a person too. He can communicate and contribute. It’s frustrating how he's written off. Alice and Griffin were my two favorites yet no one else seems to grasp their greatness. A Rose and Griffin couple and a Thom and Alice couple seems far more interesting a development. 
 
 Since hey, if the seer mom could be with someone, why can’t Griffin? It would mean not just more developing romantic relationships but throw a stick into the guardians design and cause more than just 'brotherly love all the time' between Thom and Griffon. Character development, growth, and conflict all by changing up the love coupling. 
 
 Thom would have to get over being shallow and be happy for his brother. He'd start sticking up for himself as well, if he'd follow Alice's advice. I see more compatibility between him and Alice honestly. Thom has anger but suppresses it and turns it inwards, where Alice turns it towards those that cause it. They both have the rebellious tendencies and great cause to upset the balance. They've also been friends despite the odds with more in common. 
 
 Rose would progress as well by willing to stick up for someone who needs it, not being a judgemental jerk, and defying the colony. Griffin is the kind and gentle yet ‘don’t mess with my family’ type that seems to flow more with Rose’s shy, quiet type. Of course, Griffin with Alice and Thom with Rose could work as well, though I think it’ll take more work.  And it'd have to be done extremely well for me to believe, let alone cheer for, all things considered. *sigh* 
 
But there’s this wobbly, weak, forced, stereotypical in every-YA- book- around -now (and I’m sick of this) love triangle instead. 
 
 It's the least attractive, most annoying and disappointing aspect of the book. I can deal with just enjoying the ride and not getting attached to most of the characters. I can deal with the struggling in the beginning. I can deal with relationships not working out how I see it and terrible people I’m suppose to like. However, this poor showing of an overused trope in a book I had such high hopes for was too much, especially on top of everything else.

Other Random Things with My Reaction and Reasoning:

 

 
 

Conclusion:

Good 3 stars

I did say this was a wobbly 3 stars at first and that is still true. It's a good story but it wasn't fully enjoyable because of how disconnected I was and how downright annoying two major players became. But I don't regret reading and have hope for the sequel, Firebrand.

 

Recommended For:

YA lovers who want fast-paces movie-style action, a male narrator, aren't picky or have expectations for dystopian or post apocalyptic standards, if you don't mind love triangles at all the wrong angles, and are willing to wait to get to the good stuff.

Review
5 Stars
Blood of Dragons: A Book Hangover I may Never Recover From
Blood of Dragons -

Disclaimer: I won this as an ARC from Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

 

TW: Rape. The scene is neither titillating nor is the act graphically detailed. It’s tragically unsurprising and its inclusion is narratively unavoidable. As a survivor I found it relatable and wasn’t triggered thought that will vary. Its aftermath is particularly well done and unifying like group therapy.

 

 

The Rain Wilds are known for its priceless treasure but it comes at a cost paid for by its people in blood and pain. One motley crew travels farther up river than anyone else in centuries making discoveries and sacrifices others could only dream of. They succeeded on a fool’s errand (it should’ve been Fool’s anyways…) but surviving will take more as the piranhas swarm to rip apart the colony they’ve cobbled together.

 

Now, they must keep searching for the impossible while protecting the meager beginning they’ve founded if they Dragons and Elderlings have any hope of returning. Will it all be for naught? It’s a soaring fantasy filled with action, adventure, drama, and romance with some treachery, conspiracies, and war.

 

Take an amazing journey about finding oneself and making your own life whether it’s coming of age, out of the closet or midlife realizations. They battle each other as they war within themselves with what they want and the boxes society has shoved them into while dealing with larger scale corruption, and oppression. They re-discover history and themselves, walking the tight rope between traditions and adaptation.

 

Blood of Dragons was so good, I lingered. Amid the action and drama, I found myself stopping to savor it all along the way. As much as I wanted to know the outcome, I dreaded not having more of it to read. Then the threads started twisting more and verging on merging so, its last quarter was unputdownable.

-read more-
Review
5 Stars
City of Dragons is the city of my dreams
City of Dragons - Robin Hobb

Writing reviews always gets harder as a series progresses. There's so little to speak of without spoiling something for someone. Are the people reading it those who've gotten this far in the series already and if so, what information are they looking for? Are people scouting ahead to see if it's worthwhile to start the series?

 
Do I just say fuck it and make a gif reaction review? Even if I wanted to, I'm not that clever or funny. It'd boil down to repeating: --> til I ran out of character space.

 

All I can really say is the whole series is worth it. I've finished the Rain Wild Chronicles and loved every minute of it, including City of Dragons. Admittedly, I'm a Hobb fan and feel the same way about all her Elderlings books.

 

If you've been lamenting the lack of action thus far, City of Dragons has what you've been wanting. And it doesn't slow down at all. It's revving up for the fourth and final book, Blood of Dragons.

-read more-
Review
5 Stars
Dragon Keeper Part 2: Drama, Death and Destination
Dragon Haven - Robin Hobb

I had fun poking fun at my fangirl self while writing The Dragon Keeper's (The Rain Wild Chronicles #1) review but I'll try to be more serious and helpful this time around.

 

Continuing Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven sees the cast and crew evolve under extreme conditions. It's not just the river they have to fear, but there's danger from within. We are talking about people and dragons, aka reptilian flying cats with higher intelligence than humans and magic. ~Drama~


I get confused reading other reviews where they say nothing happened, because plenty did. While there is more action than Dragon Keeper, it's mainly about the characters. They aren't in a (wait for it…) war, court intrigue, or piracy like previous Elderling series.


They are on a journey and as the clique goes it's not about the destination. I can't imagine this ragtag group finding Kelsingra as they were, let alone reaching it. I've now finished the series (I'm surprised I could stop to take notes…) and yeah, ewwww.
Let's not think about that depressing scenario. Every step, every setback, every change is necessary. And I don't mean because it gives me more Hobb to read.


Hobb has confirmed Dragon Keeper and Haven were written as one so think of it as Keeper Part 2. And it's the first book in a trilogy. What's the first book in a trilogy do, especially Hobbs? Set up and laying the foundation for the build up of the middle book, and the bomb-dropping conclusion of the third.

 

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Review
5 Stars
Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb: Fucking Flawless Fantasy
The Dragon Keeper - Robin Hobb

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb is the start of her fourth series set in The Realm of the Elderlings. It stands alone from the previous trilogies as much as possible making them optional but optimal reading.

 
Hobb provides enough details to understand the serpents backstory for new readers or those that just need a refresher. All within the first several chapters organically without info-dumping. Plus those who've read her previous series get to enjoy the off-hand nods and reappearances of minor characters.

 
Of course, if you go back to read the other series after finishing Dragon Keeper some information will be spoiled.

 

Okay, so I'm not the best judge of out-of-order readability since I'm such a Hobb fan and have read all the Elderling books. But seriously, read them all. (Hypnotoad compells you) 

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Review
5 Stars
Terra: Kick-ass Heroine in an Out of This World Dystopian
Terra - Gretchen Powell

I have the awesome opportunity to be apart of the CBL Book Tour for Terra and received a copy in order to give an honest review. See more, including an except at my blog The Broke Book Bank. 

Pros:

Cons:

Love the characters, especially Terra. She'd be my homegirl.

Disappointed with the need for Villain monologue at the end. Terra, why u no figure it out yourself?!?

Love the twist ending, going back to the roots of sci-fi in a dystopian

Insta-love (this hater actually fell in love with them, but still...)

Great pacing

 

Loved the plot, couldn't find any drawbacks

 

 

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Review
2 Stars
Nose: One Part Slow Wine Tour, One Part Family Drama Mystery, All Blah
Nose: A Novel - James Conaway

I won a copy through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

 

 

 

I’m giving this book two stars because despite good elements I didn’t particularly enjoy it, even though those elements are usually what I like. There’s hardly anything particularly wrong or irritating but I find it slow and uncompelling.


My big problem was indifference. Apparently it’s simply not my kind of book. I think this will be different for people who are more into wine, Napa Valley and those who relate more with the characters.


I originally entered to win Nose because the blurb certainly seemed interesting and I wanted to explore an area I hadn’t before. The family saga mystery drama intrigued me. I admittedly went in knowing nothing about wine and unfortunately my only tasting experience was with a cheap port that I didn’t like.


Nose is very informative in all things wine - from the making, the environment, the marketing, and the sensations. It wasn’t hard to follow or understand. It gave me a different perspective and appreciation for wine. The details didn’t bog me down and it was very interesting. This is one of the best parts of the book.

 

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Review
5 Stars
Nobody's Secret: A Dream Come True for This Dickinson Fan
Nobody's Secret - Michaela MacColl

 

I won a free paperback copy through a First Reads Giveaway in order to give an honest review.

 

As a fan of Emily Dickinson, Nobody's Secret was an instant grab for me. I feel in love with her work while learning about it in school and was soon perusing it on my own time. The opening scene had me literally d’awwing and giggling. I was totally regressed to when I first connected to Emily Dickinson so long ago.


Nobody's Secret is young adult, geared towards the younger end of the spectrum. On the back, it states for those 12 and up, but I could see myself reading it before then. Since teens usually like reading about those a few years older than them, this works well for the under 15 crowd.


Of course, that doesn’t mean it won't work for the older crowd as well. I’m proof positive it does and heartily recommend it for lovers of Emily Dickinson and for fans of the historical, mystery, or young adult genres.

 

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Review
3 Stars
The Trouble With Fate
The Trouble With Fate - Leigh Evans
3 Stars. Good with some solid point and I enjoyed the story overall but there’s something holding it back from a higher rating.

PROS

-Liked the world and the world building
-Heidi is interesting and compelling as is Merry
-Not transphobic. There’s a trans character that is treated by the bad guys like shit but Heidi is a decent human being about it. I love this inclusion, this character. Seriously, if Heidi was an asshole about this I would have easily said “Fuck you Heidi, I’m done.”
-Didn’t go the way I thought it would at the end and I liked the mini-reveals of the mystery all along the way
- Standard were and fae except for the Asrai and Mystwalker aspects, which I really liked and want to explore
-NO love triangle!


Cons

-Some moments pinged high on the improbable meter that bugged me
-Some frustratingly stupid actions/decisions
Insta-love justified by soul mates so the whole “I’ll save you!” “No, I’ll save YOU!” sacrifice is there when the relationship is SO new.
-Wanted more of the mystwalker side of things
-It was hard to get into at first, felt very disjointed and chopped full of information dumps but I got into the flow quick enough after the several chapters

Heidi’s family motto was Strongholds hold. After her family was eliminated, she doesn’t have time for mottos because surviving is the name of the game. With a sick and dying aunt to support, little education, and a false identity to protect, life is tough. It’s about to get a whole lot worse when her childhood crush walks into her workplace - dragging her into something she’s been trying to avoid since she was 10.

First delving into the book was a bumpy ride navigating the information dumps, the flashbacks and then being jerked back inside Heidi’s present head. I think having a prologue that goes into Heidi’s daily life before everything goes to shit would have been really helpful for several reasons, particularly the jumping off point. Instead of the three paragraph backstory that gets repeated in the first chapters anyways. When we first meet Heidi she’s having a rough, sleep deprived, work day which just gets more discombobulated when Robson walks into her Starbucks. So yeah, it makes sense Heidi is off her game, spacing out and flipping out but that’s not really a great first impression or introduction. After a couple chapters though it levels out and we get to just get to know Heidi and her now really fucked up life.

Balance. It keeps coming back to balance. The magic is balanced - as a fae can’t be super badass doing amazing things without facing the consequences. Fae can’t lie but tell only part of story or need a magic spell. Weres are stronger and heal fast but not immoral, can’t swim and silver is deadly. They can’t transform at will, at least, not now in this world. Humans, well, humans are just weak. Not much known about mystwalkers but they have some clear cut advantages and weakness. The transitions between worlds are deadly. Though I can’t say what drawback Merenwyn has, since it’s basically described as paradise. Threall has clear cut “oh, shit” things about it.

The world is balanced but it’s the flow of the story that doesn’t mesh well. Like Heidi going to Threal but nothing there is followed up on and that thread is left hanging. After all the shit goes down, it feels like the story is suppose to ramp up, move on to handling it, but instead it slows to deal with romance. Then it starts up again. Then there’s the stupid decisions that seem to fly in the face of how down to earth real the characters were.

The main reason for the knock down in stars are the Bullshit! moments. Like walking into a public place with a gun in hand with no one batting an eye until the gun is raised. Or like no one calling the cops after all the ruckus going on in the apartment. Or like worrying being caught on tape being supernatural and then doing impressive shit anyways. Or like the sleeping make-out almost dry humping session. I mean okay, so Heidi did the gun thing for a reason but it was still incredibly stupid. It still didn’t make sense that no one noticed the gun at first either. Then they sit and wait for at least half an hour outside the club and no cops come. Someone was shot, for fucks sake and no one called the cops? Pfffffffffffffft. Pah-lease. Bullshit contamination = Level 1: Get your boots because there’s a leak.

Characters
Heidi is self-deprecating, which I much prefer to egomaniac and adds some flavorful humor; has self-esteem issues (who doesn’t have these?), sarcastic, snarky and snide at times which I enjoyed.I loved her voice and her attitude. She does care and try to take care of those around her. She knows the difference between right and wrong but hey, you do what you gotta do when the tough gets going. I liked Heidi. She’s got actual flaws that make sense. She’s a thief for one. Not only for survival but also for the rush. She’s also a liar but she has to be, again, to survive. She has to stay low key and never let anyone find out the truth about her past. She also does the lying and denying to herself that we all do, involuntarily. Oh, come on, who hasn’t had those reflection moments where we say to ourselves “Really, I didn’t notice this? Really self? You suck.”?

She struggles not only with the warring magic insider herself but also who she is as Heidi. Just Heidi, who she is as the human person at the end of the day. This struggle felt very real and organic. The psychology of Heidi makes so much sense to me and seems so authentic. I may not have liked every aspect of her or every decision but being inside her head worked and was done well. Now, if you don’t like Heidi it may be a bumpy ride but with her past I get why she is the way she is.

The impulse control is part of her that I struggled with a lot since I’m the exact opposite. Like completely - I think, plan and worry so much about things sometimes stuff just doesn’t get done. She does have some good ideas when she thinks things through but man did we clash on some actions. Because of my disagreement with her style, at these moments of impulse she comes off stupid to me.

Merry the Arasai in the amulet was an interesting character. The personality and communication that came from Merry was great. It was just changing colors and movements with her gold vines but it really works. I had a problem properly visualizing it in the beginning where I had to keep looking at the cover to get the base image and alter from there. However, again, after adjust I got used to it. I think it was just never having read about such a thing before that threw me. I loved the idea and I think it was well executed so the problem was just my mental gymnastics.

Robson Towbridge, aka Bridge, is....the fallen golden boy turned black sheep, the condescending jerk who’s really a great guy if you just put the work in, the much needed reality check for Heidi, the over protective overbearing stubborn demanding alpha male so common in were-love stories. I didn’t hate him, and I did understand him, but I’m not loving him as a love interest. I just wasn’t moved by his switch from “you’re such a stupid little kid who creeped me out when you followed me around like a puppy” to “I love you. I’ll protect you no matter what and risk everything for you”.

Aunt Lou is described as loopy in the blurb (which I think gives the wrong impression) and crazy throughout the book by Heidi. This is one of those things where I didn’t like Heidi. Aunt Lou is only loosing her mind and the grip on reality because she is sick and dying. The fae version of Alzheimer’s disease and I just think Heidi is a jerk for calling her crazy. She wasn’t crazy or loopy before the illness, though by no means was she a nice person. She’s got a thing against weres and is homesick. She’s old with her power fading and her mind slipping after taking care of a child that’s part were (which reminds her of all the terrible things they’ve done to her family) and part-fae (which is giving her powers greater than Aunt Lou’s current capabilities). I don’t like her but I understand her. Saying she’s “crazy like a fox” would be different but no one seems to recognize how strong, independant and crafty she was.

The Love
I get why Heidi is in love with Bridge and why she falls for him now. I do not get Bridge’s feelings for her. There were a switch between him being condescending and insulting to her for being a kid, to finding her stupid, stubborn and thinking she was creepy as a child for spying on him. Then his were-instincts kick in and he’s all head over heels in love. The justification is the whole soul mates/fate but man, does that seem really weak when put after all the drama. At this point, I’m thinking the problem with fate is that fate is just stupid. It may yet grow on me but right now the love = meh.

Sure, there were interactions and moments I liked. There were even some things specifically tied to the romance aspect and the twist this causes at the end is great but it really felt lackluster throughout the story in general. I don’t really care or feel their connection or love. Robson/Bridge is actually the main source of Heidi’s stupidity. I really wish we could’ve seen her before this all goes down, when she was handling things and supporting her and Aunt Lou. I think that balance of what was and what is going on now is missing. As it is in The Trouble with Fate Heidi comes off like a drooling-no-self-control-moron at times to me, which I wasn’t fond of considering how independent and stand up she’s been.

The Sex Scene - In other reviews there’s mention of a specific scene where Heidi is losing her virginity. I’m actually surprised to see so many not liking this scene. It’s a first time that doesn’t fit the mold in books of perfectly perfect amazing fun time. I liked it. Not in the “I wish this would happen to me” or anything but because it felt real. Losing one’s virginity is a big thing usually. Her thoughts and struggle about what she was doing, why and wondering about what’s in his head is particularly compelling to me. It was a touching/poignant moment after things went supernaturally bad. It’s a unique twist, I must admit. It’s definitely a personal intimate moment and it really showed who Heidi is. We’re inside Heidi’s head so it only makes sense. If this moment wasn’t included or discussed I think it’d be hard (or harder) to connect/get/mesh with Heidi. Of course, if you already don’t like or don’t care about Heidi (especially this far into the book) it might be hard to read.

The specifics behind just want happened makes me worried a bit about the implications but I’ll hold off on judgement til the next book. I could see it going either way.
Review
4 Stars
White Horse: A Novel
White Horse: A Novel - Alex Adams
See the full review at my blog:

3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads)
Good, want to call it great but there's several big issues for me.

First, a word of warning. There’s graphic scenes of death, murder, DIY abortion, and rape. This is not a book for the squeamish or faint of heart. The violence style isn’t the gratuitous horror/action movie type though. Often it’s described in pieces, parts, vagueness or clinical detachment - which makes what happens all the more haunting. There’s also a really misogynist douche of a bad guy and insults about weight in the beginning of the book.

THE LIST...because brevity is not my strong suit
Likes
+ Realistic portrayal of post apocalyptic society. Not the happy band of travelers looking out for one another, good finding it’s way through. This is sheer dumb luck, good people dying and those without scruples living another day. As dark, gritty & grim as the apocalypse would be.
+ I liked the writing style, though it could get heavy handed at times
+ I liked the characters, especially Zoe, in both Then and Now. I got a good sense of who they were, their personalities and found them personable.
+ Was hooked and intrigued by the mystery of the jar
+ Thought the unreliable narrator was well done and I liked the journey with this extra bit of mystery.
+ Loved the last line of this book so much.


Dislikes
- Misleading US Blurb. This didn’t affect my reading enjoyment but it has for others and I don't like when the blurb feels off.
- The events on the tail end of the middle, leading up the the climax are pushing it. Convenient, contrived, convoluted, and flies in the face of how realistic and grounded the rest of the book it is. Of course, it might make sense in later books, being a trilogy and all, but I was annoyed with it while reading.
- The villains are lackluster. Standard, bland, 2-D. Can’t even say they are the worst characters, because they are caricatures. There’s a star missing just for this.


Most other reviews call it hopeful and like White Horse or call it depressing and don’t like it. I didn’t see much hope, just a lone person clinging to a piece of driftwood during a hurricane , but I still enjoyed the book. Maybe I’m just more pragmatic and reserved in jumping from joy for Zoe since I immediately thought how much it would suck dying the next day. At least she made the journey worth it though. I loved how realistic it is. This book delves into the worse side of humanity and doesn’t let us forget as repulsive as we find it - it’s still human. White Horse is more about what’s acceptable, what ideals, what morals do you hold on to when everything else goes to hell but the reminder is there - evil is still human. It’s an intense internal struggle to deal with how one was raised when that world no longer exists and there’s the external struggle of learning to survive in a new world.

The graphic scenes not there for shock, awe or gore factor (though it does up the ante) but because it’s being realistic. There’s terrible things going on now even with laws, prisons, and societal expectation. It’s all part of being human, as much as we try to shun and other such actions as unhuman. I love how Zoe brings this up and doesn’t go all “Slaughter the abominations!”. That viewpoint is in the book but it’s not seen as good thing. Sure, we’d all like to be noble, brave survivors saving the day and Zoe tries because she wants that too. She wants to cling to something good in a world gone dark, it’s just pesky reality gets in the way. We go on because we can, because we must, because of instinct and sometimes being a survivor really fucking sucks.

I love how it brought up the issues of rape and abortion in a post-apocalyptic world. Hell, I worry about such things now living in a country that doesn’t respect, protect or uphold women’s rights. I may have problems with improbability during the events right before the ending but the last line in this book is killer. Seriously, it’s awesome, impacting and unexpected. The villains are another sore spot for me. I found them 2-D and stereotypical. They just made me sigh, and want more instead of the stupid standard in speculative fiction.

I loved the alternating time line of Then and Now. I love the mystery and suspense of the jar. It’s tense and things goes wrong. Terribly wrong with little things we cling to for comfort as well as survival. Shit happens. It’s dark, gritty, deadly and grim. What else could you expect from the apocalypse? And I was reading for the story, not a How to Survive the End of the World guide because that depends so much on how the world ended anyways. There’s plenty of other places to get that survivalist information if you want it, I just wanted a good story. While there’s a few issues with White Horse, I got what I wanted.

Review
0 Stars
Drake's Quest
Drake's Quest - Pat Croce, Adam Slutsky
UPDATE 02/10/2013 - Of course, just days after marking the book as not received, I got it in the mail! That's just how it goes, lol. I'm glad though and can't wait to read it.

I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway that ended 12.01.2012. I have not received it yet. I will update when I do but since it's already March 1st I don't know if I'll be getting this book at all.
Review
3 Stars
The Murmurings
The Murmurings - Carly Anne West
I'm happily apart of the blog tour for The Murmurings by Carly Anne West hosted by Shane@ItchingForBooks and Carly Anne West! I actually had just finished reading my copy from Goodreads when I saw there was a tour happening, like a happy coincidence, and Shane was nice enough to let me join.


For those who like it short and sweet, I first present The List: PROS & CONS


+ Kept me guessing ‘til the end about who to trust, what was behind it all, and where it was generally going

+ Interesting premise

+ Darrrrrrrknessssssss

+ Generally liked the characters, especially Sophie at the beginning and Nell

+ Was smirking and smiling at some places

+ I really liked Nell’s poems and diary entries. While not an original way of telling her side, I wish I got more of Nell because I loved her voice. Nell would actually be my favorite character and I feel for her.

- One big stupid decision by the heroine that left me screaming, “Don’t do it, dumbass!”, which was required to move the story forward. I can’t actually imagine how the story would’ve worked without this mind numbing decision anyone with a brain, especially a horror fan lover like Sophie, would’ve known not to do. Then she acts all surprised it turns out badly like, what? Clearly though, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

- One big hole that bugged me while reading a whole lot. It still bugs me. Sophie complains about how hard it is to get rid of {spoiler} and has a few pathetic stabs at it. Someone else has been getting away with this task for a while yet they don’t tell Sophie how to do it. Sophie then gets rid of {spoiler} days on end with no problem. HOW did they get away with this? It was explained in detail how hard it was to get away with and I’m just suppose to accept Sophie figured it without being explained? I want to know how! I need to know otherwise it puts everything in question after the fact. Seriously, the rest of the story would’ve been impossible if Sophie doesn’t get rid of {spoiler} daily and without getting caught like previously.

- Not as terrifying or horrifying as I was hoping. More The Sixth Sense than The Shining. The Shining scared the shit out of me, The Sixth Sense? Nope. More eerie and thrilling to me than anything else. Didn’t get any of the visceral reactions you’d expect from horror stories. No jumping at noises or hearing noises or creepy, crawling feelings or freaked out about sleeping or anything.

- The ending is what killed my enjoyment the most and left me more frustrated than anything else. It’s all wrapped up neatly with a bow to give the YA happy ending. I don’t like it. It make me go “AWWWW”, but then the “Wait...what?!?!” kicks in.



When I first saw The Murmurings I thought I’d found the dark, horrific young adult tale I’d been looking for. I was reading The Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Stephen King when I was young so I’ve been a fan of the darker fiction for a long time. I don’t think that means I’m maladjusted (or anything) and was always frustrated that I had to read about characters so much older than me usually to get my fix for the fiendish.

I had high expectations for The Murmurings . I wanted scary, mind and reality bending. I even read it on an appropriately dark and stormy night. No joke, and no easy feat considering I live in the desert and hardly get any rain. However, it started storming so I settled in for a good read. I finished reading it that night long before it was dawn and promptly fell asleep. This is not the experience I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, just not what I wanted.

I didn’t get the freak out one would expect from a horror book. I wasn’t itching or looking over my shoulder or hearing things or seeing things out the corner of my eye. I wasn’t gasping or holding my breath. That’s the thing that usually grabs people about horror - the terror, the visceral response, the exploration into the darker side of life. I didn’t get creepy, more like eerie atmospheric and thrilling but not scarey either. Scare factor differs so much from person to person though.

I do not get horror from The Murmurings so what did I get? Well, that varies from the different sections. The first half is a darker paranormal romance mystery with Sophie trying to cope and figure out her sister’s death. The second half is an eerie suspenseful dark psychological thriller. There’s the wrap up chapter which goes all mushy contemporary with the standard everything’s okay now young adult ending. Can you tell the ending is the most disappointing part of my reading experience?

So let’s talk about my reading experience. I was so enjoying delving into the mystery in the beginning. I found Sophie to be funny, liked the exchanges between her and Evan, the passages about Nell and, most importantly, it didn’t feel like it was playing down the dark factor to be in the young adult category. It was about setup and investigating but there is definitely some important things going on. It’s not a case of taking forever to get anywhere about the mystery. Then the Big Stupid Decision happens to start the middle of the book. After an initial flurry of action, it begins to go again into “investigating and waiting” mode. I didn’t mind this because I was enjoying how it was all unraveling. Another problem found while reading here, but I was actually loving the thrill of it all. I was intrigued and at the edge of my seat until after the climax. The Big Finale really was suspenseful but not really horrifying since it was nothing really new. Still good, still enjoyable, still not sugar coating or shying away from the grim and gritty. Then the wrap up chapter happens. It’s sweet. It’s closure. It’s the typical young adult ending that I did not want. I’m left wondering, “What?!?”. The more I think about it, the more problems I have with The Murmurings.

Sure, there’s conveniences, coincidences, tropes and pet peeves that I noticed once dissecting the book for this review but let’s not go there because they didn’t affect my enjoyment while reading. One of the things The Murmurings succeeded at actually was keeping me guessing until the end about not only what’s going to happen, but who to trust as well. This at least I can say is a solid positive point for me. It stays dark and gritting up until the last chapter. Sophie and Evan’s romance feels less instant and more like a romantic suspense where people are thrown into dangerous situations and cling together. Considering how adults in books work out the same way, I don’t really have a problem with the romance here. I liked the characters, generally, even with the Big Stupid Decision. I loved Nell’s passages and poems the most though. Funny, how she’s the one I feel for most and Sophie is just kinda cool and funny to me.

Considering the genre and how the book was throughout the rest of the book, I was expecting the ending to leave me with this unsettled OMG reaction. As if the book’s reality is going to become your own. This didn’t happen for me here. Not even close. It’s just the exact opposite of everything it came before it. It doesn’t flow naturally to me and feels disingenuous. Like it just had to end that way because it’s young adult instead of delving into the realer, deeper, darker implications of the story. I wanted more chilling after effects, than a sappy aftertaste. There wasn’t much of issues of what comes next since Sophie is all calm, and comfortable about it. It’s all been handled when I wasn’t compelled to buy into that. There’s several things about the book I couldn’t buy into actually.

There’s two major things that bothered me while reading and did damper my enjoyment. Firstly, The Big Stupid Decision. This is desperately needed to move the story forward yet I hated it. It’s an obvious yelling out “Don’t do it, dumbass!” moment. My opinion of Sophie was lowered because of this incident. She had a reason to go {spoiler}, but she didn’t have to do it so...stupidly. She should have known better. After 100+ pages of learning how bad this {spoiler} is, she just waltzes in like it’s fucking fairy land. A little while later, there’s another incident. It’s not a stupid incident, it’s a *handwaving* away incident. See, Sophie needs to get rid of {spoiler} and we’re told in detail why and how hard this is to accomplish. Someone else has been doing this task for a long time but doesn’t tell Sophie how. Sophie makes two pathetic attempts at getting rid of the {spoiler} and The Bad Guys catch on to her. After this we are told how hard it is for Sophie to not only get rid of the {spoiler} but to not get caught.... yet....we’re never told how she does this. Given what we know, I can’t find a plausible way to get accomplish the task. IF this thing never gets done, it calls into question not only everything that happened after the fact but also Someone Else’s story of doing it as well. These things bugged me soooooo much while reading.

Rating:



3 Bats = Solidly enjoyable, with a few issues keeping it from being better.

What it boils down to is that the ending failed to balance the tale and satisfy me so the whole set up came tumbling down. While reading I was thinking this would be a higher rating, but that sadly, didn’t come to pass. 2 major problems, some little problems, but an enjoyable way to spend the night nonetheless.