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review 2016-07-02 02:36
Thoughts: Maddy's Floor
Maddy's Floor - Dale Mayer

Maddy's Floor

by Dale Mayer
Book 3 of Psychic Visions


Medical intuitive and licensed MD Madeleine Wagner thought she'd seen every way possible to heal a diseased body... then patients start dying from mysterious causes in her long-term facility.

The terminally ill fight to get into her ward.  Once there, many miraculously... live.  So when her patients start dropping and she senses an evil force causing their deaths, she calls on her friend and mentor, Stefan, for help.  Together, they delve beyond the physical plane into the metaphysical... Only to find terror.

She wants to save everyone, but are some souls not meant to be saved?

Detective Drew McNeil has two family members in need of Maddy's healing care, but his visits to her facility leave him wondering--who cares for Maddy?  Bizarre events on her floor raise his professional curiosity.  And the more time he spends with Maddy, the more personal everything becomes.  When the deaths on Maddy's Floor intersect with one of his cold cases, he realizes an old killer has returned--and Maddy's standing in his path.

How can these people stop something that no one else can see, feel or even believe?

The Actual Rating:  1.5 "I'm done with this series" Stars

Yes.   I think I'm giving up on this series.  I had been on the fence about continuing this series, so I included this book in my 2016 Reading Assignment challenge to see if, by any chance, I'd be able to give the series another go.  Truth be told, while the first two books weren't the best written (and had editing errors like nobody's business), they had some pretty good concepts and the story lines weren't entirely insufferable.

But with Maddy's Floor, things were just draggy and boring from the start.  I made it through the entire book if only because I wanted to see how the author would handle the ending.  I mean, how do you catch a killer who can siphon energy off other people without leaving a trace?  How do you try a villain in the court of law without physical evidence?   Only psychics would ever know who was responsible for the deaths of six children and a dying old man.  Only psychics would be able to determine how said killer is continuing to take other people's energies and life force.

I really wanted to see how Mayer was going to wrap this mystery up.  And you know HOW this story concludes?  By making up a left-field conclusion out of thin air.  And by sheer force of "THE ALMIGHTY WRITER'S WILL":

Our killer is captured only because he panics and chooses to stab someone with a knife for no apparent reason other than because he thinks said someone overheard a conversation he had on the phone about going on a trip.  By doing this, the author allows our killer to give himself away and create physical evidence to convict him of at least one murder (or attempted murder).  And then for other reasons no one will ever understand, he chooses to go and hold Dr. Maddy at gunpoint with the whole "You've ruined EVERYTHING!" spiel, as well as confessing to her that he was the one wreaking havoc on her floor, siphoning off energy from her patients.  HOWEVER, he confesses that someone else was responsible for all those kids' deaths as well as the deaths of two patients.

(spoiler show)


Let that sink in for a second and you'll understand why I chose to subtract another half a star from an originally "It was OK" 2-Star rating.  Because, if not for that sudden rush of "THE ALMIGHTY WRITER'S WILL" in forcing a resolution, our main evil villain guy would never have been caught.  There was no evidence and there were reasons on a psychic level that pointed to someone else entirely as the responsible party to all the deaths.

I could have lived with a boring, dragged out book about a speshul snowflake doctor and her apparent ability to heal the dying with ideas of positive thinking and positive energy.   I could have lived with the awkward dialogues and monologues.  I could have lived with some of the random tangents, or the fact that nothing really happens in this book to forward anything.

Okay.  Never mind, maybe I couldn't really have lived with all of that.  After all, if there were perfect Mary Sues in the world, Dr. Maddy would be in the middle of that convention since she practically lights up rooms when she walks into them, and need only walk and breathe for people to fall in love with her.

But anyway, I would have just shrugged off a lot of my quibbles, gave the book a 'meh' rating and moved on.  But the conclusion was just so forced that you could tell we were struggling to figure out how to wrap things up, because not only was the conclusion rushed, it also made no sense whatsoever (see spoiler above).

As a side note, there were still quite a few typos and editing errors throughout the book, even if not as bad as the first book.  Mainly, I noticed a lot of inappropriate comma usage, and some narrative inconsistencies.

One scene that comes to mind is when Maddy is making coffee in the morning after the detective stays the night in her guest bedroom to keep an eye on her.  She is narrated to have pulled two mugs out of her cabinets while waiting for her coffee to brew when her phone rings.  While she's on the phone with her friend Stefan, she turns and is startled to see that the detective guy is leaning against the kitchen door frame, and she monologues that she'd forgotten he was in her house; this left me wondering whether or not she normally pulls out two mugs for herself for coffee in the morning.

Then she continues her phone conversation, saying things that I thought the detective guy would have absolutely been suspicious about and start asking questions about, especially since she mentions said detective's uncle's name in a context that sounds rather concerning.  Instead, our detective just smiles at her and reaches for two mugs in the cabinet to hand her a cup of coffee.  At this point, I can't really remember whether or not Dr. Maddy had already poured herself a mug of coffee, because I had somehow been under the impression that she'd gotten herself a mug already, but she takes the mug that Mr. Detective Guy pours for her anyway, thus, somehow negating the mug that she may or may not already have in her hand.

There were more narrative inconsistencies like that, such as a character already standing up, but suddenly "coming to her feet" a few sentences later; or a character already sitting down, but then randomly falls into her chair in the next instance.

In other quibbles, I was a little jarred by the fact that Dr. Maddy's extent of reactions are 90% gasping:  she gasps when someone says something to her; she gasps when someone brushes by her; she gasps when someone surprises her; she gasps when she's having sex; she gasps when someone calls her name... she pretty much gasps when ANYTHING happens.

Anyway... Before I read this book, I was actually looking forward to it, even with my previous, less than enthused ratings for the first two books in this series.  But now I'm definitely sure that I won't be continuing with this series anymore.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge

 • COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square R5 -- PNR

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review 2016-06-28 12:00
Thoughts: Troublemaker
Troublemaker: A Novel - Linda Howard


by Linda Howard



For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job.  But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why.  Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant.  But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.

The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out.  She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank.  Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.

The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something.  But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give.  And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

To be fair, this is my second Linda Howard book.  The first book I read of hers was not exactly a personal favorite, and in fact, had been disagreeable enough that I had considered not coming back to another Linda Howard.  But I'm a believer of second chances, and it just so happens that Linda Howard has a lot of romantic suspense pieces under her name--and I'm nothing if not a lover of romantic suspense.

Comprised with all the intriguing premises of her books, as well as the fact that I DID recognize the subtle humor and the well-written narratives from the train wreck that was Mr. Perfect, I subconsciously decided that it wouldn't hurt to give Linda Howard another go.  I've had other books of hers on my TBR since.

Troublemaker sounded quite interesting.  And to be fair, it was pretty enjoyable, actually.  However, after finishing the book, my biggest take away was that this book was nothing like what I'd been expecting--it was both a good and a bad revelation.

First of all:  This book is more Contemporary Romance than it is Romantic Suspense.

The beginning of the book started out as a potential romantic suspense would--there was action, there were guns, there was military and there was near death.  The only thing we were missing were the explosions.  Unfortunately, the first scenes in the book wherein there IS action is dragged out by the fact that we were also getting a play-by-play, day-in-the-life-of for Morgan Yancy during his stateside moments.

When he was shot and his boss comes up with the half-baked idea to use him as bait and then send him to recuperate in an off-the-grid small town, I thought things were actually picking up.  The concept was enticing, although I've got misgivings about these geniuses, specifically Morgan's superior, Axel, knowingly putting someone's life in danger just because there's some bad sibling rivalry included.  It would be a bit different if Bo were a security type or military type or even true law enforcement, but as we come to find out, despite the fact that she's the Chief of Police of the small town, she only does administrative work.  And from what I gather, she's never actually had police training outside of learning how to fire a gun--which anyone can do on their own time without being a law enforcement officer.

And yes, I know there were other, logical reasons for sending Morgan to recuperate in a place that had no connections to him, but I also found it quite presumptuous of these men to believe that Bo would go for something like playing nursemaid for a complete stranger who, by all rights, could be the most dangerous man alive.

No matter how much money she needed to turn her life around.

But, anyway, after we bypass that first hoop, and our two main characters are settled into a routine, daily thing... well, the book started rolling and I started enjoying.  And for it's credit, while NOTHING remotely suspenseful happens for the next 80% of the book--aside from one or two little tangents that were readily resolved, but seemed highly out-of-the-blue--I actually had a good time following the goings-on of Isabeau Maran, her beloved (and spoiled) diva dog Tricks, with the new addition of Morgan into their little group.

In the back of my mind, I DID wonder several times where the suspense was hiding.  The main conflict was lingering in the background of the book's premise, of course, but aside from having Axel check in with Morgan and aside from Morgan and Bo bringing up the situation in conversation once or twice, Morgan's attempted assassination was all but left in yesterday's news.  So the story itself trudged on as a sweet and lovely small town romance between two people with their own damaged histories to work through, with a nice little "love conquers all" theme going.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the development of the relationship between Morgan and Bo.  They go from bickering strangers, to grudging friends, to attraction and lust, to caring roommates, and end up with a steamy, sexy, "we're probably falling in love with each other" development.  For a Contemporary Romance this book would have been really well-received, and I'm quite surprised at how quickly my mind switched gears to accommodate this revelation.

Second of all:  There really isn't a second of all point, to be honest.  At least not one that ties in with all the material and all the points I already mentioned in the above section.  So for your enjoyment, here is just a random bullet-pointed list of thoughts I came up with several hours after I finished reading Troublemaker.


  • I liked the inclusion of Tricks.  There were a lot of moments when she seemed like a super human-dog, but to be honest, the more I thought about it, the more I started seeing parallels between the fictional golden retriever, Tricks, and our family dog, a little Shih-tzu named Baby who I honestly believe could be human.  
    • Just the mere fact that our dog tends to really understand what we tell him and has a bit of a teenage rebelliousness in him makes him all the more frustrating as the youngest sibling in our family.
    • He knows his routines, and much like Tricks, is mildly put out when he doesn't get his dinner or breakfast at the appropriate times each and every day.
    • And also like Tricks, our Baby has ways of finding things to amuse himself with even when everyone else is too busy dealing with life.
    • And also, like all dogs or beloved pets, no matter how bratty he can get, he still makes you smile at the end of the day.


  • I liked the small town vibe in this book--in fact, I like a lot of small town settings, but a lot of times, some books take the whole "no secrets in small towns" thing a bit too extreme.  And a lot of books also take the whole "everyone is up in everyone's business in small towns" thing, also a bit extreme.  Seeing as how I've never lived in a small town, I guess I'm not a hundred percent certain how representative most books are when setting up a small town scenario.


  • I liked the side characters in this book, but I felt like they were very "background noise" instead of side-character status--I don't know what I'm talking about, and this statement probably only makes sense in my head.  
    • The point is, I wish we could have seen more from the side characters in a capacity other than simply to forward the plot; even if I don't really need to know their life stories.
    • I know, I'm difficult like that.


  • I really wish that there had been more suspense in this book.  I still have trouble reconciling the book's cover illustration with the book's summary blurb with what actually was presented in this book.


  • Because then it brings me to this last thought:  The conclusion was very rushed, and while there was an almost preachy "sometimes there are loose ends in life" lecture going on at the end, it still doesn't satisfy my annoyance at the loose ends at the end of this book.  It felt like there was a distinct divide between the Suspense and the Contemporary parts of the book, and the ending decided to finally pick up the suspense where it had left off in the introduction.

Some Final Thoughts: Troublemaker is entertaining.  I'll give it that.  If it hadn't been marketed as a romantic suspense, and if the back of the book jacket didn't so emphasize Linda Howard's Booklist description as being the "Queen of Romantic Suspense," I probably would have been happy to settle with a book that was 80% Contemporary, and 20% "These seem like romantic suspense scenes, let's include them to fulfill the genre requirements!"  But given how misleading the cover jacket illustration, the summary blurb, and the marketing of Romantic Suspense was, I'm feeling a little duped.

Nonetheless, for anyone who is interested in Linda Howard and a fairly serviceable and well-written romance with an adorably sweet two year old gold retriever with a diva personality, I wouldn't mind recommending this book.

It was entertaining, and I enjoyed myself in spite of the quibbles.


Also, for your enjoyment, here are some short excerpts and quotes from the book I found amusing or sweet:

"What about Princess?"

Bo's mouth curved with amusment as she realized she'd never told him Tricks's name.  "Her name is Tricks.  T-R-I-C-K-S."

"I thought it was Princess.  That's what you called her yesterday."

"Princess is her title, but her name is Tricks.  Besides, I call her a lot of things.  For the first year of her life she thought her name was No No You Little Shit."



"[...] I brought Tricks and all her stuff home with me and did some panicked research on how to take care of a puppy.  She was still terrified in a new place, and wouldn't stop shaking unless I held her.  When I put her in her little crate at night, she cried.  It broke my heart.  So I got her out and let her sleep curled against me.  That was that."
"Pushover."  His mouth quirked with humor.

"You think you could have resisted a little ball of white fur?  She looked like a baby's stuffed animal, or a cotton ball with big feet."



He said, "You bake cookis?"

"She gets cookies for her birthday."

"That's tomorrow, right?"

"No, it's quite a while until her birthday."

"Mine's tomorrow," he lied.

"It is not.  I saw your driver's license, remember?"

"It's a fake."

"I'm not baking cookies."



Morgan was already over a hundred yards away, and maybe two hundred, but he must have heard her because abruptly he stopped and turned in the water to face her.  She doubted he paid any attention to her, though, because Tricks was coming right at him, swimming so hard she was leaving a wake.

Tricks reached Morgan, and though Bo didn't have binoculars, she didn't need them to know what happened because she knew her dog.  She gripped her head with both hands as Tricks latched on to Morgan's arm and began towing him toward the bank.  She was "saving" him.  She'd done the same thing to Bo the first time Bo had gone swimming with her, and it had taken several trips to the lake before she relaxed her vigil.


In retrospect, she could follow Tricks's reasoning: when Morgan had arrived, he'd been weak and unable to take care of himself.  Therefore, he was someone Tricks needed to watch over.  Seeing him in the water, without realizing how much he had recovered, had triggered her protective instinct and she had gone after him thinking he was literally in over his head.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square E4 -- Romance


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/thoughts-troublemaker.html
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text 2016-06-28 02:45
Starting "Reread": Mistborn The Final Empire
Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson,Michael Kramer

Mistborn  The Final Empire

by Brandon Sanderson
audio book narrated by Michael Kramer
Book 1 of Mistborn trilogy



I suppose we could call this a "reread," even though I'm listening to it via audio.

I'm interested in continuing with the rest of Sanderson's Mistborn series.  And now that I know what he had intended with the new setting for the new story arc after the original trilogy--something about three or four different story arcs set in different times in history--I'm more curious to see where he takes the rest of the Mistborn world.

I read the Mistborn trilogy about three years ago, and noted that Sanderson recently wrote a companion piece to the original Mistborn trilogy called Secret History.  Of course, it is also noted that it would be best to read this companion after Mistborn, Book #6, The Bands of Mourning, as there are some spoilers.

Anyway, it's not like I need to pump myself up to continue reading anything written by Brandon Sanderson, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to relive the original trilogy.  And also, I had some extra Audible credits that needed spending.  And so I'm going be listening to the audio book version of The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages.

The only comments I have so far (since I'm only about thirteen minutes into the audio book) is that Michael Kramer's voice is a little hard to listen to, as he does a lot of very low tones that are a bit distracting.  I assume it takes a bit of time to get used to since I've seen a lot of reviews praising his narration of Mistborn.  Secondly, I'm noticing little details in the book that I don't recall noticing before... then again, it HAS been three years since I read the books and I don't exactly have an excellently detailed, photographic memory or anything.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/starting-reread-mistborn-final-empire.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-06-27 21:02
Thoughts: Kinslayer
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff


by Jay Kristoff
Book 2 of The Lotus War trilogy

**Because this is the second book in the series, there will likely be some information in this review that will give away pertinent information in the first book.  Continue at your own risk, or skip this review until you've read both books.



The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium.  The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion.  But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control.  Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches.  But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins.  A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire.  A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive.  And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

One of the things that came to mind while I was thinking about how to write my review of Kinslayer had to do with the love story in The Lotus War trilogy.  It had never really occurred to me to think of the triangle between Yukiko, Kin, and Hiro as a triangle at all, if only because it never really occurred to me that the word love was even being tossed around.  But one of the conflicts in this trilogy, as seen in Kinslayer, centered on the betrayal by a loved one.

And it hadn't been until nearing the ending of this book that any mention of love was brought up.  Now, this wasn't just the brotherly love or the friendship type of love, but I'm of the impression that this was a romantic love that both Hiro and Yukiko claimed had been each other's downfall.

As I understand it, between the three of them, Yukiko, Kin, and Hiro all feel as if they'd been betrayed by the person they love.  Well, we already saw that Kin felt betrayed by the end of the first book, Stormdancer, when he found out about Yukiko and Hiro; although why that is, I'm not certain.  And now in this second book, Yukiko and Hiro are both throwing around extreme emotions due to being betrayed by the one they loved.

Except that, throughout Stormdancer, I never actually got the impression that ANYONE was in love with ANYONE...  If anything, Kin's love for Yukiko felt like a crush; Yukiko's feelings toward Kin felt more like a friendship type.  As for the relationship between Yukiko and Hiro, I had always been under the impression that the two of them were just in lust with each other, with maybe a spattering of a crush--what they had never felt like love, nor was that word even used at any point.

Which then brought me to the realization, now, that there had to have been insta-love of the typical YA variety in that first Lotus War book--I just never really saw it.

But all of that is moot in the face of all the other depressing twists and developments that come out of Kinslayer.  As I'd stated earlier in my pre-review thoughts, this entire book felt like a long, drawn-out hot mess--having taken some time to think on the book, my feelings have not changed.

To be honest, the book started out quite promising.  Here, we have Yukiko, after the events of Stormdancer, with a big problem when her kenning abilities seem to have lost control of themselves.  She's hearing too many voices (animal and human alike) and is unable to block them out; it gets to the point where she's becoming a danger to life around her and to herself, because this effect causes her headaches, but also causes pain to the animals around.  In effect, rather than becoming the great hero that everyone is looking at to save the lands, Yukiko has become a pitiful, drunken mess, mirroring what her father had become, what she had despised so much about him throughout the first book.  Because in order to drown out all the noises of the kenning, Yukiko has taken up losing her mind in drink.

Along the way, we have Kin who has given up everything he ever knew in life to join the rebellion, to join Yukiko in her cause.  And now he's being hunted by the Guild, with nowhere else to go.  And at the same time, he's now living amidst a bunch of hypocritical rebels who claim to be fighting for the greater good, but can't seem to see anything outside of their prejudiced hate.  They hate the Guild, erego, they hate Kin--no matter what he sacrificed to help Yukiko, and no matter that he's turned his back on the Guild and the Shogunate, they just hate him.

One of the things that bugged me the most about the Kagé's hate for Kin is that they hate what he used to be--and that's it.  Except that, if it's the fact that he used to be a Guildsman that is so wrong, I don't see how the Kagé can like anyone at all.  As Kin had said to the Kagé leader, "everyone used to be someone else," and so why can't Kin also be someone who used to be someone else?  Daichi is the Kagé leader who used to kill for the Shogun before he finally chose to walked away.  Lady Aisha is the Shogun's own sister by blood until she chose to help the rebels.

The Kagé are able to cast aside the identities of these two and consider them trusted allies, in spite of the fact that they were part of the enemy who watched the lands suffer and innocent people die.  It also doesn't seem to matter to the Kagé when their own actions cause innocent people to die--the means to an end.

It just feels like there was no real logic to why the Kagé hated certain people.  They were ready to kill Yukiko in the first book because of a tattoo... but now she's the symbolic leading light of their rebellion.

I guess I just don't really understand the logic of their hatred for Kin, or even Ayane, when they can trust Lady Aisha or any others who also used to be part of the enemy team.  I mean, the Guildsmen are born into their roles, so it's not like they had much of a choice in what they wanted to do with their lives.


Meanwhile, the entire kingdom is falling apart... well, more so than it already has, after the death of the Shogun.

And that's when we get introduced to multiple other lines of story, all seeming to be heading on the same path, destined to converge at some point.  Except, even as we follow all of these side tangents and separate POVs, we're not entirely sure what significance they all hold.  Okay, I'm not entirely sure what significance there was.  All the while, my own impression of the events in this book was a feeling of impatient frustration--because while there was a lot of activity, and while there were a lot of events, and while there felt like a lot was happening, I'm not entirely certain anything really DID happen outside of revealing several more convoluted plot twists and exercising Murphy's Law.

Anything that was bad that COULD happen, DID happen.  There was so much hate and betrayal and espionage and chaos and death and bloody gore that I'm surprised the book didn't implode upon itself.  It almost felt as if each scene and each new development was carefully structured in attempt to wring as much FEELS from the reader as humanly possible; every possible worst case scenario was thought of and the utmost worst of the worst was chosen for the final draft.

And for most readers, maybe it worked.  There's certainly a lot to think about in this book.  I, personally, just started feeling quite exhausted.  And that's not simply because nothing was really getting accomplished.  People were also making poor decisions, and no one was thinking of the bigger picture nor could they see past their hate.

Some Final Thoughts:
Jay Kristoff is really a great writer.  His prose is smooth and I don't deny the creativity of the characters and the world he created.  I mean, after listening to the audio book of Stormdancer, I realized that I loved the book in spite of many quibbles and frustrating factors that I would have condemned many other books for.  Which is why I had no qualms about finally jumping into finish the rest of the Lotus War trilogy.

But Kinslayer turned out little different than Stormdancer, but in a different way, and I'm not sure that the things I didn't like about Stormdancer were improved upon.  To be totally honest, while I found the entire ideal of girl and thunder tiger as partners in crime really intriguing, I never found much I liked about Yukiko--she's the typical Mary Sue of fiction who was created to be well-received and somewhat powerful and sexy and any other factor that can make people fall in love with her.  But she was a standard type of heroine with nothing actually outstanding to distinguish her from any other standard heroine.

I loved the new conflict inflicted upon her in Kinslayer, though... but I'm not sure I saw any development in her character because of it.  Instead, Yukiko seemed to have been detached from the main events of the story to go on a journey of her own wherein things happen, but nothing really gets resolved.  Her righteous, holier-than-thou attitude had been a bit of an annoyance to me in the first book; in this second book, nothing really changes.

I'm not sure where else to even point out what was going on in Kinslayer that didn't entirely work out for me--too many tangent story lines, too many dramatic events, too much gushy love between girl and arashitora... too many people making uninformed or dumb decisions based on their own gut feelings which are all biased, at best.

There were some things I DID like:

  • I liked the story line that involved Hana, even if I didn't quite understand the significance of her brother's connection story line with the yakuza, which felt more out of place than anything.
  • I also liked Michi... but I'm not entirely certain that particular line needed to be dragged on for so long.
  • I liked Kin's development.  But I also thought it was entirely predictable and clichéd, and it was one of those few conclusions of this bridging installment of the trilogy that anyone could see miles before the story even started.
  • I wish we could have seen more of Akihito and the Kagé group in the city--they seemed to be doing more than the rebels hiding in the mountains managed to accomplish.
  • I liked the inclusion of other legendary monsters, more arashitora... but I did not like how the events were executed.  I mean, WTF, Buruu?

Final Final Thoughts:
I'm going to finish reading the trilogy if only because I want to know how everything ends.  I want to know if the world WILL eventually implode.  I want to know if the entire ordeal that was Kinslayer was worth all the effort.  I want to see if my thoughts about Kin are correct and whether or not the progression of Lotus War will surprise me in the end.  And I'm also curious to see what other dramatic, new surprise twists might be in store for the concluding installment.  

Goodness knows, Kristoff didn't pull any stops on all the secret reveals in Kinslayer.  Nor did he hold back on all the possible twisted revelations either.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square R20 -- Steampunk



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/thoughts-kinslayer.html
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review 2016-06-27 21:00
Short Review: Stormdancer
Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff


by Jay Kristoff
Book 1 of The Lotus War trilogy

**Side note:  This review has been slightly modified and my original rating changed--original review posted at Goodreads in April 2013.



The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

The last half of the book merited a 5 Star rating... but the first half of the book definitely didn't. Which is why this book only gets a 4 Star rating--originally, it was hovering on a 'meh' of a 3 Star rating. So, win-win, I guess.

When I finished reading this book for the first time, I was actually a little blinded by fangirl hype and gave it a half a star more for the rating and then proceeded to over-hype myself for the rest of the series. I recently finished listening to the audio book in anticipation of my plans to finish reading the rest of the trilogy... and I've found my experience not all that different than previous, except that I know for certain that, while this book was written very well, and events were quite awesome, it just doesn't appeal to me as much as it did the first time.

Nonetheless.... It's a good book.

And so I modified my rating and my previous review slightly.

The beginning kind of caught me inattentive, which brought upon the lower rating which almost bounced back save for certain things. I hadn't quite expressed much of an opinion on this book previously (because it was very late in my night and I was very exhausted after crunching the last half of the book--or so my previous opinions indicate). But I DO know that after I finally got past what seemed like a slow start to the story, I dove right into the rest of it with this thought: "I physically NEED to finish this book... right now!" Which is always a good thing in terms of how much I ended up loving the story and progression and most importantly the characters both main and supporting.

Because a lot of the slow start may have been my own fault, just being unable to focus for reasons other than because of the way the book was written, I wanted really badly to give it a full out five star rating.

Stormdancer is an excellent book: written well, progressed magnificently, awesome characters created with a nicely planned dystopian society of Japanese steampunk fantasy glory, and etc.... Unfortunately, before I finally DID get hooked into the story with its kickass heroine, crazy-awesome adventure, and selectively random humor that really DID make me giggle aloud several times... well, I still have to point out that the beginning somehow had a lot of awkwardness in the way it was narrated. True, I grew used to it and didn't care for the awkward dialogue and narration, but it still bugged me enough to start the book once the first time, set it aside because I wasn't getting into it, then try to start it up again several months later, and then being unable to get into it once again until the adventure with the thunder tiger hunt officially began.

This was actually a little similar to my recent audio book listening experience as well. The only difference is that I can passively listen to Stormdancer without really paying attention to anything that got awkward and dragged out, just to get past that first half of the story.

Anyway, aside from the above, I have little to complain about for Stormdancer. I know there's a large fanbase out there of readers who love this book to smithereens and any rating less than a five could be called blasphemous. But to me, maybe this is just a case of "It's not you, it's me," and it was really my fault that I had trouble getting through the first parts; however, after getting over that hurdle, there is no doubt that the story from there on out held my attention unwavering.

For now, this is just a brief opinion about my thoughts on the book and I apologize that this small post doesn't offer more about whatever else there may be reason to love this book.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/short-review-stormdancer.html
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