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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-06 08:07
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–February Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 6, 2018.

 

2015

 

24579884

 

Magno Girl by Joe Canzano

An old review:

 

What I Thought:

 

the book was about a female superhero…but the book was not from the superhero’s POV but the guy dating her!

 

some of the jokes and situations were too funny and silly — I loved them! — but the jokes did get tiring at the end

 

I enjoyed every conversation that Magno Girl had with her mother. They were all laugh out loud funny! It also made sense that Sandra would use the issues that Magno Girl had as a curse.

 

All kinds of discrimination were made fun of and I liked how the author made us see the silliness when it comes to advertising, pregnancy etc. but the MCs continuously joked about the short stature of one of the villains.

 

The character of the teenage girl who became increasingly vapid was fun to read about but her curse was made into such a big deal and then it was solved just like that!

Legalman was my favorite character — he would find a reason to sue you even if it killed him you!

 

I do not know what it was but I kept wanting to put the book away and could not gobble it in one go. I kept wanting to enjoy it and get hooked but that didn’t happen. That is why, I am rating it 2.5 rather than 3 stars. However, if you want to try something unusual and funny, Magno Girl is a good idea!

 

2014

 

15869500

 

Botanicaust by Tam Linsey

 

Another old review:

 

What I liked:

 

the concept this story was based on was really interesting and it didn’t disappoint, as I read ahead


the cover--suited!


all three races, if they can be called that, were as different as day and night but the most advanced ones-I forget what they’re called- were the scariest!


the author did research and it showed-I loved the part about telomerase and the chloroplasts, as well as the part about Ripening.


the ending wasn’t impractical-it was quite realistic


I sort of threw a tantrum when one of the little girls was taken by the cannibals-I’m pretty sure we’ll see her again, if there’s going to be a sequel but still!

 

What I didn’t like:

 

the whole people turning into cannibals part wasn’t too well-thought. If plants will grow in one place, surely people will work to grow them elsewhere.

 

If you want to read about photosynthesizing people, cannibals and an apocalyptic world, give this one a try-it doesn’t disappoint!

 

2013

 

7279365

 

Eona by Alison Goodman

 

Epic YA fantasy that is fun, not just about winning the boy, and about an imperfect protag. She also happens to have powers that have been denied to women of that world ever since the beginning of time. This series broke tradition in another way i.e. by not being a trilogy but was instead a duology! I devoured it and then reached for the second one. Recommending it recently to a friend made me realize that its magic remained in place!

 

 

8908

 

World War Z by Max Brooks

 

Huh, so I did write a review for this one back when I read it:

 

This book is all kinds of good. I love the scope of the book since it gives you a global perspective of a zombie apocalypse. It also follows the progression of the zombie infection as it spread universally. Moreover, it sketches a situation that has its roots based on reality, when talking about the aftermath of the infection.

 

An addendum:

Looking at the world today, I think it wouldn’t be remiss if I objected that the two countries to start a nuclear war would be Pakistan and India. The rest of the world presents us with more likely candidates!

 

2012

 

9361589

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

People have called it verbose and boring. But I found the writing lyrical and the magic of love…well magical! The book made quite an impression on me.

 

 

7940988

 

Zombie Nights by Tom Lichtenberg

 

An old review:

 

This is a highly entertaining short story and instantly made me want to start reading other books by the same author. The author didn’t waste time in describing things that weren’t important to the story and I loved how he was able to let us feel how dangerous the bad guys/bullies were, even while laughing at them. All I’m saying is I want more!

 

 

943402

 

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

 

Another one:

 

Okay, so I want to rate this book 4 stars but what stopped me was my pet peeve-unnecessary details involving characters who weren’t important to the story. Other than that, the book is amazing for several reasons:


the vampire is a little girl (almost)-who wouldn’t want to read about that, right?
the vampire kills and there’s no covering that up-no sexy smooth talking vegetarians here.


you connect with both the kids intensely-when Oskar gets bullied, I wanted to go save him.


the violence and the sadness and the loneliness just gets to you..chokes you up and keeps you reading.


be warned, you WILL need Teddy Bears if you want to get through this book with the least bit of depression


the ending..well it takes the cake!

 

I haven’t seen the movie yet (any version)and will add to my review once I do.

 

 

1421990

 

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

 

This one too:

 

Loved this book!!


The story opened in the perfect way.


I loved every bit of the action and of course, it had one of my most favorite things in it-a kick ass, smart-mouthed heroine.


I did not like Bones right away. But gradually, he became awesomer and more awesome.
Another thing which always tips the scales for me is good humor and this book had that down pat.


I also loved Spades and would want to read more about him and meet Ian.


There was no one big bad wolf until the very end and I liked that–it made the story more interesting.


Oh and I hated the mom’s guts like I was supposed to.


It was only the too-typical ending that kept me from rating this book 4 stars.

 

Onward to the next one!

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review 2017-07-29 01:36
This was unique and well written but ultimately just Meh
The Dark Days Club (A Lady Helen Novel) - Alison Goodman

It's hard to believe that so many of my GR friends loved this book to teensy smithereens. I don't know... I'm torn. While it was an extensively researched, meticulously delivered, well written Historic Fantasy with strict proprietry and rigid expectations abound, I just didn't love it. I might not be the preferred demographic though. I am admittedly no connoisseur of 19th century London or Historical Romance as a whole for that matter. I WAS impressed and quite taken with the unique mythology as well as with the quick witted, intelligent heroine that managed to be both kick ass and period appropriate almost all of the time. Another uncommon aspect was that the heroine got to choose her own destiny. Granted, there was no clear-cut good or right choice to be made BUT she was given the opportunity to take her fate into her own hands (mostly) and that is not usually the case with most Coming of Age paranormal stories. There was a romantic triangle brewing which can be hit or miss (usually a miss for me)... especially since the union I am almost certain readers will be rooting for most is percolating at a frustratingly slow pace. The other characters were also done well. I especially enjoyed Helen's relationship with her maid Darby.

 

All of these factors put together sounds like a book to be exalted right? I liked it, I really did, but I did not love it as most reviewers have and because of this my rating reflects it.

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review 2016-09-18 01:18
#CBR8 Book 102: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
The Dark Days Club (A Lady Helen Novel) - Alison Goodman

Lady Helen Wrexhall is 18 and nervous about her imminent presentation to the Queen. As her parents died when Helen was young, and there is scandal attached to her mother (she is believed to have been a traitor), Helen and her brother have been raised by their aunt and uncle. She desperately hopes that no one is going to mention the scandal connected to her mother, but can't resist the urge to take her mother's miniature with her to the presentation either, wanting something to remind her of her parents on her big day. Before she has a chance to see the Queen, the infamous Earl of Carlston (rumoured to have murdered his wife), a distant relative of her family, deftly steals the miniature from her, but promises to return it the next day. Helen is also shocked when the Queen not only mentions her mother, but seems to imply that the rumours about her may not all have been true. 

 

When Lord Carlston comes to call the next day, accompanied by Beau Brummel (making Helen's aunt slightly less mortified by the whole thing), he actually flings her mother's miniature at her when no one is watching. Reacting with lighting reflexes she didn't suspect she had, Helen snatches it out of the air before it hits her face and is deeply puzzled by the whole encounter. In the last year, she's noticed herself going through changes. Her hearing is more acute, her eyesight is sharper. Lord Carlston clearly knows something about her mother, and suspects things about Helen too, since he is willing to test her in such odd ways. What connection does a man with such a black reputation have with the deceased Lady Catherine, and what could he possibly want from Helen?

 

Helen's aunt and uncle wants her to have nothing to do with Lord Carlston, and her uncle would prefer it if she denounce her mother entirely and claim publically that Helen is glad that she died when she did. Both of them want Helen to behave demurely and make a good match. That her brother's best friend, the Duke of Selburn, seems taken with her is certainly a good sign. Yet Lord Carlston reveals to Helen that she has rare and unusual gifts, and that she needs to be trained in the use of her powers to help save the country from horrible soul-sucking beings. He shows her a side of London that she never suspected existed and clearly has support in the highest places. Helen begins to sneak out to be trained by the scandalous earl, but just as she is beginning to trust him, a letter from her dead mother is delivered into her hands, making her unsure of whom to trust. Her mother offers her a choice from beyond the grave, Helen could give up her dangerous monster-hunting destiny, but the cost could be higher than she's willing to pay.

 

In an unusual twist on a chosen one story, Helen discovers that she is what is known as a Reclaimer, only one of eight in all of Britain, and the only woman of the bunch. Because her mother was also one, she is a direct descendant, something very unusual, and there are those that believe her existence is a portent for darker things to come. The Reclaimers fight the Deceivers, horrible soul-sucking monsters, that can move from host to host, and look just like ordinary humans when they're not sucking the life force out of their unsuspecting victims. The Reclaimers can see them using special lenses, and Helen is able to see them when holding her mother's miniature portrait against her bare skin. 

 

The Reclaimers are part of what is known as The Dark Days Club, a secret branch of the Home Office, and the reason Helen's mother was considered a traitor is because she wanted to stop her work with them and leave the country. Lord Carlston, who was still young when Lady Catherine and her husband, the Earl of Hayden, died, wants to mentor Lady Helen and teach her how to use her special gifts. When Helen discovers from her mother's letter that the Reclaimers get slowly more and more corrupted by the evil they fight and that they frequently succumb to madness and lose any ability for love or affection, she worries about her future and considers using her mother's amulet to remove her powers once and for all. She is torn between her wish for a normal Regency life, with balls, dress fittings, flirting and a possible future with the Duke of Selburn and a life fighting dark forces, saving lives, making a real difference and spending more time with the enigmatic Earl of Carlston (who she doesn't believe actually murdered his wife, although he's not telling what really happened).

 

There is a lot of things I liked about this book, but it is longer and the story is WAY slower than it needs to be. It is both a positive and a negative that Alison Goodman is clearly a huge Regency nerd and has done meticulous detail into all aspects of the society. Sadly, in what I like to call Diana Gabaldon syndrome, she cannot help but reveal all of said research in often painful and tedious detail. I really did like that there is a lot more attention to the time period than is common, and certainly a lot more than I was expecting from a young adult novel. Yet when it bogs down the plot because I keep having to read about all the mundanities of Helen's existence, I get frustrated. The pacing of the story is especially slow in the first half of the book, and if Narfna hadn't so highly recommended the book, I might have considered giving up on it. 

 

Goodman does a good job with Helen as our heroine, she's intelligent and strong-willed, and despite her uncle's disapproval, opposes him in quiet and small ways. Despite being the daughter, and sister, of an earl, Helen treats her personal maid Darby with kindness and Darby, in return, is fiercely loyal and protective of her mistress. One of the subplots of the book involve the two of them investigating the disappearance of one of the maids of the household. While Helen's uncle is pretty much completely horrible (someone in a review I saw, probably on Goodreads, compared him to Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter, and that's pretty much spot on as descriptions go), her aunt is kind and well-meaning, if worried about public opinion and the family's reputation. Helen's brother Andrew, the current Earl of Hayden is really quite dull and also very worried about Helen and the family's reputation. He cannot understand why she keeps behaving in such a hoydenish fashion and why she seems to end up in Lord Carlston's company, especially when his BFF, the Duke of Selburn seems interested in making her his wife.

 

I find the main conflict in this book intriguing, and wish that it had gotten to the action-packed and supernatural evil fighting parts sooner. I really do appreciate the attention to historical detail, but not when it makes the book at least a third longer than it needs to be. I hope to God that Goodman doesn't continue with the vague love triangle that she has introduced in this book (because I find them tedious in the extreme) and look forward to reading about the continuing adventures of Lady Helen, Darby and the hopefully unfairly maligned Lord Carlston (I refuse to believe that there isn't a good explanation for his wife's disappearance) in future books, in which Lady Helen herself hopefully fights more evil instead of just learning about it. 

 

To anyone interested in the trope of young noblewoman in Regency England fighting evil monsters and trying to juggle suitors, balls and dress fittings, I also highly recommend Colleen Gleason's five books about Victoria Gardella, in the Gardella Vampire Hunters series. I read them all back in 2008-2009 and they are now all available in e-book format. 

 

Judging a book by its cover: I like the understated elegance of this cover. The squiggly font implies history and possibly adventure, and the dark colours add to the atmosphere. The girl in the distance, beautifully attired with her lace parasol, the light through the trees, the lace edging suggesting you are viewing the scene from behind a curtain, it all works for me. The other cover for this book (I think it's the UK edition) is a lot more garish and I really don't like the cover model they have portraying either of the main characters of the book. I much prefer this one.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/09/cbr8-book-102-dark-days-club-by-alison.html
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review 2016-08-05 18:42
The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman
The Dark Days Club (A Lady Helen Novel) - Alison Goodman

I’ve heard a lot of things about The Dark Days Club. I’m a huge sucker for historical fiction and if historical fiction is combined with fantasy then I’m bound to read it! AlthoughThe Dark Days Club was more of a historical fiction to me instead of a gothic/fantasy book, I was still interested enough to try reading the next book.

The only reason this book didn’t really get a higher rating was because this book was really interesting in the beginning, but around a third of the way through, I had to really push through. Things kind of got more interesting around the middle/ending point where we finally see Helen realize what she is (like, the summary made it sound like she was going to get right to demon hunting or something!). But then, guess what? I had to slug through the phase where Helen didn’t want to accept what she was and thought about other things, like marriage. *yawn*

So, this book was kind of boring.

But, on the bright side, the ending was kind of fun to get through! I mean, I would’ve liked this book a lot more if there wasn’t so much build-up and all that stuff. I kind of felt like I learned more about Helen and her life than about the fantasy aspect of this book.

I don’t really like the whole love triangle thing with Lord Carlston and the Duke but, really, at least Helen isn’t annoying for the love interest. I kind of guessed Berta had something to do with the Deceivers.

Also, I just think that rationally if Helen were to choose someone, it should be Lord Carlston because she wouldn’t have to hide any secrets from him.

(spoiler show)


Overall, The Dark Days Club was an okay book that had more of a strong beginning and end (in my opinion). I had to really push through the middle portion and was really happy whenever I got glimpses of fantasy, but oh well.

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review 2016-04-28 21:44
DNF: The Dark Days Club
The Dark Days Club (A Lady Helen Novel) - Alison Goodman

Calling it quits at 230 pages. It's taken this long to get to the paranormal element and while that bit is rather unique and interesting I'm still bored. It's been almost two months since I started this and not very excited when I pick it up again so time to DNF. I may try this again at another time.

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