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review 2017-02-23 19:51
Review: Babylon's Ashes
Babylon's Ashes - James S.A. Corey

Woo! Polyamourous Space Pirate Queen!


This is the best book since the second in the series. It's also one of the few books in the series that isn't plotted around imprisoning a female character - the last one managed to have two different women go missing. And it fixes my only issue with the third book by finally making Pa a POV character. It also closes out one long running arc in favor of opening up a far-more-interesting-to-me future for the series.


I  am so looking forward to book 7. 

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review 2017-02-21 00:06
Nightfall (Kingdom of Ashes #1) by Elena May
Kingdom of Ashes - Elena May,Nadica Bosk... Kingdom of Ashes - Elena May,Nadica Boskovska

Myra was born after nightfall – after humanity’s Weatherwizard was taken by the vampires, the world was plunged in darkness and the vampires emerged from the shadows, led by their prince


Vampires now rule the world. Humans are a remnant of a remnant, or bred in captivity to feed the vampires. Myra is part of the resistance but with numbers and supplies dwindling all seems lost


They have only one last chance to save themselves – a desperate mission to kill he prince and even that last hope goes terribly wrong when she ends up the prince’s captive and tool in his own driven mission.





I felt a lot that this book has a story/theme it wants to push. So that is what is going to be pushed – we will be going down that path even when it feels forced or awkward.


Part of this is an ongoing theme that art is important, creation is important. And it is an interesting one to develop, especially since we have a whole lot of dystopias where survival is the be all and end all. Often we question, in a dystopian, whether survival really is what we should aim for – especially if we give up things like conscience and law. But it’s rare for dystopians to discuss things like art – one of the big elements of human existence that is lost when we’re reduced to mere survival.

This could be a really interesting conflict to explore. What makes humans humans? What makes our civilisations, our cultures and what is lost when we lose these?


To also have the vampires, glorious overlords of the world they have no conquered, begin to realise this lack as well – to realise the clothes they wear, the books they read, the music they listen to are all created by humans and that, with humanity subjugated, there will never be anything new created again.


But I think this story felt very forced in pushing these themes – it kept them central too often and pushed them in ways that made Myra look rather unsympathetic. She constantly struggles with the conflict over trying to help her people and pursue the war against vampires, or keeping the vampire king’s guidance in making her a better author.



And, really, you need to include a lot of careful development to sell the conflict of “survival of my people” vs “writing tips” and I don’t think it worked. Myra seemed horrendously self absorbed. And yes she agonised over it – but, really – is it something you agonise over? Is your need for a muse really that important that it becomes a difficult choice?


I think if more had been made of the alternative to the King’s rule, that, bad as he was there were alternatives that were far worse – if that had been more emphasised, more prevalent or more powerful then Myra’s conflict may have been more real and understandable.


This is a whole issue with this character that begins from the very opening pages of the book which kind of set the tone. She’s writing in a book and concerned that lack of resources means she only has 6 candles to write by in the cellar. 6 candles? I don’t care how big the cellar is, you don’t need 6 candles to write with – and the fact the opening scene of this book is her disappointment she can’t have yet another candle in her resource poor, desperate survivor group so she can write her stories. That’s the opening scene and it sets Myra up as being really self absorbed.


We follow with a small child, Thea, telling Myra that their leader had asked her come see a captured vampire and within the first 2 pages we have Myra poor scorn on that General – Zach, on their resistance effort, undermining this child doing as she’s told, openly being sarcastic about the resistance and generally being, well, stroppy


This is a first impression and though she doesn’t continue in the same way, the fact she started like this becomes a lens through which I kept reading her. This is why the first pages of your book matter – because after setting her up as this incredibly petty, self-absorbed character it’s hard not to view the entire book through this impression. Especially when she does things like insert herself in a mission to which she’s objectively not qualified – all so she can have “experiences” and improve her writing and then goes on to become almost a collaborator (and no almost about it – actively saving him) with the Prince because – in her own words – he is teaching her to be a better writer. Especially since the author does an excellent job of truly making it clear, no matter how useful the prince is that he is still vicious, a murderer, torturer with no regard for human life. This is absolutely excellently done and would really do well in an agonising story about choosing hat best to do: having to preserve this monster, who is such a complete monster. Except, again, the reason not to murder this monster is “art” which, if anything, means the increasingly portrayed monstrousness of the prince makes Myra seem more awful.




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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/01/nightfall-kingdom-of-ashes-1-by-elena.html
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review 2017-02-16 13:00
Book Review for Blog Tour that I am Involved in.
The Ashes and the Sparks - Mary Victoria... The Ashes and the Sparks - Mary Victoria Johnson
The Ashes and the Sparksby Mary Victoria JohnsonGenre: YA Alt-History FantasyRelease date: October 18th 2016Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome to the age of airships. It is a world powered by steam and innovation, ruled by an elusive empress at its heart.Seventeen year-old Jorun is not part of this world. Hers is one of hidden tunnel networks and lights that dance across night skies, on that has remained separate from the rest of society for over a thousand years. This all changes when a boy appears from nowhere, raving about invaders from a faraway land. Purely by chance, Jorun soon finds herself in the middle of a struggle unlike anything she could have ever dreamed of, and must come to the realization that only she can stop an impending war.
My Review
This book started out very slow to me, it took until around page 80 before I really started to get involved in the story. But once I was able to get involved the book never lost my attention. At first I didn't like Jorun because of something she did at the beginning of the story, but I started to really like her a lot during the second half of the story. I liked her friend Danne I thought he was a pretty interesting character, and I figured he had a thing for Jorun. Of course she never caught on because she had a crush on Torgny, who seemed to have a thing going with another character. Nils was also a pretty interesting character as well. When these cast of characters went to a different land that's when things really got interesting. Which made me very happy because until that happened, I thought this book was going to be either a two or 1 star review. The second half of the book is where Jorun and her friends started to really come into their own, especially Jorun. One part of the story something happens and it makes it seem like Jorun is on her own. Carrie is the villain in the story and I really didn't care for her at all. Another character is Fridric and you'll have to read the book to see if his friend or foe. I will say he does play a very big part in the storyline, that's for sure. The book had a ending but there will be another book that takes place 20yrs after the end of this book. So readers can see what happens since the end of this book. I am really interested in reading it when it comes out that's for darn sure. I give this book 4/5 stars.
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Book Trailer: About the Author
Hi! I'm Mary Victoria Johnson, author of fantastical Young Adult fiction. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, and I haven't stopped since! Now eighteen, my bibliography includes BOUNDARY, the first part of the Other Horizons Trilogy (Lodestone Books, 2015) and THE ASHES AND THE SPARKS (Fire and Ice YA, 2016). I was born in Cambridgeshire in the UK, and I now live on Vancouver Island where I study Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. 
Author Links: Website│Goodreads│Facebook
Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours


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text 2017-02-12 02:54
Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 279 pages.
The Ashes and the Sparks - Mary Victoria... The Ashes and the Sparks - Mary Victoria Johnson

Getting much better. I really love the character of Jorun, if though I didn't care for her at first. I also really like Nils, and Danne. The story starts off pretty slowly, but it has a better pace now. 

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review 2017-02-03 04:20
Essential Beginnings (Surviving Ashes, Book One) - Kennedy Layne

I read this for the TSTL square for Romance Bingo and for my Kindle Freebie selection.

The first thing you need to know is that this world's apocalypse involves a SUPER-VOLCANO. Enough said, right? You already want to read this.
Look, I know nothing about Yellowstone and it's volcano's ability to send us all into a volcano ash winter for a decade but I believed the author does. There was enough real feeling (again, I don't know) facts to bolster the story and I was totally locked into this part. I loved how this took a bit of a different route from a lot of current apoca-rom and starts us off at the beginning instead of a couple years into the apocalypse. The suspense and fear was heightened, not knowing what was going to happen and dreading it.

What didn't work for me was the romance and to be fair, how does one fit in a romance as it starts to become clear the world as we current humans know it will be ending. I had a pretty big dislike for the heroine and her TSTL attitude. Out of no where immaturely and weirdly blaming the hero for 3yrs about something he wasn't even guilty for and any other adult woman would have handled better. She also had a TSTL tendency to think/feel/attack the hero over what she perceived as him treating her like "the little woman" but instead of coming off strong willed it made her seem immature and brittle as the situations never really warranted her attitude; there's strong attitude and then there's strong and smart attitude. Her constant desire to get the townspeople to do what she wanted them to do grated, too. The apocalypse is coming, if some want to flee, let them! More food for you.

I'll definitely look for the second in this series because the apocalypse storyline has me riveted. Who knew SUPER-VOLCANOES were my jam?!
I hope the romance shows up stronger in the next but it's a tricky formula, life and death danger and sexy times, to perfect. I also hope the heroine is strong but in a smart way.


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