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review 2018-05-27 09:07
"Crushed - Soul Eaters #2" by Eliza Crewe
Crushed - Eliza Crewe

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the second book of a trilogy is always the weakest... but not this time. "Crushed" takes all the things that were good about "Cracked", amplifies them and then adds a depth of thought that grabbed hold of my brain while the rest of the story twisted my emotions.

 

The plot, full of twists and surprises and peppered with violence, unfurls at a pace designed to maximise the tension without rushing thoughtlessly from one fight to another. Describing the plot would spoil the enjoyment of the book, so I'll confine myself to saying that Meda is at risk from both sides in the newly-started all-out-war between Demons and Crusaders, with only her friends standing between her and destruction. All she has to do now is figure out who her friends are.

 

Although the plot is strong, I see it mostly as a vehicle for working through the big themes of this book: the futility of trying to be someone you're not, the different definitions of being good, the fundamental evil of the removal of choice, the appeal of stolen fun, the price of control, the nature of friendship and, right at the centre of all this, what it means to be a monster. 

 

The book starts fairly gently, lulling me into thinking that I'm in some kind of Hogwarts for Crusaders High School drama where poor misunderstood Meda is defended by her friends and treated unfairly by adults and abused by the mean kids.

 

To be fair, that's more or less how Meda sees things at the beginning, She get's frustrated by Jo's constant appeals to her, half-demon that she is, to be good. She wants to be good, in theory anyway but tells herself that she can't manage it to Jo's satisfaction because:

"... Jo’s and my definitions of “good” are about as similar as an Eskimo’s and a Jamaican’s definitions of “cold.”

The idea of having to define for yourself the good that you are capable of rather than accepting the good that others expect from you drives much of the plot of this story.

Of course, Meda also fails to be good because she doesn't want to be. She lets herself be distracted by the charming Armand, the half-demon she met in "Cracked". He offers her fun. Forbidden fun.  As Meda says: 

"Fun is so much better when it' stolen"

The fun stops when the Crusaders do things to Meda against her will. I found this part as fascinating as it was unpleasant. Meda can't stop what's happening but she still resists. Resistance isn't just an instinctive reaction, it's a decision. Meda says:

But I want there to be no doubt in their minds that I do not consent. I do not agree. I have no choice, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to make it easy on them.

This is a powerful way of confronting that the removal of consent is always a violation but it also shows the two sides of Meda's character: her outrage at a wrong being done (especially by the good guys and especially to her) and her absolute determination to make her enemies pay.

 

About a third of the way into the book, just at the point where I was tiring of reading about High School pranks and rivalries, things got serious. Then I realised they had always been serious but Meda has been unable to see what was really going on.

 

For a while, we get to explore Meda's demon side. I was impressed by this because it doesn't show Meda as a good guy handicapped by her demon heritage, like some angst-ridden sparkly I-didn't-choose-to-be-this-way vampire. Meda IS as much demon as she is Crusader. She's also as little demon as she is Crusader. 

 

When Jo re-enters the story, the rest of the book, apart from the fights and the things that move the story arc along, is about the nature of friendship and what it means to be a monster.

Meda's relationship with Jo is the thing that keeps her linked to the non-demon side of herself. Jo is her best friend. Jo is the only person Meda would willingly risk herself for. Meda understands this but is unable to articulate it to Jo. At one point, Meda demonstrates the nature and depth of their friendship by saying:

"But seriously, what do you say to your best friend when you stand at the gates of the Gates of Hell? Nothing. If it’s your best friend, she already knows."

Armand calls to Meda's demon nature. They fit each other. He lets her be herself. Yet she always holds something back from him because she understands what he is.

At one point, Armand describes himself and by inference, Meda herself by saying:

“I’m a monster, Meda. I’ve never claimed to be good; I’ve never claimed to be anything other than what I am. I’m selfish and evil and greedy, I want many, many things, most of which I shouldn’t have.”

By the end of the book, after tears and blood have flown freely, lives have been lost and intrigues have played out, Meda has grown up a great deal. When she reflects on her relationship with Armand, she doesn't go for easy answers, She says:

"Our friendship was real, as real as is possible between two monsters."

She then adds:

"You can love a monster, it can even love you back, but that doesn’t change its nature."

I don't want to give the impression that this book is an ethics essay. It's a fast-paced, emotionally taxing, urban-fantasy thriller, but what lifts it from the cliché of the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil, is an honest and thoughtful exploration of what good and evil are and how all of us feel the call of both. We are all potentially monstrous and we all have to decide what kind of good we're able and willing to be.

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text 2018-04-30 16:10
April Re-cap
Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook - Christina Henry,Samuel Roukin
Asking for it - Louise T. O'Neill
Crushed - Eliza Crewe
Sorta Like a Rock Star - Matthew Quick
Unraveled (Perfected) - Kate Jarvik Birch
Retribution Rails - Erin Bowman
Obsidio - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman
End of Days - Susan Ee
Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier
Pines - Blake Crouch

 

 

I usually can finish about nine to ten books a month, but this month I've read/listened to fourteen. It's amazing how many books I can get through when I'm not working.  I'm currently on medical leave due to the foot surgery that I had on March 20th.  I should be off until the middle of June...so hopefully, I'll have at least a couple more good reading months.

 

 

 

(Audiobook) Lost Boy: The True Story of Captian Hook by Christina Henry

Finish Date:  04/02

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Finish Date:  04/04

4.3STARS - GRADE=A

 

(Kindle eBook) Crushed by Eliza Crewe

Finish Date:  04/04

4.5STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Finish Date:  04/07

3.7STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Netgalley eARC) Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

Finish Date:  04/08

3.8STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Finish Date:  04/11

4STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Hardcover/Kindle eBook) Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Finish Date:  04/14

5+STARS - GRADE=A++

 

(Re-read Audiobook) End Of Days by Susan Ee

Finish Date:  04/17

4.8STARS - GRADE=A

 

(Netgalley eARC) Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Finish Date:  04/17

2STARS - GRADE=D

 

(Audiobook) Pines by Blake Crouch

Finish Date:  04/20

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Finish Date:  04/24

3.2STARS - GRADE=C+

 

(Audiobook) Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

Finish Date:  04/26

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Finish Date:  04/28

☆3.7☆STARS - GRADE=B

 

(eBook) Odd & Tru by Cat Winters

Finish Date:  04/29

☆3.8☆STARS - GRADE=B

 

 

14 Books Total, 9 of those are Audiobooks, 2 eBooks, and 2 Netgalley eARC's & 1 combo hardcover/eBook.

For a total of 4,907 Pages (including Audio).

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-05 18:03
4.5 Out of 5 "you can love a monster" Stars
Crushed - Eliza Crewe

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ABOUT THE BOOK~

Crushed

Eliza Crewe

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

 

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

 

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Hmmm…I have no idea why I waited so long to get back into this series, it may have had something to do with my not getting into paranormal lately, actually, that is exactly why.  I should have known that Meda would make the experience of reading this second book a blast.  Meda rocks. 

 

"You can love a monster, it can even love you back, but that doesn't change its nature."

 

If you like a bad-ass half-demon heroine, who makes you laugh out loud and root for her to be bad.  What, she only kills the bad guys. The child molesters and serial killers.  Seriously, I love it when she's bad and is it wrong if I like Armand?  But I digress…if you like all this in a supernatural setting then you should totally give this series a go.

 

"Like most things, fun is better when it's stolen."

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

4.5STARS - GRADE=A-

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.2/5

The Feels~ 4.2/5

Pacing~ 4.2/5

Addictiveness~ 4.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.2/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ Sorta…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ Excellent

Series~ Soul Eaters #2

Setting~ Mountains of Virginia

Source~ I Own Kindle eBook

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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review 2017-10-31 15:22
THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS (LifeSword Bible Study Book 1) - Cathy Bryant

The Fragrance of Crushed Violets by Cathy Bryant
This book is just the companion bible study, not reading book with the same name.
Bible studies about forgiveness. There are quotes from the Bible and real life instances of how a community reacts to a shooter walking into a girls school and killing some.
Lots of scriptures are quoted to back up the authors interpretations.
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

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review 2016-12-23 05:32
Sincere
Crushed (Foster Puppies) (Volume 1) - A.R. Steele

Tynan finds a lost puppy and recruits Harley to help.  Turns out the puppy is going to be a mom.  Harley and Tynan end up fostering the mom and the pups until they can be given up for adoption.

 

Harley can hardly believe his luck!  Meeting a guy who is not only good looking, but loves animals too.  Can they have enough in common to make a love connection?

 

This is such a sweet story.  The puppies are a big part of it and it makes for some genuinely cute moments.  The characters seem to need one another and the book was a joy to read.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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