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text 2018-08-09 17:51
I'm back!
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner

And, yes, I know no one noticed since I don't do much here.

 

BUT!  This book was intense!

 

The suspense had me on edge and then this popped up:

 

"If someone's going to die every night anyway, we might as well use it to our advantage."

 

Newt frowned.  "Well, ain't that just cheery."

 

I laughed out loud.  Broke the tension just enough.  

 

 

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review 2018-08-07 10:57
Kresse trifft Rapunzel
Cress - Marissa Meyer

Eines der Hauptthemen in Marissa Meyers „Lunar Chronicles“ ist die Freundschaft zwischen den Protagonistinnen. Ihre Beziehungen untereinander sind wesentlich wichtiger als ihre Romanzen. In diesem Punkt ließ sie sich von der Anime-Serie Sailor Moon inspirieren, in der weiblicher Zusammenhalt stets einen hohen Stellenwert einnahm. Die Parallelen zu Sailor Moon blieben den Fans der Science-Fiction-Reihe nicht verborgen. Kaiser Kai wird häufig mit Tuxedo Mask verglichen. Meyer selbst sieht sich als Sailor Merkur: eine ehrgeizige, neurotische Perfektionistin, die großen Wert auf Freundschaft legt und bemüht ist, das Richtige zu tun. Es überrascht mich daher nicht, dass sie sich am meisten mit der Hauptdarstellerin des dritten Bandes „Cress“ identifiziert: die scheue, hochintelligente Hackerin Cress, ihre Version von Rapunzel.

 

Als Cress Cinder warnte, beging sie Hochverrat. Sollte Herrin Sybil jemals herausfinden, was sie getan hat, erwartet sie der Tod. Trotz des immensen Risikos konnte sie einfach nicht länger tatenlos zusehen. Nach sieben einsamen Jahren der Gefangenschaft in einem Satelliten, nach zahllosen Stunden der Spionage, musste sie eingreifen, bevor Königin Levana ihre finsteren Pläne verwirklichen kann. Jetzt fürchtet sie die Besuche von Herrin Sybil mehr als je zuvor. Sie wird nicht ewig verbergen können, dass sie Cinder und ihren Freunden hilft. Glücklicherweise ist Cinders Schiff nur einen Katzensprung entfernt. Cress‘ Befreiung ist zum Greifen nah. Doch die Rettungsmission schlägt fehl. Der Satellit stürzt ab, während Cress und Carswell Thorne an Bord sind – mitten in die afrikanische Wüste, fern jeglicher Zivilisation. Cress und Thorne müssen Cinder und ihre Freunde so schnell wie möglich wiederfinden, wenn sie das Eastern Commonwealth rechtzeitig erreichen wollen, um die Hochzeit von Kaiser Kai und Königin Levana zu verhindern. Die Hochzeit, die sein Todesurteil wäre und das Schicksal der Erde besiegeln könnte…

 

Ich glaube, was mir an den „Lunar Chronicles“ am besten gefällt, ist das Wachstum der Geschichte. Mit jedem Band erweitert Marissa Meyer ihre Dimension zuverlässig, steckt kontrolliert neue Grenzen und etabliert neue Charaktere, Konflikte und Aspekte des Worldbuildings. Daher birgt jeder Band das Potential, mich zu überraschen – sowohl in sich selbst, als auch in seiner Funktion für die Reihe. Es ist eine wahre Freude, Meyers Ehrgeiz und ihre kreative Beweglichkeit zu beobachten. Nach den Abenteuern in „Cinder“ und „Scarlet“, die den Leser_innen Meyers Versionen von „Aschenputtel“ und „Rotkäppchen“ vorstellten, lernen wir nun im dritten Band „Cress“ ihr „Rapunzel“ kennen. Die Rahmenbedingungen der Adaption sind gewohnt futuristisch: Cress lebt seit ihrer Kindheit isoliert in einem Satelliten und späht für Königin Levana die politische Elite der Erde aus. Im Vergleich zu „Scarlet“ fand ich die Idiosynkrasien des Märchens in diesem Band hervorstechender und auffallender, weshalb mir die Adaption insgesamt gelungener erschien. Cress verkörpert Rapunzel überzeugend, da Meyer ihre Figur den Umständen ihres Aufwachsens entsprechend charakterisierte. Mit neun Jahren wurde sie aufgrund ihres Talents als trickreiche Hackerin in den Satelliten gesperrt. Seitdem hatte sie so gut wie keinen direkten Kontakt zu anderen Individuen. Ihre sozialen Kompetenzen sind unterentwickelt. Sie ist schüchtern, unsicher, naiv und flüchtet sich gern in Tagträume. Trotz ihrer extrem coolen Fähigkeiten, die das Vorurteil, Mädchen hätten keinen Draht zu Technik, Lügen strafen, erinnert sie stark an das klassische Fräulein in Nöten. Ich muss gestehen, dass ich deshalb so meine Schwierigkeiten mit Cress habe. Ich mag sie, aber sie ist einfach unfassbar süß, kein bisschen taff und schnell überfordert. Mir ist Cinder immer noch am liebsten, weil ich mich am besten mit ihrer pragmatischen und ernsthaften Art identifizieren kann. Nichtsdestotrotz fand ich, dass sich die bisher jüngste Protagonistin innerhalb der Handlung von „Cress“ gut schlägt, die jedoch leider erst auf den letzten 150 Seiten wirklich Fahrt aufnimmt und deren Struktur ein wenig unoriginell geriet. Meyer trennt ihre Figuren, was vermutlich der älteste Kniff der Welt ist, um Spannung aufzubauen. Cress steckt sie mit Thorne zusammen, wodurch er mehr Tiefe erhalten sollte. Für mich hat diese Strategie nicht so recht funktioniert, ich sehe ihn weiterhin als den zu gewollt witzigen Sidekick, der kaum etwas zur Geschichte beiträgt. Nach dem Absturz des Satelliten müssen sie sich zu zweit ohne Ausrüstung oder Verpflegung durch die Sahara kämpfen. Sie verbringen eine intensive Zeit miteinander, wodurch ihre Romanze bereits vorgezeichnet wirkt. Weiblicher Zusammenhalt hin oder her, offenbar braucht auch in den „Lunar Chronicles“ jede Prinzessin ihren Prinzen. Eben ganz im Stil der Märchen.

 

Meiner Meinung nach sind die „Lunar Chronicles“ besonders für junge Leserinnen ein gefundenes Fressen, weil sie so viele unterschiedliche Identifikationsmöglichkeiten bieten. Marissa Meyers Fokus auf weibliche Protagonistinnen, die nicht an omnipotente Superheldinnen erinnern, sondern durch ihre Stärken und Schwächen lebendig wirken, lädt herzlich zu der Überlegung ein, wem man denn nun am ähnlichsten ist: Cinder, Scarlet oder vielleicht doch eher der zarten Cress? Dank des für die Young Adult ungewöhnlich emanzipierten Frauenbildes begrüße ich den Hype um die Romane, obwohl für mich Marissa Meyer selbst der Star der Reihe ist. Der unermüdliche, logische Ausbau ihres Worldbuildings, mit dem sie auch im dritten Band „Cress“ punktet und die beeindruckende Leistung, verschiedene Märchen respektvoll zu einer individuellen und stimmigen Geschichte zu kombinieren, begeistert mich bisher mehr als jede der Figuren. Das könnte sich allerdings mit „Fairest“ ändern, in dem sie die Geschichte von Königin Levana offenbart. Ich hatte schon immer ein Herz für böse Königinnen

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/marissa-meyer-cress
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review 2018-08-03 16:00
BLOG TOUR REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: 'Grace & Fury' by Tracy Banghart
Grace and Fury - Tracy Banghart

 

I first looked at this book and thought it would be a 'warring princess book', or something similar. I was so wrong. Books that challenge the way in which females are brought up to think of themselves, and encourage them to see the different sides of their true nature are brave, and necessary, and even if you read this and see none of that, 'Grace and Fury' is still an amazing book. Women can be graceful, and at the same time, be emboldened with fury, and I'm grateful for all the writers out there right now giving us readers so many strong female characters. 

 

Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for having me on this book tour, because Tracy has written a book with some inspiring 'ladies'; this one caught me by surprise, big time!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, TRACY BANGHART

 

 

Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.

 

Tracy's beautiful website and links to all her other social media is *HERE*

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: GRACE AND FURY

Author: Tracy Banghart

Pub. Date: July 31, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 320

 

Synopsis:

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace--someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

 

My Review (previously posted)

I usually have a ‘thing’ about books with images of people on the cover (is that strange?), so when I first saw ‘Grace and Fury’ with the striking, and beautiful, photo of the two girls, who are the two main characters in the book - Serina (Grace) and Nomi (Fury) - I was a bit flummoxed. I’d heard good things, PLUS the caveat is that we only see half of their faces. I could continue!

‘Grace and Fury’ also turned out to not be your usual ‘princess’ tale, even though YA fantasy is inundated with them, and that was my worry going in. Quite quickly, the story of Serina and Nomi was turned upside down. Serina and Nomi live in a world where women basically have no rights, and they have few choices as to what they are going to do with their lives. Serina has spent her short life being groomed to become a ‘Grace’, basically a submissive concubine for the Heir to the throne. Nomi, her sister, smarter and more rebellious, is Serina’s handmaiden, and makes the mistake one day of being caught ‘reading’ while they’re at the royal palace, but Serina takes the fall for this, and is exiled to Mount Ruin as punishment, and Nomi remains as one of the chosen Graces; they’re both suddenly severely out of their element.

What Serina finds though, is that the women on Mount Ruin are used for, is basically entertainment for the guards there, fighting to their deaths like gladiators. And Nomi is trapped inside a life she didn’t want, inside the palace, where although she may not have to fight for her food, instead she’s ‘competing’ for a place at the side of the Heir, something she never wanted in the first place. She is in an environment where there are few people around her, and deception by those close to her feels likely in every conversation she has. They are both life sentences that they see no immediate way out of.

Both sisters try and hatch plans to escape and get to each other, and they don’t know who to trust, and what’s fascinating about this novel is seeing their individual growth and self-discovery, particularly Serina’s, as they are locked inside their individual new inescapable (and very lonely) hells. The world that is created by author Tracy Banghart is particularly brutal and some of the scenes that are written on the island of Mount Ruin are especially bloody and violent; the fighting that occurs between the women is at-once survivalist but forced by the guards, and the descriptions of it are very detailed. This book certainly isn’t your usual ‘princess in the palace fairytale’.

We are left with a grand cliffhanger and I’m fascinated to know what happens next, especially since the ‘supporting’ characters played a big part in creating a lot of intrigue and interesting storylines. ‘Grace and Fury’ surprised me and gave me a new ferocious, if not bloody, wake-up call to the princess fairytale; these two sisters are saying a big fat ‘NO’ to the patriarchy in this one and I hope it has as strong a voice in the sequel. 

 

 

AND GUESS WHAT? There's a GIVEAWAY!!!!

 

3 winners will receive a finished copy of GRACE AND FURY, US Only.

 

Just head to the GIVEAWAY LINK by ENTERING  *HERE*

 

And to follow the entire Grace & Fury Book Blog Tour here is the TOUR SCHEDULE

 

 

And you MUST BUY it! Some links: Amazon, B&N.com, iBooks, and Book Depository

 

I hope you love it as much as I did; tell me if you have read it and if you plan to order it!! And I'll tell you how lovely Tracy is; my friend told her my birthday was coming up, when she was at a book signing, and Tracy surprised me by mailing a signed bookplate and card! How awesome is that? (I sooo want the pin next!)

 

Anyway, good luck with the giveaway, and HAPPY READING!

x ~ K

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/36546635-grace-and-fury
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review 2018-07-18 17:35
Corpora Delicti - Manna Francis
Corpora Delicti - Manna Francis

 

Corpora Delicti is the 9th and so far most recent part in Manna Francis' The Administration series (aka TA). I guess most of my followers here are unfamiliar with it, therefore I'll use the first part's blurb as a short introduction:

 

There are no bad guys or good guys. There are only better guys and worse guys. One of the worse guys is Val Toreth. In a world in which torture is a legitimate part of the investigative process, he works for the Investigation and Interrogation Division, where his colleagues can be more dangerous than the criminals he investigates. One of the better guys is Keir Warrick. His small corporation, SimTech, is developing a "sim" system that places users in a fully immersive virtual reality. A minnow in a murky and dangerous pond, he is only beginning to discover how many compromises may be required for success. Their home is the dark future dystopia of New London. A totalitarian bureaucracy controls the European Administration, sharing political power with the corporations. The government uses violence and the many divisions of the feared Department of Internal Security to maintain control and crush resistance. The corporations fight among themselves, using lethal force under the euphemism of "corporate sabotage," uniting only to resist attempts by the Administration to extend its influence over them. Toreth and Warrick are more natural enemies than allies. But mutual attraction and the fight for survival can create unlikely bonds.

 

My love for this series knows no bounds, and it makes me a bit sad that, outside a group of hardcore fans, it's relatively unknown. It's often called m/m romance or slash, but those labels give a rather false impression. I'd describe The Administration as political thrillers set in a dark dystopia, an all-too-plausible world with all-too-plausible characters; an intricate mix of police procedural, soap opera-like family gatherings, foodporn, and porn-porn, with a heavy dose of the best and most realistic pansexual BDSM I've read up to this date. Unfortunately, this mix is somewhat of a niche product; the BDSM could scare off fans of police procedural, and people looking for juicy m/m action could be disappointed by the sometimes really dry procedural parts. And who wants to read corporate dystopias in this day and age anyway, when the real thing is waiting just outside the door?

 

So, yeah, somewhat of a niche product. But a very, very good one.

Corpora Delicti wasn't the most exciting adventure for our boys Toreth and Warrick. After a time of political unrest and personal challenges, they find themselves sharing a flat and dealing with the aftermath of a revolt that almost destroyed the Administration and their relationship. While Toreth has do deal with a case of, at first glance, quite boring white collar crime, Warrick wants to find answers to a personal question tormenting him. Although Toreth's case turns out to be a lot more murderous and complex than it seemed, and Warrick's stupid moves could endanger his life, the professional threats in this volume are rather low-level – especially compared to the emotional intensity of #6, First Against the Wall, and #7, Family Values.

 

Meanwhile, their relationship not only stagnates, but seems to make steps backwards. This has never been a conventional romance, it has never been a healthy relationship, but here even I felt like screaming: „Warrick, please get the fuck out!“ It's mostly Toreth – unfaithful, but deadly jealous - being a careless jerk, and Warrick putting up with it because his pet-torturer is the only one who can give him what he needs, the sense of losing control. Warrick gets off on fear (Francis is uncommonly explicit about this fact here), and Toreth provides the edge of real danger. And of course he is good at their game; he knows what to do because he tortures people for a living, a fact Warrick conveniently ignores most of the time. He's tiptoeing around Toreth, trying not to provoke him, constantly finding excuses for his bad behaviour – and if that doesn't ring all warning bells, then I don't know what's fucking wrong with you, but at some moments in this book the relationship skipped into the actual abusive. The repeat performance with Sara, Toreth's admin, is just the bitter icing on the cake. But just when I've begun to hate him - and such is the brilliance of Manna Francis - I'm back alone with Toreth and realize once again that he lacks the emotional maturity for any kind of meaningful relationship, is too disconnected from his own feelings to understand what others could possibly be experiencing. He's violent, he's dangerous, and Francis is careful not to glorify or romantisize his behaviour – and yet he's all too easy to like (if you're me, that is).

Analysing the relationship and analysing Toreth is half the fun when reading these books. Is he a sociopath or is he not? I don't think he is, although he displays signs of antisocial behaviour patterns. I've recently learned about alexithymia, and it seems to fit Toreth quite well. Maybe with the exception of „scarcity of fantasies“, because he's not lacking imagination when it comes to developing kinky scenarios for Warrick.

 

Stories and relationships in TA often make me feel uncomfortable. As far as I am concerned, that's one of the greatest qualities of the series, together with Manna Francis' crisp and clear prose, the realistic dialogue, and her outstanding character development. While Corpora Delicti was less intense than some of its predecessors, on this account it didn't disappoint. Most of all, it feels like an inbetween-book, setting up higher stakes for the next sequel; first through the meddling of one powerful and oh-so-very annoying Administration division, and secondly through not only rising tension between our boys, but with introducing possible competition for Toreth in form of a new co-worker for Warrick, who happens to be just his type and a lot saner and safer and less frustrating than torture-boy. I hope one day we will see how that plays out.

 

Given the subject matter, this series comes with all kind of content warnings, most importantly for torture and sexual violence/rape. It's rarely very explicit, but I find the implications to be even worse. Well, this is no pleasant world, these aren't pleasant characters, and while the books are very, very good, they are not exactly light-hearted.

 

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review 2018-07-16 03:12
A Meeting at Corvallis
A Meeting at Corvallis - S.M. Stirling

I am done with this series.  

 

A Meeting at Corvallis, the third book in first Emberverse trilogy, unfortunately didn't return to the magic of the 1st in this series.  Too much battle info-dumping, not enough people behaving believably.

 

That said, I did cry

 

at the death of Mike Havel

(spoiler show)

 

 

But I'm just done.  If I want the minutia of military campaigns and what people ate, I'll go read some L.E. Modesitt Jr. At least his villains aren't such caricatures. 

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