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review 2019-01-21 17:36
16 candles but like...way better
Ernessa T. Carter's32 Candles: A Novel [Hardcover](2010) - T.,E., (Author) Carter

 I'm no fan of John Hughes movies, never really was, but I can also understand the fairy tale endings and romantic appeal in a big way. And Davidia Jones just thinks she deserves her Molly Ringwald ending. 16 Candles is her favorite movie, and her movies are essential for her. She quickly finds her Jake Ryan in James, a new boy at school who is as sweet as he is beautiful. 

This book had far more layers than that (this review won't even scratch the surface), though, from concepts of beauty in an all-black town , self-loathing, abuse, and class divides, finally to choosing your own family and making your own way against all odds. It even features easy-to-fall-into relationships that are, at their core, complacent, and how to heal and move on with someone you care deeply about. (This is one book where centralizing the story on Davie, as she's later known, and her relationships wasn't distracting--it was just her book) The beginning of this book is not gentle, much in the same way her idol's life is at the beginning of 16 candles, Davidia's is in shambles. Far worse off than Sam, though, Davidia chooses not to speak due to prior trauma with her abusive mother. James is extraordinarily warm and kind but Davie's life are quickly set about a different path through necessity, heartbreak, and desperation.

But we don't see all of the 16 years between 15-31 as clearly--and warning here--Davie edits for us too. We learn that Davie has made some terrible, awful, hurtful choices herself. I wondered if I would ever come around on her again. 

I need to mention though, because I see others reviews say this isn't romance, I believe it is at its core. James eventual pursuit of Davie is clearly entitled, won't take no for an answer (see where he reminds me of Hardy Cates), but in a much less threatening way. However, this bit is a pretty big hang up for me--it was a little too persistent for me to love their courtship at the beginning. The meat of that romance is where this wonderfully grounded novel shine, along with its humor and sneaky social observations. I also have to say another highlight is the end, where we begin to see Davie as a protagonist making her own way and dealing with her choices-maybe in a miraculous way, but I love good endings.

There's an awful lot of growth. James isn't as fully fleshed as he is 'perfect' but the surrounding secondary characters with all their flaws, love, mistakes, loyalty, along with Davie's absolutely stunning journey more than make up for it. 

I do warn, if it's not clear, this book isn't always easy to stomach. It didn't have me weeping, but it is certainly not fluff. It is a novel that is centrally about redemption, surviving,thriving in hostile environments through loyalty, luck, and love-and yep that romance too.

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review 2018-12-07 04:53
The Sword and the Spirits
The Sword and the Spirits - Robert Denton III

What happens when a company renowned for its tabletop and card games decides to publish novellas based on one of those card games and releases the hardcovers with bonus promo cards? My husband gets suckered into buying them, that’s what.



I have played Legend of the Five Rings (the new version, not the old version). It’s okay, but I like Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn better and I think they’re similar enough that owning both is redundant. My husband disagrees, and *coughsplutter* dollars later we have a vast array of L5R cluttering our house. (Apparently spreading the cards out all over the place is vital to the deck building process.) At the tail end of his card-buying frenzy (please, God, let it be the tail end), he discovered the existence of new L5R novellas featuring the various clans you can play as, and here we are.


The Sword and the Spirits is a decent story and the cover art is pretty, and that’s the best praise I can give it. Either the author assumed anyone reading it would have read the short stories and other supplemental material included with the game and clan decks and expansions (a fair assumption as he’s writing for a very niche market), or he isn’t very good at introductions and exposition. The quality of writing is about what you’d expect from someone used to writing backstory and flavor text for game manuals and cards. It’s serviceable, but also full of awkward phrasing and questionable word choice and jarring transitions. There are a whole lot of instances of random details being inserted for no discernable reason. An attempt at evoking ambiance? Or inflating the word count past short story length? Whatever the reason, there’s a bunch of stuff like this where the prose suddenly verges on purple to no good effect:


Tadaka’s eyes fell to the back of the room, where his candle revealed an altar with a lidless lacquered box. His prayer beads were like a windswept porch swing.



Suffice it to say, whatever editing process this book went through was inadequate. Novels and manuals are different beasts, and if Fantasy Flight used their in-house editors for this project, it would explain a lot.


If you’re a fan of the game and you’re not a picky, pedantic lit-snob like me, you might like this book. If you just think the game is okay-ish and you talked yourself into reading this book because you’re not sure your husband ever will and you can’t stand the thought of him paying all that money just for a few promo cards, have another conversation with yourself. Try to talk yourself out of it, if you can. And if you’ve never heard of the game and this book somehow caught your eye, walk on by. There must be far better Japanese-inspired fantasies out there.

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review 2018-11-26 03:04
Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (Star Wars) - Christie Golden

In which the Empire sends a bunch of operatives who have no experience with deep cover missions into a super dangerous deep cover mission. Hilarity ensues. And by hilarity, I mean none of these people should have made it out alive.


This is sort of an intro to the members of Inferno Squad, which is featured in the Battlefront II game’s story mode, the most prominent member being Iden Versio. It’s all right for what it is, but sometimes I felt like logic was being abandoned to facilitate the plot.


Iden is well-known in Imperial circles. She’s the daughter of a high-ranking military man, an ace TIE fighter pilot, survivor of the destruction of the Death Star, and all-around darling of the Empire. Her father gets the idea that if she suffers some sort of fall from grace, the desperate remnants of Saw Gerrera’s partisans will snatch her up as their new figurehead, and then she and the rest of Inferno Squad can take them down from the inside.


As unlikely as that sounds to me, that’s exactly what happens. After being reported for voicing some mildly seditious thoughts to a fellow officer, Iden goes through a mock court marshal and is put under house arrest, during which she is abducted by the partisans to be their new figurehead. Because becoming a violent radical is the obvious next step after mild sedition. Or something.


If you can get past the progression of events being slightly unbelievable, it’s a decent story and serves as an okay set-up for the game’s story mode. I haven’t played it, but I’ve seen the cutscenes, and knowing the backstories of the squad and their history together helped put things in a broader context. As for the writing, Golden did all right, but she’s no Claudia Gray. Gray did a much better job at showing things from an Imperial perspective.

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review 2018-11-23 17:40
Review: Three Dark Crowns(Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake


In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.





I started this book because I heard so many great things about it I wasn’t sure I would really like it. Just because the world seemed so massive, which it is. But after a few chapters I really enjoyed it and started to get the hang of it.   As mentioned the world is huge, we have one big world but also three separate kind of kingdoms all with their own should be queen and her, I guess could be her court and or friends.

We get quite a few POVs in the book, it was a bit confusing in the beginning but once you are familiar with the Queens and her clan it is super easy to follow.

I tried to figure out which one of the three I like most, but really I couldn’t really choose… at least not yet, they all have different things I liked or disliked. The same goes with their powers. It is clear early on that Mirabella is the one everyone favorites and thinks will be their next queen but things of course don’t go that way and we get thrown for a loop a few times.  The book is pretty fast paced and we get plenty of action as well. We also get some romance but not overly so which I enjoyed that it didn’t take away from anything, but just enough and some of it was actually pretty important in the overall story arc.

The ending, was wild it was nonstop actions and surprises until it finally leaves us with a cliffhanger you don’t want to miss.

Overall I’m glad I read this book and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would in the beginning and I’m looking very much forward to book two in the series. I rate it 4 ★










Buy Links 


Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 



Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/11/23/review-three-dark-crownsthree-dark-crowns-1-by-kendare-blake
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review 2018-11-16 03:28
William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh
William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars) - Ian Doescher

It’s been a while since I last visited William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. When I read the Dramatis Personae and the rathtars were described as “jolly monsters” it felt like coming home. (And that was even before they started singing.)


Diving into one of these is always an adventure on multiple levels. How will Doescher Shakeaspeareanize this movie? What nerdy Easter eggs will he hide in the text? Do the rathtars have good singing voices? (The answers are: 1. Pretty damn well. 2. So many nerdy Easter eggs! 3. In my head they sounded an awful lot like the Three Tenors. It was magical.)


This is one of those books you may want to read at least twice. Once for the hell of it, and once more to see if you can find all those Easter eggs that Doescher teases in his afterword. I had to flip back through it right away to decipher BB-8’s dialog, which I’d been skipping over because it is not easy on the eye:


Zzwaflit blee roohblic bleeflib zilf blikflii,

Blox flirzooz blis blox flitblic bloozood flir

Reej zoodreej blee reej flirblip zzwaflit flirr

Bluuflir zoonflii flew blavrooq bleeflit blis!


Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like R2’s dialog, but when you realize what’s going on, it’s freaking brilliant.


Overall, this is a worthy addition to the series. It’s seriously Shakespearean Star Wars that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s remarkably easy to picture the likes of Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver delivering these lines in classic theatrical fashion, but lest you forget it’s parody, there are the likes of the singing rathtars to remind you. I got a particularly good laugh out of the two Stormtroopers discussing the plot similarities to the original trilogy.


But I’ve gushed enough, and if I keep going I’ll start quoting entire scenes, so I’ll leave you with this bit of stage direction:


[Finn] salutes BB-8, who salutes in return using his droidly implements.



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