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review 2015-02-27 08:46
Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)
Radiance (Wraith Kings Book 1) - Mel Sanders,Lora Gasway,Isis Sousa,Grace Draven

Grace Draven has mad skill when it comes to fantasy...

I remember reading Master of Crows by her and it was brilliant as well. I love to read her stuff because she resists cliches at every single turn, and isn't giving in to pressure and creating whatever kind of romance is fashionable at the minute.

Radiance was vanilla by many standards but guess what? It worked for this novel. It really did. I loved this book.

It was fast paced and action filled on one side, it was sweet and leisurely where the romance was concerned. It blossomed and grew into something truly magical. The author didn't rush, and the love between Ildiko and Brishen was so engaging because of it. It tells you of the authors confidence in her story. It's so refreshing.

A lot of fantasy, PNR and UF is simply filled with insta-lust out there. Since in these type of novels some sort of magic is a given, sometime authors tend to overuse it to cover for the lack of true plot development. It reads as a kind of nervousness, like the author can't wait to dangle a bit of exposed flesh in front of your eyes, hoping that if they use enough cleavage, genitalia, body fluids and grunts people won't notice that apart from that there isn't much of a story.

Grace Draven doesn't do any of that. She will take the time to stroll trough the mind of her characters, bringing them to life with all too understandable human emotions and dreams that everyone can relate to. She isn't afraid to reel in the arrogance. The goddamn sass that is simply too common these days, too cliche, too unbelievable and simply too boring. You know, those cheesy one-liners that should be some kind of testimonials to badassery? The unintelligent, 'mean cheerleader' kind of snappy behavior from the heroine to the hero. We've seen them all, we've read them all, we are simply unimpressed.

This novel is such a breath of fresh air. It speaks of courage of not hiding behind a facade, of friendship and love. It speaks of new worlds, new beginnings and old magic. It's a brilliant, bloody amazing read....

And that cover???? I know people say never judge a book by it's cover, but goddamn, it just works for me....

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review 2014-11-20 14:56
A Whole New Crowd
A Whole New Crowd - Tijan

One thing that I can say I loved about this book – the cover.


The rest is well.....Tijan.


I have read a lot of her books in the past, and I have to say she is tragically repetitive. What blew me away in her first novels, disappointed me in the rest, because she seems to use the same ingredients for each and every novel she writes. Considering that she wrote quite a few, you wind up with the same old routine, but different costumes. It gets old real quick.


Her preferences are creating deeply traumatized female characters in some form of social isolation. That social isolation can be real, with the character having limited friends, or self-imposed with the character's perceived disentanglement from society due to past issues that affect her current mental state. Tijan also uses the character's history to portray emotional maturity that reaches above normally expected standards in a younger group of people. That on it's own is nothing new, and often used, because our past defines us all, but what Tijan doesn't allow are the same standards for her supporting characters.


The heroine, in this book that would be Taryn, interacts with a large number of supporting female characters, and all of them are found lacking in some way. Taryn often observes conversations and social situations, then provides inner monologue dissecting the reasoning behind the behavior of those characters, and even if it's not outright mockery, the observations often point out need for social acceptance and romantic happiness in a condescending kind of way. The emotional maturity doesn't stretch out the supporting female characters, even by the way of common sense, as they are often portrayed as shallow, promiscuous and petty. Even the closest friends and family in the main character's inner circle often display cruelty, selfishness and willful lack of understanding. All of that is carefully layered with the purpose of setting the main character apart, and proving just how different, and by her way of understanding better she is then everybody else.


With all the females portrayed (and effectively eliminated as competition, both mentally and physically) as catty, overly feminine (in a bad way), immature or simply stupid, we are left with a need find a balance for Taryn. That balance comes in the shape of our leading male character – Trey.The male character shows acceptance of our heroine trough intense sexuality, and serves as a focus to sharpen the uniqueness of the heroine. Since Taryn is a league of her own, it is only natural that she gets the alpha male specimen of the entire possible cast. The rich, beautiful, womanizing, i-don't-give-a-shit-about-anything, unrepentant bad boy, that won't be tamed by any woman. Except our leading lady, but that is to be expected, as she is the only one female in a 200 mile radius, armed with an IQ that's higher then the current room temperature.


Second signature Tijan's focus is obsession with social status. But it really didn't work in this particular book. Taryn gets involved in unmasking of a drug lord, solving a murder and kidnapping, then follows up with her own criminal activity. All of this is set in a high school environment, where the food chain is mercilessly displayed of having life changing impact. Tijan's leading characters, purposely or not, always wind up on the top of the IN crowd, getting respect and often steam-rolling over any competition. The depth of character, emotional maturity and the aim of accomplishing strong individuality in Taryn clashes with juvenile descriptions of school hierarchy and how desperately important they are. When in fact, they are not. Social grouping happens everywhere, but in Tijan's world it's often portrayed as the second most important thing after the life experiences of her leading characters. In 'A whole new crowd' that created a feeling of kids playing adults (especially when Trey said to Taryn that he was expected by the entire school to deal with her after she insulted the 'top' crowd) that didn't allow the reader to appreciate the dangerous story she tried to tell.


All in all, this was a different type of novel for Tijan. I was recommended this novel with the promise that Taryn is tamer as a character, and that it doesn't have such a desperate feel that follows her other novels. In a sense, that was true, but still, I expected more.


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review 2014-11-13 21:25
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

Urgh...i know i am going to get a lot of grief for this, but i have to say i didn't like it. Not that it didn't have potential, or a damned good story. It did, in fact it had tonnes.

So why oh why couldn't i get into it???


Inconsistencies, and terrible WTF-ery are to blame for drilling so many holes, that eventually sunk this ship...


What i thought was truly awesome and original was the world in witch Karou grew up, her art, Brimstone, Kishmish and all the rest. One of my favorites was the living puppet, that scene took the show. The magical portal between two worlds, and the nuances in between were so cleverly designed, that i must say that the first few chapters had me glued to the novel. Karou's innocence in a way, and her very human reaction to the possibility of having a wish within your grasp. The concept of Brimstone, a different being, a wielder of magic, a tooth-fairy like you never seen before. The originality of it all, and the superb execution of it, promised a very fun ride.


Sadly it didn't stay that way.


The deeper i got into this story the less sense it made. It seemed so elaborate in the beginning, but then it started to slack off, and i found some of the explanations, well, kinda....unbelievable.


I know friendships, i know some friends are more understanding then the rest, but for the love of god, i just can't, can't, can't stomach the idea of the mega-super-uber-totes-frosty-beyond-fab-BFF who takes all the supernatural other-worldliness you might throw at them with a simple grin, and a cheesy one-liner.


1."I grew up as a Devil's spawn!"....


2."Oh my Gaaaawd! That's like, totally awesome, no biggie."


1."There's a world you don't know about, right outside your window, and people can get killed or mutilated by forces unknown to man."


2."GTFO, are those new highlights? Like, guuuuuurl..."


1."This is a supernatural creature, it's an unknown, it's powers are unknown, it has HURT me in the past, some could say it wanted to kill me."


2."Uh-huh, did you guys hook up? You totes need to hook up, does he have a brother?"


Not just the BFF, but her boyfriend too, nobody here bats a frigging eyelid over the actual existence of angels and demons here.


Makes sense??? Nope, to me either, yet it happens, and when authors do that, i simply disconnect. It goes from being an awesome story, to a cheesy TV show with a cheesy predictable ending. My respect for common sense of the storyline diminishes, therefore my respect for the story as a whole suffers.


Brimstone made her filthy rich....how? Did she receive a letter from Satan & Son Solicitors, in regards to his Last Will and Testament, to be opened in the case of his otherworldly demise by angelic fire? Or did she simply pull it out of her arse?


The blatant disregard for common sense continues with flights throughout a brimming metropolitan city, sitting on a cathedral, fights in the air, all and i mean all with witnesses aplenty, cameras rolling, and only a few cursory questions asked. Her wandering with no actual goal, no actual idea, no actual PLAN is childish. Too childish for me to stay interested. So sorry, this is a 2 star review for me, and nope, i won't read any more of it either.

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review 2014-06-24 20:48
Womp, womp.
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

*No spoilers.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
I have very little to say, which is sad. This book wasn't bad, but it didn't engage my emotions in the least, which is also sad. Also, nothing turned out like I'd hoped, which is even more sad. I'd say I tapped out emotionally about 30% of the way in. From then on, it was just a story. A story that was interesting enough to keep me reading, but definitely wasn't the story I'd come to love.

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review 2014-06-13 16:24
Oh, Brother.
Complicit - Stephanie Kuehn

*No spoilers.

This is going to be one of those annoyingly cryptic reviews, because I don't want to give away the "explosive conclusion." *snort

I see what you were trying to do there, book. Unfortunately, no dice. What you were trying to do has been done many times before and way better. The entire time I was reading this book, it tried to convince me that it was a mindfuck, but you can't fuck my mind, if my mind isn't fucked. Or something.

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