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review 2018-04-10 14:29
Not Intriguing Enough For Me to Continue Series
Song of Blood & Stone - L. Penelope

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.

 

Ehh I was just bored while reading this. There is a reason why I went screaming off to read books by Rosamunde Pilcher. I kept hoping that the story would improve, but it did not. I read elsewhere this was originally a self-published book (back in 2015) that was re-published again this year. I don't know why that was, maybe the publishers were hoping to hop on some of the Young Adult fantasy with characters who are POC. But unlike with two books this year that I really enjoyed (The Belles and Children of Blood and Bone) this needed edited. I was initially intrigued by the main character (Jasminda) but I didn't get her or her powers after a while. We have her love interest Jack who just felt underdeveloped. There are two other books in this universe that I have no interest in trying to read.


"Song of Blood and Stone" starts off with Jasminda going to town and finding out that her maternal grandfather is going to offer her a lot of money to not claim her mother or use her name. I remember going huh when reading that whole thing. We start off with a quick exposition dump about this world we are in with Jasminda wondering what she's going to do (she doesn't want to give up her mother, but needs the money to save her family farm) when she comes across a young man who is being hunted by soldiers. Jasminda ignores him at first and heals him with her gift (Earthsong) then runs and hides when the soldiers find him again. Jasminda realizes that the soldiers are going to have to stop at her farm and she does what she can to intervene to help Jack. This eventually leads Jack to realizing that he needs Jasminda's help to use her Earthsong to fight off someone called the True Father (yeah I rolled my eyes too).

 

I can honestly say that though this book is tagged as Young Adult, it is really New Adult. I thought the age for this novel should definitely be in the late teens and older range. You have sex scenes in this one. There's also a scene where you have to worry that Jack is about to raped by soldiers. Also Jasminda is also almost raped. Reading about her potential rapist's penis made me gag. Jasminda goes through standard romance land trope of being a virgin, but the sex is so powerful and there is no pain. I maybe laughed at that whole thing. 

 

The writing was okay, I just thought the chapters were really short. I didn't get Jasminda's song at all. I just went with it. Also no fault of the author, but every time I read "Earthsong" I started to think of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series. 

 

I thought the flow could be improved since it felt like each chapter ended on something important happening. 

 

The world-building could be improved. I really didn't understand what was happening or why Jasminda's powers were called Earthsong. I seriously thought there be singing (sorry) or something happening. I mentioned this in one of my updates, I started to compare this book to the "Witch Song" books by Amber Argyle. I mean at least in those books the main character was actually singing. 

 

I also think that Penelope did not go far enough in her book with showing the differences between the Lagrimari and Elsirans. We know that Jasminda is a young WOC. Jack is a young white male. Jasminda even mentions that Elsirans have reddish hair and pale skin so I was all oh okay, we have a predominately white race and one that is not. I hoped that we would get some discussions about race or something in this book, but everything is glossed over. I assume that the author wanted us to think about race though with the Lagrimari having abilities and the Elsirans not, but honestly, I started to think about "magical negroes" and what that means and cringed inside. 

 

Having a biracial romance in this world seems like a very big deal (and it definitely is in our world) so I wish there had been some discussions about it. 

 

The ending just sets things up for the second book in the series called "Whispers of Shadow & Flame."I really didn't even understand what had happened or why and was pretty dumbfounded on how things end up for Jasminda and Jack. 

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text 2018-04-07 13:27
Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Song of Blood & Stone - L. Penelope

I think I am going to start another book. This one is not drawing me in. Probably due to the world building aspect. I am getting too much information thrown my way to start off with. I don't really get the whole Earthsong thing (sorry this book is making me think of the Witchsong books I read).

 

Jasminda and Jack do interest me, but not enough to read this book in one sitting. Apparently this is a re-release, this series was published years ago. 

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text 2018-03-28 20:02
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Song of Blood & Stone - L. Penelope

This may actually fit a few cards:

 

Based on the cover believe the main character is a POC. The cover has silver lettering. Based on the synopsis, it would take place in a remote area. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victim: Dr. John Watson
Cause of Death: shot with a revolver
Crime Scene: Planet Camazotz

Victim: Samwise Gamgee
Cause of Death: beaten in a dark alley
Crime scene: Gryffindor Common Room

Victim: Easy Rawlins
COD: antique hunting rifle
CS: The Hob, District 12

Victim: The Gunslinger
COD: stabbed by a sword
CS: near a tor, Dartmoor

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review 2018-02-24 15:07
Dancing Fish and Ammonites
Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir - Penelope Lively

I began on a spring morning in the Anglo-American Hospital in Zamalek, which was a residential suburb on Gezira, the island in Cairo’s Nile; 17 March 1933. Elsewhere, things were going on that would lead to turmoil in North Africa in a few years’ time; my parents’ lives would be affected, and mine, but they were comfortably oblivious that morning, and I was tucked up in a crib, the feet of which stood in tin trays of water, because there had been instances of ants getting at newborn babies.

Towards the end of my own stint I find myself thinking less about what has happened to me but interested in this lifetime context, in the times of my life. I have the great sustaining ballast of memory; we all do, and hope to hang on to it. I am interested in the way that memory works, in what we do with it, and what it does with us. And when I look around my cluttered cluttered house – more ballast, material ballast – I can see myself oddly identified and defined by what is in it: my life charted out on the bookshelves, my concerns illuminated by a range of objects.

I have no idea why, but Penelope Lively's book seems to go by various titles. Another one seems to be Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time, which is a bit confusing when you're trying to find the book but at the same time makes it really easy to tell someone else what the title is because inevitably any one of the variations on the title may bring up the book in a search. Leaping Fish, Dancing Fish... at least the Ammonites seem to be present in all of them.

 

Anyway, this book is my RL book club's read for this month and it is the first of their picks that I have really enjoyed. It is not a perfect book, but I was glued to Lively's essays on ageing, memory, her own story, her accounts of history, and her musings on life, on reading.

 

As it turns out, she seems to be an author that I share some interests with and whose thought-process I find both inspiring and, not easy to follow exactly, but neatly cutting to salient points without a lot flourish. What I mean is, she gets to the point. I like that.  

You aren’t going to get old, of course, when you are young. We won’t ever be old, partly because we can’t imagine what it is like to be old, but also because we don’t want to, and – crucially – are not particularly interested.

 

 ------------------

 

We are too keen to bundle everyone by category; as a child, I used to be maddened by the assumption that I would get along famously with someone just because we were both eight. All that we have in common, we in this new demographic, are our aches and pains and disabilities – and, yes, that high C evoked by Anthony Burgess. For the rest of it, we are the people we have always been – splendidly various, and let us respect that.

Whether it were her thoughts on old age, or her dissection of the Suez Crisis (which, btw, I found particularly fascinating in that horrifying way that history has when it becomes clear just how stupid and reckless politicians are when gambling with people's lives), or her description of how much she loves reading and how books are part of her life (Right on, Penelope!), I will be returning to this book to re-read certain sections. 

 

Can’t garden. Don’t want to travel. But can read, must read. For me, reading is the essential palliative, the daily fix. Old reading, revisiting, but new reading too, lots of it, reading in all directions, plenty of fiction, history and archaeology always, reading to satisfy perennial tastes, reading sideways too – try her, try him, try that, Amazon and AbeBooks would founder without me; my house is a book depository – books in, books out (to family and friends, to my daughter’s Somerset cottage where there is still some shelf space, to wonderful Book Aid which sends English language books to places where they are needed).

Despite all my enthusiasm for this book, it is not without faults. They show up especially when compared to Lively's fiction, which has structure - as story-telling tends to do.

 

This, her memoir, does not stick to that prescribed architecture of beginning, middle, end, with a relevant flow of narrative. It is a memoir, in a  way, but certainly not anything that could be referred to for chronology. In this book, Lively dissects topics - old age, memory, the individuals place in collective history - and connects them to her own life.

Her narrative in this book very much reminded me of that of Claudia in Lively's book Moon Tiger, who exclaims the following at the beginning of the book:

‘I’m writing a history of the world,’ she says. And the hands of the nurse are arrested for a moment; she looks down at this old woman, this old ill woman. ‘Well, my goodness,’ the nurse says. ‘That’s quite a thing to be doing, isn’t it?’ And then she becomes busy again, she heaves and tucks and smooths – ‘Upsy a bit, dear, that’s a good girl – then we’ll get you a cup of tea.’

(Penelope Lively - Moon Tiger) 

It is ... messy ... in parts. Yet, I actually found that aspect charming. Others may not.

Oh, well.

Am I envious of the young? Would I want to be young again? On the first count – not really, which surprises me. On the second – certainly not, if it meant a repeat performance. I would like to have back vigour and robust health, but that is not exactly envy. And, having known youth, I’m well aware that it has its own traumas, that it is no Elysian progress, that it can be a time of distress and disappointment, that it is exuberant and exciting, but it is no picnic. I don’t particularly want to go back there. And in any case, I am someone else now. This seems to contradict earlier assertions that you are in old age the person you always were. What I mean is that old age has different needs, different satisfactions, a different outlook. I remember my young self, and I am not essentially changed, but I perform otherwise today.

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text 2018-02-20 03:05
Release Day - Gentleman Nine

     

Amazon | iBooks  |  Amazon Paperback  | Nook | Kobo | AUDIO Amazon | Audible 

 

 

   

 

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel. 

 

Growing up, the three of us were friends.
He was the nerd.
I was the playboy.
She was the beauty.

 

Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits.

 

He lied.

 

I went off to college, and he got the girl.

Amber never knew how I felt.
They were together for years—before he broke her heart.

 

Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch.
When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.

 

Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men.
One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings.


Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity.
Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message.
She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend—me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.)

 

Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel. 
When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she was stunned to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.

 

 

         

 

 

 

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller. Her novels are published in over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world. Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 13-year-old girl with autism and a 12-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

 

Connect with Penelope Ward:

 

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram    

 

 

Other standalones from Penelope Ward:

 

Drunk Dial:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fXfzKn
iBooks: http://apple.co/2tq7dRz
Nook: http://bit.ly/2xeEH2H
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ihXnMD

 

Mack Daddy:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kWzE1S
iBooks: http://apple.co/2iNrIPj
Nook: http://hyperurl.co/aiypfj
Kobo: http://hyperurl.co/r3hv19

 

Stepbrother Dearest:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mFNMeg
iBooks: http://bit.ly/YER0mT
Nook: http://bit.ly/1taMFjG
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1fJaaBs

 

Neighbor Dearest:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aWvypX
iBooks: http://apple.co/29mC6L8 
Nook: http://bit.ly/2akQ2aq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2axt1SY

 

RoomHate:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294lIeT
iBooks: http://apple.co/1PgsvE7
Nook: http://bit.ly/1PLGnSL
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1POvSnW

 

Dear Bridget, I Want You: (co-written with Vi Keeland)
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/kh2bxf
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/y4x3xi
Nook: http://smarturl.it/o780mb
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/kfgc6a

 

Mister Moneybags: (co-written with Vi Keeland)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ny7GhN
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/3y1tuq
Nook: http://smarturl.it/kx7h8m
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/qqf5ho

 

Playboy Pilot: (co-written with Vi Keeland)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2dbetFA
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Wb06Cf
Nook: http://bit.ly/2c9vRdV
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ctb6dv

 

Stuck-Up Suit: (co-written with Vi Keeland)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1S3LnpZ
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Qbwy57
Nook: http://bit.ly/29vrQhV
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/stuck-up-suit

 

Cocky Bastard: (co-written with Vi Keeland)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MvHLg2
iBooks: http://apple.co/1PffE2J
Nook: http://bit.ly/1EjxNpY
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1UxCSUO

 

Sins of Sevin:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1F9tbc3
iBooks: http://apple.co/1K8mzGg
Nook: http://bit.ly/1hTKAKE
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OaGY3D

 

Jake Undone (Jake #1):
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1dJrHBC
Nook: http://bit.ly/1obAwJ6
iBooks: http://apple.co/1fJayQ8
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SPKl0M

 

Jake Understood (Jake #2):
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GFdves
Nook: http://bit.ly/1FwJC0z
iBooks: http://apple.co/1DQQwgC
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1LQ7Fvk

 

My Skylar
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1obOG2F
iBooks: http://bit.ly/SLNOTR
Nook: http://bit.ly/SLO1qi
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1kNrtAB

 

Gemini:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vgk1SE
Nook: http://bit.ly/1KfmLHD
iBooks: http://apple.co/1QTaONj
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1BGJ2wu

 

 

 

 

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