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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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video 2018-05-30 20:02

This is set as a Western, but what if Nick Offerman was the third person omniscient narrator everywhere through all time? Terrifying.

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review 2018-05-27 21:46
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Of Fire and Stars - Jordan Saia,Audrey Coulthurst

Dennaleia (Denna) is a princess of the northern kingdom of Havemont. She's engaged to be married to Crown Prince Thandilimon (Thandi) of Mynaria for political reasons I can't recall. Denna has a secret: she can perform fire magic. Unfortunately, Mynaria is becoming more and more anti-magic. Recusants, illegal magic users, are being hunted down, and things only get worse after a member of the royal family is assassinated by someone who is likely a Recusant.

While everyone else is quick to blame the Recusants and the nearby country of Zumorda for Mynaria's recent problems, Denna and Mare, the Mynarian princess, are the only ones who suspect something else might be going on. As Mynaria prepares for Denna and Thandi's upcoming marriage, Denna and Mare work together to uncover the truth...and gradually realize that they've fallen in love with each other.

I'll start by talking about the good. For the most part, the progression of Denna and Mare's relationship from rocky, to being friends, and finally to falling in love was pretty good. Although Mare would have preferred to have as little as possible to do with Denna when they first met, she was forced to help Denna learn how to ride horses (riding isn't a thing people do in Havemont) and got to know her more than she probably would have otherwise. Their eventual romance had a solid foundation and didn't feel like it appeared out of nowhere.

I was also happy to see that homophobia wasn't one of the things standing between Denna and Mare. From what I could tell, bisexuality was the default in this world. As far as marriage went, however, things were a little fuzzier. It sounded like same-sex marriages existed, but also like same-sex political marriages were less likely than political marriages between men and women.

Now it's time to get into the things I didn't like, and unfortunately the list is long.

First and foremost, Of Fire and Stars was boring. It took ages for things to happen and for Mare and Denna's investigations to move forward. I wanted more tense political intrigue, and instead I got occasional badly executed spying attempts, some library research, and Denna stressing over the possibility that her magical abilities would be discovered. Most of that was pushed into the background after Denna and Mare realized that they loved each other. I should have been rooting for their relationship and instead I couldn't wait for the book to finally be over.

The book alternated between chapters from Mare's POV and chapters from Denna's POV (first person past tense). Mare was a tomboy who preferred dressing up as a man and going information-gathering in local taverns to putting on gowns and spending time at court. Denna had been trained to be a perfect princess since birth. Coulthurst could have alternated between chapters devoted to Mare's spying activities and chapters in which Denna made connections at court, collected potentially useful court gossip, and did a bit of research in the palace library.

Instead, readers got the former (sort of) but only the barest sliver of the latter. Both Denna and Mare dismissed court gossip as something only silly court ladies participated in, an attitude that boggled my mind. Was I really supposed to believe that only commoners in taverns gossiped about the current state of affairs in the country, city, and palace? In the end, the only useful thing Denna got to do was library research.

Denna felt like little more than a sidekick throughout much of the story, even going so far as to beg Mare to take her on one of her trips to a local tavern. Mare, meanwhile, didn't strike me as being nearly as competent as the author wanted readers to believe. She'd have died or had her identity uncovered many times over if it hadn't been for her best friend Nils, one of the few halfway intelligent and capable characters in the book. She was also annoyingly childish, kicking her shoes off at things (bushes, doors) multiple times.

The way Mare and Denna's romance played out caused me to dislike them both. They were both selfish and frustrating. Mare viewed Denna moving forward with her and Thandi's wedding as choosing Thandi over her. Never mind that it was a political marriage and that there would be consequences for both of their countries if Denna suddenly announced that she had fallen in love with Mare and wanted to marry her instead.

Denna had a similar reaction when Mare considered agreeing to a political marriage of her own that would have at least guaranteed she could work with horses on a daily basis. If Denna had had her way, Mare would have stayed by her side for the rest of her life, unmarried and perpetually available for stolen kisses. Never once did she consider Mare's feelings and that it might be best for the person she supposedly loved to find what happiness she could elsewhere.

Although the book has a proper ending, there's definitely room for a sequel, and I see that one is supposed to come out sometime in 2019. I don't currently plan on reading it.

Extras:

There's a map at the beginning of the book. Somehow I didn't manage to see it until after I'd finished reading.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-05-17 22:09
Tears of the Silenced
Tears of the Silenced: A true crime and an American tragedy; severe child abuse and leaving the Amish - Misty Elaine Griffin

Okay, I am giving this 2 stars because I can't decide if it's true or not and I don't want to be made a fool. Several people have said Misty gives contradictory stories about happened in her life. And a couple of people who are former Amish have said that her description of Amish ways are not accurate, right down to how deacons are put into place. There is also the fact that this book is just so much bad, one event after another; while that isn't, in itself, unrealistic, it's coupled with wildly miraculous events, and that is where it gets hard to really believe. Everyone outside of the Amish is always telling Misty how amazing she is and how smart she is etc. She passes her GED on her first attempt even though she only has a 2nd grade education and never even saw algebra until a couple of months before the test. I don't know.

 

Then there's the sheer volume of grammatical errors, spelling errors and missing punctuation in this book. There could not have been an editor. The speech was stilted, the conversations were terribly unrealistic and nobody is that dang CHEERFUL. Especially given how bad her life has been. She keeps saying how optimistic she is, while having panic attacks and crying in corners. She clearly defines cheerful differently than I do. Oh, and this book was ridiculously long. Like, mind-numbingly long.

 

I suppose we won't ever know if she's telling the truth since Amish folks probably don't even know this book exists. But I am heavily skeptical. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-07 05:47
Don't trust booktubers, common sense media, goodreads choice awards. Don't even trust this review.
A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas

 

 

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One more time I want to warn readers, teachers and parents that this series isn't YOUNG ADULT. Distrust any booktuber, goodreads reviewer/editor, and "prestigious" site that tells you otherwise.

If you are a teacher or librarian Distrust the information on genre and recommended age that comes from the publisher Bloomsburry Children's. Also distrust Kirkus reviews, Booktubers and bookbloggers who say this is Young adult, Common sense media and The Goodreads choice awards for Young adult. More on that at the bottom of my review.

THIS SERIES IS EROTIC/NEW ADULT NOT YOUNG ADULT. If reviewers tell you this series isn't new adult they're lying through their teeth. The result of those lies is that books with erotic content are currently labeled as CHILDREN'S BESTSELLERS or recommended to 12 YO readers.

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Is the author and publisher of this book really selling books with erotic/explict content to young kids without warnings? In the USA most copies of this series come with no warning of explicit content. I applaud writers that write erotic content, just don't sell it to young children. This is from booktopia, an Australian retailer; It recommends the most erotic book of the series to readers AS YOUNG AS 12.

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UPDTE MAY 20TH
Audible is recommending this book along with the first book of the series to 13 YO. However they are recommending the most explicit book of the series to 11-13 YO kids

That's why you shouldn't trust publishers to give the correct information on genre and recommended age in YA books.

**Don't trust MY review either**

**Do your own research and tell me why this series shouldn't be considered PARANORMAL EROTICA, PARANORMAL NEW ADULT, FANTASY ROMANCE or ADULT ROMANTIC FANTASY. **

You can start by finding out:
How old the main characters are?

I'll tell you, but don't believe me, find out for/by yourself.
Protagonist is 20-21 (like Anastasia Steel from fifty shades of grey)
Her sisters are even older
the rest of the cast is several hundreds year old
Isn't YA an age-based classification? Then why is this series labeled as a YA book?

How explicit the sex is

You can find that information on my A COURT OF MIST AND FURY REVIEW updates. My ACOMAF review hasn't been censored by goodreads employees yet as my TOWER OF DAWN(another new adult book by this same author)review was. My Tower of dawn review has 273 likes so it should appear in the main page of reviews. Goodreads is hiding it. That sucks because it's the responsibility of parents (not of Goodreads, not of the publishers and authors) to find out about the content of the EXPENSIVE books they buy for their underage kids. But how are they going to find that information when so many booktubers, common sense media and Goodreads members are hiding it?

You can also find the information about erotic content of this series on the american hardcover version of a court of mist and fury.
Pages 21, 22 (view spoiler)

Pages 471, 472, 473, 474. 475
(view spoiler)

Pages 530, 531, 532, 533, the orgasm that shatters the mountains: (view spoiler)

Pages 538 and 539 (view spoiler)

DISCLAIMER AND TRIGGERS WARNINGS:

♣ IF YOU DON'T LIKE READING EROTIC/EXPLICIT CONTENT and don't tell me that you can skip the sex scenes, Most of us don't pay full hardcover price for skiping half the book ;)
(view spoiler)

♣ IF YOU THINK YOUNG ADULT IS A GENRE THAT SHOULD REMAIN CLEAN

♣ IF YOU ARE 12-17 YO WHO DON'T LIKE TO READ EXPLICIT SEX SCENES

♣ IF YOU DON'T LIKE LOVE TRIANGLES And MULTIPLE MALE LOVE INTERESTS
Book 1 we have a love triangle: Tamlin vs Rhysand (view spoiler)
Book 2 We have a love triangle: Rhysand vs. Tamlin but it's really uneven (view spoiler)
Book 3: NO LOVE TRIANGLE! (view spoiler)

♣ IF YOU DON'T LIKE ABUSIVE LOVE INTERESTS AND ABUSIVE WOMEN
-Tamlin love interest of book 1? ABUSIVE!
-Rhys, secondary love interest of book 1 and (view spoiler)ABUSIVE!
- The sisters? Everyone talks about how Tamlin should apologize. When will the sisters apologize? (view spoiler) ABUSIVE!

♣IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHEN sexual assault victims ARE THROWN UNDER THE BUS TO MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD. CAREFUL WITH DANGEROUS RAPE MESSAGES
It happens so much on New adult and adult literature (game of thrones, the girl with the dragon tatoo, the second book of the outlander series) a sexual assault victim gets the "oh-you-were-raped?- don't- bitch- about- it- and- move- forward treatment. So many books trivialize the worst aspect of PTSD and sexual assault and try to "sovle it" either with revenge or the magic romantic relationship that will make everything go away. Or the experiences just get ignored and brush aside! This happens to Mor, a secondary character in the 3rd book who is a rape survivor when (view spoiler)To be fair, I can understand the circumstances, doesn't mean I have to like that kind of story line, especially when that's something that good editing could have taken care of. That kind of disrespect for rape was unneccessary IMO. It didn't move the plot forward and it's out of character for Rhys to act like that. I love Rhys and didn't like the way SJM made him act.

♣ IF YOU BELIEVE ANY BOOK YOU PAY FOR SHOULD BE PROFESSIONALLY EDITED
I'm not a grammar nazi and my spelling is terrible, but I can tell you, even some fanfiction I've read has a more polished editing than this book. There's the overuse of words like mate. There are also problems with pace, repetitiveness, flow and consistency of the voices when changing from a narrator to the other and from a first person POV to a 3rd person POV. The characters sound too modern. The worldbuilding is not high fantasy at all. The setting of this series is pretty much like a modern series. All these are things that a content editor and a proofreader could have taken care off, but the publishers rushed publication lowering the quality of the editing and the writing. Even so they are selling this at full ebook price.

My ratings for the series so far

A Court of Thorns and Roses ACOTAR 3/5 because abusive relationships, false advertising (it's new adult dishonestly marketed as young adult) and love triangle. My review is currently censored and hidden from the third page of review. It should appear somewhere between page 2 and 3.
A COURT OF MIST AND FURY ACOMAF4/5 because I didn't appreciate the explicit sex scene with OM, but I highly recommend this book to my friends who don't mind safety issues and like explicit scenes in slow-burn-romance. This book is EROTICA (according to the goodreads description of the genre) marketed as YA.

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A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN ACOWAR 2.5/5 because poor editing, f bombs, repetitiveness, unnecessary sex scenes and dangerous messages. No, glorifying revenge and abusive women isn't female empowerment. No, in most marriage it isn't always the woman's choice, it's always the choice of both of them. My review is currently censored by goodreads.

Sources of my pictures:

AMAZON CANADA CHILDREN'S BOOKS ADVENTURE

AMAZON CANADA CHILDREN'S BOOKS FANTASY

AMAZON AUSTRALIA CHILDREN'S BOOKS LOVE

Booktopia A COURT OF MIST AND FURY RECOMMENDED AGES

EROTICA GENRE DEFINITION ACCORDING TO GOODREADS


ACOMAF RECOMMENDED TO CHILDREN 11-13 on audible




WHY YOU SHOULDN'T TRUST BOOKTUBERS AND THE YA GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS REGARDNG THE CONTENT OF THIS BOOK?
Because, a vast majority of booktubers have failed so far to mention that this book series contains erotic/explicit content in their booktube reviews even though they always discuss "young adult books". It could be unintentionally. It could be intentionally. The reason doesn't matter. They're contributing to the false advertising.

A few booktubers are being published or aspire to be published by the same IMPRINT of this new adult series. Others booktubers and bookbloggers seem to want good relationships with the publishing industry. They won't say anything that can hurt the marketing agenda of the big publishing houses. Note: Bookables, Benji Alderson and Polandbananas have mentioned this series is new adult , so of course a lot of booktubers are somehow honest . Distrust only the ones who call this series young adult.

On the other hand, The goodreads choice awards editors ignored the shelving system when they selected the categories for the goodreads choice awards last year. In the goodreads feedback group they told me that's how editors select categories: based on shelving.



At the time of the awards this series was shelved primarily as fantasy and romance by GR users, but still the editors made it compete on the young adult category. Not in romance, not in fantasy, in young adult.



This review isn't meant to discouraging people from reading/buying the book. On the contrary. I'm inviting you to read this series if you don't have problems with sexual content and abusive relationships. Despite all the problems I have with the false advertising I enjoyed the trilogy . But again I'm warning you

♣ NEVER trust the information that you see on Goodreads, Common sense media. and booktube. Do your research.

Life is too short and TBR piles are too big to just ignore the kind of information that can help us decide what we will read next. Goodreads shouldn't try to hide that information.

For a series that is supposedly about women's choices, when Goodreads, Booktubers and Publishers hide this information from young girls they are taking away their right to decide when or if they will read erotic content. Not to mention they're contributing to the book being sold in the Children's section of multiple retailers.
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