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review 2016-06-16 18:16
The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

This sounds like it would be just my thing, but for some reason, it wasn't.

It's got good writing, concerning both the prose and the plot, but the world-building, while interesting, felt very discombobulated. It tried to explain itself: the Language, the Library, and the fey, creatures of chaos, and dragons, creatures of order, but it wasn't working too well for me.

Also, the writing mostly evokes a Victorian feel to it (though less than the cover would indicate), but the combination of modern technology here and there and modern phrases scattered throughout, while it made sense far as the story was concerned, didn't actually mesh very well in the story. (Congrats if you understood that. Have a cookie.)

As far as Irene and Kai go, I really have very little opinion of them. Kai felt rather one-dimensional and I didn't really...care about Irene? But Vale was pretty cool, and I'd love to see more of him in future books.

As far as the plot goes, I liked the clever bits dealing with Alberich, but I don't quite understand his motivation (they kinda explained it) but even less so how it would work. Kicking myself I didn't write down the page number for this.

To be totally honest, I think I would have liked this best if it had been a completed standalone, rather than at least a six book deal. But I liked this passably well, and am just interested enough to give the next book a go.

This is a bit of the stuff I garnered about the things I wanted more info on:

The Library does what it does for the love of books. Simply to collect books, all the books in all the alternate worlds, and store them and protect them, so that if that book should ever be lost to time or disaster, there will still be a copy to make more from.

The Library exists out of time, so the Librarians are essentially ageless, except when out on book missions, when time passes for them normally.

The Language the fully initiated Librarians use is apparently heard by those who don't understand it in their own language, but with a certain unplaceable accent. The Language is sort-of magic, but it works best when directing something to do what it naturally should be doing, or that it naturally is designed to do (unlocking a door and such). The Language is ever evolving, adding grammar and vocabulary, as most books brought back to the Library are studied and the words or phrases or cool descriptions of the color black are added to the Language. (Or the Language itself evolves from the newly gathered literature???)

Chaos can infect a world, and after the world has been infected and corrupted, then the Fey can manifest to wreck more havoc. But thenDragons are like super chill and creatures of order and often show up to help restore order to the Chaos-corrupted world. Dragons can also take humanoid form.

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review 2016-02-09 18:13
Walk The Earth A Stranger
Walk on Earth a Stranger - Rae Carson

You know that game, The Oregon Trail? You would choose an occupation (I was usually a carpenter, so I could fix broken axles, wheels, etc), assign your skill points for foraging or keeping morale high, choose a city to start from(I always started from Independence or Jefferson City) and a city as your end destination(Honestly, I mostly shot for Salt Lake City, as it was the closest, and involved less desert), choose when to leave (I would leave in the middle of February, because spring would be coming soon, but if you made good time, you'd be able to cross the rivers when they were frozen and miss the spring floods), and then wander around town, buying food, guns and ammo for hunting, livestock, and assorted goods, being careful not to exceed the weight limit of whatever wagon you bought. (I always bought the biggest - I needed to be able to cart along those extra 100 pounds of celery, cheap and nutritious.) And then, finally, you would start off down the trail.

This book was the rest of the game.

You would travel and travel, finding wild fruits and veggies, riding out on hunting expeditions (a bison stampede, oh boy!)



fight outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, general illnesses,



and the death of members of the wagon train.



Somebody would get grumbly and you'd rest for a few days to bring up morale. Maybe you'd run out of water and frantically search for an trading post that might still have a barrel. If you were enterprising, you could trade with other wagon teams or Indians you met along the way. Sometimes the hills were so steep, you'd have to use chains on the wheels, or risk a tipped/broken wagon(Lee's wagon train should have considered chains...) And then of course, inevitably, no matter what you did, a wheel, axel, or yoke would break.



And while this book didn't have every minute element of the Oregon Trail and it certainly had some additions to the expedition, it was basically the same. (No surprise there.) Except I'd have been rather playing the game. Which is not to say that this was bad, but it was slow and it's basically just a long lead-up to the following books of this series. Very little happens that you couldn't start with Book Two and jump right into the story. Lee's gold finding abilities are utilized very little, and nothing much comes of it, except for it being the driving reason why she leaves town for California. And honestly, I see why she's going to California, because people are gonna be less suspicious of her tripping over gold every time they turn around, but it will also incite a lot of jealousy on their part, even if they don't discover her secret. So California also seems the absolute worst place someone of her abilities could go. Someone finds out about your ability, and you're up a creek without a paddle. In fact, she's already discovered that people are willing to murder to get to her and her abilities, and the murderer is following her to California. Like, come on, girl, GO TO TEXAS OR SOMETHING.


But actually, now that I'm considering this, this book is a cross between The Oregon Trail and the Yukon Trail, which was boring as heck as you traveled up to the Yukon and really only got exciting when you could stake a claim and start panning and mining for gold.



That being said, I will be checking the second book out, because maybe something exciting will happen now that Lee's in California? One can hope.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-08-25 05:55
Hold Me Like A Breath
Hold Me Like a Breath: Once Upon a Crime Family - Tiffany Schmidt


Well, that was disappointing.

First off, this cover is breathtaking. I mean, truly beautiful, though what it has to do with the book, I have no idea. The title is also eye-catching and what a play on words! That, thankfully, does fit the book exceedingly well.

All right, let's get down to business. This sounded like it would be incredible. I tried to prevent myself from getting overly excited for it, which ended up just as well, since it was a total dud.

The idea behind this story and the general plot is really quite something. The Organ Trade, a big old crime family, and a girl who can bruise from a touch. Add to that a logical retelling of the Princess and the Pea. I mean, the potential. Alas, it lived up to none of it and ended up being mediocre, at best.


Among other things, Penny's whole family is murdered; she's on the run, fighting for her life; attempting to discover who murdered her family; trying to prevent those same people from trying over the Family business; AND trying to keep herself safe not only from the people chasing her down, but also her disease. Sounds busy and suspenseful, right? Nope. Because even among all this, Penny somehow finds time to fall head over heels in love with Char, and cutely flirt/date him for half the book after her parents and brother are murdered. And Char is also the heir of another Family, which I had so been hoping to avoid. Also, there's a bunch of shit about Garrett, Penny's long-time crush, short-time boyfriend, whom she moves on from instantly after seeing Char. (More on this under "Romance".) But the Family/Organ business eventually comes back into play, when it is discovered that, oh shocker, Garrett Ward's family, Penny's family's bodyguards, are the villains. Betrayal!! *yawn* Their last name is Ward, how is this a surprise?


Ugh, why? So Penny goes from day-dreaming over Garett, her brother's best friend, to literally dreaming and mooning over Charlie, the hottest guy she's ever laid eyes on, within a few pages. And then wibble-wobbles back and forth briefly. And it was all so unnecessary and boring to read, not to mention mushy. It's almost as if the author wasn't sure what to do with Penny 100 pages in and decided that another love interest (from a rival Family, no less) would be the bestest thing to do. *facepalm*


I think the thing with Penny is that she is realistic. She's been sheltered her whole life, practically never leaves her family's estate, and just wants some freedom. She is whiny, naive, and makes a lot of stupid-ass decisions. (Attempting to run off with Garett after Carter's death, almost killing herself several hundred times, despite painful knowledge of her condition, etc) And to be honest, I'm not sure that I can blame her very much for a number of these things. But there's not denying that it was annoying to read because I wanted her to A. stop worrying about boys and B. focus on her family and keeping herself safe. The fact that Penny is alive at all is astonishing, quite frankly. By every single right in the universes, real and fictional, she should be dead. Anyways...At times, I empathized with her: her crippling disease, the murder of her whole family, but really, I found it hard to connect with her emotionally.

I didn't like Garett from the start and, while he wasn't as terrible as I thought he would be, he was still scum. I mean, sure he wanted to keep Penny safe, but his family killed hers and he did, oh, jack shit to do anything about it. But at least he semi-redeemed himself my taking a bullet at the end to save Penny. But still. And oh, your name sucks, Garett.

Charlie didn't really have a purpose, other than love interest and a nice intro to the Zhu Family. But other than that, he, as a character, and not a plot point, fell flat.

Penny's family was so little utilized. All we really get is snapshots and memories in a photo album, when I wanted the real deal. But by all accounts, for all their many many faults and illegal dealings, they meant well and weren't terrible people. I should have liked to have seen more of them. (I pretty much stopped caring, to be honest, when Carter was killed off.)


Not a whole to say here. The prose was simplistic, but generally avoided being childish. Nothing to commend, and nothing to complain about either.

Fairytale Retelling???:

Um, what fairytale? The author goes on and on about it being a retelling of the Princess and The Pea and makes a truly compelling and interesting case for it in her Afterword. However, so far as I could tell, there was only one element of the original fairytale in the book: the one scene at the end where Penny sleeps on the tall cushy bed of a box spring, and a mattress, and a bazillion blankets and is bruised by....something, but we don't really know what. But even though that is indeed the crucial moment in the fairytale, for the two pages it takes up in the book, it felt more like a homage or a nod to the fairytale than an actual retelling.


What this book had going for it in originality and basic story (ie. the description) it sorely lacked in execution. The potential was wasted, and I found it hard to care about Penny. Definitely won't be coming for the unnecessary sequel. (Though I'm sure the cover will be gorgeous.)

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review 2014-10-16 04:00
Midnight Thief
Midnight Thief - Livia Blackburne

There has been a slew of books lately centering around thieves and assassins (and the guild thereof). I think it's becoming a thing. Now, personally, I'm almost always down with some good cons and thievery, assassins less so, but every one of this type of books I've come across reads fine, but feels like it's sorely lacking something. Namely, a character that I can root for. Characters like that, I want to know how their life ends up, and if they're happy and where they've been and most importantly, where they're going. Kyra is just a mundane and uninspiring character to me. Is she an admirable person. Actually, yes. (Though she doesn't have much of a sense of humor...) So even though I liked Kyra on the outside, I felt like she wasn't her own character. She was nearly just like every other generic female YA protagonists in the last 10 years. So while I LOVE that I didn't want to slap her, and that I could admire most of the choices that she made, and that she was a good person, she was rather like an actor that delivers all their lines in monotone. That analogy doesn't fit exactly like I want it to but it's close enough.

Plot-wise, it's much the same. Nothing to write home about and not a whole lot I haven't seen before. Though the part that I didn't really see coming

"YER A SHAPESHIFTER, KYRA" is about the extent of it.

(spoiler show)

didn't wow me by any means, because A. it could have been written better and B. I didn't really care.

The dust jacket description was so misleading!!! And I was so happy about that. They really played up the (nearly non-existent) love triangle. What little romance there was was very light and refreshing; I was fearing expecting much more. True, Tristam (just bloody name him Tristan and be done with it) was a tad dull, but at least he wasn't played up as this hot amazing guy with flashing green eyes and slabs of muscle. AT LEAST.

And that's all she wrote, folks. Will I be back for a second helping? Nah. But I will drool over this cover whenever I see it.

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review 2014-06-02 23:41
Falling Kingdoms
Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes,Michelle Rowen

The biggest problem with this book was that I honestly couldn't have cared less. About anyone. Or anything. Oh, the other problem was that everything was sexualized, but remember...I don't care.

*SPOILERS AHEAD* (You know, if you CARE about that sort of thing)

Like I didn't care about Lucia and her magical powers.

I didn't care about Magnus and his incestuous love for his sister, Lucia, who isn't really his sister because she's adopted but neither of them know that.

I didn't care about Cleo and her dark secret and her crappy arranged marriage. 

I didn't care about Jonas and his obsession with Cleo and killing her and his revolutionary schemes. 

I didn't care about Cleo's bodyguard/boyfriend's death, even IF he was the only half-way decent character in this entire book, keeping in mind that I've read short stories shorter than the cast of characters list.

I didn't care about all the political scheming and backstabbing and betrayals.

I didn't care about the murder of Jonas' brother, which started the whole revolution and war and Jonas' vendetta.

I didn't care about Aron and how much of a scumball, objectively speaking, he is.

I didn't care about ANYTHING.

(spoiler show)
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