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review 2016-03-31 22:31
At the Edge of Empire
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire - Daniel Kraus

This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.

The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.

I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.

Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.

I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.

Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.

The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.

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review 2015-12-18 21:49
Sisters of Versaille
The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) - Sally Christie

I stopped reading this mostly because I had to return it to the library since I couldn't renew it but anyway.

I should have technically been able to read this book in a matter of two to three days, it wasn't very long, but it was so boring that I kept finding reasons to NOT read it. I love me some historical fiction, really, I do, but something needs to happen in order to keep my attention throughout the entire book.

Nothing happened in this book. Nothing. At all. Louise had sex with Louis a bunch of times, the two of them fell in love, and then Louis got the hots for her sister and she was heartbroken over it, and it went on. That was pretty much the whole story.

I hated the plot of this story, to be honest I'm not even sure there was any plot to begin with because I sure as hell couldn't see it. The story started off with Louise and we read about how she gets to Versailles and eventually becomes the kings mistress. And I was okay up until the point when she does becomes the kings mistress, and then it just goes down hill from there.

I have to read page after page of Louise fawning over Louis, and how great he was and how sweet, smart, and gentle. Pages of her describing what other people were wearing, and going into detail about the dresses of the ladies, it went on and on. I didn't care. It felt like my brain was leaking out through my ears. I was so happy whenever the story was being told from the point of view of any of the other sisters.

I want to talk about everything that I hated about this story but I can't because nothing happened, there is almost nothing for me to talk about. The pace of it was so slow it could've put me to sleep, which is probably why I read this before going to bed every night.

The characters were almost as uninteresting as the storyline. This book is narrated by five sisters, and you'd think that with five sisters, they'd all have different personalities, but no, they don't. They're all exactly the same, each and every one of them. They have the same voice, the same thoughts, and they're all fake as hell. They're supposed to be sisters but instead they shit talk one another behind each other's back like okay, real strong bond you've got there.

Like I get it, you vent to someone whenever a friend or family member or co-worker does something that upsets you but that wasn't even it, Louise's sisters were just straight up shit talking her.

All of the sisters are so painfully polite and nice to each other whenever they're together, and you know that they're huge fakes because of how they feel when you read the story from their point of view. The only one who actually stood out, was Pauline. Pauline wasn't fake, she was straight forward about what she wanted, and she'd get it. Pauline wanted to be the mistress of the king, Pauline wanted to be the most powerful woman in France, and no one was going to stop her.

Pauline didn't even have to try and replace Louise as the kings favourite because Louise is such a pushover, and so dull that all she did was get out of the way and let Pauline do whatever she wanted. Pauline wasn't kidding when she said Louise was stupid, I thought she was just being a bitch but the girl was right, Louise is stupid.

But I can't even defend Pauline because she dethroned herself in the end so I mean. Marie-Anne was trying to be Pauline except she wasn't very good at it, but this girl probably had the most interesting sex life out of all of them so you know what, power to her. At least Marie-Anne figured out how sex worked and got her husband to do it right.

Honestly, if it didn't have the name of which sister was narrating at the top of every chapter, I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out who was telling the story.

The minor characters were equally uninteresting, and they all had the same personality traits. If you can't have your main characters stand out, then you could at least have one minor character that really stood out, but no. All of the women had the same nasty characteristics, and all the men were trying to kiss the kings ass.

And lastly, the one thing that I felt was extremely unnecessary to this story was the letters that the sisters wrote to each other because they were so dull, and so repetitive, I felt like I was at the beginning of the novel each time I came across one. I ended up skipping all of them altogether because I just didn't care.

For a debut novel, it wasn't bad. It was extremely dull, and the characters were all dull and copies of one another, but the writing itself wasn't bad. That being said though, I would not suggest writing from five different point of views in your debut novel, because even if you think you can make your characters stand out from one another, you probably can't.

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review 2015-11-22 00:27
Fire and Flood
Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott

A lot of people have been saying that this is almost exactly like the Hunger Games, and they're right, because it is. But unlike the Hunger Games, this makes no sense.

Characters:
Tella is a lot of things, but likeable isn't really on that list. She's so incredibly shallow and petty at the most inappropriate of times. Oh, and stupid. She is in the middle of a race to try and save her brother's life and the first thing that comes to mind for her when she meets Harper is how much she hates the girl because she's pretty. Sweetie you are pretty much in a survival show, focus on surviving oh my God. Tella is so focused on how everyone looks, she's so obsessed over it that she feels the need to mention it every few pages, move on! She has absolutely no idea how to survive in the wild, so she should have been dead after the first two days. 

Guy, just like his name, is a bland person. There is nothing about him that makes him stand out against other love interests in young adult novels, absolutely nothing. Hell, there was nothing that made him stand out against any of the other characters in the book. He stands around glaring and giving orders, and he and Tella have some weird romantic thing going on. For some reason they won't talk to each other about it so that they're on the same page because that makes too much sense and we need some angst up in here.

The other characters were also pretty uninteresting to be honest, I should've felt bad for them, or at least empathized with them, but I couldn't because I didn't care, the book didn't make me care. I cared more about the animals than I cared about the minor characters. There was nothing interesting about them, there was nothing that stood out, at all about any of them.

Titus can go rot in hell to be honest, he was garbage, and Tella should've sliced this dude up the first chance she got. He sexually assaults her, and Tella just completely brushes it off, she doesn't show any signs of it affecting her in any way at all, and I just, like no, stop. I have literally no words for how angry I was with how this book dealt with sexual assault.

Premise:
I don't know why anyone is competing in this race, some dude named Santiago messed with the forces of nature and the people working for him were like this is fucked up we should stop, and he was like no. So they decided to set fire to this lab holding all these animals, and Santiago's daughter died in the fire so he created this race to get back at the people who killed his daughter. Even though these people warned him that what they were doing was wrong. One race, fine, I guess I could accept that but who in the fuck was like, "This is brilliant, we should keep doing this," after it was over?

I don't know where any of these races take place, it's so vague about the locations, it just mentions the ecosystems and leaves it at that. And nobody bothers to even wonder where in the world they are. There are people in this race as young as 8, being away from school for 3 MONTHS, and no one has a problem with this? Maybe this is just me, but I'm fairly certain that someone is going to get suspicious when a kid disappears for three months, but that's none of my business.

And if you can pick anyone to compete in the race, please tell me why anyone would pick a goddamn child to compete in something like this?

Anyway
Let's talk about Tella though.

She finds a mysterious box in her room, with a message from someone telling her that they can cure her brother, even though doctors have already told her family that they can't. Who does this message come from? Tella doesn't know, she doesn't care, she just heads on out and does whatever the mysterious device in the box tells her because, fuck logic. How did this box get into her room in the first place? I don't know, and the book doesn't explain.

But anyway, she heads over to some empty museum, which sounds like she's about to get murdered, and finds some eggs, and instead of grabbing one and running, she stands around and looks at the eggs. She just looks at them, forget that it's a race, she's gonna take her time and describe each egg. And I'm somehow supposed to feel sorry for her when some girl nearly scalps her and steals the last egg.

Tella decides to chop off all of her hair because of the incident. She finds herself in a jungle, and it's a good thing that Contenders are allowed to team up because Tella would've been dead within 48 hours if they couldn't.

What about Guy? Guy is perfectly trained to survive in all of these terrains, how, I don't know? The book literally never talks about where he trained to survive in all four ecosystems. Are there any places that teach you hands on training for stuff like this that I don't know about? 

But lucky for Tella, she's able to make it halfway through the race through piggybacking off of everyone else around her.

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review 2015-01-02 22:51
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later - Francine Pascal

I hated this book so much. It's been sitting on my shelf for up to two years now because a friend gave it to me as a gift (I forget what I had done for her)  because she knew that I liked books so I felt that because it was a gift I would give it a shot.

 

But I hated this book. In fact, I just went and threw it in my recycling bin. Sorry friend. I will not have this monstrosity sitting on my bookshelf.

 

One of the many things that I disliked about this was the fact that it kept switching from the past to the present as well as the narrative. I honestly, didn't care about the flashbacks, I could've done without them. They just meant I was wasting even more of my time reading the book. By the end of this, I just completely gave up on reading the flashbacks and skipped them, some of them weren't even anything new, it was just the same thing told from someone else's point of view.

 

The writing seemed incredibly choppy at times which made it awkward to read and when it came to the smut, this book is an example of doing smut without having to actually write it. It was embarrassing to read, I felt like I was being judged for having this book in my hand.

 

The plot, I don't even know what the plot of the story was to be perfectly honest with you. It just felt like the same thing dragging on for dozens of pages. It kept switching from Jessica's point of view to Elizabeth's and each time it was the same crap over and over. Elizabeth angsting over her sister's betrayal, her sister feeling like crap for betraying her sister's trust and on and on it went.

 

http://media0.giphy.com/media/Rhhr8D5mKSX7O/giphy.gif 

 

It moved at such a slow pace, at times I began to wonder if time was even passing in the story because so very little was happening. Every single thing reminded Elizabeth of what her sister had done and Jessica did nothing but sob to Todd about how big a piece of trash she was.

 

It got tiring at some point. You know what, you made your bed now you have to lay in it. If you didn't want to lose your sister then you shouldn't have cheated on her with her own boyfriend. Both her and Todd are scum, if you wanted to be with each other, the simple thing to do would've been to break up with Elizabeth first and then go out with each other. 

 

This is why I hate stories like this so much! None of this bullshit would've happened if everyone would've just opened their mouths and talked to each other instead of going behind everyone's back.

 

"I couldn't help myself."

 

http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2014-08/8/13/enhanced/webdr09/anigif_enhanced-buzz-25859-1407519091-14.gif

 

You are a grown ass human being, not a goddamn five-year-old who sees a cookie and wants to eat it no matter what the cost. I couldn't help myself is not a proper excuse because you could've helped yourself but you chose not to because you decided that Elizabeth's feelings were completely irrelevant as long as you got what made you happy.

 

And Jessica has no right to be sobbing, she willingly did this to her own sister, she can sob and go "I love you," all she wants but the fact that she willingly did this to her own sister speaks volumes about just how far her affections for her own sibling went. She deserved everything that she got.

 

Todd was a jealous insecure piece of crap like you know what, don't even be in a relationship if you don't trust your spouse to keep it in their pants. Don't turn into the Hulk with your jealousy, take that somewhere else.

 

I just hated this book so much please love yourself and never read it. Buy this book as a present for someone that you hate if anything.

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review 2015-01-02 22:31
Adorkable
Adorkable - Sarra Manning

To be honest with you, the only reason why I bought this book was because I liked the cover and the summary on the back sounded interesting. But I'm glad I did, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

 

If there is one way to sum up Jeane Smith it would be tumblr. Just imagine what tumblr would be like if it was a person and you've got Jeane Smith. She's not afraid to stand up to people or to put it how it is. She's strong, fearless, a little crazy, and hella lonely.

And I just really liked her. I mean sure, I was annoyed that she kept shaming people for wearing and looking how they wanted and for shoving her idea of cool down peoples throats, but that changed in the end.

 

I liked Jeane's sarcasm and her unapologetic attitude, she said what she thought and if someone didn't like it then it really wasn't her problem and I loved that. She didn't back down from her beliefs and she didn't care what people thought of her. She was called ugly so many times but she didn't let that bother her one bit because she liked how she dressed because it made her happy. And you don't see such outspoken female characters in young adult novels these days so Jeane was a treat for me.

 

She and Michael had a little bit of a weird relationship to be perfectly honest with you. The two of them were just all about hurling insults at each other, but I guess that's just how their relationship worked, and they were cool with that (you know, until that screaming match in New York).

 

One of my favourite things about Jeane was that despite how headstrong and loud she was, she was still human, and you got to see that in the end. You got to see Jeane's vulnerability and she fully acknowledges that she's lonely and enjoys being a part of family (just not her own).

 

Michael was okay, he was kind of a huge asshole, and then by the end of the story he's less of a huge asshole but I guess that was his appeal to Jeane. He wasn't a total failure, he was there for her when no one else was and no matter how angry he got with Jeane, he still stuck around to make sure that she was okay.

 

My biggest issue with the novel is the fact that the voices of Michael and Jeane aren't easy to tell apart. Sometimes I would open the book and start reading, and I wouldn't have been able to tell whose point of view the story was being told from because Jeane and Michael sounded so similar.

 

But all in all, I enjoyed it, and I thought it was interesting.

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