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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 2018-05-27 11:58
Little Moments Of Love
Little Moments of Love - Catana Chetwynd

In the tradition of Sarah’s Scribbles and others I’ve been looking for cutesy little comic books, and Little Moments of Love was one of them. I had seen some of them passing by on facebook but I wasn’t really familiar with her work.

The style is quite nice, and so are the comics, I just thought it was a bit too much of the same after a while. Quite a lot (almost all) of the comics are about how she and her boyfriend love each other, and it gets repetitive after a while.

Still nice, but a bit of variation would have been better!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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url 2018-05-26 14:26
AoL Mindfulness Books Free on the 27th May
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols: With their Meanings (Alchemy of love mindfulness training) (Volume 8) - Nataša Pantović Nuit

some of the AoL books free this Sunday 27th May. Do check - https://www.amazon.com/Nataša-Nuit-Pantović/e/B00TUA1528

Source: www.amazon.com/Nataša-Nuit-Pantović/e/B00TUA1528
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review 2018-05-25 16:53
3 Out Of 5 "Colonized Mars" STARS
Red Rising - Pierce Brown,Tim Gerard Reynolds

 

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

Red Rising

Pierce Brown

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Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

 

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

 

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

 

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I took forever to finish this, the audio was difficult to understand…and when I remembered that I had actually purchased this in eBook format, I started reading while listening.  Which helped, but still, it was really difficult for me to stay in the story.  For me Red Rising is plagued with too many characters, plot lines I couldn't always follow and a difficult to discern accent.

 

 This had the potential to be epic, and yet I only felt a smattering of that epic-ness.  The last two-thirds of the book involves some sort competition that I didn't really comprehend why they were doing it in the first place…like what was the point of it?  I believe, if I continue this series, I need to actually read the book and skip the audio.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

3STARS - GRADE=C

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.5/5

The Feels~ 3.5/5

Pacing~ 3/5

Addictiveness~ 3/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 1.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3/5

Originality~ 3.5/5

Ending~ 3/5 Cliffhanger~ "to be continued"

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Book Cover~ Meh…

Narration~  2.5 -Gerard Reynolds…I really didn't like this narration.

Series~ Red Rising #1

Setting~ Mars

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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text 2018-05-25 10:19
Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 40 pages.
The Course of True Love (and First Dates) - Cassandra Clare

so freaking cute

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