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review 2015-07-27 01:35
The One by Keira Cass (The Selection #3)
The One - Kiera Cass

W-O-W. I managed to finish this in one day, and I’m trying to use my self control not to put The Heir on hold right now, because I have many other books that need to be read.


I can’t believe it, I was literally walking and reading pages of this! What is wrong with me?!


Okay, I think I should start my review now. Of course, when I first started The One, I was convinced that it would simply be about America’s choice and who she wanted to be with. It was what I had prepared myself for, so you can expect how I was blown away when this book actually had a deeper meaning and a characteristic plot. Yeah, I know.


In this book, I wasn’t really annoyed with America, I think she actually got her act together and became mature. I was so thankful for that. Because it shows that she’s learned something from the Selection overall. I was happy that from the beginning of this book, she knew what she wanted. And through the other “tests” it was great to see her determination and how she managed to maneuver her way instead of doing stupid things in the last book. Great job, America!


And, I actually really liked Aspen?! Like, when did that happen. And I liked Aspen as who he was, not really as a love interest, so I’m glad we get to see the “devotion” and stuff America’s been crying about ever since The Selection.


I am glad some issues that were resolved. Although I felt that Celeste becoming suddenly good seemed way too convenient for America, whatever. And the thing where she would always manage to get away from the King’s intentions towards kicking her out.


I will say that I KNEW something was off with America’s dad. But once again, it felt like a let down that we found out about this stuff after America’s dad dies—like, what?! I loved him—and then America never really mentions it to Maxon? I’m not sure . . . I mean, he is dead. And since they’re King and Queen now I guess they’re aligned with the Northern rebels anyway?


And I can’t believe Celeste ended up becoming good only to die in the end! Anne dies in the end, even though she liked Aspen just so he would end up with Lucy (not that I have a problem with that . . .)! Forget that, Queen Amberly dies. I know, she was the one character I had absolutely no problems with and then She. Just. Dies.


I knew something was going to happen at the end because well, Maxon and America obviously had to happen!

(spoiler show)


Overall, The One is a fairy tale ending and a dramatic book if you’re hoping to read this! It is once again, as I say for every book, a fluffy book. I wasn’t sure how it would wrap up, but it was addicting. I will, once again say: you want something nice, fluffy, and quick to read? Pick this series up!


Thanks for reading my review guys, and hope you all have a great day! :D

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review 2015-07-26 00:00
Make Good Art
Make Good Art - Chip Kidd,Neil Gaiman Reced by
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review 2015-03-17 12:11
N0S4A2 - Not for me, thanks
NOS4R2 - Joe Hill

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 3
boobs: 2
bombs: 2
bondage: 2
blasphemy: 3
Stars: 2.5
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I DNF'd at 58%. The last third of what I read I was literally going chapter by chapter, looking for a reason to keep going. I never got a specific reason to stop the book - Instead, I got to a point where I realized if I'm trying this hard to find something engaging I'm clearly not having much fun. I started the book with really high hopes from all the great reviews I've seen, I really liked the premise and eventually I developed a bit of a crush on the main character Vic McQueen. Overall, though, the characters felt like they hardly have any interiority - they existed to effect each other, but did very little to affect themselves. The only character who is making things happen is the Bad Guy. It's like a pool table - there's only one cue ball, the rest of the balls just react to what it does.

This book is way too wordy. With some proper editing, this could've been cut down to a shortish novel sized book and I'dve finished it and given it more stars. But it wasn't. It's not quite as bad as Robert Jordan, but very nearly. One example that had me WTFing out loud was the story of a night time security guard (think "red shirt") at a hospital. The salient part of the plot is that Bad Guy is going to make a move from point A to point B through the hospital. The part we get to read about is a whole backstory on the nighttime security guard, the intimate details of the sexual relations he has with one of the nurses, and his troubled relationship with his uncle and supervisor. I don't need to know all this, and if the author just wanted to drop in some prurient sex he could've done us the favor of at least writing explicit sex scenes. The whole book is full of pages of unnecessary backstory and color that are all well crafted, but so irrelevant they each detract from my enjoyment of the book.

But so many opportunities to provide meaningful and subtle dimension to the characters were skipped. The most glaring example that comes to mind is Vic's tattoos - she's got a number of them, and even did a sleeve after coming out of rehab. What images did she choose? Where did she put them? Who did the tats? At one point, we find out she has a picture of a V6 over her heart. Sure thing dear author, don't strain yourself too hard with that one ok? Otherwise, there's no mention of them other than to illustrate that she could be considered a harlot by people who don't know any better.

While there's way too much pontificating about irrelevant people and places, the foreshadowing is as blatant as young kids' lies. You can see it happening - somebody does something with something, and it's like it's lit up under a spotlight: "This Thing Will Be Important To The Plot Later". Yawn. Please, challenge me - surprise me and make me think. If I wanted to vegetate, I'd watch TV. "The Walking Dead" also uses too many words to scarcely advance it's plot, so an author needs to give me a better reason to read their book instead of crushing all over Danai Gurira. Related to this, we find out that the "find my iPhone" app can tell you when the device in a magical alternate reality - and even draw a map of the whole territory. Seriously? What is the name of the trope where the Magic Amulet solves all the problems and advances the plot through all the gooey Character Development and straight into Final Battle?

A major part of our heroine's makeup is her alcoholism. This is a topic near and dear to me as I have 6yrs+ sober. Her addiction was handled as a plot complication but I never got to know about her struggle and how it evolved her. Also, just out of a 30 day rehab and she's "working on her 8th step". I'm not an expert on 12 step programs; my sobriety takes a different path but I know from years of exposure that it takes many months of sobriety before someone is ready to do that work. This was yet another example of the author using traits without showing the proper research. To be fair to him, though, I see this all too often in books, tv and movies - recovery isn't portrayed well by people who haven't been through it. I looked up the author to see if I could find anything regarding his own experience with addictions and I discovered this he's the son of Stephen King. This explains everything; it seems clear to me that he learned how to write best sellers from his dad, and also picked up some of his dad's bad habits. He no doubt watched his father go into recovery and learned the lingo that way.

This is a very pretty book, a very easy to digest book, but it just doesn't have any impact. I'm writing this conclusion about a week after I gave up on it and I'm struggling to remember anybody interesting except Vic McQueen, who got shortchanged by the lack of character development. It's not particularly horrific, it's not particularly interesting and all but one of the characters aren't memorable. It is well written with a superior command of the language, but if I were the editor I would have sent it back for a couple more revisions. Overall, it feels like way too many pages of phoned-in filler.


EDIT: And once I post it, I suddenly remember who the Bad Guy reminded me of: His look and mannerisms are a total ripoff from Vincent Cassell's character in Sheitan.

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review 2015-03-04 18:59
*Natural* Apocalyptic Montessa and *Born* Nuclear Lulu *Killers*
Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love - Mercedes M. Yardley,K. Allen Wood

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 5
boobs: 2
bombs: 2
bondage: 5
blasphemy: 5
Stars: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: PASS (in spirit if not the letter)
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

Natural Born Killers is one of my favorite movies. This story covers exactly the same emotional territory though not as deeply and doesn't make any greater comments about society's use of media for it's vicarious bloodsports. I also felt a strong resemblance to Kutter, but AM&NL is a much better read. This just a cute little love story about two special people fated to meet each other, fall in love, and end their lives together in a blaze of glory. It's written at what I'd consider a YA level of vocabulary and complexity, but I suppose it's probably inappropriate for younger readers (I'm not a very good judge of these things).  It's not a long story - it only took me a couple of short sittings to read it. As romance goes, this is the sort of romance I like, it's twisted, dark and gory. No explicit sex though, and that's a drawback that's worth at least a star. I was also hoping for more gore since killing is what brings these two people together, and I think opportunities to show them growing together were skipped over in a few scenes. It felt like a bit of fearfulness on the author's behalf, like she pulled back a little from truly committing herself to following the characters where they wanted to go.

It's hard to write an in-depth review of a short novella. Especially this one, as it's really all about atmosphere and mood rather than plot and character. We know the characters before the story starts, we know their arcs, and the setting really doesn't matter. To make a musical analogy, Natural Born Killers is like Psyclon 9's Parasitic and Atomic Montessa and Nuclear LuLu is like Mr. Kitty's Time. AM&NL is a good story and I see why it won the awards it has. I like what it does and where it goes, but I just wish it were more explicit. Readers with more delicate sensibilities will probably like it more than I did.

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review 2015-02-11 18:29
Neuromancer - Can a book be one of your best friends?
Neuromancer - William Gibson

I've felt like I've been in a bit of a reading rut lately. It feels like I've been unimpressed by most of the books I've read lately, but I've been getting my recommendations from the same sources and following the same due-diligence procedures as I have in the past. I refuse to believe books are getting worse - while there are many more shitty books being produced then in years past, there are also more good books being produced recently as well. Therefore the most likely culprit for my malaise is myself. Have my tastes changed without my realization? Has my tolerance for anything less than completely amazing shrunk? Am I just generally grumpy and upset and taking it out on my readings?

When the going gets tough, the tough reassess their datum. So I reread Neuromancer for the umpteenth time last week. I don't even know how many times I've read it - at least three dozen times is a rational guess. I read it the first time as a wee lad when it first came out and it completely blew me away. This was back in the days when email addresses used exclamation points instead of ampersands, a megabyte was an unfathomably huge chunk of storage, and the nascent internet held all the promise of a bright and glorious future of an interconnected humanity sharing their science, hopes and dreams. We've come to an interconnected first world sharing pictures of cats, so I guess the dream isn't totally destroyed yet - but I digress.

Neuromancer has spoken to me throughout my life: as a troubled teen, an aimless young adult, an alcoholic adult and a sober middle aged person different parts of the book have syncopated with my thoughts and feelings and not provided answers as much as provided a language for mapping my internal spaces. The way the setting unfolds from every character's position like a tesseract designed by a technofetishist doing rails of coke the size of Sharpies, how every character is filled with loneliness and wrapped in fear but is searching for a way to accommodate their need for companionship resonates with me in a way I can't describe without sounding like a ridiculous fanboy. Which I am, to be honest, but I'll spare us all the details.

So, yeah, I reread my all time most favorite book to see if I'd changed unbeknownst to myself. It turns out I haven't. If anything I appreciate it more as I grow older. I don't look up to Case and Molly like I used to; I don't want to be them or imagine myself living their life (ok, maybe a little...) but instead I think I can appreciate them more as characters that live their own lives separate from me. Even as my relationship with Case, Molly, Finn, Dixie, Wintermute and Rio evolve the world they live in is familiar and comfortable as a well worn blanket, a safe haven of lawless bright lights and technomagic.

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