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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-06 11:49
Crooked Kingdom
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Love love love this book. I'm completely devastated there's only 2! I want so much more!

On another note, while I am going to rate this book 5 stars because it was spectacular I did notice during a moment that should have been heart-breaking I was feeling fairly 'meh' about it emotionally. 

 

SPOILER BELOW - not at all annoying that it's not working.

 

 

Apparently I didn't connect with Mattias all that much. Leading up to it I was pretty concerned, but once it actually happened I think I felt more like 'ohhh... oh well' not the best reaction. Personally I think he was the safe choice when it comes to maximum emotional fuckery, Jesper or Inji would be the better choice if Bardugo really wanted to devastate her readers. In saying that I'm so glad the author chose Mattias instead! Haha mean I know but if one had to be sacrificed I choose him too.

 

(spoiler show)

             

 

4.5-5 stars

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review 2016-08-31 05:03
The Iron Duke - My Thoughts
The Iron Duke - Meljean Brook

A rather enjoyable read, even if it was at times a tad ridiculous.

The only way I think I could have enjoyed this more is if some sections (not many) were rewritten in a less confusing manner, this includes some characters I found impossible to keep track of. The 2nd thing being the main male character was a pretty big douche, if he had been more likable I might have rated this book higher. Still kudos to Brook because in the end I was rooting for him and Mina, so I obviously started liking him somewhere throughout the book. Credit for this is mainly because Mina liked him and the chick is pretty amazing, and partly because he admired her for her intelligence and wit above everything else. So he was a complete unlikable monster. Plus I'll admit the banter between the two MC's was hilarious, without going into dimwit land, which I appreciate. I'm glad there were 2 POVs otherwise I don't think this story could have been pulled off with just one. Although I could have lived without the chapter worth of sex scene's, good on you guys for discovering your genitalia, the rest of us don't need to be as invested in it as you guys are.

Overall an entertaining read. The world, politics, bugger concerns, plus the female MC made this book. I am a little confused about what an actual Horde looks like, and at the beginning of the book I was beyond lost when referencing to buggers and Hordes but soon enough I was fascinated by the unusual world, their strange hierarchy and found myself quickly immersed within the pages.

Highly anticipating book 2!

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review 2016-07-30 18:07
Kissing Madeline by Lex Martin
Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3) - Lex Martin

Third book in the Dearest series, Kissing Madeline reads like a mash-up of the two first books. There's the bland heroine, the duchy hero, a plot revoling around sex, a mystery that is no mystery at all, some casual sexism and slutshaming, but let's take it from the start.

Madeline, the heroine, walks in on her boyfriend sleeping with another woman. Madeline breaks it off and decides to focus (even more) on her job. When she moves in with Sheri, she is now the neighbour of Daren, a Heisman trophy winner. They've met before thanks to mutual friends. Sheri suggest Madeleine should go out with Daren.

“At least let me introduce you two before some slussy gets her hooks into him.”


Instead, Madeline (literally) runs into Daren during one of her work outs. With Madeline not wanting a relationship, she and Daren soon decides on a friends with benefits relationship, but maybe one of them, or both even, wants more.

This story is basically about Maddie and Daren hooking up while wanting more. There is no plot. Well, there is some stuff on Maddie's work, but it's so insignificant in the long run, and around 80% there is (again, like in the first book) a poor attempt at mystery. It doesn't help that both Maddie and Daren are such boring characters. He's somewhere in the middle between the previous two heroes in this series: a bit douchey an casually sexist, Gavin, and all out sexist misogynist, Jax. Daren falls right in the middle. His character had so much potential: he has a connection to Clem form the first book, in the fact that he cheated on her in high school, and for the past years have been dating a woman that has, by all means, treated him badly. Instead he's another in a long line of poorly developed new adult heroes. He says/thinks things like:

"I’m fine with needing to convince you that you like when I touch you."

He’s been bitchy all week, and I’ve been tempted to ask if he needs tampons.

And Maddie is definitely not a fuck-and-forget kind of girl.


You know, usual new adult hero bullshit.

This book had potential. It could've explored the sexism Maddie has to put up with at her job (it could've explored the way female journalists/tv-presenters are treated), Daren coming to terms with his past and the moral struggles, it could've explored the friends with benefits better. It could've done so much more, much better. Instead it remains in the land of typical new adult, filled with weak plots, sexism, unhealthy relationships and heroes, the virginal heroine and the negative look upon sexuality.

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review 2016-07-27 20:05
Finding Dandelion by Lex Martin
Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2) - Lex Martin

Tropes: 24

“See, there are happily ever afters. Even for assholes like me.”


This quote sums up the entire book. Because, even after everything, the hero is still an asshole.

Finding Dandelion is the second book in the Dearest series, and this time the story focuses on Jax, the heroine from the first book's brother, and Dani, one of the roommates (of the previous heroine's). The second book, much like the first, falls due to its lack of character development and a lack of plot.

Jax meets Dani at a party, unaware that Dani is his sister's new roommate, and Dani is unaware that Jax is her new roommate's brother. Dani, feeling betrayed after her recent breakup decides she's willing to hook up with someone. They see each other at the party and are drawn to each other. When Dani uses Jax to avoid confrotnatoin with her ex, they make out and it soon turns into more. They are interrupted before they go "all the way", and the next time Dani meets Jax, he seems to have no memory of them ever meeting. After hearing Clem, Jax's sister, comment on the girls Jax usually hooks up with, Dani is horrified and doesn't want to be "one of those girls", and says nothing to Jax or Clem. But Jax is attracted to Dani, is intrugied by her, and simply can't get her out of his head. And so their story begin.

Just like the first book, there is basically no plot. It's all focused on how Jax is in constant heat and wants Dani. The other part of the time (Dani's POV) is all about not wanting to be "one of those girls", of still wanting Jax, and not being sure why Jax doesn't appear to remember their night together. It doesn't help that for the first 30% of the book, the author, for some reason, felt the need to rehash part of the first book, with no alteration (apart from being in Jax's and Dani's heads). It adds absolutely nothing to the plot, if anything, it's confusing to the overall story. What did it matter? Why did it matter? It didn't. The story should've started somewhere around the 30% mark, and not sooner. (Of course, the initial meeting could've been there, but it could've replaced the utterly useless prologue this book does have.)

Back to the characters: here's how remembarable they are. I had to look up Dani's name (even though it's hinted at in the title). I had to go through all my updates (and notes) to remember her personality (which she has none). I couldn't even remember what the "big misunderstanding" was. I couldn't remember the part with her mother (which, honestly, is more due to the writing being unable to provoke a single emotion). What my updates (and notes) reminded me was that Dani is a hypocrite. She's sexist. She looks down on women who engages in causal sex.

The girl who grew up watching old Madonna videos wants to embrace my sexual freedom and treat last night cavalierly, but the small part of me who someday wants the house, kids and white picket fence knows what I did last night is not how I’ll achieve those ends.


She's catty. She's jealous. She shames the women who so much as looks at Jax. Of course, she herself is virginal, but the of course changes when she get's a taste of the hero's junk.

That would be the alien who took over my body and turned me into a sex-craved maniac.


Though, even if Dani had been a memorable character, had some personality, the love interest alone is able to drag this book down to one star.

I think if I fuck her, I’ll somehow tarnish her. Because that’s all this’ll be, sex in a dark club, and she’s not the kind of girl I want to use and abuse for one night.


He's lovely, isn't he? Jax is a sexist, misogynist asshole. He admits himself that he's an asshole. He has zero character development. He sexist in the beginning, he's sexist in the end. He shames women in the beginning, he shames them at the end. In his world, there are two types of women: women for sex, and women to marry (kinda).

She’s pretty in a been-there-done-that sort of way.


Women are to use for a man's pleasure. Because girls should learn to please a man in school, whether they want to or not.

Not every girl is good at giving head, but it’s something that should be taught in school along with making pancakes.


The worst part is that there is no reason for Jax to see women this way. Sure, his mother was absent, but he had a sister who was nothing like her mother. He had onegirlfriend in the past who treated him badly. Still, it does not excuse why he'd grow up to view women this way. So, basically, he's just an asshole for no reason. The fact that he uses abuse (see quote above) when thinking about sex says a lot about his view on women (and sex). And, as said, Jax is never called out on it, and he has the same personality throughout the book. Of course, Dani is the exception, the special snowflake that can tame this beast.

Just like in the first book, the friends are not friends. For one thing, we have Jenna (from the first book) spilling secrets all over the place without telling her supposedly best friend. She spills the secret to (practically) a stranger. We have Travis, the stereotypical gay best friend, whose purpose is to push Dani to meet guys.

Basically, this book suffers the same issues the first on did: poor character development, weak plot, sexism, and shaming. The first book I said that the writing was good, decent. In this, there's no emotion provoked by the writing, it's repetitive, and at times awkward.

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review 2016-07-14 18:09
Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag
Beautiful Americans - Lucy Silag

From the blurb: Pretty Little Liars meets My So-Called Life in this story of four American teens in Paris and the scandals that haunt each of them. Given that I have zero experience with My So-Called Life and just a minimum of Pretty Little Liars - gave up after watching the first season, haven't read the books - I'd like to say this: Beautiful Americans is basically Gossip Girl minus the money, and set in France. It's the same bratty, woe-is-me characters living it up in France, never considering there might be consequences for their actions.

Some basic plot: Alex, PJ, Olivia, and Zach, four high school students are spending a year studying in France. Alex is moving away from her mother to the country in which her parents met, and where her father now lives. She's spoiled, whiny, and wants everything to be like the movies. Olivia is the dancer who hopes this trip will help her get into college (the same college her boyfriend attends), but she's leaving her family back in the States, and she struggles especially with leaving her autistic brother behind. Zach comes from a small(ish) town where he feels the need to hide his sexual orientation (gay), and hopes a year in France will help him find himself, or at least live out his desires. PJ is running from something, something unknown to the reader for most part of the story. She doesn't know where her sister is, and she isn't in contact with her parents. These four people form relationships, some stronger than others.

There's no solid plot here except for PJ's, and it's a secret almost until the end (it's a cliffhanger, by the way). Most of the story is Alex and Zach living it up in France, drinking wine, partying, gossiping about boys. Olivia joins them sometimes whenever she isn't doubting herself and all her (or her parents') plans. PJ, who is the most interesting (which isn't saying much, trust me), is barely in the story at times. Instead we're stuck with Alex, who's biggest issue is when her American Express Card is declined because her mother decides to cut her off since Alex has spent almost all her money after a few months. Then there's also the instance where Alex sexually harasses a boy, but since she's a girl, it isn't portrayed for what it is. 

Alex climbs into a guy's bed while he's asleep. She does this more or less naked, and while he's still asleep, starts rubbing up against him. It's played off as some unfortunate event or a joke, but reverse the situation: Alex being a boy and climbing into a girl's bed, and there would be no joking about it.

(spoiler show)

 

The characters aren't well fleshed out due to the fact that there are four different POVs. They get about 80 pages each, which is far too little to make these characters stand out as individuals; it's sometimes hard to tell them from each other. Alex was the least interesting character, but everyone treats her like the special snowflake that she is. Olivia should've had a bigger role, explore her sense of guilt and also liberation in being away from her family, of not having the pressure breathing down her neck at all hours. PJ's story should've moved faster (and not use it as a cliffhanger). Zach, unfortunately, is stereotypical and his presence in the book feels more like he's only there to fill up some non-straight characters quota.

All in all, it's a good idea for a story, with four young confused people struggling, but the execution makes it come off as some poor soap opera with bratty and spoiled kids gossiping, partying, and only caring for themselves with a single thought about consequences.

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