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review 2016-09-18 02:37
Thoughts: Murder of Crows
Murder of Crows - Anne Bishop

Murder of Crows

by Anne Bishop
Book 2 of The Others



After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them.  As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities.  So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard - Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader - wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard.  Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

First of all:  A lot of things happen in this book.

Second of all:  Not much really happens in this book.

Let me clarify:  Much like the first book in this series, Murder of Crows is extremely enjoyable to me.  But I feel like that is entirely a personal response to some sort of endearing charm bestowed upon this book, the series, and the characters, in general.  Because, to be totally honest, while there DOES seem to be a distinctive main conflict in Murder of Crows, the book itself spends a lot of its time wandering from one subplot to another anecdote to another random banal, everyday occurrence.

Okay.  So it's really hard to explain, but somehow, all put together, the book makes sense to me, even though there were definitely certain side tangents that made absolutely no sense.  And I'm still not entirely sure why they were incorporated.  But somehow, everything manages to tie together into a pretty satisfying book that kept me entertained.

In spite of the very elementary way in which the narration and dialogue is presented, there are a lot of very serious, thought-provoking subjects brought up as well.  I like the idea that the Others and the humans are having such a hard time getting along because neither side is willing to communicate properly with each other.  There's pride in the way, and there's mistrust.  And I like that in the small Lakeside Courtyard, the few humans able to penetrate the trust of the Others have kind of figured this out and hope to build bridges in forwarding the effort for everyone to live in harmony.

This was a pretty big ideal emphasized in the book.  But the way it was presented felt so juvenile that it was hard to take seriously.  As were all the other conflicts going on.

We get to see more of Thaisia, including being introduced to a new set of humans that are, like the cassandra sangue, not normal--they are called Intuits, and they have the ability to "get a feeling" when something is about to happen.  And whenever and Intuit "has a feeling" about something, they are always taken seriously.  It's not exactly prophecy, but it's like a step above normal humans with no paranormal abilities.  And because of this, we get to see (or rather we're told via back story) that these humans were persecuted by the "normal" humans.

The world suddenly adds a few more layers than simply savage Others versus civilized humans.  Because now we get a nice look at the fact that life isn't as simple as that.

Anyway, as I'd stated before in my thoughts on the first book, there's just something strangely attractive about this series that draws me in.  I mean, there's less focus on the main story line and more focus on Meg's and Simon's quest to learn more about each other's respective races, as well as themselves.  Both are going through their own forms of growth and development, which in turn makes this book feel like a young adult or middle grade, contemporary, coming-of-age chick lit piece... that just so happens to take place in a dark, twisted world of evil humans and man-eating shifters and the idea of "benevolent ownership" of another human being.

It's twisted and sweet in it's own way.  Again, more layers to the world.

I like all the characters, though it's hard to keep track of them.  I like the whole ideal behind this alternate reality's creation and the present day world.  I love the character interactions.  And even some of the conflicts brought up have a lot of potential to expand upon.

But the book is just written in such a juvenile manner that I'm sure many people would have a problem with it.  Aside from that, the book is also 80% "The Day in the Life of Our Meg" with some other newsworthy happenings going on every few scenes (written in a slightly "Breaking News" type format).  This, I'm sure, could get boring for many people... unless you're like me and have already fallen in love with the entire ordeal before you realize that nothing has actually happened in this series save Meg winning over the entire Courtyard of Others by being a sweet childish Mary Sue... and being really good at sorting mail.

Oh yes.  And there's a lot of bloodshed and apparently a war brewing in the background.  Or something like that.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
2016 Halloween Bingo




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/09/thoughts-murder-of-crows.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-08-31 13:00
Brief, Final Thoughts: Endsinger
Endsinger - Jay Kristoff


by Jay Kristoff
Book 3 (final) of The Lotus War trilogy


**This is the last book in the series.  The summary blurb and review will contain material that gives away pertinent information from previous books.  Continue at your own risk, or skip this review until you've read all books.


The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium.  With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear.  With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.

Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers.  But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies.  When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away.  Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes.  Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light.  And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.

There is nothing a mother won't do to keep her children by her side.


I'm finally done.  This last concluding book of The Lotus War trilogy was more enjoyable to read than the previous book, Kinslayer, but not by much.  The dramatics just keep rolling in, and I might have skimmed a lot of the last few chapters.

Anyway, I really don't know what else to say about this book, and this series in general, except that I'm kind of relieved I'm done with the trilogy.

It's not a terrible series, but it really just wasn't for me.  Aside from the hot mess that was Kinslayer, I think the rest of the trilogy really just suffered from being a bit over-hyped.  Yes, it's very creative and imaginative.  Kristoff really is quite creative and imaginative.  His writing is excellent if only he didn't get so carried away with words and details to the point of redundancy.  A lot of this book felt like it was quite unnecessary, which made the book feel long just for the sake of being long.

But overall, it could have been a very enjoyable book, minus all the dramatics.  Though I suppose some people go for that--I'm not one of them.

On a side note, there were probably two characters I really liked in this entire story: Hana and Michi.  But both of these girls kind of get cheated in their endings, so I don't know how to feel about that.

The romance felt over-dramatic and I honestly could have done without.  As I'd stated in my review of Kinslayer, I don't even remember there being any declarations of love or deep feelings and emotions being thrown around from Stormdancer, but a lot of the chaos really DID hinge on the fact that our main characters were feeling betrayed by people they had "loved," so I'm just going to blow over that one and move on.

Finally, I feel like if there were going to be big dramatics and gory deaths and stuff like that, then Kaori shouldn't have gotten such an easy end.  She was just plain spiteful and mean throughout all three books, and NOTHING about her past history associated with the shogunate--none of those little flashbacks you get about Kaori's life before she was forced to join the rebels--made me feel any more sympathetic about her reasons for being hateful and mean.

But she gets her Happily Ever After™ while everyone else suffers their losses.

She wasn't responsible for much of the chaos, but she didn't do anything to help.  She was hateful and mean because she was a spoiled brat who didn't get her way.  Period.

As for our main triangle-not-quite-triangle... I didn't care for it.  Moving along, I didn't care for the relationship between Yukiko and Buruu much either.  Yes, it's kind of cool, but their thoughts and dialogue got mushy to the point of cringe-worthy cheese, because who talks like that?  I've only seen dialogue like that in badly written romances.

On the other hand, Hana's relationship with Kaiah was actually kind of cool.  Because they didn't have as much cheese in their dialogues with each other.  Even Yoshi wasn't so bad either.  But I never understood the significance of all his side tangents and how they contributed to this overly long story.

And while we were on the subject of dialogue:  The dialogue spoken by the characters were hard to follow.  One moment we're sounding like a fantasy, with awkwardly poetic sentences that remind me of badly translated Asian phrases.  The next moment we have more modern colloquial speech with the back and forth bantering between characters.

The quality was extremely jarring and made it hard to focus... or even take all the tragic darkness of the events in this book very seriously.

So, okay, I guess I could think of more to say about this book than I'd thought.

And on that note, we're turning the page and moving on.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/08/brief-final-thoughts-endsinger.html
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review 2016-08-19 06:30
Dragonmark: A Dark-Hunter Novel (Dark-Hunter Novels) - Sherrilyn Kenyon

I love the Dark Hunter series & with about 27 or so books in the series you're most likely not going to love or like every book. This book felt extremely rushed, was a bit confusing at times & we didn't even get that much on main character Illarion. I don't remember Dragonbane (the last book in this series) very well, but from what I've seen on other sites, this book was basically Dragonbane word for word with a few extra chapters of Illarion. I'm still waiting on Nicks book.

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review 2016-07-11 04:52
Blood Ecstasy - Tessa Dawn

It kills me to say this but, I was really disappointed in this book. I've loved this series so far & I've even come to terms with the lack of sexy times because the story telling has been good. This book though I got bored with & couldn't wait to be finished with it just to be done. I couldn't get on board with the characters. I didn't like Rebecca or her personality. I thought she was a one dimensional character. Julien is supposed to be this badass, alpha, warrior vampire. I didn't find him to be. He had SO SO SO much potential to badass & sexy yet, he wasn't. I first fell in love with this series because I thought it was such a unique & different take on pnr & vampires. Those reasons felt lost in this installment. I also feel like this series needs more sex appeal. These are badass, (supposedly) sexy, dominant, alpha vampires. I want to see more of the sex, more of the dominance & more conflict between the Dark Ones & Light Ones. This is now starting to come off as a YA book series.

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review 2016-06-05 15:58
Book Review: Struck
Struck: Phoebe Meadows Book 1 (Volume 1) - Amanda Carlson

*I requested a copy of this book for an honest review.

Phoebe thought New York was dangers, until she gets a glimpse into the life of Asgard.

Phoebe is struck by electricity at her day job at Macy's. She's tossed into the whirlwind world of Asgard and more as the shock was sent to awaken her Valkyrie side. Phoebe comes to grips with crazy notion that the mythological gods and creatures really do exist with a first hand experience of the terrible pain they can inflict. Yet, she finds Fen who helps her at every turn when he doesn't have to. With Fen's help she returns to New York where her and Ingrid were separated, just to learn now she must find her way to the Valkyrie stronghold.

Phoebe is dropped into the dangerous mythical world of Asgard and beings of power to learn about them. Her way through it, is the rough way. By rough I mean painful and deadly. But in all the pain she suffers, she finds one person that helps her. Fenrir the wolf. Fen, as Phoebe has taken to calling him, is trapped in a different world and those wanting Phoebe dead send demons and more after her, drawing the two closer to each other.

Fen... Mmmm. He is a hot catch! Fen sounds delicious but he's also the strength that Phoebe needs at her side too. He's old in human terms but he know much of the Asgard ways and beings. Without knowing it, he's teaching Phoebe about his world as they come across dangers.

I love that Phoebe is an honest person. She's not hiding information from Fen. Well, maybe one piece of information, but that will have to come out. Right? Even if it's not verified yet. Phoebe trusts Fen and doesn't want to lose the one person that's helped her in this crazy new world. I love how Phoebe is determined to keep her friends with her and all are to stay safe. This is a strong will that I find great in a character.

A modern day girl trying to make a living has collided with the mythical world of gods, demi-gods, demons, the hags, and many more powerful creatures. Phoebe is stronger than she ever thought, and will have to fight to not be a victim, and she's determined to do just that. A great story of Phoebe coming to her power but still needing to understand it, but she suffers along the way realizing she is more and can do much more than she thought. She comes across many things and people, but she knows she has much ahead of her to set straight the prophecy that the Norn (the three hags) will do anything to stop, including kill her.

This book is the beginning for Phoebe. She never knew of the mythical world or valkyries, demons, demigods, and more. Her eyes are opened to the world that exists parallel to the one she grew up in. We get to see, with Phoebe, the dangers present and why they want her. This story is Phoebe learning who and what she is, and accepting it to live. I'm curious to see how Phoebe grows in the books to come, now that she finally has seen the truth. I didn't feel as drawn to Phoebe in this book, but I wasn't turned off either. I liked what a saw and I'm wanting to see it grow with each book. We have a cast of characters that have their own troubles and complications that could conflict with each other, but they have knowledge and power between them that will come in handy.

The action that Amanda is known for writing is present in this book as well! There are terrible troubles at every turn that Phoebe has to face, along with decisions to make. If you enjoy Amanda's Jessica McClain series, you'll love this one too!

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