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review 2020-05-14 21:29
A Touch of Gold
A Touch of Gold - Annie Sullivan

I waffled on 2 or 3 stars, but honestly I was bored out of my mind for the most part while reading this, so 2 stars it is. I liked the idea of a story focusing on King Midas's daughter, but everything with the pirates, the power of her touch, etc. just dragged. I think the world building could have been better (we hear about Dionysus, but what about the other gods) and also Kora's supposed power. The romances felt pretty weak too. 

 

"A Touch of Gold" tells the story of what happened to King Midas after he got the power to turn things to gold. Hugging his daughter he turns her to gold. When he begs Dionysus for help, he is told to wash everything into the ocean/sea (I can't remember) and do it for everything that he turned to gold. King Midas does, and he restores his daughter Kora back to living flesh. However, he forgets a few items and is cursed forever, she is too, she is a golden maiden brought to life. Ten years later we follow Kora as she has another potential groom paraded in front of her. When she finally thinks she has met someone who can stand to be around her, her father's gold is stolen which leaves him incapacitated. Kora and her cousin Hettie go on a wild adventure to save Kora's father and the kingdom.

 

I did like Kora, I just wish we had spent more time with her before we find her as a young adult and then dealing with her mooning a bit over the first of the two romantic potentials in this book. She did get more interesting as a character towards the end though. Her cousin Hettie was a delight and I think this would have been a 5 star book if it focused on her. 

 

The two romantic heroes were blah. Sorry, I didn't like either of them though the twist with one of them I did not see coming. 


The writing was a bit off for me since the dialogue was dry. I just needed something more going on there. I just needed more thing to be happening besides Kora reading a diary, feeling romantic, and eavesdropping. 

 

 

The setting of the book really didn't feel like it took place in one of the Greek myths I read as a kid. It's weird that at times the book read as modern or in another part of the world other than where King Midas's story was drawn from which I think is considered modern day Asia Turkey. 

 

The ending leaves a potential wrinkle in Kora's future which is why I assume there is a second book in this series. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-24 06:23
Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag
The Sisters Grimm - Menna van Praag

***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Harper Voyager!***

 

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I mean, look at it. It is probably one of the most gorgeous book covers that I have ever seen. Then the title. The Sisters Grimm. Immediately my mind is drawn to fairy tales. I love fairy tales. And I love fairy tell re-tellings. But this book is a perfect example of a good idea that got beaten to death with poor writing and poor execution.

 

***SPOILER ALERT: Be aware, this is a spoilery review. The ranty ones typically are.

 

 

The basic idea of this book is that a demon (Wilhelm I think his name was) has fathered thousands of sisters Grimm on earth. I am not sure if this is metaphysical thing or a biological thing, but some of the daughters have mothers who are also Grimm sisters. So, ew, I imagine at some point in the history of this world we had some incest. As children, the Grimm sisters can come and go from “Everywhere”, a magical forest, as they please. But as they age they forget this place until about a month before their 18th birthday, which is when they start to remember and get their powers back. Wilhelm also has soldiers, who are transformed into babies from stars (WTF?), and their life’s mission is to kill Grimm sisters on their 18th birthdays. Then something about the Grimm sisters who survive have to choose good or evil and then their father kills them if they choose good and then….well, the author didn’t both to tell me what happens then.

 

That was my first big problem with this book. Despite being 400 pages long, the author didn’t bother to explain anything to me. I have no idea how the world works, how the magic works, why things are this way, or what the rules are. I am not even clear on what the sisters’ powers are. Scarlet can start fires, Liyana can telepathically listen in on other people’s minds, Bea can transform things with her mind. And I have no idea what Goldie can do except mentally tell people what to do and they sometimes listen. And all of them have other powers that randomly appear and don’t seem to relate to anything else they can do, at all.

 

Since we’re talking about the girls, let’s talk about how utterly devoid of personality all of them are. I honestly could not tell the difference between any of them until someone used their name or until Bea or Liyana would occasionally throw in a non-English word into an otherwise entirely English conversation….seemingly in order to remind me that they were the book’s representation of other ethnicities and cultures.

 

Now let’s talk about the technicals of the writing. It was bad. It was the single most confusing book that I have ever read. There are SO MANY narrators. Everywhere (yes the forest is a narrator), Goldie, Scarlet, Bea, Liyana, Leo, Wilhelm, Liyana’s aunt….and I am pretty sure there were a few others in there that I’m forgetting too. Between these narrators, some of them are told in first person, some in second person, and some in third person. And the narrator changes approximately every page and a half. With me so far? Now let’s throw in some chapters in the past for some extra fun so that we have past tense, present tense, and future tense. It was so difficult to read. It gave me a headache when I actually tried to concentrate on who was speaking and what time period we were in.

 

I also don’t appreciate what the author did to poor Vali. He was a nice guy. And despite the book’s message of empowerment, all Bea did was belittle the poor guy. She called him fat, called him all sorts of other names, made fun of him for being a virgin and then ultimately killed him! Then she has the nerve to get upset about him dying because she didn’t mean to. Way to go Bea, you bullied him to death. The author did him dirty and I am still mad about it.

 

I finally gave up on this book after 245 pages. My brain couldn’t handle it anymore and I found that I really didn’t care how it ends. Leo is not going to kill Goldie, Goldie will probably choose good. Liyana and Scarlet will probably die because they were entirely expendable in the rest of the book so why not? And Bea will probably live and choose evil. Or maybe all four of them survive and choose good in order to challenge their father. But really, who cares? The author hasn’t made me care about their upcoming battle or told me why the outcome matters, so why should I spend any more of my time finding out?

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review 2020-03-16 19:17
Recipe for Persuasion
Recipe for Persuasion - Sonali Dev

Please not that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 

 

Trigger warnings: Rape 

 

I loved the first book in this series so much. Sonali Dev did a great job with retelling Pride and Prejudice and with her next re-telling I went, oh no. No. No. This book was too all over the place. Reading the description you think you would be focused on the heroine (Ashna Raje) and the hero (Rico Silva) but nope, we also get into Ashna's mother's life prior to her marrying Ashna's father. I ended up being more fascinated about her life than what went on with Ashna. No one was developed very well due to the flopping back and forth. And honestly, I didn't like the final resolution with Ashna. I still don't think she's passionate about being a chef. I wish that she had acknowledged that and did something else. FYI, the book does quote Persuasion, but even my favorite line ever in the history of literature was enough to save this book. 

 

"Recipe for Persuasion" follows Ashna Raje. Ashna is running her late father's business, "Curried Dreams." Too bad the business is about to fail. Unable to cook anything besides her father's recipes, Ashna is not able to do much in the kitchen. When her sous chef quits she doesn't know what she will do. When her cousins nag her to do a celebrity cooking show, she thinks she may have figured out how to save her father's restaurant. 

 

Rico Silvia is recovering from a career ending sports injury. He is celebrating his best friend's upcoming wedding. During that, he starts to realize that his latest relationship ended because he didn't let himself fall in love. And he realizes he didn't because of his first love who turned him away. When Rico hears about Ashna being in a celebrity cooking show, he makes sure that he appears on the show as her partner. 

 

The third character in this book is Ashna's mother, Shobi. Shobi was married to the former prince (Bram Raje). We slowly find out how awful the marriage was and how Shobi's life turned out the way it did. She wants to get closer to Ashna, but doesn't know how. 

 

I have to say that Ashna bored me and got on my nerves. She blindly ignores everything she knows about her father and then somehow gets a realization about things. Girl you should have been woke up. We find out that she used to love sports (just like her mother) until she didn't and why. I wish that Dev had did a bit something different with her in regards to the ending.


Rico was a head scratcher. I honestly didn't get why he was into Ashna at all. I think that's the biggest problem I had. Dev writes them as teenagers, but there's nothing there. I saw zero chemistry between them as teens to make them be this decades long love story that just had to get together. I was also perplexed about some of Rico's past, but Dev doesn't delve into it enough. Heck she barely delves into Ashna's all the way through. We just hear things piecemail.


Shobi's backstory was more developed, which pushed me to thinking that this book should have been her story more than Ashna's. It would have set up nicely with a Persuasion type setting. Heck maybe even set it up to be retelling of Mansfield Park. Parts of the book would have worked for that maybe. I don't know. I was just frustrated and saddened when we get the full storyline here. 

 

We get prior characters showing up in this one which was nice, but I found myself caring more about them than Ashna.

 

The writing was solid, the story was not. The flow was awful. Juggling through characters, different time periods and then the present day was too much. 


The ending tied things up in a much too tidy bow to be believed. 

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text 2020-03-16 17:25
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Recipe for Persuasion - Sonali Dev

Woof. I did not like this. I loved Persuasion and this was not good. I think the biggest issue that Dev had this following now only Rico and Ashna. But also Ashna's mother, her aunt, and then the books jumps back and forth to different timelines for all of the characters.

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review 2019-12-31 15:22
A Very Scalzi Christmas - John Scalzi
A Very Scalzi Christmas - John Scalzi

I took my Christmas book credit and spent a tiny bit of it on a Christmas book. In part, because I really like Scalzi and I enjoy rereading him. And also in part because I couldn't get at my other Christmas books this year, which I think left me rather lacking in seasonal cheer. It has been a season of pneumonia (the Spouse) and lethargy with a side of struggle.

For example, after quite a few years of use and storage (more than six, less than fourteen), after carefully cleaning them and reinserting the points that had dropped out, and frankly, after marveling that they had survived so well for so long, this year I managed to break the frames of both of my Moravian stars.

But now is the time of recovery and rest and lying about with a fully stocked refrigerator and many delicious baked goods (ummm, breakfast cake!) and nothing to do for an entire week but eat and read since the university shuts down our whole department from the 23rd through the 2nd.

Yes, so a bunch of short humorous pieces and one absolute tear jerker. It's a good mix. With pictures, too. More books should have pictures.

Usually I don't mark a book Beloved until I've read it at least twice and was delighted both times. In this case I had read all but the three new pieces previously, so I decided to go on and count that.

 

Personal copy 

 

 

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