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review 2015-09-30 14:22
The Alchemist’s Memory - Katie Gatto

This book really feels disjointed. The protagonist, Callia, seems to flip-flop on if she hates her brother or if she doesn't and in one scene goes to kill him only "Nope", and of course he gets the upper hand.


The whole book is about her brother controlling her and she more or less dances to his tune even though it's said she doesn't want to or won't. Trigger warning for incest and the brother wants her romantically and is of course the jealous type.

The story also seems to start out in the most random place, with her in the woods having fallen or something? It never really gets explained and a large portion of this book is never explaining things. Also the world building is non-existant. There are just names of people and about two places mentioned. It's not even explained how the king had usurped anyone in the first place or what he had done to deserved to be re-ursurped.


Overall it lacks a lot of world building and characterization. Not only that it just seems to end. More or less on a cliffhanger and considering how short it is. It really could have used more.


Not to mention the casual misogyny of "I'm not like those other fluff headed girls" when she's talking about the count. The constant controlling of Callia by her brother and her more or less liking it? Not liking it? Being a confused woman the whole time.


Another thing was that this was hard to read as the MOBI I got was double spaced and it had huge margins making it look more like poetry (it's not). I had to convert it to a better spaced EPUB. Other technical things in the book are a lot of typos. Mixed names, such as Erdan supposed to be speaking but it's attributed to Drew. Mixed genders, Drew is referred to by 'she' when he has up until this point be 'he' and afterwards is 'he'. Some words that are mixed, 'and' instead of 'an'. Some words that are missing, such as '..he had gone' and there's only 'had gone' and it really needed the 'he' there.

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review 2015-08-23 22:20
Awoken - Serra Elinsen

The best book for the worst in YA!

Only it really failed to be THE WORST after my recent read. I honestly was liking the book as I was reading it and it got touching in parts. The end climax however got silly in parts with the repetition of words. However overall it's a good "worst" book. It could have been more horrible in parts, so that was very lacking. I mean if you are going to be racist, don't half-ass it. The misogyny was almost non-existant. We had Epistola that was the promiscuous scorned woman and Andi was the insignificant female to her might man man. Past that however I didn't see enough girl hate, super blatant racism, nor horrible domestic abuse that is "sooo romantic".


Still it was an enjoyable read and it certainly needs a movie!

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review 2015-04-16 19:37
Review: The Duke of Andelot by Delilah Marvelle
The Duke of Andelot (School of Gallantry) - Delilah Marvelle,Jenn LeBlanc

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is the triumphant conclusion to Delilah Marvelle’s excellent School of Gallantry series, but like the other books before it, it can easily be read as a standalone, even if you don’t know who everyone is in the lovely epilogue. I myself came into this series with book 4, NIGHT OF PLEASURE, and since then have enjoyed going back and discovering the stories running concurrently with all the others.

As the final book of the series, THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is somewhat different from the rest in that the bulk of its story takes place decades earlier. In it we learn how the notorious Madame de Maintenon found her own true love, only to lose him, perhaps forever, to the chaos of the French Revolution. Before she was the toast of Paris and London, she was merely Thérèse, the butcher’s daughter, tramping through the countryside on her way to her beloved cousin Remy and his small Paris theater. When a threatening highwayman turns out to be Gérard, a highly placed aristocrat on his way to attempt an improbable rescue of his beloved godfather, Thérèse is attracted to him, but skeptical of his motives. As their journey continues, their love for each other grows as quickly as the danger they both face while the Revolution speeds toward its predestined conclusion.

I’ll admit that when I first started reading, I was disappointed to begin in the past, with only my knowledge that this was Madame de Maintenon’s story to keep me from immediately losing interest. But once Thérèse and Gérard find themselves completely in love with each other, I was thoroughly hooked. And by the time they each must make the decisions they need to stay alive, I was awash in tears which lasted all the way to the short but satisfying epilogue which tied up the whole series in joy. Even the small repetitive parts (for those familiar with the previous books) couldn’t keep me from wallowing with glee in the Happy Ever After for the woman who had brought so many to others before her and the one man worthy of her love. THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is a satisfying historical romance for anyone who loves a happy ending that’s merely delayed, not denied.

Source: mharvey816.mh2.org/?p=804
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review 2014-12-30 20:15
Halfway Home
Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan - Christine Mari Inzer

Halfway Home is an utterly charming, very slim, self-published graphic novel. The author-illustrator, Christine Mari Inzer, a senior in high school, was just shy of sixteen when she spent eight weeks with her maternal grandparents in a small city outside of Tokyo. Because it's more travel-diary than memoir, this would be an excellent book to give to a young person visiting Japan for the first time.


Chock full of loving drawings of food, clothing, and tourist destinations, Inzer perfectly captures what it's like to be a teenager in a new place--a place she feels both connected to and foreign in. The beauty here is in her ability to home in on adolescent minutiae that an adult might mistakenly gloss over, but which reveal the subtly observant way teens understand the world around them...by analyzing their own immediate reaction to it, and their place in it, as if they were as important as the scenery itself. Thus, for example, most of her time at the Zen garden of the temple of Ryoan-ji--a spot that's supposed to allow you to transcend the physical world and achieve a more enlightened level--is spent worrying about how distractible her mind is, and how she must be meditating wrong, how she can only find thirteen of the fifteen rocks (you're supposed to be able to see fourteen from any given angle), and "What language are those tourists speaking? It must be French." This is a bright, funny, and engaged girl, experiencing new kinds of beauty, joy, and loneliness for the first time, and letting us tag along with her.


Am I cutting her some slack for being a teenager? Yes, of course (but only a little is necessary, since this book is great for what it is). The art in Halfway Home is sweet and accurate and at times confident, but somewhat primitive, and there are moments when she unnecessarily explicates themes that we can already see in the text and illustrations. In the hand-written introduction, for example, she says, "The title refers to my somewhat feeling half at home in both Japan and America, being born to parents of both countries," perhaps not trusting that the entire book already conveys that idea. A photo of a vending machine on the verso faces her illustration of a similar vending machine on the recto, making the photo unnecessary. (This happens a few times, for instance with the Temple of the Golden Pavilion and the Gate of Asakusa, which her drawings render well enough without including photos. However, in some instances the photographs enhance the drawings and make a curious event more real, like the Condomania building and the pillar at Nara.) The book is also kinda slight for eleven bucks. 


But then she draws herself on the subway in a page called "The Problem With Japanese Boys," growing comically desperate to catch a handsome boy's eye (LOOK I'M CUTE) while he plays endlessly with his phone, and her beginner mistakes are entirely forgiven. Ms. Inzer already displays the sparks of a sensitive writer, a keen observer, and an artist who knows how to make us feel included. 

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review 2014-08-29 20:16
Book Review: Finding Home by Leighton Rose
Finding Home - Leighton Rose

Few things make me as ragey as parents disowning their children for who they happen to love, or who they are attracted to. Few things make me as ragey as parents not giving their children the unconditional love they are owed.


So, when I opened this book and started reading about Dillon getting on a Greyhound bus the minute he gets his high school diploma, for reason of his asshole stepfather, I was pissed beyond measure and crying for this poor boy, whose entire childhood is marked by neglect, malnourishment and lack of love. I raged helplessly and impotently, and I cried hot tears, knowing that Dillon's fictional story is not so fictional at all for many, many children all over this country. 


But then Dillon gets off the bus in Omaha, and while he protects his heart as best as he knows how, he's not immune against Adam's charm and determination. Even though he tries.


The author did a fabulous job bringing across the pain and fear both Dillon and Adam experienced, even if their stories are not the same. I liked how Dillon keeps himself inside his protective shell, never having learned how to open up, and how Adam keeps trying to get inside this lonely boy's heart, how persistent and stubborn he is.


I really liked the writing in this book, and I was fully immersed in the story from the start. I loved the grandmother who becomes a grandma to Dillon as much as she is Adam's, and I loved the easy flow of the novel from beginning to end. 


As a side note, I don't usually pay much attention to covers, and they don't determine whether I'll read a book or not, but in the case of this book, it was unfortunate that it landed in my lap around the same time as another book with the same two young men on the cover. While this one only shows partial faces, it's still the same stock photo, and that startled me for a moment. 


Anyway, this was definitely worth my time, and it's worth yours as well. Give it a try. 


** I received a free copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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