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review 2016-03-31 22:31
At the Edge of Empire
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire - Daniel Kraus

This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.

The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.

I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.

Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.

I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.

Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.

The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.

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review 2015-12-18 21:49
Sisters of Versaille
The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) - Sally Christie

I stopped reading this mostly because I had to return it to the library since I couldn't renew it but anyway.

I should have technically been able to read this book in a matter of two to three days, it wasn't very long, but it was so boring that I kept finding reasons to NOT read it. I love me some historical fiction, really, I do, but something needs to happen in order to keep my attention throughout the entire book.

Nothing happened in this book. Nothing. At all. Louise had sex with Louis a bunch of times, the two of them fell in love, and then Louis got the hots for her sister and she was heartbroken over it, and it went on. That was pretty much the whole story.

I hated the plot of this story, to be honest I'm not even sure there was any plot to begin with because I sure as hell couldn't see it. The story started off with Louise and we read about how she gets to Versailles and eventually becomes the kings mistress. And I was okay up until the point when she does becomes the kings mistress, and then it just goes down hill from there.

I have to read page after page of Louise fawning over Louis, and how great he was and how sweet, smart, and gentle. Pages of her describing what other people were wearing, and going into detail about the dresses of the ladies, it went on and on. I didn't care. It felt like my brain was leaking out through my ears. I was so happy whenever the story was being told from the point of view of any of the other sisters.

I want to talk about everything that I hated about this story but I can't because nothing happened, there is almost nothing for me to talk about. The pace of it was so slow it could've put me to sleep, which is probably why I read this before going to bed every night.

The characters were almost as uninteresting as the storyline. This book is narrated by five sisters, and you'd think that with five sisters, they'd all have different personalities, but no, they don't. They're all exactly the same, each and every one of them. They have the same voice, the same thoughts, and they're all fake as hell. They're supposed to be sisters but instead they shit talk one another behind each other's back like okay, real strong bond you've got there.

Like I get it, you vent to someone whenever a friend or family member or co-worker does something that upsets you but that wasn't even it, Louise's sisters were just straight up shit talking her.

All of the sisters are so painfully polite and nice to each other whenever they're together, and you know that they're huge fakes because of how they feel when you read the story from their point of view. The only one who actually stood out, was Pauline. Pauline wasn't fake, she was straight forward about what she wanted, and she'd get it. Pauline wanted to be the mistress of the king, Pauline wanted to be the most powerful woman in France, and no one was going to stop her.

Pauline didn't even have to try and replace Louise as the kings favourite because Louise is such a pushover, and so dull that all she did was get out of the way and let Pauline do whatever she wanted. Pauline wasn't kidding when she said Louise was stupid, I thought she was just being a bitch but the girl was right, Louise is stupid.

But I can't even defend Pauline because she dethroned herself in the end so I mean. Marie-Anne was trying to be Pauline except she wasn't very good at it, but this girl probably had the most interesting sex life out of all of them so you know what, power to her. At least Marie-Anne figured out how sex worked and got her husband to do it right.

Honestly, if it didn't have the name of which sister was narrating at the top of every chapter, I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out who was telling the story.

The minor characters were equally uninteresting, and they all had the same personality traits. If you can't have your main characters stand out, then you could at least have one minor character that really stood out, but no. All of the women had the same nasty characteristics, and all the men were trying to kiss the kings ass.

And lastly, the one thing that I felt was extremely unnecessary to this story was the letters that the sisters wrote to each other because they were so dull, and so repetitive, I felt like I was at the beginning of the novel each time I came across one. I ended up skipping all of them altogether because I just didn't care.

For a debut novel, it wasn't bad. It was extremely dull, and the characters were all dull and copies of one another, but the writing itself wasn't bad. That being said though, I would not suggest writing from five different point of views in your debut novel, because even if you think you can make your characters stand out from one another, you probably can't.

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review 2015-11-07 02:48
The World Forgot
The World Forgot - Isla Neal,Martin Leicht

I'll be honest with you, it's been a while since I read this series so I couldn't remember very well what happened in the last book but I remembered the basic storyline of it all once I started reading the last book.

 

My friend actually asked me what I was reading when she saw this book and I honestly didn't know what to tell her. There's just no way to describe this series to someone. A lot had happened and there was just nothing for me to tell her about this book that would make it seem even slightly normal.

 

And to be honest with you, this book isn't normal and I love that about it.

 

It's so out there that I've never read anything like it, I loved how the authors managed to add in humour to the story despite the fact that the characters weren't in very funny situations. Elvie somehow managed to be sarcastic even when she was seconds away from being dead and I loved that about her.

 

It moved at a fast pace so there was never a dull moment and I haven't wanted to yell at characters for a very long time. Especially ducky because the boy couldn't stop throwing up for five seconds. I'm amazed he does barf every time he walks. I don't even really know how he made it through the entire book without dying to be honest with you, he always had his head in the toilet I don't know how he did it.

 

My biggest problem with the series was Elvie's dad and the fact that he was really childish for someone that was an adult. But in this book, you really get to see more of his character, you got to see the fatherly side to him and it was really great. He was always so supportive of Elvie and what she wanted to do, he gave her praise where praise was due, he was a really great dad.

 

Elvie grew up so much as a character as well, she still had the special qualities that made her Elvie, but she was more mature now, she checked herself so many times, she realised when she was doing something that she had promised herself never to become and she became the mother that Zee was never to her.

 

So all in all, I liked this book.

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review 2015-01-02 22:31
Adorkable
Adorkable - Sarra Manning

To be honest with you, the only reason why I bought this book was because I liked the cover and the summary on the back sounded interesting. But I'm glad I did, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

 

If there is one way to sum up Jeane Smith it would be tumblr. Just imagine what tumblr would be like if it was a person and you've got Jeane Smith. She's not afraid to stand up to people or to put it how it is. She's strong, fearless, a little crazy, and hella lonely.

And I just really liked her. I mean sure, I was annoyed that she kept shaming people for wearing and looking how they wanted and for shoving her idea of cool down peoples throats, but that changed in the end.

 

I liked Jeane's sarcasm and her unapologetic attitude, she said what she thought and if someone didn't like it then it really wasn't her problem and I loved that. She didn't back down from her beliefs and she didn't care what people thought of her. She was called ugly so many times but she didn't let that bother her one bit because she liked how she dressed because it made her happy. And you don't see such outspoken female characters in young adult novels these days so Jeane was a treat for me.

 

She and Michael had a little bit of a weird relationship to be perfectly honest with you. The two of them were just all about hurling insults at each other, but I guess that's just how their relationship worked, and they were cool with that (you know, until that screaming match in New York).

 

One of my favourite things about Jeane was that despite how headstrong and loud she was, she was still human, and you got to see that in the end. You got to see Jeane's vulnerability and she fully acknowledges that she's lonely and enjoys being a part of family (just not her own).

 

Michael was okay, he was kind of a huge asshole, and then by the end of the story he's less of a huge asshole but I guess that was his appeal to Jeane. He wasn't a total failure, he was there for her when no one else was and no matter how angry he got with Jeane, he still stuck around to make sure that she was okay.

 

My biggest issue with the novel is the fact that the voices of Michael and Jeane aren't easy to tell apart. Sometimes I would open the book and start reading, and I wouldn't have been able to tell whose point of view the story was being told from because Jeane and Michael sounded so similar.

 

But all in all, I enjoyed it, and I thought it was interesting.

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review 2014-09-28 19:14
Tokyo Heist
Tokyo Heist - Diana Renn

You would think that a story about a girl recovering stolen art to give to a gang boss in Japan would be really interesting and exciting. In theory, it would be, but the reality is that this story was very dry and rather uninteresting.

The things that I loved about this story was the fact that this wasn't set in the United States and that there were so many characters that weren't white people. I loved getting submersed in Japanese culture and learning about certain customs and art, it was really great and the most interesting part of the story.

And then there was the fact that the romance was shoved to the side in this story and the author instead focused on the relationship between Reika and Violet, something that's not often seen in young adult fiction these days.

But my love stops there.

I don't know what it was, but the writing style was just very dry and uninteresting to me, even when these big plot twists were being discovered, I wasn't very excited or blown away. I thought Violet was a very boring character, not to mention very slow. Maybe it was just the fact that the story was very predictable but she was really slow to catch on to the obvious and figure everything out.

I generally suck at figuring out mysteries before I get to the end of a book so for me of all people to figure out that Hideki was the guy they were looking for says something about the writing.

And besides, she has had absolutely no previous experience with crime-solving, what on earth gave Violet the idea that she was qualified to even get involved in the investigation? Not to mention the fact that there's really no reason for her to even get involved, Kenji and Mitsue's problem is their problem, not Violet's so why is she sticking her nose in other peoples business?

Sure, there's a reward involved but come on, that's what is motivating you to get yourself wrapped up in something which could get you killed? And besides, I seriously doubt that the FBI of all people would be totally okay with divulging information to a sixteen-year-old girl that mentions manga every five seconds (because heaven forbid we forget that she likes manga).

Maybe this is just me, but I didn't really enjoy reading Tokyo Heist, and that was mostly due to the unbelievable circumstances that the characters found themselves in.

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