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review 2017-08-21 17:12
The Goblins of Bellwater - Molly Ringle
Here's my two cents about this book: I normally don't fall for a book that is being hyped; in fact I normally go the other way, because I'm stubborn and I don't like media telling me what I should read.

With this one, I guess that the title, add the cover, plus the fact that this seemed to be a stand alone (AND I DO LOVE STAND ALONE STORIES), made me decide to risk it and request it...
... not a good decision.
Going by the title, and with goblins to the mix, I was hoping for something dark, urban fantasy type.
Which I didn't get, because this is actually a new adult story with _poorly_ developed traces of paranormal.
Unfortunately once again it seems that the new adult genre is synonymous to very basic writing, stupid and underdeveloped characters and a plot that is only there to get the characters together.
Not my thing.
Like I said, the characters are so undeveloped that when the author decides to create two couples and having them perform sexual acts; the thing reads as awkward and uncomfortable as this phrase. They feel as puppets, and maybe that was what the author was reaching for, but she forgot their souls!
In forgetting that, the whole thing reads as an awkward and boring story about four _ really uninspired _ people.
 
 Arc provided through Netgalley
 
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review 2017-06-06 02:51
Mad/Chloé Esposito
Mad: A Novel (Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy) - Chloé Esposito

In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.

Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.

When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.

Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.

 

My mouth hung open throughout the reading of this book, which definitely pushed its limits.

 

I laughed out loud so many times while reading this and my boyfriend probably has a bruise from the amount of times I poked him in order to get his attention because I just had to share the amount of hilarious things that were written.

 

Alvie is abrasive. She's over the top. She's ridiculous. She's absurd. You're not meant to like her. I loved her--I loved to hate her, really. I cannot fathom so much as contemplating the actions that she took or having her priorities and desires, but she sure cracked me up.

 

I felt like the latter half kind of got too much for me--I enjoyed the lighter side of things, but the mafia did get involved, there were guns, and there was blood. I laughed less and was open-mouthed more with incredulity at the absurd events that were taking place. Very few of the characters in this book were actually as they seemed or as I had predicted them to be.

 

The plot similarly became ridiculous. The book started off as a more explicit sort of Kinsella novel with a less likable protagonist and much stranger scenarios, but then turned into a kind of mystery, then to a thriller, then just to an absurdist telling of a story.

 

Put your judgemental side away and read this book right now--it's sure to have you in hysterics. I'm cautiously but eagerly anticipating the next book.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-08-08 16:25
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet - Charlie N. Holmberg

    Arc Provided by 47 North through Netgalley

   Book Status: Already Released (June 28th)

I'm afraid that the only positive remark I can write about this story (without revealing the WHOLE PLOT)... is that it didn't make me want to set it on fire. -_-
In the same state of mind, I have to mention that it never pissed me off... much.
No, wait there was that time in which the character... you know what? Never mind.

Truth is, I found it incredibly boring and many were the times in which I almost DNF it.
The beginning, and really, I am talking about the very first pages weren't bad: I like a mystery
 just like every one else, but then things got so strange in a, "oh, here's a few crumbs of different colours and textures, and I know that nothing makes sense, but you'll keep on reading, right?", meaning that I only reached the last page by pure stubbornness. When I want, I can be the queen of stubborn people.
There were no tangible facts: no world building. There was also a strange mish mash of stories, and concepts, to which I never warmed up to.
The characters, with the exception of Maeve, were pretty forgetful, and the whole abstract feel of the story, didn't help the matter.
The romance was dealt in a pretty meh way, especially for people who are supposed to be... who they are. Yes, I am being  vague on purpose.
In the end, when I found out about why our character had done what she did _ ????_ was when I got a little pissed off, because I felt that different concepts had been completely mixed ( human and not so human)... and I don't know how to be more clear without spoiling the whole thing. But I felt that I was being somewhat preached ( as a woman) and I had a huge problem with that.
Not for me, I'm afraid: for me, strange does not a book make.
And here it is: a confusing book review for a strange story concept.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-02 00:39
The Gracekeepers: A Novel - Kirsty Logan

I don't think I've ever read such a mess of a story. And I've read some convoluted messes.

So why does the Gracekeepers gets the first place in "Most Convoluted Story" award?

 

Well... imagine a vaguely distopyan setting in which the Planet has suffered the full consequences of global warming: The level of water has risen, leaving most of Earth (well, I'm guessing here... maybe it's some alien planet instead -_-) fully submerged.

 

The world is divided between landlockers (people who own land) and damplings (people who live on the sea), and this is where the concept starts falling apart due to its simplicity.

We are told that food is scarce... okay, that makes sense since there's less arable land available, but then we read that the people who live on land don't want anything "to do" with fish...

-__________-

You're hungry, there's food available, but "hey" I am going to be picky about it... because water is dirty, and people who live in the water are dirty. This is the explanation that is given. Less due to pollution and more due to superstitions.

 

Regarding Water... the oceans have risen, so what has happened to potable water sources?

Because, logically, (in this setting) that would mean almost no potable water. Strangely that is never mentioned.

Of course when you think that about half ( is it half? What is the percentage? We are never told) of the population that lives on boats, one has to wonder about the quality of the thing.

(I have to mention that the boat Excalibur, with the exception of soldier ships, never ever crosses path with other ships. No boat's jammings, ever. Amazing.)

 

Segregation

If you don't hold land, you're seen as less. That is what North is. She is a dampling and she lives and works on an circus.

Enters the Night Circus environment...not. This doesn't have anything to do with that book. Most especially it doesn't have anything to do with the images that Erin Morgenstern created.

 

LGBT romance

Well, in fact there isn't an actual romance between our Gracekeeper and North, the girl that lives in the circus. More like, they're instantly smitten when they do met ( there's hand holding and secrets sharing, because otherwise it would just take too bloody long), but they'll eventually meet again in the end of the book because in the meantime we'll have to be bored out of our minds by pov's of almost every single character in the book.

 

But what is a Gracekeeper, you ask?

Well, a grace keeper is someone who takes care of the graces.

And here, graces are birds.

Basically the girl, woman ( we have no idea of her age, or for how long she has been a Gracekeeper!) kills a lot of birds, when she places then in cages, like tombstones to mark where has placed some dead person to rest. And now as I think about it, I am left wondering how the cages are kept above water. -_- Are there poles? Do they have little inflatable vests?

 

Technicalities: they are a bitch.

 

Because you know, reusable cages and all that, so the birds die of the elements and starvation. Oh, and there was this little bit of information as if the birds were engineered to last a certain amount of time ( the time period for mourning of that person), but later on there's nothing else to clarify what type of society these people live in.

Stone age meets X-man?

 

As for our Grace Keeper, Callanish ( there's another one, but he's a drunk, and he only appears for a few pages, so who cares about the guy?), well, when the story starts, I was left with the impression that she had committed some crime, and that was her punishment: being a Mortician for dampling people. But later on, we are told that she choose that life. So, I guess anyone can volunteer?

*not Katniss. Katniss would never be such an idiot.*

 

Talking about Morticians and other technicalities...I guess Callanish has a lot of strength to dump a lot of dead bodies in the ocean, right? Oh, and then there's the fact that THAT is done in the most shallow part of the ocean... because IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO F***G LOGIC!

 

Characters

Well, there's Callanish the gracekeeper, with the mysterious past.

 

North a girl who lives on the circus Excalibur with her bear, with whom she performs. The bear doesn't have a name. He's her best friend, but apparently it never crossed North's mind to give him a name. ( Here I was left thinking about Lyra from Pullman's trilogy and the relationship she had with her soul animal)

 

There's the ringmaster (aka Arthur), the owner of the circus, who is married to Avalon ( a crazy bitch determined to incarnate all the crazy bitches from the Arthurian Legends?) his second wife, and there's also a son (Yeah, I don't care about his name) from a previous relationship. The son, who is a boring as soaked bread, has a bit of Mordred in him, so you know what this means...

As for the other characters, like the clowns, they are mostly used by the author to briefly approach the issue of gender bending. And I say briefly, because the way it was dealt (poorly), reminded me those last episodes of Sailor Moon when some characters appear leaving us wondering if they were guys or women.

 

What else?

Oh, there's women being impregnated by something with scales, but that's okay, because we "should" see that as a form of integration.

             How to live both on land and on the sea?

Well, that's easy: just go lie by some shore, and some dude/scaly thing will appear and "you'll" be ecstatic! See? Who cares about consent?

Of course there's still some bit of xenophoby lying around, so lets say that babies born with ebbed toes and hands are usually killed on sight.

 

As for the plot?

Well, as you can see there isn't one. People meet and then we get their pov's about relationships or other stuff.

The part that takes place in the circus setting, feels like a never ending soap opera.

Avalon hates North because she's a jealous nuts, and that's it.

 

Then there's crazy religious people. Both on land as on the sea because EQUALITY.

Sex traded as a bargain coin. Because, why not?

And people having their life dream destroyed because "he" wouldn't be Arthur if that didn't happen in the end.

Oh and they

kill the bear in the end.

(spoiler show)

Ye Gods, I have an headache.

 

Oh, and this gets two starts because although hating it, I had to keep reading just so I could find out what other absurdity was going to show up next!

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review 2016-01-18 05:21
The Collector
The Collector - John Fowles

This book has been showing up for ages on every list of things I ought to read practically ever, so after a few glowing reviews from people I actually knew, I decided it was probably time to read it. It is supposed to be the first real psychological thriller, and on that count it does seem to succeed (assuming it is the first--I fully admit to not researching that claim). The problem I had with it is that it is oddly told.

 

It is much harder to feel what you ought (or at least what I was hoping to feel) during the second half of the book, because everything has already played out. Okay, there are a few curiosities, but you know what is going to happen. It is intriguing to see the differing understandings of the characters on motivations and occasionally even exact events, but alternating chapters seems like a better way of handling this in a lot of ways. There was no question about whether she would succeed at this or that, because we had already seen it from his eyes. We had already seen everything from his eyes. So the "thriller" aspects were downplayed.

 

The characters themselves: wow. I'm not sure what the author was going for. I'm going to assume that we were not supposed to sympathize with either character for very long and were thus supposed to feel bad about ourselves a bit. That's kind of where I was throughout--I had moments of sympathy, but an awful lot of moments where I kind of wanted to just leave the two of them together to torture each other, because they were both terrible people. Differently terrible, but terrible all the same.

 

The writing styles of the two worked quite well in explaining their personalities--they did sound distinctly different, and they were well-realized characters, despite being awful. Well-realized awful people that you are willing to read about for an entire novel are tricky to pull off, so kudos for that.

 

The ending was quite good and had this been a movie (has this been a movie? Seems likely, now that I think about it.), it would have been a sequel hook, no question.

 

I'm glad I did read it, and I'll probably pick up more Fowles books, but it's not going on my "favorites" shelf anytime soon.

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