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review 2018-12-17 11:10
Step out of reality and into an Illusion

 

 

 

 

Illusional Reality

Karina Kantas

Paperback: 150 pages

Publisher: lulu.com (March 8, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1326583662

ISBN-13: 978-1326583668

https://www.amazon.com/Illusional-Reality-Karina-Kantas/dp/1326583662

 

Reading the opening pages of this fantasy/ romance, I had the sense I was reading a modern retelling of an ancient myth, fairy tale, or legend. Perhaps it was my overactive imagination, but some of the story’s early elements sounded familiar.

 

For example, the book opens when an ordinary marketing executive named Becky, who at least thinks she is an ordinary human, is rescued from an attack in a dark alley by an “alien” named Salco. Unhappily, in her opinion, she is transported to a different realm where she discovers she is really Princess Thya of Tsinia, a city of light-hearted (mostly) tree-top dwellers. She had been hidden away on earth until she is expected to fulfill her prophesized role as a wife to establish an alliance with the powerful city called Senx. Much to her distaste, she is apparently obligated to wed Kovon, the son of the proverbial dark lord, Darthorn. Darthorn is no more fond of the wedding idea than Thya,  preferring the conquest option which he is certain he would win.

 

Learning this marriage is intended to preserve and save the magical realm on the brink of destruction, Thya spends many hours being tutored about a world she doesn’t know. Thya slowly learns about her true identity including the undesirable prophecy and the fact she has supernatural powers she doesn’t know how to use or control. Along the way, she falls in love with one of her teachers who is himself obligated to marry another.

 

After this set-up, readers experience a series of possible paths for Thya to explore and deal with as we meet a growing set of sometimes duplicitous mentors and advisors for the Princess. I admit, my interest kicked in when Thya began to assert her will and resist prophecy, no matter what her court advisors tell her what she must do. From this point forward, I felt I was reading a completely original story based on, well, whatever Karina Kandas cooked up for her heroine and her changed circumstances in this first volume of a coming duology. Thankfully, the magical ride keeps building up speed until we get to the final third of the book where everything intensifies from the psychic battles to the emotional hits to Thya and her chosen lover, Alkazer.

 

A major stroke of creativity in this novel is the lofty dialect and diction Kantas has most of her characters using. I’ve read other reviews where some readers were put off or challenged by this  I don’t see the problem.  Every sentence was perfectly clear to me. How tough is it to recognize “with certainty” means “Yes”? In addition, the tone used by most of these characters seemed perfectly spot on for high officials and palace courtesans, not to mention black-hearted warlords.

 

This book can fairly be classified as YA as there are moral lessons being taught, mainly about the importance of selflessness and putting community above yourself. So Illusional Reality is the sort of book that should be welcome under your Christmas tree, especially for those reluctant younger readers for whom this adventure should be quite inviting. Why not give them a sexy female Harry Potter with a good figure?  It shouldn’t be too long before the sequel, The Quest, will belatedly debut in 2019.

 

 

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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2018-12-15 06:13
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 352 pages.
Jack of Hearts (and other parts) - Lev A.C. Rosen

I'm loving this book very  raunchy  for  a  Young adult book   Jack is  a very interesting  character I love how he  speaks his mind .  But  those  creepy notes are weird as  fuck  

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review 2018-12-14 20:41
[REVIEW] Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

I didn't know what to think but there is such beautiful melancholy attached to this book. How grief can break up a family, how memories bind them together, how the world falls apart and rebuilds itself. I loved every character, they were a breath of fresh air. They felt human to me. Deeply flawed but it didn't stop you from caring for them, it didn't stop you from understanding that behind their unreasonable behavior, terrible pain accompanied it. 

And the prose? Oh, the prose! It's still amazing to me how an author can wrap a blanket of familiarity around you or destroy your heart using words.

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review 2018-12-13 00:02
Which would you choose: Mortal or magic?
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Vol. 1 - Jack Morelli,Robert Hack,Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Vol. 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa came onto my radar because I saw the super edgy trailer for the Netflix show and of course I felt I needed to at least read the first volume (containing the first 6 issues) before I started in on the show. :-P [A/N: For those unaware, this alternate reality version of Sabrina exists in the same realm as Archie and his pals over in Riverdale and you can keep your eyes peeled for my review of that too.] This is a comic book series that takes the familiar character of Sabrina Spellman (Remember that cute show about witchy magic with that super sarcastic talking cat named Salem?) and turns it onto its head. This is Dark Stuff and trust me the capitalization is warranted. The story starts out with Sabrina's parents, Warlock Dad and Mortal Mom, who disagree on how to raise their newborn daughter. According to coven law, Sabrina should be blessed by Satan so that when she comes of age she can formally sign Satan's book and give her soul over to him. (Did I mention this was dark?) These parental disagreements result in the mother being driven insane and Sabrina being entrusted to her witchy aunts to be raised 'properly'. So now Sabrina walks in two worlds (witch at home and mortal at school) and by the time she is 16 (present day in the comics where it's the 1960s) she is thoroughly confused about where she fits in which is par for the course with most teenagers if we're completely honest. Gore, violence, Satanism, cannibalism, necromancy, first love...your standard high school experience. The artwork was unlike anything I'd ever consumed in a comic or graphic novel medium before with bold colors and almost grotesque characterizations. I dug it. Horror fans and those that like re-imaginings of familiar tales will enjoy the world that Aguirre-Sacasa has crafted immensely. Yes, it's Dark Stuff but it's also boldly imaginative and well-formed. He's not only crafted this but another series called Afterlife with Archie (not to mention the tv series Riverdale). This is an author to watch! 10/10

 

PS Salem the cat is in this version as well!

 

PPS I started the series and I'm digging that too!

 

Not too spoiler-y since it's from the beginning. [Source: The Mary Sue]

 

What's Up Next: Star Trek Destiny #2: Mere Mortals by David Mack

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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