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text 2018-08-14 15:55
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

It's a dark fairy tale that isn't really doing much for me. I think that the whole thing feels kind of rushed. I am more interested in the fairy tale stories we are told than the actual action that is going on with Alice and Finch. And now I am realizing that this is the first in either a duology or trilogy and I just don't see how which means that I am probably going to read a cliffhanger.

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review 2018-08-14 15:47
Nice Look at Wonder Woman and Greek Mythology
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons Series) - Leigh Bardugo

I did like this book though thought the flow wasn't great in a lot of places. Way too many things felt over explained too. And the action scenes were kind of blah. I did love how Bardugo brought in the Greek mythology in her story though (we revisit Helen of Troy) and I loved the whole idea behind it.

 

"Wonder Woman: Warbringer" is a nice little set up of showing Wonder Woman as a teenager who is doing what she can to prove herself to her fellow Amazons. Due to her mother Queen Hippolyta bringing Diana to life through clay, Diana is seen as outside the Amazons by many on Themyscira. While Diana prepares to run a race, she sees a young woman (Alia Keralis) in the ocean about to drown, deciding to save her, Diana sets things in motions that could see the end of Themyscira and the World of Men. When Diana goes to visit the Oracle and is told that Alia is a Warbringer (a direct descendant of Helen of Troy) and the best thing she can do is to let Alia die, she decides to do what it takes to keep Alia safe even if it means traveling to Alia's world.


I really liked Diana in this one. Bardugo shows that she (Diana) is smart and capable. Diana may not know what the World of Men is like, but she catches on quickly and promises to be there for Alia and Alia's friends and her brother no matter what. I do wish that we had time to delve into Diana bit more. We know that she feels separate from the other Amazons and that she wants to be battle-borne like them, but it definitely feels like she has no one she can really trust or talk to until she meets Alia.

 

I love that Alia and Jason (her brother) are portrayed as black. I initially thought due to the last names that Alia and Jason would just be seen as Greek. Alia and Jason's friends Nim and Theo are also POC as well which was great to see. Nim and Theo are loyal to the end and there are hints of romance between Alia and Theo that we really don't get into since most of the book is the five of them running from attackers. 

 

I wish that all had been developed a bit more too. Diana is the best developed, but Alia, Jason, Theo and Nim felt a bit thin to me after a while. Probably because they keep running and are trying to figure out to keep the world exploding into war. 

 

The writing was okay. We are able to get into Diana's head a bit more. Maybe this would have worked better as a first person via Diana instead of third person via everyone. I think the book just got too jumbled after a while. The flow was not that great though. It felt like the book kept just randomly ending after a while. Also reading about people running for their lives and occasionally fighting is boring. Bardugo tries to set up a romance between Diana and Jason and it didn't work at all. I hard shrugged that thing and wasn't feeling it.  Same issue with Alia and Theo. I feel like it's a YA requirement to have love triangles or whatever going on in YA books. 

 

I also didn't like the twist/reveal since it made zero sense and just felt like it got put in there to show even more conflict. 

 

The setting of the book moves from Themyscira, to New York, and to Greece. I didn't really get a good sense of locations beyond Themyscira though. I think that Bardugo could have made New York and Greece come alive a bit more. 

 

The ending sets things up to show that Diana is eventually going to be Wonder Woman. She's totally clueless though and I thought the whole thing made zero sense since she should know what she looks like. 

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review 2018-08-14 09:19
Munteres Geschichten-Stapeln
Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake

Im Frühling 2016 wurde bekannt, dass Kendare Blake die Filmrechte von „Anna Dressed in Blood“ an Stephenie Meyer verkaufte. Die Produktionsfirma der „Twilight“-Autorin legte sofort los, benannte Regisseurin, Drehbuchautorin und einen Teil des Casts. Seitdem wurde es still um das Projekt. Vielleicht wurde „Anna Dressed in Blood“ einfach nur hinter Meyers Serien-Realisierung ihres Romans „The Chemist“ zurückgestellt – vielleicht wurde die Verfilmung aber auch gecancelt. Wir haben ja schon oft erlebt, dass solche Projekte im Sande verlaufen. Für mich hat der Film allerdings ohnehin keine Priorität, obwohl ich mir vorstellen könnte, ihn mir anzusehen. Die Fortsetzung „Girl of Nightmares“ war definitiv wichtiger.

 

Cas, Carmel und Thomas verdanken ihre Leben einem Geist: Anna Korlov, besser bekannt als Anna Dressed in Blood. Sie opferte sich, um die drei zu schützen und zog den schrecklichen Obeahman hinab in die Hölle. Cas weiß, dass Carmel und Thomas die beängstigenden Ereignisse dieser Nacht hinter sich lassen möchten, doch er kann nicht vergessen, was Anna für sie getan hat. Er kann nicht aufhören, an sie zu denken. Er träumt oft von ihr – blutige, unheimliche Albträume. Als er beginnt, Anna auch tagsüber zu sehen, zweifelt er an seinem Verstand. Die Visionen sind verstörend; sie wirkt gequält, gehetzt und verzweifelt. Ist es möglich, dass es sich gar nicht um Halluzinationen handelt? Versucht Anna, um Hilfe zu rufen? Sofort ist Cas fest entschlossen, Anna zu retten. Die einzigen, die ihm einen Weg in die Hölle weisen können, sind die Mitglieder des mysteriösen Ordens, der sein Athame erschuf. Diese verfolgen allerdings ganz eigene Pläne, für die Cas nicht unbedingt überleben muss. Und in der Hölle wartet schon der Obeahman auf ihn…

 

Überflüssig. Hätte man auch sein lassen können. Ich hatte keine hohen Erwartungen an „Girl of Nightmares“, weil mich bereits der erste Band „Anna Dressed in Blood“ nicht vom Hocker riss. Aber ich habe schon angenommen, dass sich einige Fragen, die der Vorgänger offengelassen hatte, klären würden. Beispielsweise, welch merkwürdige Beziehung Cas‘ Familie zu dem Athame hat und ob sie die einzigen Jäger auf der Welt sind. Gibt es nur Geister und Hexen, oder auch Monster? Vampire, Werwölfe, Banshees? Und wie kann es eigentlich sein, dass Cas‘ Mutter einverstanden ist, ihren minderjährigen Sohn auf Geisterjagd zu schicken und ihn ihr Leben bestimmen zu lassen? „Girl of Nightmares“ beantwortet keine dieser Fragen zufriedenstellend. Es fügt der Geschichte nichts hinzu, was ich hätte wissen müssen, beleuchtet keine Hintergründe und fühlte sich irritierend losgelöst vom ersten Band an. Obwohl die Handlung an „Anna Dressed in Blood“ anknüpft, hatte ich den Eindruck, Kendare Blake hätte einfach nur eine weitere Geschichte auf die erste gestapelt, statt erläuternde Verbindungen zwischen den Bänden herzustellen, die das Verständnis erweitern. Vielleicht wollte sie das gar nicht, vielleicht wollte sie zwei weitgehend eigenständige Geschichten erzählen, doch ich hatte mit unter der Fortsetzung eben etwas anderes vorgestellt. Unsere Prioritäten liegen offenbar recht weit auseinander. Während ich Hintergrundwissen als deutlich wichtiger als Action einstufe, scheint Blake handfeste Szenen zu lieben und schreibt lieber übernatürliche Prügeleien, anstatt Details in einen Kontext zu setzen. Trotz dessen bemühte sie sich, die Horroraspekte der Fortsetzung eher aus der psychischen, als aus der physischen Perspektive anzugehen. Es gelang ihr, eine ansatzweise gruselige Atmosphäre heraufzubeschwören, die meine Vorstellungkraft allerdings nicht auf eine Achterbahnfahrt des Grauens schickte. Für meinen Geschmack ging sie definitiv zu zaghaft vor. Als Cas beginnt, Visionen von Anna zu haben, besucht sie ihn eines Nachts. Ein gequälter, gefolterter Geist steht plötzlich an seinem Bett. Doch statt das unheimliche Potential der Situation voll auszuspielen, lässt Kendare Blake die beiden reden. Sie reden! Schnarch. Ich fand „Girl of Nightmares“ aufgrund solcher Szenen ziemlich langweilig und war enttäuscht, dass sich meine Schwierigkeiten mit Cas, die ich im ersten Band kritisiert hatte, leider nicht legten. Ich halte ihn noch immer für einen arroganten Kotzbrocken. Es ist ja ganz toll, dass er mittlerweile erkannte, dass Freunde eine praktische Sache sind, aber sein Mangel an Demut stieß mir weiterhin sauer auf. Er interessiert sich nur für Anna, die Schicksale anderer Geister sind ihm so gut wie gleichgültig. Außerdem verstehe ich einfach nicht, was an ihm so besonders ist. Er hat keine speziellen Kräfte, sein einziges Ass im Ärmel ist das Athame, das jeder andere Mensch ebenfalls führen könnte. Was qualifiziert ausgerechnet ihn als Geisterjäger? Kendare Blake schaffte es nicht, mich von seinem Sonderstatus zu überzeugen, weshalb ich das gesamte Buch in Frage stellte. Nicht einmal der finale Showdown, für den die Autorin wieder den Obeahman als Endgegner hervorzerrte, vermochte die Lektüre für mich zu retten. Das offene Ende war schlicht unbefriedigend, weil es die Geschichte nicht wirklich abschließt. Wir erfahren nicht, was aus Cas und seinem Familienauftrag wird. Kendare Blake dreht sich einfach um und geht.

 

Wenn ihr „Girl of Nightmares“ mit der Erwartungshaltung lest, lediglich ein weiteres Abenteuer mit dem Geisterjäger Cas zu erleben zu wollen, kann euch diese Fortsetzung sicher glücklich stimmen. Erwartet ihr hingegen Erklärungen, wie es bei mir der Fall war, wird euch das Buch enttäuschen. Die Handlung bietet zwar durchaus neue Informationen, aber ein Erkenntniszuwachs blieb aus. Es fühlte sich an, als hätte Kendare Blake Neues begonnen, bevor das Alte abgearbeitet war, was dadurch unter den Tisch fallen musste. Ich mochte diese Herangehensweise nicht. Daher verabschiede ich mich jetzt kurz, schmerzlos und unzeremoniell von der „Anna“-Dilogie und widme mich wieder dem Original. Supernatural, ich komme.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/kendare-blake-girl-of-nightmares
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review 2018-08-13 20:26
4 Out Of 5 "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" STARS
Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Alex, Approximately

Jenn Bennett

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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

 

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

 

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I was worried, despite the multitude of glowing reviews that I would find this annoying and juvenile, but it was actually quite good.   It might have felt like it was even going in that direction, early on.  But it soon became a story of substance.  After reading the blurb above, it comes off as being a story about IM's between two people, but that’s really only a small portion of the story.  Overall, the story has a lot more to offer than that and it was a really sweet and worthwhile listening experience.

 

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~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 3.8/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 3.8/5

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Book Cover~ It's Okay…but it doesn't represent the story.

Narration~ Amy Melissa Bentley

Setting~ Coronado Cove, California

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-08-13 19:38
Aru Shah and the End of Time
Aru Shah and the End of Time (A Pandava Novel Book 1) (Pandava Series) - Roshani Chokshi

The first book in a planned quartet by Roshani Chokshi. I thought this was wonderful and could see this being a life long favorite with children just like His Dark Materials and Harry Potter. Aru Shah is a heroine for the ages and I was so reluctant to put this book down. Not going to lie, there were a few rough spots here and there with flow and a few times I may have went, well this just seems like an obstacle to keep the story going. I loved the mythology, the characters, and the setting. Any book that returns to the Night Bazaar is always going to be an instant win for me.


"Aru Shah and the End of Time" is about 12 year old Aru Shah. She and her mother live in a museum (I know, I may have squealed with delight) called the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia (I maybe squealed again). Aru feels a bit lost. Her mother is always gone looking for antiquities, she is at a new school where she feels like she doesn't fit in, and she lies (and feels bad about it). One of her lies catches up to her and three of her classmates arrive at the museum to confront her. Feeling pressured, Aru does something she has been told to never do, she lights the Lamp of Bharata which causes her world to turn upside down. Soon Aru finds out she is one of a reincarnation of brothers (soul, not biological)  who are children of the gods. Aru is to seek out her fellow family and see about going against someone called "The Sleeper" before he wakes Lord Shiva and the world ends.

 

Aru made me laugh. However, will admit that at times I got frustrated with her. Her trying to make excuses for her lies didn't really sit well with me. Chokshi has her face some repercussions for that, but still. She also does something I thought was a necessary cruelty that sounds like it's going to come back at her later in her life. I honestly don't know what choice I would have made.

 

Not going to lie though, my favorite in this story had to be her fellow soul sister Mina. Mina is me all over. The two of them going off on a quest to save their families and the world was great. I also maybe laughed at the dismay everyone had that girls were doing the saving of the world thing and not boys.


Aru due to being kept in the dark about her past is going purely on instinct. Mina is going based on the fact that her family has known about the pandavas. I also loved that Mina is Filipino and Indian. Her talking about her family and grandmothers was pretty cute. 

 

We have other characters we meet (gods, their chariots, The Sleeper, the Seasons, and the two sisters teacher/mentor/flying pigeon called Boo).

 

I do have to say that it was kind of a cop out for Chokshi to show us parts of Aru's mother's history but not have them discuss it. 

 

The writing was so good. I became familiar with some of the figures mentioned in this book because I have read and devoured "The Star-Touched Queen" "A Crown of Wishes" and "Star-Touched Stories." 


The flow wasn't that great though after the initial start, I think the chapter endings needed to be tighter IMO. It did feel after a while though a little bit to me that Chokshi threw too much in this first book. It just read as overly long in places. Plus a few times Aru and Mina would be upset with each other and it felt like it was just done away with too fast. I get it's the first book though so I let that go.


This book is the same setting as the "Star-Touched Queen" series. We hear about the Night's Bazaar (and get to see it again too!) but we get a new adventure that we realize is going to be dealing with these mythical brothers (now girls it seems) who are going to be reunited. We also get an inkling that something dark may be coming for Aru. 

 

The ending set things up nicely for the next book in the series, very interested to see where that book goes next. 

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