Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book. I tried to like this book. I did my best to ignore it's flaws as they appeared. An Austen retelling with an adorable cover, the literary bar was not set high in my mind. This novel simply had to be adequate enough to allow me gleefully binge on pages of Jane mind candy. I've read some pretty horrible re-imagined Austen in my time and I adored every word of those mediocre stories. With this novel I just couldn't. The author didn't develop characters so much as she hammered the character's intended traits into the story over and over till. The plot and dialogue we simple and obvious and came across as scripted rather than natural. Even internal dialogue was unnatural and came across more like a stage monologue that any sort of natural inner discussion. Over explaining everything in order to "enlighten" the reader. Showing definitely lost out to telling in this novel... showing was completely railroaded by telling. The characters were so over the top in their "good" or "bad" roles to the point of being cartoonish. The story's 'hero' was a war veteran amputee with no family and in site of all that sympathy inducing back story he still managed to come across as a whiny, self-pitying, push over. None of the characters were particularly likable at best the were superficial and insipid at worse they were extremely annoying, extremely horrible, or both. This book just wasn't for me.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Lord of Shadows

Lord of Shadows Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lord of Shadows was pretty par for course. If you enjoyed the other Shadowhunter novels then you will most likely enjoy this book too. Ms. Clare has a special way of creating characters and setting that allows a readers to sink into them and enjoy. There are some books where I very much like the plot but the the slower areas of the book feel like a burden to get through. With the Shadowhunter books I never really get bored, even with the slower parts because I genuinely like the characters and the way they interact with one another which allows even the most mundane events to still be pleasant to read. That pun wasn't originally intended but we'll leave it there for good measure. Sometimes when I find a series that already has several volumes I'll try to read straight through but then find myself needing to take a break, often even when I really like the series. With Ms. Clare's Shadowhunter book I never I always experience the opposite. With every new release I recall how much enjoy her writing and want to start all over again from the start. Wrap up: basically if you've read the other parts of this series and are a fan then this book should not disappoint. If you haven't read the other books by lordy don't start here you'll be hella confused. My only tiny complaint is that this book did seem to be really heavy with the love triangle/threesome relationships. No body seems to be 100% certain on who they feel what for. Still loved the read though.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were many things I liked about this book. I think it had a very creative and original premise and it did an amazing job of creating a story using Hindi culture/fairy lore/mythology as backdrop. Stories based on fairy tales and folklore are some of my favorite and I personally have encountered many novels whose tales have a South Asian cultural influence. The author was VERY detailed in her descriptiveness and attention to detail as far as building a setting goes unfortunately at time it was to a fault an and all that articulately. More than once I found myself questioning (what does this even mean?) author's use metaphors. I also felt like the author's graphic attention to detail slowed down the story quite a bit and in my opinion the to no benefit of the story.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: What Girls Are Made Of

What Girls Are Made Of What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"As long as there have been women," Mom told me, "there have been ways to punish them for being women."

"There is no such thing as unconditional love. I could stop loving you at any time.

OK so my feelings on this book went completely topsy turvy from start to finish. Which is actually a pretty impressive feat considering the book is only 183 pages. If I'd been asked to rate the book at 10, 20 100, 115 pages I I'd have probably given Arnold's work a single star and brushed it off a bad but somehow in the last 20% of the book the author manages to tie everything together really well while also eliminating the over the top emo feel that the story seems to take for the first parts of the book.

Arnold bounces the reader wildly through current time and flashbacks, metaphorical stories of chickens and virgin martyrs and conversations with parents and about parents. It's a wild ride but in the end it confronts the beliefs our society instills in the female mind. Why girls are left believing they have to meet someone elses expectation to be worthy of their love. Whether it be a physical expectation, a behavioral expectation, or a completely ambiguous psychological expectation.

Arnold tells a quick but fierce story that demand the reader acknowledge the truth that no one should have to be "sugar, & spice, & everything nice," in order to be lovable or feel good in their own skin.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review: The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this book with really zero intention of finishing it any time soon. I had a million books ahead of it on my TBR list and I just happened to get stuck somewhere with a dead phone and this book. Just about 24 hrs later I was finished. This novel completely sucked me in to it's hot, dry, twisted world of the Roanoke family and the dark secrets that go on behind the closed doors of an equally warped home that shares their name. The Roanoke Girls tells a story of three generations of broken, dead, or missing Roanoke girls and the family's patriarch. Ms. Engel does an amazing job of creating the backdrop for this story and really sucks the reader into hot, dry, desolate existence of a small town in the middle of nowhere Kansas . She tells a hauntingly tragic story of damaged girls who's knowledge of love is so rotted out that they are left not know how to recognize, believe in, or show love in a true form. This book definitely hit on disturbing topics but is wonderfully written and captivating.

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Review: Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield My rating: 3 of 5 stars The plot was extremely slow, there were a...