Great Imaginations

Hi there! I came to Book Likes from Goodreads when Goodreads started censoring its users. I hope I will love this place as my new home! My co-blogger Lyn and I also run http://www.great-imaginations.com.

Author Brad Thor sending his followers to attack anyone who disagrees with him about Ferguson.

The Lions Of Lucerne - Brad Thor State Of The Union - Brad Thor Black List - Brad Thor The Last Patriot - Brad Thor The First Commandment - Brad Thor

Trigger Warning: Racism and Harassment. 

 

Author Brad Thor has sent his followers after anyone disagreeing with his views on Ferguson and the murder of Mike Brown. @RebeccaSchinsky is being harassed and threatened by his followers (even as I type).

 

You can see his disgusting anti-black rants on his Twitter feed.

 

You can see @RebeccaSchinsky being attacked and even threatened in her twitter feed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a piece of garbage. 

 

 

PS Thor is published by Atira Books. Feel free to tweet and tell them how you feel about them supporting the voice of a bigot. 

 

Reblogged from The Fangirl



Sign up for our Spring Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge!

It's going to be so much fun! See the bingo card at the above link, if you make a bingo you are entered into an international giveaway for a book of your choice! Additional bingos are one additional entries, for a coverall you get 5. 

 

Bekka, Lyn, and I will be participating with you guys for fun. We plan on doing this every season with a new seasonal themed bingo card every quarter. 

 

 




Tin Star

Tin Star  - Cecil Castellucci

I just finished Tin Star last night, and I am feeling very conflicted about the entire reading experience. There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved, and I want to rave about them, and I will. But as far as the characters were concerned, and the relationships/connections they shared, ehhhh.

 

So I am going to talk about that first. I feel like I repeat this in nearly every book review, but characters can make or break a novel for me. It wasn't that I disliked the characters in this book. I actually did like them...what I KNEW of them. There wasn't a whole lot of character development in Tin Star, particularly with the supporting cast. I did like Tula though, and I am looking forward to getting to know her more in part two of this duology. I think part of the problem was that the other humans in the story didn't come into the book until about partway through, and when the book concluded and important plot points happened that I should have had an emotional reaction to, I was just unenthused. It was at this moment that I realized I had some problems with this book. Up until that point, I had pretty much loved it. I still do have lots of good things to say, but I do hope there is more character development coming in book two because it's a bit frustrating to like a book so much but miss that emotional connection.

 

One place where this book excelled was in the world-building. If that is something that's important to you, I think you will love Tin Star. The book takes place on a large space station in deep space. There are many different species of aliens, they all communicate differently, and Tula is a trader who runs around getting all the different aliens things they need. There is a bar, shops, different classes (Tula lives in the slums), a Sunspa, etc. 

 

My favorite side character was a Loor named Heckleck. Tula is the only human on the ship when she meets him, and he is pretty much the reason she is able to bounce back after her tragedy. Heckleck is basically a giant insect based on his description It's not very often that you see a straight science fiction novel in the YA genre. Most of the ones I see are what I would call sci-fi lite. But not this book. I really enjoyed all the different intricacies to the world-building and how the inter-species government worked, how travel worked, and all the conflict there was between species. It was just thought out really well and it was my favorite part of reading Tin Star. I am very much looking forward to the sequel because I love learning about different worlds, even if they are fictional. I feel like I am walking away from this book a more enriched reader. 

 

The other thing that I really liked was the writing. It's true that it's simple, but it flows well, and I never felt like there wasn't enough of an explanation for the things I needed to know. I loved Tula's head space, and I loved learning about the space station through her eyes.

 

So I end up feeling conflicted at the end of this review, hence the 3 star review. I do intend to read the sequel as I am really invested in the world and where the characters go from here. I want to know what Tula is going to do to get her revenge on Brother Blue. I want to know what happens to the other characters and the government. I feel like this book could have been more eventful but I really enjoyed my reading experience all the same. So yeah, I do recommend it. And it's also a short book so it's not going to take too much of a time investment. This can be a one-day read if you want it do be. Or maybe you want to wait until you have the second book in your hands and read them all together, and that works too. In fact, I'm not really sure why it just wasn't one book to begin with. I mean it seems like it's going to be under 500 pages, so why not? Regardless, I liked it. And that's what's important.

 




The Deepest Secret

The Deepest Secret - Carla Buckley

I had NO idea what to expect when I started reading The Deepest Secret. Straight adult contemporary is not a genre I venture into often. I used to read a lot of Jodi Picoult, but it has been many, many years. And yet, I have always said that I read books based on blurb, not genre. If the blurb interests me, I am interested in reading it. First of all, I like learning things. I tried to read a book about XP last year (What We Saw at Night), but I didn't like it. I thought I would try again with this book, and I am glad I did.

I have never read a book by this author before, but I will be certain to do that again in the future. I really like Carla Buckley's style. She is great at building atmosphere, and it REALLY felt like the majority of this book was set in the middle of the night. It's not an easy thing to accomplish, making a reader be able to get lost in the book and forget about the world around them. But I sat up at night with this book in my hand for three days, reading and burning the midnight oil. The book gave off a Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock vibe for a little while there, and I was in LOVE.

The Deepest Secret is written in multiple POVs and I know some readers don't like that, but I was completely satisfied with the way they were handled. The voices of each character were different--Eve sounded like a troubled mother who was trying her hardest to keep her son alive, David felt like a disillusioned, lonely father trying to make the best of the living situation he has to deal with, and Tyler REALLY sounds like a restless teenage boy suffering from a terminal illness. I was convinced. And if an author can convince me that their characters really do exist, they can write in TWENTY different POVs, for all I care. The characters were all remarkably well-developed, and even if you don't like them, you will think about them and be invested and question their choices.

That said, I had a few small issues, and man they are really small because I so badly wanted to give this book 5 stars but I sat and thought on it for almost 24 hours, and I just couldn't do it. This is primarily a character-driven novel. And I know the blurb makes it seem like that is not the case, it just isn't so. That is not what I am marking the book down for. I had a few pacing issues. The book gets off to a bit of a boring start. There is all this exposition and getting to know the characters going on, and I was never bored, but I do think it could have been shortened. And then...I also felt there were some unnecessary scenes that really didn't add much to the story. It is a bit repetitive at times but I was really invested in the characters (mainly Tyler) so I didn't care about that so much. What I really would have liked to see is a bit of a shorter book by maybe 50 pages. But I don't think it's the type of thing that is going to make you not like the book, because I really still did love it despite that small issue. 

All in all, this is probably the best book I have read this year so far. It took me away from the world, made me question my moral choices, and wonder how I would react in the situations these characters faced. This is one of those books that I call a thinking book, and there is nothing more that I like than a book that makes me get all philosophical in my head. 




Grandmaster

Grandmaster - David Klass

Wow. I've been waiting to read a book like this. I've been pretty vocal about my lack of 5 star reads so far this year. It's March 1st as I am writing this review, and this is the first book I have read that I am giving that rating to. It's the only book that gave me that emotional extra feeling that I need for a book to go above and beyond my expectations. It's a personal thing, reading. A lot hinges on whether a book will be a favorite for each individual reader, but the one thing that generally makes or breaks a book for me is the characters. It just so happens that I very much related and understood the characters in this book, and in order to explain that, I need to get a little bit personal, and I will, but first I need to state that this is why reading is so subjective. I related to and loved these characters because of my personal experiences which are not the same personal experiences that you share, so who knows if this will be as special a book for you as it was for me. But all I can do is report how I feel and why it worked for me. And so I shall.

I grew up an only child in a household with two parents who loved me very much, but my mother was the one that was in my life the most, because my dad seemed to always be working. He worked his ass off so we would be provided for, and this didn't leave him with a whole lot of free time, and he did the best he could to spend time with me and my mother and be huge parts of our lives. It is for this reason that the time I spent with my father as a kid stands out to me in my mind probably the most. SO many of the childhood memories I have involve him and the things we did together: fishing, racing cars down the hall, and I still remember him giving me these HUGE portions of food while my mother was off at bingo with my grandma. He thought I could eat way more than I could and I would sit there and not be able to finish, but he wouldn't let me leave the table until I ate most of it. I laugh now, but at the time it was traumatizing. Most of the memories I have are great. Carving pumpkins, trick or treating...so when I got into this book and started to grow attached to Daniel and his father (who works many hours and doesn't have much time to spend with his son), obviously the closeness and awkwardness that they share touched me in a very sentimental way. Daniel's a teenager now, and his dad doesn't really know how to talk or communicate to him that well (I relate to this as well, as an only-child teenage girl with boy problems, what is a father to do?).

So the fact that this book is about chess and a chess tournament never even really mattered to me. I requested it because I thought it was an interesting concept, and I wondered if the author could actually pull this off and make a book about chess (just about the most boring game EVER to watch) exciting. the answer to that is yes. This book is so well paced that it moves like an action film. Every word has importance. Every sentence flows into the next. It's a page turner, and at only 227 pages, it is a book that I was able to finish in one sitting, which is an admirable feat for me. My attention span has been short for a while now, and for a book to be able to hold my interest all the way through like that, well it's something. 

The plot goes a little something like this. Daniel goes to a private school where chess is not as nerdy as it is in public school. Some of the boys on his chess team are the most popular kids in school, and one in particular is a monstrous bully and asshole to everyone around him. Well, he talks Daniel into participating in a father-son chess tournament in New York City. See, Brad has found out that Daniel's father was a Grandmaster 30 years ago, and with him on the team, they know they can win. The only problem with that is there is a reason why Daniel's father quit playing chess in the first place. Obviously, I am not going to tell you this because it would be a huge spoiler, but you should know it is worth reading to find out. I would really like to see this book be made into a film. Honestly. There is also an incredibly cute romance that has enough of an impact but doesn't take over the plot. All the characters are vivid with lovely ARCs. I cannot recommend this book enough. 

I have one small complaint, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention it. It's not nearly something that is worth knocking off even a half star for though, so you really shouldn't worry. But there were a couple of times in the narrative where I felt it was obvious that Daniel was not a teenager. There are words he uses that I do not feel a teen would use. For example:

I looked back at him coldly, seeing him now for the scoundrel that he was.
 
How many teenagers do you know that use the word "scoundrel" in everyday speech? Me neither. 
 
But seriously. It's a small thing. I got lost in this book and I loved it. I will hang onto it, and it will be a definite re-read for me in the future. It's a feel good story, it covers some tough issues with lots of respect, and it's definitely a book I would read if I need to be uplifted. So what if it's about chess? To be honest, I kind of actually want to learn how to play now. Ha.



The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare - M.G. Buehrlen

This book and I got off to a weird start. I know I am not the only one who has felt that way because there are quite a few DNFs or reviewers complaining about the pacing. I have to honestly say, at the beginning it was an issue for me. But I loved the writing from the very start. It was vivid, loaded with imagery, and since I am a huge visual reader, I really wanted to stick this out and see where it went. I am glad I did, because the second half of this book was brilliant, and it kept getting better as I approached the conclusion. 

I think the best way to get my point of view across here is to do my review by likes and dislikes. It's kind of the way I read it too. I kept thinking as I went along, "I like this. Nope, I don't care for this." Thing is, most of what I have to say is positive. And I ended up giving this book 4 stars. So let's get the dislikes out of the way first.

Dislikes:

  • The pacing was an issue. I already stated this, but you should know that the more you read, the better it gets. It just takes this one a little while to get going. It is a slower paced book than most other YA novels, but since I read a lot of adult fiction too, it wasn't hard for me to get into the swing of things.
  • I mentioned loving the writing, and I did, but I did feel the book was a BIT too long. Maybe too wordy? Or maybe just some of the exposition and conversation at the beginning could have been whittled down so the plot moved faster?
  • Honestly, some of the descriptions were a bit odd. I would be trucking along and reading when this really odd sentence would yank me out of the narrative. See example below. 
 

The mouth of the gun still smiled at the ceiling, licking its chops.


  • There was also a really odd one towards the beginning where Alex mentions she feels like oatmeal. Not that she is moving sluggishly like she is stuck in oatmeal, but that she actually IS oatmeal. It was just...odd.

 
 
Likes:
 
But now we get to talk about the good stuff. And honestly, there is way more good than there is bad. I showed you an example of where the writing felt off to me, but I want to show you where the writing was awesome too. Because 99% of it was. The following is my favorite quote from the book. And it refers to Alex talking about her sister Audrey who has cancer.
 
  • It was always that way with us. Whenever we found forgotten or broken objects, I would repair them and bring them back to life, and Audrey would make them beautiful. I was the stoic one with Coke-bottle eyeglasses. Audrey was the beauty, with a laugh that gave color to our world. 
  • The story is just so unique. I usually don't mesh well with books about time travel. But this one...wow. I just loved the concept and the science behind it. Even though much of it is completely implausible, it was believable within the context of the narrative. And fascinating. Especially the soulmarks. WOW. I loved that we got to relive historical events from the past, and I love that this is a series and that in the next book I will get to relive more important historical events through the protagonist's eyes. We only really got a glimpse of THREE of Alex's past lives in this novel, and can you imagine what all the rest of them will be like? The opportunities are ENDLESS.
  •  And then there was Alex herself. Okay, so I didn't love how judgmental she was of her female peers and I am never a fan of nerdy girls who think they are better than everyone else, but I was able to overlook that one aspect of Alex's behavior because I loved her relationship with her sisters and her grandparents. I loved how healthy this family was even when a horrible disease was ravaging them from the inside out. I loved their movie nights and I loved grandma's baking. There were just so many AWWWW moments.
  • And then there was the sort-of love triangle. I say SORT OF because I am not sure where this is going, and I don't specifically want to call it a triangle because it was so unique in its approach. Unique and I loved it! I don't want to spoil anything but I do want to discuss it with you if you have finished it. Who do you ship? I have to know. *coughs* Team Jensen. For now.
 
All Together Now:
 
 
I understand why readers DNFed this book. That said, I am so glad that I didn't. I think that if you can be patient enough to stick it out, the second half is absolutely brilliant. The characterizations are strong, the scenes are cinematic in their lushness, and I am hooked. I cannot wait to see where this book goes next, and this is one series I am definitely interested in continuing. I definitely recommend this one, but I also think you need to be in a patient frame of mind to read it. There may be the chance that you won't have issues with the pacing at all though. But who wants to take that chance? Trust me when I say you WANT to finish it. The last 50 or so pages are full of unpredictable twists and excitement. 
 
 
4/5 Dragons
 



Strange Sweet Song

Strange Sweet Song - Adi Rule

Oh man. You guys have no idea how disappointed I am that Strange Sweet Song was such a letdown for me.  I featured this as a Waiting on Wednesday pick back when we were still doing them, and that was a while ago. I hate that I didn't really like it, but there were just so many missed opportunities. I think I'll just list them off and then go into further detail after that is done. 

1. The protagonist is HORRID, from the beginning to the end. 

2. The narrative is stilted, disjointed, and in some places VERY hard to follow.
(Though some of this may be due to poor formatting. I am not sure.)

3. This is almost purely a romance. I would have liked the music element to be stronger. I would have liked there to be more of a focus on the paranormal. It doesn't help that the characters are cardboard and I couldn't care less about any of them. 

Okay, so let's start with #1. The protagonist. Her name is Sing, you guys. I should have known based on the naming of the main character that this book was not going to be a good one. I thought I could get past it, but her stupid name yanked me out of the narrative on multiple occasions. 

She's also a HUGE jerk. The author tries to redeem her in the end, but I just spent 300 pages hating this girl and wanting to strangle her. I am not going to be that forgiving. She is a snob. She is stuck on herself and arrogant. She is mean to everyone around her for no good reason. I brought some quotes with me today to show you what I mean.

Here is the setup. Sing is in a classroom learning about birdsongs. (I wish I was kidding.) The teacher is asking where baby birds learn how to sing.


"Listen to their parents?" Goatee says.
 
"Exactly! Most songbirds learn their songs from their parents, the way you and I learn language--and, for many of us here, music."
 
Was that a glance in Sing's direction? It better not have been.
 
 
So she has a complete lack of respect for her teachers. CHECK.
 
 
"Sing, aren't you taking that? I thought I saw you head over to Durand after drama."
 
Sing shrugs. Was that a dig, because she's not taking The Artist's Life? At least she doesn't have to take functional piano!
 
 
She's also nasty to her friends. Demeaning and condescending too. Lovely.
 
 
Ryan laughs, reaches across the table to pat her hand--thank goodness she --had her hand resting there!--and says, "It's not bad, really. You don't have to do anything if you don't want to. You could just say, 'My cheeseburger was really good,' or something. He won't pick you early, since you're new, so just watch everyone else and decide."
 
 
And there is inspired writing like that. First of all, she is so incredibly happy this douchey guy (and I mean douchey) just touched her with his hand. OMG let me piss myself with excitement. Secondly, that writing is awful. We are just getting started.
 
Oh, this one is good. About the same douchey guy too.
 
 
Remain calm, Sing thinks. A gorgeous rehearsal pianist has his arm around you and is protecting you from the weather with his own umbrella. Don't screw this up!
 
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Isn't her inner voice just charming? I would prefer Anastasia Steele, to be honest. And it's obvious that it's his OWN umbrella. You didn't need to include that word. One too many pronouns there since you already said HIS!! I can't with this writing and this nauseating grossmance.
 
 
If he were in Hud with the other students, he probably would have walked her all the way to her room. It doesn't matter that Lori might have seen them. He definitely wasn't trying to hide their new relationship from Lori. Definitely.

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Sweetie. Honey, no. You are not seriously that desperate, pathetic, and naive all rolled into one. Ugh.
 
I have other examples of just how bad the writing is, but I will spare you the agony. There are also lots of passages early on that showcase just how awful Sing is. I am not kidding you, she is probably one of the nastiest protagonists I have read in years. She hates and judges all the girls around her, including her friends. She disrespects all her elders. The girl is just miserable. She pines over guys that were not worth pining over and obsesses about them until I wanted to vomit. She even takes a very important role from another girl to get herself ahead. And her main reason for doing this is because the girl is her rival. For singing and douchey guy, who's named Ryan. But Sing doesn't even like Ryan that much so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. 
 
I could go on forever, but this book to me, is not worth your time. I finished it because it was so hilariously bad that I couldn't NOT finish. Plus, you know, the book had an interesting concept. I wanted to see how it ended up being executed. Not well, I might add. I don't even want to go into details about that because the rest is just so horrifying that it's not worth pushing yourself through to a payoff that is not even close to worth it.
 
Remember way back when when I reviewed Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black? 


 photo gif7_zps4596baed.gif
 

This is just about as bad as that. In short? I do not recommend it. 
 



Cress

Cress - Marissa Meyer

Wow. This series just gets better and better. I still think that Scarlet is my favorite book of the series overall, but the characterizations in Cress go above and beyond what I ever expected from this series. I've heard complaints from reviewers that didn't like the character of Cress, and I just don't agree at all. Perhaps it's because I see a lot of myself in her (growing up as an only child and spending quite a bit of it isolated and sheltered), but I thought she was wonderful. Naive, lonely, and eccentric, yes, but also incredibly brave and determined. She was exactly the character she should have been after all she went through. 

And Thorne? OMG, he just gets better and better. He spends a large portion of this book having to depend on others to get by (I will not tell you why--spoilers), and I think he learns a lot about himself in the process because it is not something he deals with well. He's still the effervescent badass he always has been, it's just that the author decides to add a new dimension to his personality that I absolutely loved. 

It's hard to write a book review for the third book in a series without spoiling things, so I will keep this short. The writing is as excellent as it always has been. I am a HUGE fan of the way Meyer puts words down on a page. They flow well, the imagery is fantastic, and there are very few authors that can tell a story with this type of skill. The book is 550 pages long, and yet it is a quick read, a page turner, and practically impossible to put down. At least for me it was. 

The story is continued and ended in a way that was completely satisfying to me as a reader. It's not a cliffhanger per se, but it did leave me wanting Winter immediately. Alas, I have to wait a fairly long time, and the worst part of it is, there are no ARCs. WAHHHHHH HAAAAAH HAAAAAH. Seriously. Bloggers have to wait for the release date just like everyone else. 

There are some awful and heartbreaking things that happen in this book. I just have to warn you about that. There are also some disturbing images, but I have to give the author major accolades for being as daring as she was with the things she did. So vague, I know. But you are just going to have to read it and find out. 

And this is where I will leave you. I highly recommend Cress. The impression I am getting is that this is the favorite book in the series thus far for many bloggers. I liked Scarlet a little more for its breakneck pacing and excitement, but that doesn't mean it isn't in Cress. I just think Cress focuses a little more on the characters, which was fine by me, because once again, I LOVE CRESS AND THORNE. I SHIP IT. I SHIP IT FIERCELY. Though I do kind of want Thorne for myself. 




The Sense of Touch

The Sense of Touch - Ron Parsons

I don't often read books of short stories. Same thing with anthologies. Going into 2014 though, I wanted to try to widen my horizons and to read things I don't read often. I am finding that a lot of the genres that were bringing me joy are starting to feel tired and repetitive. For the most part, this venture has been a success. I started it last year with darker contemporaries. Now I am trying short fiction. First up in that genre is The Sense of Touch. 

This is an odd little collection because the stories are not what I expected at all. The endings are all very ambiguous and open ended. Rather than feeling like conclusions, to me this book felt like little snippets of life. I tend to like my books with a beginning, middle, and end. I know that this is all subjective, and someone else might very well feel that these stories have that, but I was left feeling kind of unsatisfied. 

That doesn't mean that I didn't like them though. Because the fact of the matter is this: they are incredibly well-written. No, seriously. I would give my right arm to be able to right like this. Poetic sentences loaded with imagery that feel full of life and expression. Sometimes that is enough for some readers. This book takes on a very literary quality, and there were parts of it that I did very much enjoy. My favorite stories were "As Her Heart is Navigated" and "Big Blue." The first is about a twenty-something girl who is in a relationship that she is not sure she really wants to be in. A blizzard hits on Halloween and she goes to dig out her car and then meets someone very special, but it's not what you think. The latter is about a big blue wiffle bat, and a man who trips over his memories of his childhood and grandfather. I think I liked these two the best because I could relate to them a bit. 

I'm not sure I would recommend this for everyone. Definitely for fans of literary fiction. Most of the stories are set in Minnesota and the atmosphere is palpable throughout the prose. I just wanted more from the stories themselves. I enjoyed them, but unfortunately not enough to rate this over three stars. It's actually more of a 3.5 though. 




Something Real

Something Real - Heather Demetrios
I just finished Something Real last night and I can't stop thinking about it. Before I even start talking, I feel like I need to mention how surprised I was by this book. This is NOT a light and fluffy piece of fiction. The cover might look it, but it's really dark. It's unsettling, it's depressing, and at times VERY difficult to read. There were times when this book literally made me sick. It's not often that a book makes me sick to my stomach, but this one did. Topics like this are very hard to read for me because I get a bit claustrophobic at times. I hate feeling trapped, and there were many times where I did as a teenager so it takes me back to a time I would rather not reflect on. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it though because I blew through this book in record time. 
 
There are some interesting elements in this novel that aren't usually present in other works of young adult fiction. For one, there is a really motivating relationship between Bonnie and her brother Benton. And I was actually surprised by the portrayal of her parents and stepfather. I don't want to spoil anything so you are just going to have to wait and see. This book pushed some boundaries and I really LOVED that it did. Not only that, but there was a completely healthy relationship between two gay teenage boys and that was wonderful also.
 
As for the writing itself, I loved it! I loved the little snippets in between chapters of conversations, articles and different things to break up the monotony. I love the way the chapters were titled, but most of all, I loved Bonnie's voice. I fell in love with her as a character and I related to her so much. Not because of her situation, but the way she DEALT with said situations. She is a normal, flawed teenage girl with a huge heart and a large personality. I'm an adult now but that doesn't mean I don't remember what I was like as a teen, and I do think that there is no other character I have had the pleasure of reading that comes as close to what I was like as Bonnie. 
 
Also, everyone that knows me knows how much of a sucker I am for reality shows. My FAVORITE is Big Brother, and amusingly enough, there were quite a few references in here to the infamous show that I adore so much. The difference between that show and the one presented in this book though, is that the housemates CHOOSE to be observed 24/7. Bonnie had that choice made for her by a very fame greedy mother. There is only one question I would have liked answered that I never did get an answer for, and that was her family's real reason for doing the show again. Was it finances like they said, or was it something else? Maybe I will just ask the author since she's on the blog today. :D
 



BBA ALERT: Katie Lynn Johnson

So some of you might have heard what went down today on my review for Amulet of Elusion by Katie Lynn Johnson. I am just going to give a quick run down of how I feel about the whole situation.

 

Katie emailed me a while ago asking if I would review her book. Let's start with that. On my blog it clearly states that I am not accepting self-published books at the moment unless I contact you myself. She decided not to pay any heed to that and emailed me (she got the email from Tangled in Pages and the post was published on The Social Potato) anyway. I was slightly annoyed but the book intrigued me enough to let go of that and tell her I'd be willing to review it. Now, I made no promises to like it and like it I did not. What with the recent BBA occurrences, I was slightly worried about how she would take it so I decided not to link her to the review when I let her know I reviewed the book. Hell I even apologized for not liking it even though I had no obligation to do so. I understand that authors are human beings and have feelings and I am sure it sucks when people don't like your books. She was polite enough when she replied but then she somehow lost her shit and decided to attack a commenter, not me, A COMMENTER who basically expressed her opinions. Here is the original comment. 

 

 

There was nothing wrong with it but Katie was struck with the wise idea of singling Giselle out and replied with this: 

 

 

There are many things wrong with that statement never mind the fact that it was extremely childish. For starters I get the feeling she just discounted my opinion by saying that every other reviewer liked this book. Let's move on the other half though, the one where she basically acts like it was Giselle's loss. Xpresso Book Tours is a very successful business and there are waiting lists to get on a tour but for her to act so childish and immature is just ridiculous. And Giselle was commenting as a fellow blogger, not someone who runs a business. Also, what's wrong with Giselle forming an opinion based on my review? Hell if there are things that she clearly does not like that I said were in the book should it not be her right to avoid the book like the plague? Haven't we all done it? 

 

But this wasn't all. She decided to take this all a step further and talk about it on her blog (you know how the BBAs get all riled up and then whine about it to whoever will listen.. uh huh)

 

 

LOL. Open minded. LOL. HYPOCRITES. EVERYWHERE

 

 

But then she changed her mind. It was no longer unfortunate that I didn't like her book. I became a book basher and a mean human being 

 

 

Are reviewers not even safe commenting on their fellow reviewers reviews? Are we going to get attacked every where we turn? Is there no end to this bullshit?

 

I am just fucking pissed. I spend a while writing that review and I spend a shit load of time attempting to finish a book I was not enjoying. I do NOT have a lot of time on my hands. It's my senior year and I've got a fuck load of things to worry about. I have no obligations to like her fucking book and commenters have no obligations to go read it if they don't think they'll like it. She is supposed to be a professional (EVEN IF SHE IS SELF-PUBLISHED) and SHE SHOULD FUCKING ACT LIKE ONE but instead she choses to dig herself further into the hole of her own making. 

 

 

FURTHER EDIT

Faye brought this to my attention. In this post Katie goes on to discredit everything I've said.

 

 

 

 

I think it's suffice to say I am not going to be reviewing a self published book in a long long time. It's a pity because we all know that there are wonderful self-pubbed authors out there.

 

Reblogged from Rashika, The Book Owl



Alienated

Alienated - Melissa Landers

 

To be honest (and I am always honest), I am not sure why I requested this one. Maybe it was the cover. I also think it sounded like something really different and I was intrigued, though at the time I was not certain it would be a book for me. I should have, probably, went with me gut here. In spite of there being some things I did like about Alienated, for the most part I was underwhelmed and unimpressed.


Let's start with the good. I enjoyed the characters, particularly Aelyx. I thought his narrative was funny. And I thought his confusion with Earth and Earth girls (though juvenile) was humorous. This is one of those books where you are either going to appreciate the silliness or you aren't. I totally understand why people didn't. But quotes like these,

 

“Your long, shiny hair, healthy skin, and bright eyes show that you’re well-nourished.”

“Uh, thank you?”

“You’re clearly intelligent.” Then he felt the need to add, “For a human.”

“But Eric was probably most attracted to your waist-to-hip ratio.” For a split second, Aelyx resembled a human boy as he leaned back and peered at her caboose. “Hips of that width are likely to pass live offspring without complications.”

 

I found humorous. He's an alien, guys! He isn't a human boy, and he doesn't come from here. Things he does are going to be ridiculous. Thoughts that he has are going to be cheesy and stupid because even though he looks like a human, he isn't one. The book is mostly a comedy and it's supposed to be. If you go into it expecting anything different, this is probably NOT the book you should be reading! It really is THAT simple. If you are expecting a serious science fiction novel (though lord knows with that cover why you would be), pick a different book! Do you want to laugh? Do you appreciate silly jokes and amusing conflicts between the sexes of a Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus variety? You are probably going to enjoy this. It is not the deepest book I have ever read, by any means, but it serves its purpose.


There are a couple things I didn't like. The world building didn't work for me in some spots and I had issues with suspension of disbelief. Why would they use teenagers for this program and not adults? There is no way most parents would allow their kids to leave the galaxy, for chrissakes. And you know, then there was that whole 10,000 years thing. Which, it was neither confirmed nor denied, but there is an ancient tale that the people of Earth came from ancient citizens of L'eihr. Uhhhh, there have been people on Earth for way longer than that, book. O_o What in the hell?! *head explodes from stupidity* And the thing is, this story wasn't even necessary. It could have been left out to no ill effects of the book. Whomp, whomp.


The writing was fine, but a bit juvenile. It just didn't do anything for me. But again, this is not a very deep book, so it is to be expected. I appreciate how it deals with Xenophobia, but I also didn't like the portrayal of some of the characters, particularly Tori. I can't really put my finger on it, but the way she treated Cara, the way she went after her boyfriend, who by the way, was really rough with Cara in the beginning, bothered me. He dragged her down the hallway and she did nothing. I had a HUGE issue with that. Why didn't these girls stand up for themselves? Why didn't they get help? It was just icky to me. There was a large military and police presence in this book and yet Eric and Marcus were douchey all over the place and no one intervened. Whatever. 


I enjoyed the story though it was kind of predictable. I didn't have an issue with that really because it was still well told. I laughed and read through this pretty quickly, but umm, did I miss where the river (and I am pretty sure the author means a smaller river, not the East River, based on the way it is described) and forest is in Midtown, New York? Because isn't that where the Javits Center is? Not exactly rural there, ya know? WHERE IS THE RIVER? Someone tell me. Where is the forest? Where is there room to park a giant spaceship? 


Okay, I am done. On to the next.




Foreplay

Foreplay - Sophie Jordan

I'm sorry. I am 73% into this book and this dumbass girl is still pretending like she doesn't want a relationship with this guy. That this is still all fake. That she still wants to be with Hunter. My suspension of disbelief only goes so far. This just became utterly ridiculous and unrealistic. I'm done. Not finishing it. Pepper is an awful person and Reece deserves better. GROSS.

 

This probably the last New Adult book I am going to read. Everyone seems to love this one and I thought it was shit.




Uninvited

Uninvited - Sophie Jordan

Well this was an unexpected surprise. 2014 has started off by being a disappointing reading year for me thus far, but Uninvited by Sophie Jordan turned it all around. Most of my friends have been meh about this, but I am trying this new thing this year where I throw it all out the window before I read a book. No expectations, no remembering previous updates, and it worked for me this time. I wouldn't say this book was brilliant, but what it lacked in originality and gorgeous prose, it made up for by being compulsively readable and compelling. Seriously, I freaking loved the storyline.

Davy is a teenage girl from an upper-middle class family. She goes to a private school and is pretty much the apple in her parents' eye--that is until it is found out that she tested positive for HTS, the kill gene. She is kicked out of school, her friends and boyfriend ditch her, and her life falls completely apart. This is a completely prejudiced world she is living in--she becomes a minority and is treated like complete garbage by almost everyone around her, but she finds a certain camaraderie with other carriers of HTS. This is where she meets Sean, and can I say how much I loved him?. I loved Davy too, but wow, Sean was an amazing character. Thing is, I don't usually fall for the romance in YA novels, but Bekka really loved it (and in Sophie Jordan novels in general), and I TOTALLY agree with her. This book might lack in the world-building department, but the slow burn of the relationship, the development of the romantic tension, it totally works because it is not rushed, and when they finally get together, the waiting the author makes you do is totally worth it.

I also just found it really suspenseful, and I fell in love with the story. For me, the ideas in this book (and the way society would react to it) were wholly believable. It was terrifying, unsettling, and I truly felt Davy's desperation. This book really bothered me and there were moments I wanted to put it down and take a breather. It's not often for me where books affect me to the point of anxiety, and I didn't find it enjoyable when that happened, but at the same time, I have to reward it for the emotions it made me feel. The writing in the book is not anything special but the character development is because I was so scared for Davy and her friends. 

There are a few things I would have preferred to see done differently though, and those are:

The ending was too abrupt. I wanted more of a conclusion. It didn't really end in a cliffhanger either, it just kind of...stopped, and those are my least favorite endings. You stop in the middle of the action, and for what? Couldn't this have just been a standalone? This is one thing that kept it perfect for me.

I wanted the protagonist to be more of a fighter. Now don't get me wrong, there were times when she was a badass. But I also feel she depended too much on the guys around her. It was a decent balance, but at the same time, I can't stand when women need to be rescued. It is a way of building romance, and I get it, but I wish there were other ways to do this. 

That said, if those are the only criticisms I have, that's not very much, is it? I know there were some critiques on the world building, and yes, it is kind of light but it completely worked for me. The explanation was simple enough, and I didn't really need more. It was easy for me to believe that there could be a gene responsible for people turning into violent killers. And I didn't want the plot bogged down by a whole lot of dry science that would slow down the pacing, because whoa that story was something. It does take a little bit for things to get moving, and the first part of the story is largely character driven but I liked that about it. This is a book that really pulled me into the story and the world fell away for a while. My favorite kind.




Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge

2014 is not off to a great start for me as far as reading goes. This is the THIRD time I have been the black sheep and the month is not even over yet. Everbound/Evertrue, Being Sloane Jacobs, and now Cruel Beauty. I'm not sure what is going on, but I can't help liking what I like, and this book did not work for me on a multitude of levels. That's not to say it was bad, because it wasn't. I just feel it was overhyped and oversold, and I didn't get what I expected out of the reviews I read. I know expectations are totally my fault though and I take complete ownership of that. 

So rather than write a long and drawn out review, I am just going to list things, because when it comes right down to it, I would rather just get my issues out and move on with my life. I don't have a lot to see either as this was just a very meh read for me. 

Let's start with the good things:

1. It's a standalone AND it's a fantasy novel. That's incredibly rare and I do hope it STAYS that way and the publisher/author doesn't increase the number of books to try and attempt a moneygrab.

2. The world-building was interesting. It didn't always work for me but I totally have to give the author credit for weaving mythology, Beauty and the Beast, and managing to make something original and intriguing out of it. 

3. The writing was pretty. I didn't much care for it but I can't deny the beauty of the prose. I will talk more about the rest in my dislikes. 

That's about it, unfortunately. I told you it was a hot mess for me. Let me get into my criticisms now. Even though I don't wanna. 

1. So back to the writing. Even though it was pretty, I found it lacked a lot of clarity. There were times I had NO IDEA what the hell was going on and I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. I just don't feel a lot of things were explained well. There was a lack of detail and so many vague explanations that didn't work for me. And the imagery was off too. I liked some of it, but I had a tough time mentally picturing some of the scenes. So, not good for me there.

2. I didn't connect to any of the characters. Not a single one. Not Ignifex, not Nyx, not Shade, nor any of the side characters. I Just found them flat and dull. The chemistry between Nyx and Shade and Ignifex didn't work for me at all, and yes, there is a love triangle. With a twist. I will admit the ending eked a few emotions out of me, but that was it. I give her points for that ending though. It was pretty brilliant and I think if I HAD been in love with this book, I would have been over the moon.

3. What is with the repetitiveness? The entire first half was slow and bogged down with a ton of the same thing over and over. It's just Nyx running from room to room looking for the hearts in the castle that she needs to stop the Gentle Lord from terrorizing the countryside. It sounds exciting, but for me it wasn't. The book took about 130 pages to really get going for me, and for YA I find that FAR too long.

4. Way too much focus on the romance. I knew there would be quite a bit of it, but I also was hoping for some really strong fantasy elements and mythology. It was too far on the romance end of the spectrum for me. This was basically a romance novel with fantasy elements. I prefer it the other way around. 

Wrapping this up, I have to say that even though I am rating this three stars out of five, this is by far my most disappointing read of 2014 thus far, right behind Being Sloane Jacobs. Maybe my expectations are too high. I consider it a lesson and I will rein myself in in the future. 




Avalon

Avalon - Mindee Arnett

DNF. I just can't do this author's writing. It's way too simple and telling. Story was intriguing enough, so if you can get past the writing, it could be a good book. Just not one for me.