Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Doctor Who: Earthworld - Jacqueline Rayner

My heart is all a flutter. Why? Because this book is featuring the Doctor. And not just any Doctor…my favorite Doctor: THE EIGHTH DOCTOR!


The first settlers of New Jupiter were a handful of humans, with androids to help make the planet habitable. Many generations down, the New Jupitan President, John E Hoover, faces a challenge to his hereditary role. His popularity is threatened by the Association of New Jupitan Independence – ANJI – who want to establish New Jupitan Independence. So Hoover has set up an Earth Theme Park – Earthworld. It is nearly complete and will enormously boost the planet's income from off-worlders – and thus the President's popularity. So Hoover has no intention of telling anyone that there are people entering Earthworld who are mysteriously never seen again. Meanwhile, the president has triplet daughters to succeed him in his hereditary role. Unbeknownst to him, they have been tampering with Earthworld's androids – but why? And can the Doctor find out before the problems of New Jupiter get out of control?
Let me preface this review by saying this: Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor is my favorite. I root for the underdog and in the history of Doctor Who, this particular regeneration was shafted. All he got was a US made for TV movie. And granted, it is SO dated with big shoulder pads and 90’s hair and some of the acting and actors. But Paul McGann…he was glorious. He brought the Eighth Doctor to life. The Eighth Doctor is a passionate romantic. He is gallant and brave and his hard edges (which all Doctor’s have) are sharp with wit. 
But even though the Eighth Doctor didn’t get the TV series he so deserved, he does have a TON of books, audio plays, and comic books. And can you believe that I am just now getting to reading an Eighth Doctor adventure? Oh! It was so much fun! The Eighth Doctor was completely recognizable and the companions, Fitz and Anji, were wonderful. The book, in essence, is a true Doctor Who tale. Lots of monsters and running and mystery and loony-tune characters. But there is a little more heart in it. It’s not just some creature feature or a gut wrenching tale made by the devil himself, Stephen Moffatt. The author, Jacqueline Rayner, was able to show us the inner turmoil of Fitz and Anji that is churning deep inside them. Rayner made Fitz and Anji reliable narrators sharing their own unique point of views of the Doctor. I loved the story of the book.
How can I explain the big “BUT…”(Hahaha! I made myself laugh with that sentence.) This book was a published by BBC Books. The edition I have is a special one for the 50th Anniversary of the character. One would THINK that they would take the actual time and EDIT the book. Like, properly. I’m not just talking about someone saying to the author “I think you might need to go back and fix this bit” or “You know, have you tried this approach” or “This is crap.” I’m talking about simple spelling, grammatical, and CHARACTER NAMES IN THE RIGHT PLACE. BBC makes a TON of money every day off of Doctor Who, especially during the 50th Anniversary from 2013. Take the time to actually make sure you are putting out quality stuff instead of being so concerned pumping out stuff for Whovian’s to through their money at. As a true lover of books and storytelling, NOTHING pulls me out of a tale faster than an editing error. If it’s just like one or two, I’m fine. It happens. You can’t catch everything. I know I am guilty of flubs all the time in my own writing. BUT, there were quite a few things that in my mind, ruined the reading experience for me. I stumble across the obvious mistake and I’m jolted out of the story. Then, I have to dive back in. It’s annoying to say the least. I mean, Hello BBC! You’re a huge corporation. Get it together man.
Other than the whole lack of editor bit, the book itself was not too bad. The format was a little hit and miss for me. The dialogue was a bit awkward in how it was written. I did enjoy the emails that Anji was writing on her phone but never sent until the end and in the end she got a “fatal error.” Anji’s story is a bit sad. As is Fitz’s. I feel like the Eighth Doctor is drawn to and attracts these semi tragically romantic characters. Read the book. You’ll get what I’m talking about.
Now, I don’t regret getting this book. I love it, despite its flaws because the one thing that Rayner did get right was the awe and wonderment of the Doctor through someone else’s eyes. And the Eighth Doctor was perfectly written. (And on a side note...the only Doctor I find so dreamy. Le Sigh.)
I have other Doctor Who books that chronicle different regenerations. All of them are fun because I’m just an avid Whovian. And granted, this one, is by far not the most well written book, but hot damn is it a fun ride.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! I hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Years!

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a PIRATE!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Reflecting on an Adventure in Writing Dangerously

And now for something completely different....


Yes. I live. And I thought I would do a little something different with the blog. I want to share with you NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) and my journey through this grind of story writing. I have done NaNoWriMo four times and Camp NaNoWriMo at least 2 times. Each time, I learn something new and grow as a writer.
Essentially…I survived. Again. Throughout the whole process, I was just keeping my head above water when I was struggling for my word count goal. In the past, I would have freaked out. I would have been kicking myself for not being focused enough. I would be kicking my husband for pestering me as I try to write. Now I am just happy to write. I have accepted the fact that as a married mom of two who works a full forty hour work week, there is not a lot of time for writing. So, I make work my writing in whenever I can. I write on my breaks at work and then late into the evening. I was able to find a really amazing app so I write on my phone a majority of the time. When NaNoWriMo was over, I transferred it all over to my computer/flash drive. Which, let me say, was a slightly terrifying and scary process.
Let me be honest. The piece I’m working on, well, it’s an unfinished project. It’s got like two more chapters left. I can feel it. I mean, I want to finish my post-apocalyptic wanderlust filled with mercenaries, clones, and evil corporations. I have other stories that are chomping at the bit begging to be writing. I got a super hero tale, a contemporary romance with a twist, a steampunk paranormal mystery, a fantasy screenplay with a bit of political overtones to it. OH! And a completed novel and screenplay that need to be edited. Busy busy busy bee! So I really want to finish this project (tentatively called The End is Nigh. Dumb title, I don’t like it, but I needed something to fill the space).
But you know what? I love it! I love the creative process. I plug my headphones in, crank up my music, and just get lost. I love the multiple people walking around in my head screaming and yelling to be brought to life and live out wonderful adventures. Any writer will tell you that we put a little bit of ourselves and the people around us into our tales. I love being tortured by my characters and then in return putting them through the ringer. It truly is writing dangerously.
Really though…is there any other way to write? I mean, I’m are submerging myself in a make believe world of my own creation. Some would see this as the development of being a crazy person. But, maybe I am. But that’s writing dangerously. Writing dangerously is allowing the written word to sallow you whole and take you down the rabbit hole. As writers, you force yourself to make the wound bigger, to poke and prod and dissect a range of situations and how human emotions react to them.
I will only write dangerously. I mean, there’s no other way. I want to write something that matters to me, but I also want others to read what I write and either get what I’m trying to say. Or, perhaps they take my words and see a different path.
For me, NaNoWriMo time allows me to not have any excuses. I am forced to stick to a regimented schedule to reach a goal. This is writing dangerously as well. It’s like Mission: Impossible for writers. WILL I REACH 50,000 WORDS IN A MONTH?!

I might not be finished with my novel…but I did meet my word count.



If you are a writer or interested in writing, I give you this advise: just do it. Don’t be afraid. Get that idea that has been nagging you out on paper. Is it going to be amazing right off the back? Heaven’s no! I look back at my stuff and just laugh at it. BUT, my idea was there. It’s just waiting to be refined. Massaged. Manhandled and Caressed into something wonderful. It can be done. Read. Listen to Music. Take a Walk. Find a writing buddy. Do whatever you need to do to stay inspired and to pursue the sometimes solitary world of writing.
I know this blog post was a bit of ramble, but I wanted to share with everyone the strange beast of NaNoWriMo and what it does to me every year. It makes me mad enough to howl at the moon. And as long as it’s around. I’ll be participating.
Thank you so much for swinging by. More reviews and blog tours to come. 2016 is going to be an amazing year filled with books and writing. I can feel it in my bones….my leg bones…my arm bones… (and thank you for those that get the Bob’s Burgers reference there. I love that show….)

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate…then always be a PIRATE!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson

Epic. Sweeping. Magic. A tragic hero and the legacy of a broken world ruled by an evil overlord. Forgive me Gods and acolytes of fantasy…I am so sorry I just now reading this book.

Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.
He failed.
For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.
Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

I am taking a momentary break from my own adventures in novel writing (thanks NaNoWriMo!), stepping outside of my world to finally do a review on this book that, honestly, should have been done a while ago. But, book tours and other books and writing and Netflix got in the way. So, here we are and here is this review.
I’ve seen Brandon Sanderson’s name all over the fantasy genre work and I have wanted to read this book for a long time. And when I got some handy dandy “Wellness Bucks” from a work healthy incentative program, they had books as something one could get, and you best believe when I saw the first three books for The Mistborn series in a set, I snagged it up. No more excuses for not reading it anymore!
This book totally peeked my interest because I love slightly vague descriptions of books. It sounded oh so mysterious and wonderful new take on an established genre. Allomancy. What the heck is it? Well, it’s the power to take metals and harness certain attributes in them and use them to do some awesome superhero shit. That is of course, the super abridged Idiot’s Guide to The Mistborn Series definition. The world that Sanderson created is so big and complex, and so wonderfully written. But to review the entire world in blog review is just too great an undertaking. Well, that and my brain a wee bit fried from NaNoWriMo.
So, how should this book be reviewed?
Well, I’ll go with this angle: If you love fantasy…you need to have this book. You need to devour this book. It has all the right elements. An honorable quest to overturn a tyrant. A tragic hero with questionable tactics and motivations. A young heroine saved from the gritty world of criminals, cultivated to rise up and be a leader. An evil unimaginable. Unique characters. Magic. Tension. Love. Heartbreak. UGH. I could go on and on. Sanderson pulls and pushes us along with Kelsier and Vin with their highs and lows and drags us down into the heart of danger and despair. I was sucked in deep. The world was big and sometimes hard to follow, having back track just to make sure that I properly understood terms and settings, but in the end, it was the characters. It was Vin and Kelsier. This is a character driven piece. We are propelled forward by what these characters HAVE to do and what the NEED to do to live and survive in a very cruel world filled with so much pain. But, they preserve and are still able to smile. It’s just a big big beautiful story.
Can you tell I loved it? I did.
So I apologize for this review being a bit short and sweet, but I feel like if you haven’t read this book, you should, and I don’t want to risk any type of spoilers. Generalizations was the key for me talking about this book. I will say, there is a TON of world building, and that can get tedious, but kind in mind this is the first in a long series that just keeps getting bigger.
I have read book two, The Well of Ascension.  I did start book three, The Age of Heroes, but had to put it down because I felt the desperate need to write. I’m hoping to pick it up after the first of the year and finish that part of the series. If you haven’t read any Brandon Sanderson, this is a great introduction into his writing style and storytelling. Oh, and it’s like part of the Fantasy Genre required reading…if there is a list like there out in the world…

Thank you for so much for taking time to read my blog! I appreciate every single person who stumbles across my little part of the internet.
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate…then ALWAYS BE A PIRATE!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

His Touch - Patty Blount

It's time for a couple chuckles and quite a few feels. Oh! The FEELS!! Lots of feels actually. A lot. 

When a surly paramedic finds Kara Larsen's lost toddler, only to berate her for failing to mind her child, Kara is embarrassed and relieved she'll never have to deal with that jerk again. Doesn't he know being a single mom is a lot harder than it looks?! But when baby Nadia has trouble breathing one night, Kara's frantic 911 call brings that same jerk right to her door...
FDNY paramedic Reid Bennett has a compulsion to help frantic parents. But after the way he over-reacted to the beautiful woman in the department store that day, she wants nothing to do with him. But it's not his fault he keeps running into her all over the city...
When Kara bumps into Reid for the third time in a week, she can't help but wonder if the mom she lost in 2001 is playing matchmaker. As Kara and Reid form a cautious friendship, he quickly becomes baby Nadia's favorite person. But Reid has no interest in long-term commitment, or so he thought. So when Nadia's father calls out of the blue and Kara agrees to see him, Reid realizes he has some triage to do if he hopes to keep his girls...

Thanks again to Amy from Lady Reader's Boom Stuff for inviting me to review this book as well as providing me a copy to read so that I may be part of this blog tour. Always and forever, this is an honest review. Let's get started!!

With a week before National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) just around the corner, I wasn't sure if I would have time to do any real reading or blogging. So when Amy tempted me wth this short and sweet tale, I thought, eh why not? She sent this book to me Friday Evening and I read this book in THREE HOURS. Three hours! I haven't done that since like before I had my two precious hellions (my kiddos). 

And let me say this right here and now,: contemporary romance novels are normally not my thing. I find the characters most of the time are flat and one dimensional. The plot unbelievable. And the sex implausible. Like, come on. But, Patty Blount was able to snag my attention and hold it. Oh! And she made me cry. Good thing the Hubs and Kiddos were in bed asleep as I read this. 

As I was planning this review, I was trying to figure out the how. How could a genre I find for the most part annoying suck  me in like that? Honestly, it was because of Kara. I went through the same emotions Kara went through as a new mom. The constant "AM I DOING THIS RIGHt?!" screaming in the brain. Also the whole bit about adjusting your work schedule and your morning routine is for real. I however get up extra early to put a full face of makeup on, while Kara cut down the makeup to mascara and concealer for the dark circles that are always present. I'm a mommy two times and I still get those feelings. It was way to relate to constant questioning and seflf doubt. Reid was also a believable character. He was a dude who was perfectly flawed. He wasn't a super hero. His emotional bag was legitimate and when his flood gates broke, it was appropriate. Reid is just a guy. Which, is nice. There was no crazy and unrealistic possessiveness. I didn't feel like there was anything forced with Kara and Reid. Their banter and dialogue was quick and easy to read. 

And this is a romance novel so yeah, there is a sex scene. But, it didn't leave me rolling my eyes. There was no absurdity to have to deal with. Sure, they get it on, but it wasn't about the act itself, but the emotions and interactions of two very lonely and broken people. I don't need to now the nitty gritty of body parts or the sounds being made. I'm a grown woman with two kids. I know how it works. Just show me how they feel. The release of emotions. And that's what Blount did. She showed Kara's insecurity which turned into confidence with Reid. She showed Reid allowing himself joy and happiness. Well, sorta. It's complicated those two. And I'm not here to give spoilers. 

This book for me was a palette cleanser. I've been pretty busy with NaNoWriMo coming up and my novel is pretty heavy and dark. So to have read this prior to diving even deeper into a scifi/post apocalyptic world of evil corporations and clone warriors taking over the world, well, it was a nice mini vacation from my own characters yammering in my head. This book got me in the feels, yo. And yeah. I didn't mind too much. 

Again, thanks to Amy and Patty Blount for letting me play along on the blog tour. Please be sure to check out the other blogs and also to check out Patty Blount's books!!

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a pirate. 

(For reals though. This book. Feels. Tears.)


October 26th – Christine Abee – Review His Touch & Nothing Left To Burn

October 26th – Lady Reader's Bookstuff - Tiffany – Review Nothing Left To Burn

October 27th  Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Guest Post/ Playlist

October 27th – Heather Ann's Book Reviews – Review His Touch & Nothing Left To Burn

October 28th  Lady Reader's Bookstuff - Tiffany – Review His Touch

October 28th  A Diary of A Book Addict – Review His Touch & Nothing Left To Burn

October 28th  The Reader and the Chef – Review Nothing Left To Burn

October 29th  Atomic Pirate Girl's Book Worm Booty– Review His Touch

October 29th  Bookish Lifestyle – Review His Touch & Nothing Left To Burn

October 30th – The Phantom Photographer – Review His Touch & Nothing Left To Burn

October 30th – Melissa Martin's Reading List – Review His Touch / Author Interview

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stenibelle - Ren Garcia

I have no idea what's going on. All I know is that I'm on some Steampunk SciFi-Fantasy Space Opera romp into the unknown. Strap in. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

THE 3rd TURN OF THE SHADOW TECH GODDESS The quest of Paymaster Stenstrom spans the planes, taking a bizarre turn in the 3rd universe, as there he is not an affluent man but a woman in desperate circumstances. Lady Stenibelle is imprisoned for her role in the Seeker Affair, is penniless, and her House of Belmont-South Tyrol is on the verge of extinction. Her spirit broken, Stenibelle is resigned to perform her sentence without fuss, do as she is told, and fade away in obscurity. However, fate is not yet finished with her. Stenibelle is in the gaze of hidden benefactors with ulterior motives. People claiming to be her dear friends come forward, yet she does not know them. The Quests of the Shadow tech Goddess proceed, and she must discover the hero that lies within or face total oblivion. The disgraced 30th daughter of the House of Belmont will either be the final stake driven into its dying heart, or the ray of light that comes to save it and all else that follows.

This review is apart of Lady Reader's Book Stuff blog tours and I'm super stoked to participate again! A copy of this book was provided to me for the blog tour so I say thank ye Amy, Ren Garcia and the publisher. As is with all my reviews, this is an honest one. My opinion alone...and really? Who pays attention to what I have to say in the first place? Oh! And there may or may not be a few spoilers here and there, but I'll try to keep it away from the plot twists and turns. Now...on to the review!!

Let me say this up front and get it out of the way. While reading this I was completely lost. Like, even with my map app on my iPhone going and Magic Voice patiently telling to take the 3rd left, I still would have gotten turned around. Reading this book had me feeling like there might have been some prerequisite books I should have tucked into first. 

The world the Garcia created is big. Like, ginormous. Almost too big. Space opera and steampunk? Magic? Timey Wimey Spacey Wacey? I enjoy these things all on their own and to mix them all together (kinda like the ULTIMATE space opera/fantasy Dune) is a large undertaking. But, like I said before, I think I missed out on some previous books, so maybe in those tales, the universe is established. I missed the Introductory class. 

I have read a few reviews and everyone seemed to love Stenibelle as a leading lady.  And I'm going to jump in here and say...I didn't, at least not right away. To me, she seemed so weak of will, so flat and uninteresting. When we meet our hero, she is trapped in jail and just wished to stay there and rot. And everything she did was meekly or quietly or with a degree of questionable hesitation. Then, she gets some potions called bulobongs and suddenly her entire personality changes, and not for the better. I went from being unimpressed to complete disgust. She was a brute and robbed and beat the shit out of folks and was pretty much a whore. Like, wow, what a shitty person. Stenibelle does get free of her drug addiction to FINALLY become a sensible character. The right amount of compassion and understanding mixed with a fierce determination. I get making the character grow and develop, but the extremes did almost give me the Bends. 

There are some good bits. Lots of great action and dialogue. The main point of Stenibelle's purpose in this book, saving the universe from crazy religious zealots was the best written part for me. We see Stenibelle as a hero right near the end. She is accepting all aspects of her personality and the mistakes of her past. Once I got past the first few chapter of being confused about why she was in jail and being a completely awful person, I was actually able delve down into the meat and potatoes of the story. I was able to see the strange and brutal and wondrous world created. It's not a kind place. It's filled with renegades and a harsh imperial government and heartless harpies who can and will destroy anyone who gets in their way. But then, Garcia reminds us that there are noble and gracious folks who, though a little cracked and dented, can actually never be broken.

This book left me with mixed feelings in the end. I felt like I should have known more about the world and characters Garcia created and I really did have a hard time when I came to Stenibelle being a complete dick of a person. But, when the book ended, I wanted more. Well, mostly more. I could totally due WITHOUT the word vagina. 

Thank you folks who found my blog via the blog tour. I hope you check out the other blogs along the way and check out this book. I would recommend checking out a few of Ren Garcia's previous books. Per Goodreads, they seem to relate to Stenibelle in some shape and form. 

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a pirate!!



September 21st – Christine Abee – Review 


September 21st – Marian Allen – Guest Post 


September 22nd – Melissa Martin's Reading List – Review


September 23rd – TBA


September 24th – Cabin Goddess – Recipe & Review 


September 25th – Room With Books – Playlist 


September 28th  Atomic Pirate Girl's Book Worm Booty – Review 


September 29th – The Renegade Zombie Reviews – Review 


September 30th – A Diary Of A Book Addict – Review  


September 30th – Triple A Book Blog – Review 


October 1st – Heather Ann's Book Reviews – Review


October 1st – Leigh Anderson Romance – Guest Post 


October 2nd – Karin Baker – Review


October 2nd – Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Writing Vivid Settings: Professional Writing Techniques for Fiction Writers - Rayne Hall

NaNoWriMo is just around the river bend folks. Time to get inspired. 

Do you want your readers to feel like they're really there—in the place where the story happens? Whether you want to enrich stark prose with atmospheric detail, add vibrancy to a dull piece or curb waffling descriptions, this guide can help. Learn how to make your settings intense, realistic, and intriguing. 

I start this little review with a preface. I have this great friend at work, Jeff, who is like myself: a writer. Granted, I'm not published. I just have this blog. But, that is my dream. I want to be a published author. And so does he. He's more on the screenwriting side of it, but still! If you create images with words, you want to share that with the world. We share a brain when it comes to putting words to paper. Back and forth we banter and throw out ideas and suggestions, same sense of humor. We inspire and encourage each other. We determined that we were meant to form a writing team. So we did. Because support matters.  Writing is a LONELY road guys, so it's awesome to have someone equally as crazy along for the ride. Side note: I am so grateful for a boss that doesn't mind the randomness that goes on between the two of us. For real. Because I'm pretty sure every other supervisor would tell us to shut up and get back to work. Yeah. My boss is pretty dang awesome. But, I digress. 

Anyway, Jeff was telling me how he downloaded some writing craft books and that they seem to be helpful. Now, my experience with those types of books is that I feel like the author just wants to hear themselves talk. The only writing book I read that I felt served any purpose for myself is Stephen King's book On Writing. But, I trust Jeff. He's my gay work husband and my writing brother from another mother and he is ALWAYS taking care of me. He was showing me the books he got on his Kindle. I had seen the blue cover and writing hand of Rayne Halls writing books a few times on Amazon's list of recommendations, never opted to get them. Jeff told me that I should check them out because they are simple, short, and to the point. And, they are short. But he definitely recommend this book: Writing Vivid Settings. 

Being stuck and hitting a wall with what I was writing, thought maybe this will help. And you know what? It totally did. And let me tell why. It was zero bullshit. And I know bullshit. I deal with it on a daily basis at work. It as clear and concise and everything I needed at the moment of my writing block. 

This book, for me, was a reminder of what I needed to make sure I do on a daily basis: breath life into my writing. Make sure that there is color and sounds and rich sights that transport a reader deep into the story. I feel like I do this anyway because as an avid reader, it's what I want in a story. I just want to be lost in the world and be devastated when I have to come back to reality. And Rayne Hall gives amazing tips and commentary to make sure you keep your reader engaged in your world. 

When I write, I tend to focus on colors and sounds. Those sections of the book provided me with new ideas and ways to improve those strengths. However, there were little bits and pieces that had me thinking, "Damn. I don't think I have this stuff in there. And it would make my story  EVEN BETTER." It's the little things really. 

After I read this book I totally for three of her other books. I'm currently working through Rayne Hall's Writing Fight Scenes. I am going back and forth from reading it and writing on my post-apocalyptic wanderlust of mercenaries, clones, and evil corporations. And it's definitely helping keep me focused and on track. 

For all my fellow NaNoWriMo folks, this is a great book for getting to the nitty gritty of writing a world that is saturated and full of imagery. Promise. No beating around the bush. And did I mention it's a quick read? 

If you are an experienced writer or this is going to be the first time you get your thoughts down on paper, check out this book. It's a nice and easy guide to what a writers are required to do: make the reader escape from reality...even if it's just for a few minutes.

And again, thanks Jeff! Always looking out for my, good buddy! 

Thank you so much for reading!
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. 
Them ALWAYS be a pirate!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Last of The Firedrakes - Farah Oomerbhoy

Is being kidnapped by an awful villain to a magical world the best thing for a girl? If finding out you have awesome magical powers and a princess...well, I'm going to say yes. And can I be kidnapped as well??

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.
With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

***Preface and Disclaimer***
First, I want to say that this review is apart of an awesome blog tour being held by Amy from Lady Readers Bookstuff and I want to say thanks for giving me a chance to be apart of something I have never done before: a blog tour! Also, thank you to Netgalley and Wise Ink Creative Publishing for providing me a copy for my ol' Kindle. And like always, this is an honest review. 
So where to begin? Let me say this right from the start: as I finished this book, I was left torn. I liked the book, left me feeling strange. I was trying to figure out why that was. The writing is good. Aurora is a good character, albeit a very familiar one in the world of young adults fantasy. The world was fun and there was go action. Oh, and a very handsome devil of a hero/love interest. So what was making me feel this strange mixed feeling of loving this book and it making me feel kind of "meh"? 
Part of this reason is because I had just finished reading book two of the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. That book was, well, kinda heavy. So my head space wasn't quite ready for this book. After realizing that, I looked back at the book and found that I did enjoy this tale. 
Aurora to me resembles a Cinderella-esque character: crappy situation with a horrid family but then is spirited away to a whole new world where she finds her true heritage as the heir to a kingdom. But that's pretty much were that resemblance ends. Because there are a whole slew of nasty villains, one of which is her tyrannical aunt, Morgana, who has control of Aurora's birthright. I love stories like this. And Aurora is likable. She is just like every other teen, but just in a super crap situation with an uncle that feigns indifferent at her existence, an aunt who despises the very ground she walks on, and a cousin whose soul mission to tear down any self confidence that Aurora has. Aurora is a character who has just given up. How in the world cannot just be happy when, in the end, she leaves those jack-holes behind. Granted, she is kidnapped...

But still! She's free and a whole new world (not like Disney's Aladdin ) is opened up before her. You know how in the Wizard of OZ, Dorothy's life in Kansas is black and white, and the world of OZ is this explosion in Technicolor? That's what I felt like when Aurora enters the world of Avalonia. Colors are bright and vibrant. Shadows are the deepest and the darkest bits of black.


I did have a couple little niggles with Aurora, though. They are forgivable...but still there all the same. One is the insta-love that she has for Rafe. As annoying as I find it personally, I can look past. I can forgive that because it's young adult and that is the trend. The other issue I had a little bit more of a difficult getting around. Aurora is a great narrator. She is completely capable of describing the world around her and her emotions perfectly. But some of the things this girl says grinds my teeth a bit. The exclamations of "Are you serious?!" and the like sort of bothered me. But don't get me wrong, I know our heroine is a 16 year old girl dragged into a world not her own, and I felt that I was being constantly reminded of this. 

When I first finished reading this, I felt that Morgana and her minions where a little too much mustache-twirling villains. You know, the ones that so easily reveal their master plans and are a bit one dimensional. There are two reason I felt this way: one, I just finished reading Brandon Sanderson's The Well of Ascension, and two, the ultimate villain, Aurora's arch-nemesis, appears at the end and just acts crazy. I just wanted a little more serious darkness and less cackling old witch from someone that shares a name with a character from  Arthurian legend. 

But! These are my personal issues. These things did not stop me from enjoying this book. There was a bit of a Princess Bride feel with the interaction with Aurora and Rafe (and DUN DUN DUN) and who he really is, (like River Song says, Spoilers!). The ups and downs that Aurora goes through are perfectly timed and appropriate for this type of story.  It's a light-hearted, fun escape to a different world, and has all the perfect elements of fantasy and action with a dash of young star-crossed love. 

This is the first in a series and an great debut for Farah Oomerbhoy. I am rooting for Aurora and do want to see if she claims her true birthright and learns to control her awesome powers so she can properly kick some ass. 

I hope you enjoyed this review and I hope you all go out and read this book! It really is a fun debut and you can tell the love the Farrah Oomerbhoy has for the world she has created, and that love is infectious. My only suggestion: Don't read The Mistborn series before this one. I'm one of the last stops on this blog tour, but please check out the other amazing blogs that joined in with all the fun!

Until next time, remember to be yourself...unless you can be a pirate...


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Vampire Academy Series - Richelle Mead

Can this series be any less young adult and anymore emotionally draining? UGH. THE FEELS!

I had this big plan to review this book series individually. But then this thing called Life happened. Married of two kiddos and one fur baby...working full time...trying to squeeze in my own personal writing time...just too damn much. I have been wanting to review this series and I made an executive decision to do this as a review of the entire six book series. I did do reviews for book one and two, and they are floating around here somewhere. I will try to keep this a concise review about the series, but I make no promises. The amount of feels and crazy shit that goes down in this series, well, it's like my friend Jeff would say: it's like trying to handcuff an octopus.

Here are the list of the books in the series:
Vampire Academy (reviewed forever ago)
Frost Bite (reviewed a few months ago)
Shadow Kissed
Blood Promise
Spirit Bond
Last Sacrifice 

First things first: what the heck is this series about? Well, it's about vampires. Duh! Just kidding. tells the story of Rosemarie "Rose" Hathaway, a Dhampire girl, who is training to be a guardian of her Moroi best friend, Vasilisa "Lissa" Dragomir. In the process of learning how to defeat Strigoi (basically the traditional evil undead vampires) in St. Vladimir's Academy, Rose finds herself caught in a forbidden romance with her instructor, Dimitri Belikov, while having an unbreakable psychic bond with Lissa. That's the gist of the story anyway. There's more that grows and developed between these main characters as side line antagonists come and go. 

But, I feel like these books have been around for a while and most people have read them, so I'm not going to go much more into detail. 

However, let me say this: these books honestly were SO draining. Don't get me wrong, I love to torture my characters. It's what writers do. But I feel like Richelle Mead went through a period where she completely loathed Rose. There are times where I feel that author and creation didn't agree with the path that should be taken. There are times where Rose is the perfect lead female, and then other times a petulant pain in the ass. There was a strange back and forth between this being young adult and then being WAY TOO ADULT. I mean, the boning scenes, though fairly toned down, were still a little difficult to read when you realize Rose is seventeen and Dimitri is twenty-one or twenty-two. The second time they get it on she's eighteen. So thanks for up'ing the age before they got their sexual healing on again. 

But, I can forgive this duality because I like being lost in the story and forgetting I'm reading young adult. I see it as a sign of good writing. Well, except in Blood Promise. I felt like Mead might have let Rose get a bit out of hand. And in doing so, kind of wrote herself into a corner. She goes from angry to mournful to eager blood whore (Mead's description, not mine), and then back to badass seƱorita. Oh, and then there's all this mess going on with Lissa back a the Academy. It is one big pile of hot mess and, for me, just not really well written at all. 

After Blood Promise, I just have issues with Spirit Bond and Last Sacrifice. Though much better, it felt like it was trying really hard to apologize for Blood Promise. Like, hey, I don't know why I had Rose run off to Sibera. But! She's back! She's going to graduate and it'll be okay. NO! IT WONT BE OKAY! Oh Rose. Can your life suck anymore? 

But what about the first three books? Those are acting good, solid, action filled stories. The ghost stuff in Shadow Kiss was a little random (and is weakly explained in Blood Promise), but overall, great story telling. I felt like those books, Rose was written clearly and her voice was genuine. I trusted Rose and her idealism. But yeah...Blood Promise. Off the deep end. 

Overall, this is a great series. It perfectly borders (most of the time) that young adult mentality while making us adults forget that we are reading about a teenage Dhampire who has a habit for trouble. The series ended happily for everyone (for the most part), and it didn't leave me wanting to break my kindle (yes. Forever I will be bitter about Veronica Roth's betrayal for the Divergent  series). 

So thanks so much for stopping by the read this blog. I know I am such an unreliable blogger, but, as Prince would say, it's this thing called life. I will have some more blog reviews up soon and one I am particularly excited for (gotta wait till September 12!). 

Until next time! Remember to be yourself, unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS BE A PIRATE!