10/21/2012

Flash Review of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

A flash review of
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I have come up with a new thingie! A flash review! Meaning, a short and quick review usually about a book that has been reviewed to death. I meant to stay around 500 words, but apparently I have too many feels.

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. Having an imaginary friend has made fitting in hard -but that's never bothered Kami.  She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is just the way she likes it.

But all that changes when the mysterious Lynburns return to Kami's village, along with teenagers, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami...


As life as she knows it begins to unravel, Kami is determined to get to the bottom of every mystery. Who is responsible for the bloody deed in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? 


I'm sorry about the picture. It has to be the very crappy picture I took of my copy back when it arrived. Apparently good quality pictures of Unspoken are too awesome for Blogger. 
Actually, there seems to be just something too awesome about this for Blogger, it keeps looking weird... I apologize for that. 

In the month or so after its release, I feel like almost everyone and their mother has been reviewing Unspoken by the awesome and vastly talented Sarah Rees Brennan. 

And hell, it is no wonder. Unspoken is amazing: I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like it. I had some doubts when it arrived - I was worried it might be shadowed by my love for Demon’s Lexicon or that Rees Brennan wouldn’t be able to deliver her magic again. Well, I was worried for nothing. 
While you definitely recognize Rees Brennan’s writing, there’s a different feeling to Unspoken and it moves differently than Demon’s Lexicon. Which is a good thing, even though it might sound scary. 

What Rees Brennan really does well, is deliver humor while not letting go of this atmosphere of mystery and something just lurking over the readers’ and the book’s characters’ heads. The book has its light moments and its dark moments, but it moves through everything with this indescribable lightness, easiness. 
There are some unfortunate points that made the transition from Jared to Kami slightly confusing, but after a moment, it felt deliberate. They can’t tell each other apart, how should we? 

I also loved Sorry-in-the-Vale. I’ve lived almost my whole live in small towns and the feeling of a small town - with some added mystery - was spot on. It seemed very familiar to me and I just loved some of the details that were thrown in, but apparently I can’t find now, though I meant to give you an example. 

And just like the rest of the internet, I fell in love with Kami. The book has its very best moments - in my opinion - in its humor that peaks almost every time someone opens their mouth and in its main girl. Kami is so excellent as a narrator, fun to read about and follow her around. There’s one quality that makes me like her so much: she’s got this thing about her that she’ll go through any brick wall if she so decides. She’s not invincible and she knows that, but she will go after the answer if she knows how to find it.

The rest of the cast was perfect, too. They all had their own stories and small details that made them very interesting characters, even though we only glimpsed them. 

I guess I have to say something about Jared. Personally, I liked him, but not all of his choices, which is okay. I like imperfect characters. I don’t think Jared knows who Jared is, so how am I supposed to say something about him? And there was a lot of confusion going on in this book, that I hope has been cleared by the second one and then we can get to the making out -I mean solving the crime! 

Last but not least, the ending. I’ve seen a lot of talk about this ending and it’s starting to get old a little. Not to say people can’t say their opinion! Go ahead, I’m not saying you can’t say that. Just feels to me it’s being said A LOT. And it makes me feel weird because I liked that ending. I felt it was something that needed to happen, when you thought of some of the things that happened leading up to it.  

Final thoughts: If you’re thinking about should you or shouldn’t you buy/read this book, I say go for it! Brennan has the talent of sneaking up behind and whacking you on the head with awesomeness. This book delivers with gothic mansion, secrets, mysteries and trying to solve them and a whole lot of tension! What else would you need?



A Light in You (Dark Lover by J.R. Ward)


Review of 
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed -orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate- Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead...


Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn't there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both...

Let me start by saying that I was surprised how different the Goodreads' synopsis is from the one on my book. I always go there to do some good ol' copy/paste but I want it to be the one on my book, because they can be different and I feel more truthful by choosing that one. 
Anyway, the one on Goodreads is far more boring and for some reason it focuses on Wrath. Also, I hadn't thought about it before, but the whole first chapters sounds quite chilling , with the whole relishing in killing -thing. It's not that bad, I promise. 

So the first book in the series is very much focused around on Beth coming to terms with being a vampire and that’s generally pretty good, thinking that while she’s being introduced, so are we. Not everything is picture clear, but I kind of like a little bit of mystery.

I mentioned in the overview that this is not the best book in the series and that when reading it for the first time, you should go for the next book even if you’re not convinced by the first one. What I mean by that is that especially after reading all the books in the series several times, you really notice just how “introduce-y” the first one is. 
In the first book, all the characters are introduced and the setting is made very clear. It wasn’t very obvious on the first read, but now as I re-read the book for this review, I realized, that it’s very “here are all the players and settings that we’ll be playing with later on. Get used to them now and everything will good when things start moving.” Personally, on the first read I was so amazed by this book that I didn’t notice it. But now, looking at it from a different angle, I can see it. 
So if the first book seems simple to you or something else, don’t worry. It could just be the first book. Plus there’s a thing at the end that just might make you pick up the next one.

Also, this book is perhaps the most focused on “loves me, loves me not” -kind of plot as well as introducing the world to the reader (and Beth). It’s less so in the next books. The plots get a bigger part in the later installments and gets more complicated as the series goes on. The plot really gets bigger and badder with every book and we are given a lot more details along with it. 

So Wrath pretty much is a lone wolf, warrior used to kick ass first ask questions never, growl not speak, kind of a guy with an attitude problem. That's how he starts the story and yeah, he does stupid shit and is very stand-offish, but I like my characters complicated and not perfect. And already as the story progresses we see a change starting to come for him and we see more sides to him and he becomes more than a muscled guy draped in leather. 

Compared to Wrath's moody nature Beth seems at a glance almost dull. But I think that's what's great about her: she's as a person more simple than Wrath: she's fiercely independent, smart about things and caring. She's very straight-forward and resilient: she seems enjoy things as they come at her and doesn't seem like the kind of a person to hold a grudge -at least over the little things. 
I'm not sure if I've described her adequately, but she's very level-headed. As a match for Wrath she's  excellent since she thinks things through first and she doesn't have this huge honor-bound warrior status. She’s the calm point in the middle of his storm. (Just now realized what that sounds like. Oh well.)

And as for the rest of the brothers. They're first introduced in a rather vicious light, focusing on their strength and deadliness. Their masculinity is almost constantly mentioned, which does get a little too much at points. But I like Ward's writing so much it doesn't become a huge issue. It more or less seems like the way to describe an almost seven foot tall wall of muscle wrapped in skim tight leather and with hidden weapons. 
But what I think is the book's maybe most telling scene about them, is -I'm describing this in a way that shouldn't spoil too many things - when each is seen nodding off in different ways, holding onto a weapon, except for Zsadist, who's turn is to guard. I won't tell you the details, but the way it's written is really tender and caring and for guys who throw around death-threats and listen to hard-core rap for the rest of the book, it's a soft kind of moment. 
It's one of my favorite moments ever in the series and reading it the first time, the details and the context that I've left out make it even bigger and better. 

Re-reading this book especially  for this review I tried to see if there were any noticeable bad things. And yes, I suppose that the way the males and females of the vampire race are written in the books, it might taste weird to someone. If you’re wondering what I mean, to put it simply, the males are very male, meant to take care of the females who are rather fragile. 
Basically the males want to protect them with everything they have and have a lot of I’m a manly man -feelings. But if that sounds frightening, the problem is acknowledged in the books. It’s not all “oh my man wants to protect me, so dreamy”. And I do consider myself all equal rights to everyone and everything, but it is nice to think that someone cares enough to take a bullet for me. 

My biggest problem is the way that Wrath and Beth meet. I’m trying to say as little as possible, for fear of spoiling anyone. So skip this one, if you’re afraid. But Wrath, with the intention of protecting Beth, goes to her home and then they have sex. The two haven’t spoken a word to each other before that and then they’re both taken over by lust for each other. 
This happens so often in books like this and it makes me want to scream. Maybe I’m na├»ve, but really? Without speaking each other, they fall to bed on page 65? So that’s probably my only problem with this book. 

Now, my kinds of books are really those where the plot and romance walk hand in hand: neither dismissing either, but both being just as big or slightly so. It’s rare that I like a book that has only plot and very little romance or very little plot and a lot romance. I want both, so if that’s your thing, I highly suggest this series.  

Final thoughts: If you’re curious, try this book (and the next one.) If you’re not interested after that, forget it, don’t bother. But they’re definitely compelling books, with interesting characters who make mistakes and try to do good just like we all do. If anything that I’ve tried to describe sounds good to you, it’s definitely worth a try. I was hesitant at first about reading these books, but I’m so glad that I did. I’d be so very sorry if I hadn’t. 

10/11/2012

Interlude: Yet Another Book Arrives!

Thank you for coming to read yet another post about a book arriving here! 

Yet again, Book Depository was lovely and fast with the mail and my local mail didn't fuck up everything. 

The book in question is.... *drum roll* 


Sherrilyn Kenyon's Born of Silence! It's the (checking to make sure) sixth in the League series. I've read other books in the series, too and I will be posting reviews about those and an overview about the series like I did about the Black Dagger Brotherhood. 

If you don't know, the League takes place in space, in a fictional space world and tells the story of various misfits who just happen to know each other! Like in BDB and in Kenyon's other series, Dark-Hunter, the hero and heroine change with every story. You'll notice that I seriously have a thing for series like that. 

But the really, really best part was the bookmark that Book Depository sent with it. 

Can you see it? Ah, not that well, sorry about that. Apparently I'm taking picture only at night, so the lighting is a little meg. But it's a bookmark about space! It's got "Our Solar System" on one side, the one you can see here. The other side isn't pictured, because it isn't as pretty (sorry bookmark), but it's: "Earth-class planets line up" and has these planets in a line and text about them.

But really? This was either the best coincidence ever or someone over at Book Depository really had fun. Thank you either way, it made my day! 


An overview about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward


An overview about the Black Dagger Brotherhood 


So in case you’re wondering what this is all about, this is sort of a review of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series as a whole. There are a lot of books in the series by now and since I basically adore this series, I have a lot of things to say about it. But basically, I wanted to just talk about this series as a whole, because this sort of considers all the books and I didn’t want to put it in one review. 
I will review the books separately, but they might not be extremely long since I’ve probably re-read them a thousand times. 

But I hope you enjoy and the fact that the books aren’t Young Adult won’t put you off from reading these books or my ramblings about them. 

First, story time! 

Okay, I heard about the Black Dagger Brotherhood via the grapevine and by that I mean the Youtube - it’s amazing how many books I’ve actually found via Youtube. 
So here we have a series about world-saving hot vampires and really, that right there sounds like my kind of a book. But when I tried to find any more information, all I got was miniature reviews - you know, in the sense of “Ward writes hot and steamy yet again and the characters jump off the page” -  and well, hardly anything that was written anything after 2007. Frustrating! Especially since JR Ward, though awesome, chooses to use mostly Facebook and her website offers no more information. (It was very frustrating!) 

Actually I think one reason why there was so little info about these books is because, oh the horror, they belong in the most terrifying genre of all: romance (Insert scary music.) I think there’s the whole soccer mom, chick lit -literature stamp over romance books and people aren’t going to talk about them that passionately as they talk about Young Adult or the big bestseller books out there. Romance books are thought to be easy reading, something you do when you have nothing better to do. This is just the same thing to me, that gets me everytime: my mother literally, literally, despises paperbacks. She doesn’t think they’re decent books at all, they think they’re actual trash and is always telling me to upgrade to actual books. 
So I feel like there’s the same attitude towards the romance books, that all these people riding this “We Read Actual Books, With Big Words And Metaphors” -wagon, are telling us that read romance or any other genre that isn’t as favored, to upgrade to bigger and better books. 
And then there’s a lot of sex in the books which I imagine makes some people hate them already because of that and hell, if I know. 

(Phew, rant over! Sorry about that) 

So I couldn’t get any information that I wanted about the books (this was before I discovered Goodreads) and one day I just went and ordered the first six books that were in a pretty package (destroyed now, sadly). When they arrived, I finished all six in one and a half weeks. And that’s the story of how I fell in love with these books. 

Let’s start breaking it down. Firstly, the books are about sex-ay vampires, so that’s got me hooked already. (I really need a shirt that says vampire girl.) 
And what I mostly want in a book is A)excellent characters B)awesome writing. And these two of course depend on the characters, but this series delivers on both. The characters are, well, perhaps not the most original, but extremely well done. They’re relatable even if they’re a little out of this world. The characters feel human, feel real enough to touch. If the whole vampires-as-a-precious-little-race-thingie is scaring you, I can assure that the characters could ift in our world if you took their vampirism away: some of them really feel like you could just walk next to them on the street and I’m pretty sure there are some assholes in these books that I’ve met in real life. 

Then there’s Ward’s spectacular writing. Seriously, it is amazing and mind-blowing. It’s true that one writer can’t re-write another’s story, but I seriously doubt there’s anyone else who could have pulled this series off. Perhaps some could have come up with the same idea, but no one could write these characters the way she does. There’s just this way she describes them and lets them take over the book. Ward seems to always have a little humor going on and the dialogue is most fantastic. But she really throws herself in to every little detail and everything that happens on the page. All the action scenes and well, even the sex, seems to be polished to its best. But it still feels like you’re looking at someone’s life and it just happens to be written down. It’s polished and at the same time it’s a little raw. It’s perfect.

Now, the series changes main characters with every book, this you might know already if you know anything about this series. I guess you could call this an ensemble cast series, a little like Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon Lexicon series, if you want a YA version (sort of). And I actually love that kind of series. There’s a big storyline that flows through all the books, but then there’s all these little things in every book that combine them, things that pop up constantly throughout the series. People talking about a past thing, doing their favorite activity etc.
 A series that changes main characters might not be for everyone, but don’t be afraid, this doesn’t mean your favorite character won’t appear ever again. They’ll be there, more in some books and less in others: it depends on what happens, who’s eyes we’re looking through, are they necessary to the plot so that they need to be seen and heard. Sometimes they get POV scenes, too and they do make appearances in most books. 
And I like that, because you can pick your favorite book and you can even have your least favorite book. Thanks to the mail, I read two books out of order and that didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, only two minor scenes were spoiled to me. But I’m am pretty resistant to spoilers, so. 

The whole setting of the world just might be one of the most original things in the book. Alright, I can come up with similar settings, but it’s still pretty good. Ward puts her own twist to it and well, you really have to read one of her books to know what I mean. 
I like it that in saving the world, the bad guys are more or less obviously the bad guys. It’s always a little bothersome, when the good guys go against bad guys who are, for example, forced to do it. It’s personally, for me, hard to stand behind. But here, the bad guys are literally heartless, so I like that and it’s got an exciting pantheon and whole species and magic thing going on. (If that m-word is scary to you, don’t worry, it’s got more to do with the whole setting-thing.)

As final thoughts I’d say this: these books are not for everyone. Ward writes in a very particular way and if that’s not for you, then the books are going to be difficult to read. But I do encourage everyone to try, to try and get past the first book that isn’t in my opinion the best one in the series. 
And a little hint towards their awesomeness: I seldom re-read things often, because I basically remember the books I’ve read so well. But I just keep going back to this series. 

10/07/2012

Hear Her Howl (Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer)


A review of 
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Nightshade or Wolfsbane. I have tried to make this as non-spoilery as I could.

There's no backing down. It's time to fight for freedom, or surrender to destiny. 
Failure is not an option. The pack's alliance is crucial to their victory. 
But in the end, the future of their world lies in HER hands.  


And if you thought my previous review of Wolfsbane was incoherent, this just might be even less so. 
No, seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking.

So, back when Bloodrose was released (too lazy to check the exact month/date) a few months ago, I hadn’t even started Wolfsbane. But based on the reaction that most reviewers and readers had, I had a bad feeling. I mean, a seriously bad feeling. There was no way this book could have a happy ending, was basically what I was thinking. 

And then it ended happily. Yet another proof of the talent that Cremer has. 

Of course, there were things that I cried about, obviously, but in general? I consider this a happy ending. I mean, endings are difficult. They’re probably difficult to write and they’re difficult to read. Nobody wants the story to end, but it has to. So how to do that, when things can’t be perfect? I’d rather have an ending that’s unhappy, then an ending that has the main character riding off in to Happily Ever After. 
So, I liked what Cremer did with the ending. The whole story revolved around a freak of nature -kind of thing, something that was seriously wrong. So, the ending couldn’t be a Happily Ever After. Except it kind of is, but the characters obviously have to work for that, have to build it. 
Also, the things I liked about this ending so much was that, Cremer has all the plot twists, all the cliffhangers and what-nots tightly in her capable hands. And she just had to tie them off, simply. It felt natural, like this is meant to be -which I suppose is the idea. 

Now, I’m pretty sure people are expecting me to mention Ren. I’m not going to. He was an idiot in the beginning, but he came through. It felt like both boys grew up a little. After all, both had lived in a world where things had been carved ready for them, just waiting for them to do as told. Shay and Ren work through that and fight for what’s right. Okay, it sounds cheesy, sorry. 

Calla grows too. She really becomes the Alpha that her pack needs. It is a shitty situation, that she handles well. And I did like how her internal struggle with doing what she wanted and what was neutral, or good for everyone. A lot of writers portray struggles like that, but Cremer really, really, pulled it off. 

All in all, I think Bloodrose is - at least in my opinion - the best book in the trilogy. My another favorite might be Nightshade just because it’ll always be the baby of the group, before all the bad things really begin. 

But Bloodrose is the final stand and even though there is this feeling that bad things are coming, it isn’t burdened by it. And the writing moves just as spectacularly as it does in the previous books. It’s like Cremer’s racing towards the ends just as eagerly with her writing, as the reader is when reading it. 

I just can’t get over the fact how many tiny details Cremer puts in her books, all these little things that are just amazing. My favorite moment is definitely the final battle against Bosque Mar. That was beautifully done, it was rather classic in the sense of good guys versus the big bad guy. But with that lightsaber of course. 

Final thoughts: If you’ve read the previous books, you’ll probably want to read the last one, too. But if you’re still feeling hesitant, thinking where the story will go, if there’s anything to look forward to, I really say you should. Bloodrose is definitely an excellent last piece of a trilogy and just excels in  most everything. There’s excellent dialogue, adrenaline-pumping action scenes, a bunch of awesome characters, an especially awesome leading lady, heart-wrenching boys and a lot of bad guys. 


10/02/2012

MoA Countdown Day ThirtyTwo

Here it is folks, the end! It's been fun and thanks for anyone who read one or two of these! And good luck to all those who have the book in their hands -you'll need it. 

1) THE ONE THING I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO 

The one thing I am not looking forward to (along with thousands of other fangirls I’m sure): waiting another year for the next book. It’s the eternal curse of reading books - waiting for the next one. 

Of course the next book isn’t going to just pop up, of course Riordan can take the time he needs to write the book. It’s not like we have to wait as long as people have to wait for George R.R. Martin’s books. 


But it’s still a long wait and it’s so painful when you just want to know what happens next. 



This has been a Countdown to Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan: 32 posts about things that I was hoping/looking for in Mark of Athena. The whole thing started on September 1st.
I didn't quite stay on schedule, but I got the countdown done! Woot woot! 

I hope someone out there enjoyed this and your comments are still highly welcome! All the 32 posts will stay up at the blog FOREVER! 


10/01/2012

MoA Countdown Day ThirtyOne

Through September I'll post all the things that I’m looking forward to in Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan and sort of hoping/thinking that could happen. A post every day! If I can stay in schedule, it's surely a miracle. 

Of course I hope I'm amusing someone else besides myself and I’d love to hear what you think, if you agree or disagree or if I missed something. Obviously not every thing is going to make the list, since I have exactly 32 things to post. The last one will go up on October 2nd. And if you're wondering, these are not in any special order.

31) Greek (and Roman) Gods

They're one of the most exciting aspect of the books and especially written the way that Riordan does. It's always curious to know what Riordan has plotted. I personally love it how he writes these ordinary things in to the Greek myths, how the demigods see the truth and us foolish mortals are fooled by the Mist. 
Then there's the thing that the Greek gods (Romans maybe less) are not only well written, but also funny. 

I've always liked the Greek myths and it's interesting too se them sort of re-written. They call Rick Riordan "the Myth Master" for a reason.