Feature and Follow Friday – Unpopular Opinion

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Feature and Follow Friday

Hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This week’s prompt:

Is there a book/series that everybody seems to love, but you can’t stand? Why?


Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. 

 

I like the occasional steamy romance and I usually get my fill from paranormal romance, some of which is full of alpha male tropes that I don’t like on a normal basis. And some of those books are often insanely graphic. Some of them are cheesy. So when I say I don’t like 50 Shades, it’s not because I don’t like romance.

Mostly, it wasn’t well written at all. The main character was annoying to me with her inner goddess weirdness. The relationship was impersonal and stale. The hero was basically like, “I don’t do romance” while he simultaneously took her on helicopter rides and swept her off of her feet romantically. Mixed signals, much? So then heroine decides that really he means he doesn’t normally do romance, but she can change him into a guy who does romance and admits it. I just want to bang my head against a wall.

And I just don’t understand why being into BDSM makes him dangerous and that’s literally his whole conflict. “I’m dangerous, you should stay away from me.” Because you have a fetish? Wtf. Own what you’re into. And that’s what made the book stand out to me as Twilight fan fiction. No, Twilight isn’t perfect, either, but I felt like the rawness of the writing worked well in a YA tale about a plain Jane heroine who finds her place in the world. Edward kept staying away because he literally going crazy over her blood and therefore was actually dangerous until he learned to keep his cool and not kill her. I can accept that logically. Christian Grey is going to do what? Whip her? *rolls eyes* Soo dangerous.

I will admit that I may dislike Fifty Shades because I actually dislike most billionaire romance and other romance genres like rockstar romance and fighter romance. There’s nothing remotely attractive to me about billionaires in suits, rock stars in leather pants, or cage fighters with cauliflower ears. So if I’m reading a romance, I need there to be more reasons to be into the dude and unfortunately, many of those romances fall short for me. I think you have to be into that type of male lead in order to be fully immersed in the romance. So it’s not ALL Fifty Shades fault.. But still, I will never understand the hype. 

For more perfect 50 Shades GIFs: this article is perfect.

What about you?

 

Review – A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

 

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)

By Claudia Gray

SummaryCloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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Review:

A Thousand Pieces of You was a YA science fiction novel that dealt with the existence of parallel worlds and the ability to travel to those worlds. The premise seemed amazing and the cover is absolutely stunning. 

I enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You, but it did not meet my expectations completely because it was, in the end, just another YA book with a heroine who can’t see things in front of her face, who spends more time thinking about boys than she does about anything else, and an amazing plot that seems to take a backseat to her emotions. What’s worse is that Meg narrated the story and I knew from the beginning that details were missing. 

I felt like the plot was extremely predictable. The beginning was a set up to make the reader “comfortable” with the information that we were given, yet as the real story unfolded later, it was obvious that someone was blamed for something that, while it was not good, was not at all the same as what he was accused of and no evidence pointed to that outcome. So I spent the whole book waiting for the heroine to discover what I already suspected and that was basically the plot.

I’m frustrated because the premise was so amazing. The book had amazing potential and it was interesting, but it just fell short for me. The science was simplified. The traveling to alternate universes was glossed over. The heroine’s talent for art was generalized as being unrelated to the genius of her parents, creating a divide. Meg had quite the perception and she wasn’t all that dumb about science, she just didn’t seem to care about it, yet I would have rather had the story not use traditional artists vs scientists stereotypes when the two can be in harmony. Also, the book was mainly about her hopping through dimensions, first out of hate, then out of love, but for no other reason.

A Thousand Pieces of You was your run of the mill YA romance peppered in with a cool premise that never really makes it to the center stage. It’s perfect for people who WANT the romance and would rather just ignore the science-y bits, but I was ultimately disappointed. 

Star 3

Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

SummaryA mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Source: I purchased a movie tie-in paperback

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Review:

**** I read this book a few years ago and I remember not liking it. But I couldn’t remember why and I think I was expecting a horror novel and that’s not really what the book is. With the movie coming out, I decided to reread. I went back and read my earlier review and it turns out I read it the week I quit smoking 4 years ago… And that’s probably why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like anything that week! ****

I am so glad I decided to reread this book. The movie previews captured my attention and it motivated me to reread, though it’s been something I wanted to do for the past couple of years. 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a unique book that combined the vintage creepy photographs we all look at and wonder about and the supernatural. The author was able to weave a fantastic tale using those creepy photographs without turning them into a haunted freak show and I have to give the author credit for that. Maybe that’s what I originally wanted when I read the book years ago, but this time around I admired the author for not going the predictable route with the story. 

I’m still a little underwhelmed by the lack of focus on the abilities of the peculiar children. It still feels like they could’ve been perfectly normal and the plot still would have worked for Jacob’s character growth. They could have been ghosts or regular children who were just forgotten, and instead were peculiar to fit into the vintage photograph idea. However, this is book one and I think the rest of the series will likely be more action packed and perhaps rely more on the peculiar nature of the children. 

Still, the book was creative and intriguing and I did enjoy the story now that I’m in the right frame of mind and knew that it wasn’t a horror novel.

I still don’t know that I’ll read the sequel, but I enjoyed the book and I’m glad I reread it. I will definitely see the movie. 

Star 4

 

Previous Review from 2011:

“I think it was last year when I first heard of this book and saw the cover. Since that moment, I’ve been wanting to read this book. It just looked like my kind of weird! I requested it from the library and have been on the waiting list for what seemed like ages, but I thought it was fitting that I’d get this at the beginning of October.

I’m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but it started out a little slow for me and I was surprised by how normal it was up until I was about 30% through. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by the story and wasn’t really sure where it was going. It picked up from that point onward and ended up being really weird like I originally expected. 

I don’t think I cared much for the narrator, Jacob, and I felt as if I would have rather read a story written from his grandfather’s point of view instead. Even though the book did end up being more like what I expected towards the middle, I felt like it kept escalating exponentially and got a little unbelievable. My reactions while reading went from “Hmm, this seems rather normal” to “This is definitely getting good” to “Wait, what? This seems kind of ridiculous, now.” 

I do like the fact that this story was written around real photographs and it was a well written and page turning novel. There was definitely an element of weirdness and creepiness that I enjoyed, especially with the additions of the pictures in the text. I just felt like the plot kind of got out of hand towards the end and I didn’t care much for the narrator. I would definitely recommend this book to others because it was worth the read. I rated it low because I guess I expected something more, despite how creative it was. Perhaps I’m being a little unfair because it’s day #5 of me not smoking and it has some impact on my judgment at the moment. I’m not sure.”

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

 

1. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J Maas

2. Furthermore by Taherah Mafi

3. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

4. The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

5. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childen by Ransom Riggs. (I have read it, but I didn’t like it when I first read it because I expected something else. I borrowed it from the library and I know I want to read it again and see if I like it when I’m not expecting horror.)

7. Something by Stephen King.. I’m not sure what.. But I have The Shining and some other horror to read.

8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I just need to read ONE MORE BOOK for the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge and it has to be from Oprah’s book list and this seems like the best option for someone who hates inspiring fiction. LOL.

9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann. I just have to see what the fuss is about.

10. The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu. I need to preorder the last book and read them all. I liked The Young Elites and I’ve had the sequel on my shelf for ages. 

 

My TBR is out of control. I have so many books to read, but I love to focus on horror/paranormal during the fall because it’s just the perfect time to dig in. 

Review – Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

By Jodi Meadows

SummaryNew soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy.

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Review:

I’ve had Incarnate on my Kindle for an eternity. I picked it up during one of those 1.99 or 2.99 deals and never looked at it again. I finally thought about it when searching for books to fit the Romance Set in the Future category of the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. It doesn’t really fit, but I was already reading it, so at least I knocked off a book from my ever growing TBR list, right?

Incarnate was set in a place known as the Range where a finite number of people had always been there. From the beginning of time, when Janna (God) created them, they moved into Heart and settled. Those same souls were reincarnated every time they died and held memories of their previous lives. For 5000 years, these souls existed and came back with each new birth after a death. Until Ana, a Newsoul, who replaced the soul of Ciana after she died, apparently for the final time. Ana was ostracized in her community. Her father left, perhaps out of cowardice, perhaps to do research because that was how he was. Her mother was a warrior and she was awful to Ana, but raised her for 18 years nonetheless. To Li, her mother, Ana was not just a Newsoul but a Nosoul. She shouldn’t love or feel or anything substantial because that is what souls do. Essentially, it seemed like the bodies, appearances, and what not changed with each reincarnation, but their personalities never did. They held onto the traits that drove them and the emotions like love. Therefore, if those things were connected to their soul, Li didn’t believe Ana could feel them.

Ana left her cottage and ventured to the city center, Heart, to visit the library and learn more about who she was. She encountered a monster, what the people called Sylphs, and dove into a freezing lake where she was later saved by Sam. He befriended her and they had a connection.

I was intrigued by the whole premise. It was certainly interesting. It seemed like the society had a ton of modern technology as each generation was able to work on their individual projects and grow them, evolving society. But monsters and dragons existed and plagued Heart often. I really enjoyed the whole idea and I love that the author created such a situation for these people. I wished for more world building other than the beginning sort of explanation, so I felt a little lost trying to picture a modern society that doesn’t actually grow.

I enjoyed Incarnate, but it fell short of my expectations about halfway through as I realized it didn’t live up to its potential. The book had the potential to explore so many themes, the biggest one being the issue of squandering your life because you know you will come back after your death. Ana only had one life and she appeared to be more impulsive. She was proving society wrong by teaching herself things like reading and music without having already known about those things. She had the capacity to learn in a way that the others did not expect with her being so young. It was an issue that could have been explored better. It seemed as if she was onto something with the walls pulsing and the dragons being attracted to the pulses, but the connection was never really made. The fact that Janna, their creator, supposedly existed and abandoned them and the death of a soul being punishment wasn’t even full explored. Ana’s father had a ton of research about souls and expressed his accidental discovery of how to bring a Newsoul into the world, but it was one of those quick things at the end. It didn’t even explore the social aspects of being around the same people over and over and over and over again. It seemed as if people trusted each other, but I don’t know that that’s how it would work. If you always have the same people over and over, I felt like there’d be more distrust and feelings of betrayal. How do you work out relationships when your mom in one life could be your lover in another life? I almost think it would have worked better if the population was simply immortal and Ana was the first newcomer or something. Also, if people have been around for 5000 years, why have they never figured out why dragons were so drawn to Heart and how to prevent/fight back? Why hasn’t anyone explored better options? 

Basically, Incarnate was about Sam and Ana and them falling in love while the world broke around them. Ana was a threat to a way of life. For someone as old as he was, Sam seemed to not understand what has happening and the two of them were just incredibly naive. Their love story was just so.. Strange. 

I really liked the premise and I even liked the connection between Sam and Ana, but I just feel like the story didn’t head in the directions I wanted it to and didn’t go as deep into such a unique situation as I expected. I liked the book and would still recommend it, but I’d have to caution that it’s more of a YA romance than anything else, despite the cool and original ideas presented. It was a good read, but I’m more frustrated by the direction and lack of exploration of the themes and less interested in what happens next, so I won’t be continuing the series. 

Star 3

Review – Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks

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Nemesis (Nemesis #1)

By Anna Banks

SummaryThe princess didn’t expect to fall in love–with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift could save Tarik’s kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

Source: I received a digital ARC from NetGalley.

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Review:

Nemesis was a YA fantasy novel about a young princess who fled into an enemy territory and attempted to lay low, only to find herself in the sort of predicament she hoped to avoid. It was action packed and unique. I requested Nemesis because the synopsis immediately got my attention and I was into the mood for a YA fantasy full of romance and adventure.

I have to be honest, it took me a bit to get into the book. I felt restless for the first few chapters. It was interesting, but I just wasn’t connecting with Sepora and I kept wondering if we were going to watch her just attempt to survive while Tarik was over there trying to save his dying population. However, the book picked up a lot as soon as Sepora finally got to Theoria (especially because of how she actually got there) and I was hooked. I went from forcing myself to turn the page to staying up way too late to finish it. 

Nemesis is proof that sometimes DNFing a book within the first few chapters isn’t always a good idea. I’ll be honest and say that I considered it and the only reason I kept going was because I was so behind with NetGalley books and I already DNFed a major title this year. But I got through the rough beginning and it became a book that I just could not put down. I was so invested by the end of the story. (Certainly I’m not criticizing people who DNF because I do it all the time, but it’s nice to know that putting in a little effort in the beginning pays off with a wonderful story sometimes!)

I enjoyed Nemesis a lot. I respected Tarik and the choices he made. I was intrigued by Sepora and her mountain home. It appeared there was an error in truth, as Tarik and Sepora had vastly different “memories” of why the kingdoms ended up the way they did and I expect the King of Serubel, Sepora’s father, was partly to blame, as I saw little evidence of Tarik hiding information, but maybe his father hid information from him and his kingdom was just as full of secrets. I think it’s important to mention that I respected Tarik because I think that was a large part of why Sepora was so drawn to him. It wasn’t a YA fantasy with a heroine who lost her mind about a hot boy, but a heroine who had felt used by her family and thought that was how kings had to rule, only to encounter a rich kingdom full of freedoms and a king who dressed “down” and visited local children in a servant’s disguise. I mean, I just loved how Tarik ruled and how Sepora had to make some tough choices because so much of what she experienced were things she just didn’t know how to process. I couldnt’ blame her for wondering in the back of her head if it was all just a ruse to get her to spill secrets about her kingdom. Sometimes, Tarik was trying to do just that, but was it just to get her to open up?

The back and forth between Tarik and Sepora was great. I loved her ruthless attitude and her failure to follow rules. She was an impulsive person, but her ideas were revolutionary. I feel like she would be a wonderful ruler if given the chance. I don’t know if I want her by Tarik’s side or ruling her own kingdom or maybe both? 

On a side note, a few reviewers have expressed how much they dislike the cover. I have to agree, it’s a bit off putting. I hope perhaps the cover may change by the time it’s published, but I think the synopsis and title will drawn people in and the cover IS eye catching, despite how weird it looks. 

I definitely recommend Nemesis if you enjoy YA fantasy. It was fun, fresh, and full of just the right balance of adventure, magic, and romance. I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Don’t let the beginning fool you, it’s a real page turner if you just keep going and give Sepora a chance to get to Theoria.

Star 4

 

Feature and Follow Friday – Book Betrayal

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Feature and Follow Friday
Hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This Week’s Prompt:

What’s Your Book Betrayal Story? 

(Someone borrowed a book and destroyed it? Waited for a book for forever and it was terrible?)

 

I don’t actually loan books out very often unless I don’t care about them and would likely not reread them and wouldn’t be upset if I added them to my Take-To-The-Used-Bookstore pile.

I am all about giving out book recommendations, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I see coupons and good sales… I’m not giving you my copy. 

But I have one betrayal story…

I bought all 7 Harry Potter books right around the time the 7th book released… The first 6 were in paperback and the 7th was still in hardcover at the time. I read the series, fell back in love with it, and let a family member borrow book 7 while they were visiting. I knew it would be awhile before I committed to rereading it because of the length, so I could live without it for a few months. 

It’s been at least 8 years since that I let someone borrow the book.

I STILL don’t have the book back. 

I went through the cycle of being nice about asking, reminding the family member every time I knew she was visiting my mom or visiting me to pack it to getting a little confrontational about it.

I bought book 7 in paperback a couple of years ago to replace the hardcover I gave out. But I’m still mad about it and that I’ve never gotten in back after almost of decade with me asking more than enough times about it. I don’t even know that I’ve gotten a real apology other than the shift-responsibility-to-my-chaotic-lifestyle type of “oh, I don’t know what came over me, I forgot it, so sorry.” 

Lesson learned.

I don’t give out books I care about and if I loan you a book and you return it, my opinion of you improves. 

I’m highly uncomfortable with having books I’ve borrowed from other people and have all but pushed books back into the arms of the owner. I have one book on my shelf I don’t own and I think I attempted to return it enough times with the owner telling me she really doesn’t mind I still haven’t read it to not feel bad anymore. 

 

Sometimes I feel like people look at my shelves and they just don’t get why I would be so territorial about my books when I have so many. Why would I force someone to pay $20 for a book when it’s just sitting on my shelf and I’m not reading it? 

Why, you ask? 

It’s the same reason banks have their pens chained to the counter. Because you just can’t let people use something if you don’t have a way to get it back because the majority of people will just throw the bank’s pen in their pocket and never actually use it again, just like someone will borrow a book and maybe never read it or read it and never return it.

I let a friend borrow a book one time and then she GAVE IT TO HER FRIEND TO READ! Granted, I did get the book back eventually, but OMG! You don’t just let someone borrow something that you already borrowed. This was after the Harry Potter incident, early on in the days of me asking for it, so I wasn’t even nice about asking my friend’s friend for the book. I don’t even think she had the chance to read it, but I was like “Walmart has the movie tie in edition for $8, can I please just get this one back?”

Do you let people borrow your books?