Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

From the Author’s Website:

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?


Welcome to tonight’s special 2 hour long episode of The Young and The Poisonous: a dramatic reading.

*Dramatic music*

ANNOUNCEMENT: THIS RADIO SHOW HAS NOW BEEN CANCELED BECAUSE THE PRODUCERS FEEL IT INFLUENCES OTHERS TO BE TSTL DOORMATS. THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. BUT, THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. DEAL WITH IT.

shuffles papers *shuffling noises*

Clears voice. Continues yelling in the way reporters often do:

HERE IS THEIR LIST OF REASONS!!! I WILL BE READING FROM ONE OF THE PRODUCER’S THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER WHICH THEY RANDOMLY THOUGHT YOU GUYS SHOULD KNOW. NOT THAT I CARE, ANYHOW. I HAVE TO READ THIS NO MATTER HOW FUCKING IDIOTIC IT IS:

1. The Theatrics! The fucking Queen, who may as well have a third eye and a mustache, is always jumping out of her chair, waving hands about, pointing fingers, and saying “Lies!”

The heroine also commits to being a theatre major:

“I’ve never had a choice about anything,” I spit at her.

As is one of the love interests, and I say love interest very lightly here:

“No, it’s not true. Twylla, it isn’t true, is it? You wouldn’t do that, not after all we said? All I told you?”

And the other love interest:

“He can’t have you,” he murmurs against my pipes. “You’re mine, my Twylla, my love.”

2. Tywlla (yes that’s really her name) forgives the assface who threatens her, more than once. 

The correct response:

3. MC claims no one ever gave her choice, making her a fucking idiot since all she does is wait for shit to happen to her. It’s the formula for a doormat.

  • Make sure the heroine is forced into a position she doesn’t want to be.
  • Make sure the heroine is the quiet demure type.
  • Don’t have the heroine speak up for herself, that will only curb the process of the doormat.
  • Make sure there are two boy toys she can eye coddle and choose from, so the reader thinks she has choices.
  • Don’t make the heroine try to find a way out. Let that stuff just fall into chaos and then at the last possible opportune moment have her speak for herself. It’ll trick the reader into thinking she stood up for herself.

“All we can do is stay quiet and do our best. We must be ghosts. That’s how you stay alive in this castle. You become a ghost. You keep your head down and you stay out of her way as much as you can.”

Bullcrap. My opinion is that a smart and badass heroine is someone who is able to intelligently get out of a situation she doesn’t want to be in, which does include making risky choices, and still remain with her head intact. Let’s all remember J.K. Rowling’s Harvard speech. You have to make risks. Although, you should still be smart about those risks. This heroine does neither.

4. The heroine guilt trips every fucking person in the novel. We must fear the queen! I’m (and I speak of all of us) all for being smart and making sure you don’t get your cut off, but I would much rather have a heroine who lives than a heroine who just sits there all day doing nothing.

5. The characters are inconsistent:

Merek’s character is the most inconsistent character I’ve come across in quite a long while. At first he’s broody, hikes up his lips in a smirk, and mouths off to people. Then, he tries to get to know Twylla. But, then when a predictable plot twist comes flying in he becomes the dramatic spoiled prince who cares for our poisoned doormat. You would think that a guy that professes to be so intelligent on so many matters would be able to see what’s right in front of him. Then, he’s the betrayed love interest who shoots evil eyes at everybody. Last but not least, he’s the nice guy.

The other love interest, Lief starts out a nice guy. He’s the friend. He’s the helper. He’s a dud. Suffice it to say, his character made no sense especially by the end of the book. By the time he tried to give reasons for his actions, I could care no more.

6. The insta-love that turned out to be just as insta no matter what we find out. That and “strawberry-flavored lust” descriptions.

The insta-love shot out of nowhere. There was no development. They were friends and then fucking kissing each other like dogs in mud to saying the L word. What even.

“But I can still kiss you?” he says. “When we’re alone?”
“Are you so hungry for my kisses?”


I’m not even going to go into the “forbidden lovers who attempt to run away together because no one understands their love” aspect. Please. No. NO.

7. She’s an idiot. She never thinks about what’s in the bottle she’s been taking, not until someone else mentions it to her. Even when they do, they have to hammer it into her until she stops being a cloistered nun about it. But, really that’s insulting to nuns. Have you guys ever met nuns? They are bad ass and a little mean sometimes.

8. She see’s a girl who’s pretty and what does she do?

“She’s very pretty. I don’t like her.

Then, she tries to look all intelligent, powerful, and better than any pretty girl because she’s different. She’s so different you guys. She can kill someone with a touch! Too bad, since that’s the only interesting thing about this book. In reality, she’s a fucking dim witted stuck-up doormat.

9. She’s the sympathetic heroine. I don’t even understand how a heroine who is an executioner can be so much of a pansy. Honestly, if someone can explain this to me I am all ears. Psychologically, a human who kills can suffer from a lot of trauma (the nazis at auschwitz, anyone?).

10. There is little to no plot for 60 percent of the novel. Even when the plot becomes apparent, it’s barely there. It’s chaotic. A little bit here, a little over there, oh and right there too.

11. The writing and characters are completely un-relatable and make you feel no emotion. This is my biggest fucking problem. I hate it when I’m bored. I don’t want the audience to be bored either. The writing is really awkward, forced, and lacks emotion. It doesn’t flow that well at all. By the time I got to sixty percent it was hard even to get one percentage. It’s so difficult to read, when it shouldn’t be.

I AM NOW GOING TO CONTINUE YELLING BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT REPORTERS DO! NOW. I AM FUCKING SURPRISED A PRODUCER HAD THE BALLS TO DO THIS. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW THE FUCK DO I GET THIS VODKA BOTTLE OPEN. IT’S LIKE A FUCKING TIME CAPSULE. FUCKING DAMMIT! AFTER HAVING TO LISTEN TO THAT. DEAR GOD. I FUCKING NEED A DRINK. SOMEONE! GET OVER HERE AND OPEN THIS DAMN BOTTLE.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Scholastic Inc for providing me with an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content in my review.

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DNF Review: Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin



In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers—and killed China’s best chance of fighting back…

Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his cause.

But after the betrayal of her family all those years ago, Soling is unsure if she can trust anyone in the Forbidden City—even if her heart is longing to believe in the engineer with a hidden past who was once meant to be her husband…


DNF@45 percent:

I really do hate to DNF books. It irks me. It’s like trying to touch my eye ball. I can’t do it. It’s gross. It makes me uncomfortable. I do not like contacts, can you tell? ICK.

Sometimes after putting down the book for so long and when I don’t even have the slightest desire to pick it up, I have to come to the realization that this is just not working out for me. I know that as a reviewer I should have the curtisy to finish the book. I rarely drop a book, especially if it’s an ARC. I have to have the guts and stop feeling guilty. There are just certain books that aren’t going to work for me personally.

This book is actually incredibly beautiful. The writing is exquisite, smooth, and daring. The history is my absolute favorite thing about this novel. There are industrial machines, mechanics, engineers, and men flying ships. Court politics of the Qing Dynasty and weird gadgets. But the interesting thing is that it’s a mixture between being historically accurate for the time period and steampunk. You’re probably thinking “what the hell?” Let me explain: Lin weaves the history of the Opium War, technology and science, and steampunk. She tells a story that shows the reader the struggles that China was going through during the period…but with flying ships!

Jin Soling’s mother is tragically addicted to opium after her husband’s execution when he and his team failed to halt the British invasion of 1842. They are now a disgraced Manchurian aristocratic family stripped of their titles. Jin has been struggling with her mother’s addiction. She fears that one day that will have no way to feed her addiction and one day she will die in agonizing pain. Jin travels to the city to sell of one of her father’s prized heirlooms. But she’s brought before the crown prince who strikes a deal with her. They are searching for her father’s allies. He sends her off to convince them to help the empire create weapons that could beat the like of their enemies.

I never had a problem with the main character. She’s actually pretty cool. She carries this strange needle gun for protection. She knows that a woman walking alone needs to be aware that she’s vulnerable in a world of men. She’s smart and calculating when speaking her mind. Some things can get you in trouble, but it’s the way you manipulate the men around you that helps you survive in a world where men try to control you.

“Fear was a sign of weakness and weakness was a sign of guilt. It was best to do nothing, say nothing.”

I like her intelligence. I like her strength. But, at times I felt she was a boring character. There were things I found interesting about her, but it was as if her personality was missing. She had intriguing elements that made her seem cool, like the needle gun and taking care of her family by herself. But those aren’t part of her personality. She was flat. I didn’t feel moved to learn more about her. I didn’t want to read on because I felt bored by the characters. The plot was awesome, the story was fucking fantastic, but the characters were flat on the ground dead.

The sad thing is that it wasn’t just her character that lost me, but the pacing of the novel. It dragged and dragged and dragged. It seemed as if one percentage was taking me hours to read. The writing is beautiful. This is true. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a pacing problem in the novel. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to read this book. That could have been the issue. The only thing I have left to say is: I am disappointed that I didn’t find the characters or the book more interesting.

Advance Reader’s Copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .

An alluring laird…

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart—until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm’s length—but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A prisoner in time…

She had a perfect “no” on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne’s reservations were no match for Hawk’s determination to keep her by his side. . . .


Looks at her notes. Looks at all her friends reading good books. Feels embarrassed for reading this.

Takes a deep breath.

I hate highlander romances!

Historical inaccuracy regarding kilts and language, forced seduction, territorial disputes that don’t involve geography, unexplainable time travel, TSTL heroines, lairds who have balls the size of an elephant, and smoochy talk that would make Barry White ashamed.

I couldn’t even get on board with Outlander. It’s like it was created to repel me personally. Yes, that’s the reason.


Time Traveling Delivery Service: get your own beauteous lass!!! Order today!

Adrienne:

– judges people based on their looks.

– vengeful

– likes to do the opposite of what she’s told even if it’s just to piss people off

– doesn’t know shit about the 16th century

– makes excuses for men who treat her like shit

– has the hots for hunky higlanders

– she likes coffee

Hawke: 

– called the “king’s whore”

– he tames falcons and uses it to excuse forced seduction

– angry accent involving burrs and donnas.

– barbarian

– caveman

– douche

– phallicist

– rape-beast

– crusader for the holy virgin conquest

– Likes to say MINE

It’s a match:

One silver haired, silver eyed virgin for one Hawk.

What a beautiful barbarian highlander romance.


I should have known what I was getting myself into. Look at the original cover:

There’s almost a certain formula for highlander time travel romances:

Usually it involves fairies or some weird rocks in the middle of nowhere. The heroine dramatically falls out of the sky into the brawny hero’s arms. He tries to stake his claim. She pouts and pouts and pouts sticking out her chin whenever possible. She runs off to prove she’s a smart and independent woman because what intelligent woman wouldn’t run into an unknown land she knows nothing about? The brawny laird runs after her and they have sex on his plaid in a field. The book becomes ridden with historical inaccuracies like coffee and kilts and King James court politics. Recipe for a highland romance. Your welcome.

Only reason I read this again is because I recently discovered that I like Moning. I wanted to see what I thought of her historicals now. And then there’s the sex. You take that out and I won’t read it at all. I would be like giving birth to a pineapple. It would hurt a lot. That’s a really bad visual.

Moning’s writing should not be judged solely on this novel. She’s actually quite a talent, but this novel doesn’t show her real talent. It’s the Fever series that does that. This novel is just…bad. It’s like putting your hand in the fire expecting to get burned. You will get burned.

Review: In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath


“I’ve always been of the opinion that a woman would be far more satisfied lying in bed with the devil than with a saint.” —Lady Catherine Mabry

They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.

Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.


“When you love a  man, you will do anything to gain his favor.”

“Even allow him to beat you?”

This did not work out. At all.

I read this while spending Xmas with the family. I didn’t have much time to read, but I fit it in. I read my brothers some of the passages annnnnddd….Snortmas of 2014. There may have been beer and eggnog involved so, it may not have been as funny as we were making it out to be. Oliver Twist? More like Oliver shoves his dong in a haughty dame. Tra-la-la-la-la-la-LA.

The cheese. Oh my….the CHEESE. So much cheese in this novel.

“Oh, papa, I’ve done something terribly silly. I’ve fallen in love with someone, and he loves another. The strange thing is, as much as it hurts, I only want him to be happy. 

Choking noises.

Why is romance always about sacrifice? I get very annoyed when the heroine is the “I always do the right thing even when it’s dangerous” type. I don’t get that. For one: often they do rash things that end up with them doing something stupid, like flinging your hand out to protect the hero from a bunch of bandits.

Even though I have misgivings about this book, I still really loved Heath’s writing. I think she’s a good writer. I just think this particular novel rubbed me the wrong way. I’ll continue to search for a book of hers that I’ll love.

FOR SHAME:

I had many many problems with this novel, but the big one that made this a one star instead of a two star is the heroine shaming her friend. She shames her friend again and again for not standing up to her husband. Ordinarily I would like people to stand up to their abuser. But if you have never been an abusive victim you don’t fucking get to voice your opinion. You’ve never been in that person’s shoes. You don’t know shit about what it’s like to be a rape victim, an abuse victim, or a domestic abuse victim. You can’t say what you would have done because you’ve never been there. The heroine saying that she’s stronger than Winnie and is sure she would stand up to her abuser is total crap. She’s never been a victim. Never. Ever. Do this. No one has the right to do this. This is despicable, heinous, and disgusting. From the moment she asserted that she’s better than her friend because she wasn’t as weak made me hate her from then on. I can never ever get past this.

Sure, her friend could have handled it better. Or I’d like to think in this modern day any woman would. But women were treated differently back then. This notion that Regency was a progressive time for women is not necessarily true. In some regards that may be true, but when it comes to marriage during that time women were seen as property. Men could abuse their wives and that is the case here. But women during this time were raised and taught to obey and serve their husbands in all ways. Her friend was historically accurate for the time. While there were a lot of really cool proto-feminist women during this time, that does not include all women. But to say that you would do differently when you’ve never been in an abusive relationship like that is idiotic.

Oliver Twist the Aristocrat:

I really hate it when romances have to make the hero into this perfect ideal of a man. There are certain things I like. For example, making sure there’s no way they are in any way cheating. But, why can’t he be evil? What’s wrong with that? It would have been so much more interesting had he not been a stand up citizen instead of a cheesy sap.

The novel drew on the cliché that the hero was without morals in the beginning. Then by the end those very things that made him immoral weren’t acutally true. You have this guy. He’s a murderer (not a spoiler). He stole a title that didn’t belong to him (again not a spoiler) . He’s without any morals. Right. Then the author uses her godlike powers and BAM! Heroine arrives at doorstep. The fall in love. You know the deal. Turns out he didn’t kill that guy willy nilly. He deserved it for being a sadistic fuck. Oh and then SHAZAM! He has memories that prove he’s the rightful heir. NO. I hate this trope. I hate it when the author has to make the hero into a guy who is no short of perfect when it regards his past. They have to remake him into something honorable. Why can’t he have bad shit in his past. Why does it have to be reworked or explained so you make him into this honorable hero? Can’t he have a shitty past and have the heroine forgive him of that past?

Just Forget it.

SMEX:

So…..this being a romance I guess I’m not spoiling it by saying they have sex? SHMEX. I skimmed it.

She peaked. He thrusts. She rocked. He climaxed. She escalated. Snerk.

My problem with this is that when they have sex, there’s a little bit of a chance that they cheated. Frannie is the woman he wants to marry, but she doesn’t want to marry him. Frannie worries about the aristocratic society and being accepted into since she’s not one of them. He convinces her to learn about how to be one of them. Okay. That’s the setup to what I’m about to tell you. Frannie clearly doesn’t want to marry him and hasn’t said yes. But she hasn’t said no either. She’s still deciding whether she wants to marry him. Catherine and Luke have sex even despite the fact that Luke intends to marry Frannie. Many. Many. Times. And the cherry: Frannie decides she doesn’t want to marry him by telling him that he loves another. She decides for him. And then three paragraphs later, he decides to marry Catherine because hey he’s no longer gonna marry Frannie. SECOND BEST IT IS.

And that was so not a spoiler. It’s a romance novel people! We already know they are going to end up with each other and that there’s going to be sex. Get off my back.

The hero is the protag: WHEEEE!

My last problem is that this seemed like it was Luke’s romance instead of Luke and Catherine’s story. It was like he was the protagonist and Catherine was just the love interest. She was like a side character.

This just didn’t work out.

Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little



A sweeping, epic saga of romance and hardship, set against the dramatic backdrop of ancient Mesopotamia—perfect for fans of Cleopatra’s Moon or the adult bestseller The Red Tent.
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
A sweepingly epic novel of peer pressure and cults set against the ancient art of belly dance, in which 16-year-old Jayden’s faith and character is tested to their limits, even death, as she watches her family and the world around her fall apart.


Cranky Review Time

I should just shoot myself in the shoot, alright. Every time I get really excited for a book, it ends up like watching a disney film. Just slap Snow White on this book why don’t you?

Once upon a long long time ago in 1759 BC Mesopotamia, to be perfectly specific, there was a girl named Jayden. She’s a sixteen year old bride to be. But here’s the twist: she hates him. Jayden wants to live life as ordinarily as she can. No skimpy clothing. No adventure. No speaking her mind. She wants to be like every single ordinary tribe woman. She’s the most boring historical chick you’ll ever meet.

The writing in this book is like watching Pauly Shore try to get out an entire sentence. It’s hard to listen to, or rather to read in this case. The writing is so rigid. It feels like it was forced onto the page. It doesn’t flow very well. The author also uses an incomprehensible amount of exclamation points. Maybe I shouldn’t judge because I myself have an intense relationship with the caps lock key, but this is a book. See for yourself:

1. “Guilt is a start at being a charitable woman!”
2. “It’s impossible. And dangerous. I can’t let you do it! Mother would never have approved!”
3. “The Queen of Sheba! You live near that kingdom!”
4. “Jayden, please come back!”
5. “He fights as though he wants to kill Kadesh!” I whispered hoarsely…

GASP. Exclamation points while whispering! I AM SO SHOCKED BY THIS! VIVE LA REVOLUTION! LET THE EXCLAMATION POINTS CONTINUE! Should I continue this review with exclamation points even though I’m not yelling? No. This is a bad idea.

There are sentences where the characters use what I call NO SHIT SHERLOCK:

“Father,” I said quietly. “He appears alone; there was no sign of other camels or men on the ridge. He also gave the sign of peace–with the sand.”

Didn’t you just tell us that, like a few pages ago? And wouldn’t your father know the traditions of his own people? Do you need to tell him what that means? We already know what it means because you told us. So, what the hell is this repetitive sentence for?

Then there’s the depiction of women. There are strong women like her grandmother and other members of the tribe. But then there are the women the author has chosen separate into two categories. The selfish villainous bitch, like Dinah. She’s just a plot device and not a real person. She just glares, humphs, and has a Scarlett O’Hara personality complex.

Then there’s the women who want to become priestesses of Ashtoreth. Jayden and her sister were taught these women were immoral and in ancient historical times: sluts. What I believe, or want to believe, is that the author wanted to flip the whole slut shaming trend in young adult. But what ended up happening is the book is this: it became an ancient historical slut shaming pedestal to teach girls that you should never sexualize yourself and you should never wear revealing clothing. Jayden loves her sister, but she’s always trying to tell her not to leave the tribe and not to do what her heart tells her to. She tries to keep her from succeeding in her choices. Leila wants to be a priestess. I saw nothing wrong with this, but little perfect miss Jayden had to turn her idiot switch on.

“This decision is not my choice, Jayden. It is yours. This place”–she glanced around at the lovely rooms of the temple–“is my choice.”
“Leaving you here at the Temple of Ashtoreth isn’t what I want for you, Leila. Please, go back to father. It would destroy him to know you are living here worshipping the goddess. Let our grandmother take care of you. I keep thinking of our mother and her watching you and that man–”
“Stop trying to make me feel guilty!”

Oh boy….I really need to take a chill pill.

I bowed my head against his chest. “I’ve shamed myself before you.” My throat was tight with love and sorrow and the exquisite nearness of him.

She danced with the priestesses in a revealing dress, for the Goddess, in front of a bunch of men the priestesses whom they would probably end up having sex with as according to tradition of their religion. Apparently, their choice to have sex with who they want is something she needs to judge. Nope. I’m done. You’ve got this hellish idea that you are now Tawny Kitaen dancing in an 80s rock music video. On a car. Delusional girl.

This is getting long. Well, you guys are just gonna have to sit it out. I got important things to tell you, like insta love and twoo luv.

The relationship between Kadesh and Jayden is like Snow White and her charming prince. He snuck up behind her , singing or was it dancing? In Jayden’s case, it was dancing. Again with the 80s music video. SHAKE IT, GIRL!

He’s always surprising her. Either she’s just not aware of her surroundings or he’s a stalker. I vote that she’s not aware of her surrounds because that seems like the more likely of the two. Jayden’s not very aware of…EVERYTHING.

As I said, she’s this boring innocent maiden waiting for twoo luv. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget. She will wait for her prince. She does. And life will be perfect because this villainous bethrothed of Jayden? He’s an ass. He really is. But, I didn’t feel much while reading that because it’s nothing new. He’s selfish. Check. He sword fights with the love interest. Check. He tries to get into the MC’s pants. Check. He does something involving blood. Check. He plots a scheme. Check.

Her prince charming is rich. He dresses like one. The Mesopotamian version, anyway. Anyways, he watches her. A lot. Almost every time she thinks no one is watching her, what do you know? PRINCE CHARMING HAS LONGING GAZE. Oh hey, yeah. I’m just hanging over here girl. I’m just sitting by these rocks looking at the beautiful scenery. I’m not at all looking at your butt wiggle.

So, 1. He’s always showing up when she thinks no one is around. 2. He’s rich. 3. He promises one day he will come for her. 4. Twoo Luv and all that.

Jayda is like the reigning princess of chastity. I understand that it’s historically accurate. That’s for sure.

She never speaks her mind, unless it involves prince charming. Keep your head down. Blush insanely. Fall in love with the guy who can save your ass. YAK YAK YAK.

The author goes off on strange tangents where nothing happens. I don’t really think there’s a plot. There isn’t one: the plot is that Jayden will find her prince charming and her husband to be will be shoved aside to make room for RICH BOY.  And then there’s this whole religious sub-plot that goes on. Then, you are left with no resolution. That’s it. There’s extraneous shit. But, that’s the basis of it.

Bejebus, this girl is an idiot:

“He wouldn’t lie, Father. And he gave me this bracelet as a promise of his love for me.”

Because even though you barely know him, you can trust him. Because true love and stuff.

“But your dresses–you shouldn’t be wearing such flimsy fabric.” The girls laughed at me and I felt silly and prudish. Like I’d turned into an old grandmother when I was only sixteen.

Yeah. I can’t argue with you there. Gotta be historically accurate, right. No problemo.

A few minutes later, he was talking with another girl, and then another. I was humiliated to have my betrothed pay such eager attention to other girls, even if I did hate him.

You go ahead and do that.

Villages were dirty, noisy, and overcrowded; garbage in the streets, the rank smell of outdoor latrines poisoning the air.

Boring MC (Main Character) factor increased.

…a seed of rebellion began to grow in my belly.

Because what other type of rebellion would be in our bellies?

While I loved the diversity, the culture, and the setting I couldn’t get past the “what the hell did I just read” scenarios. I wanted to love this book. I wanted to use a bunch of Gilmore Girls gifs to show my love for this book. But I couldn’t because I didn’t like this book. Sometimes, you get cranky after reading a book that made you rage. This is one of those times.

Chao, Darlings.

ARC Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout. 


I’m going to be the bitch today. Excuse me for a minute while I pour my Rosé wine and gather my thoughts for a minute…

What I mean is that I feel terrible that I didn’t like this book. I should have liked this book and I didn’t. I really enjoyed it at the start. Because I loved it so much in the beginning, I just didn’t think it would end so badly. So today, in this review, I’m just going have to admit: I’m a total bitch.

I’d seen many reviews of bloggers that I greatly admire, give this book a high rating. I still love you, I just didn’t like this book.

So, naturally I thought it would be right up my alley. It’s got suffragists, gender rights, history, and a little romance. What could go wrong?

Bad decision. This was a terrible mistake. I screamed into a bucket when I finished this book.

As a woman who is extraordinarily proud to be a woman and a feminist, I wanted this book to be my sweet treat. Even though feminism did not exactly exist back in 1900, I would have thought the inclusion of gender rights would interest me. Usually it does. But here’s my issue with this book: the majority of the characters in this book are flat. They’re like if you forget to add flower to the list of ingredients in a pie. One-dimensional. No color. No depth. No layers. Should I continue?

See if you take away the main character, Olivia, and just look at the characterization of the side characters like her father or Sadie it’s like the MC made who those character’s are. Or it’s as if the subject of the suffragists and women’s rights created those characters. While I love gender rights, the issue presented in the novel should not create character development or character depth for that character. Maybe it’s been part of who they are, but not their entire being. This was the case with Sadie, with Genevieve, with Olivia’s father, and even with some of the suffragists. Never ever a good thing by the way when another character give’s a side character their depth.

Then there’s the portrayal of certain characters. Men. Sigh…why is it always men that have to be the bad guys. They’re just so fucking awful aren’t they? Spoiler alert: I’m being sarcastic here.

Men in particular were portrayed as stereotypical ideals of anti-suffragists. Their chests puff with glory and gleam so everyone can see! Looksie: the men in this book are painted as shitheads. Complete and utter idiots. They’re brainless football players in a historical setting.

Have you ever read of the antagonist who starts to babble on what they’re going to do, thus giving away their entire evil plan? Olivia’s father is like that. The one who laughs twirling his Salvador Dali mustache and plotting schemes. That is her father, my dearies. Mr. Male Stereotype. Historical accuracy or not, he was a stereotype.

“But, despite feminine wiles,” said Father, “we gentlemen must be strong. We must protect the women from their own foolishness. They’re fragile and ignorant and need our constant care…”

See what I mean? He’s the evil father who thinks women shouldn’t vote.

Now men during this time greatly disliked the suffragists and thought they belonged in the kitchen. They saw suffragists as this:

Not flattering. Look at the teeth. This is ridiculous. It’s weird because a lot of men, even today, think of feminists as ugly hairy broads who hate men because they’re ugly and want gender equality. I for one am not ugly. I think this notion is butt-ugly. I’m glad the author gave the suffragists in her books normal descriptions, instead of what this picture above includes. We’re just too opinionated I guess. It’s stupid, these thoughts of having equal rights for both men and women. Sigh…. what have we been thinking? Stupid stupid stupid.

They thought other men didn’t support suffragists. Wrong. They did. And the author recognizes that. So this is correct, but they were tropes and didn’t really act like real people would. The negativity put on the suffragists was over-done. It’s not as if the real men and women who were anti-suffragist didn’t do incredibly awful things, but in this book, it was crap. Crap. That’s right. I said it: crap. I don’t even care anymore. I’m this far into my review. I’m just going to fucking let the swear words fly.

Anywho…

The dialogue, as you’ve already seen it’s so fucking FAKE! It’s like the dialogue had been created solely to assure the reader how evil and conniving thse anti-suffragists are. No. I already know how fucking bad they are. Show me. Don’t tell me through dialogue.

“Are you really forcing him into that chair? Am I really seeing this?”
“I’ve offered you a large sum of money, Mr. Reverie.” With one hand planted on Henry’s chest, not far from his throat, the horrific version of the man with whom I lived squeaked open a cabinet door.

Again, it just doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t know. I can’t really put my finger on it. But I believe it’s because the main character is repeating what we already know. That and this ridiculous guy forcing the love interest into a chair for “evil purposes” just doesn’t bode well either. I’ve read it before. Yawn. Move along.

For those who loved the book: please respect my opinion. My review may be snarky, but it’s my honest opinion. Some things I loved: the independent heroine, the focus on the MC instead of the love interest, the author’s voice and writing style, the eerie descriptions, the genuine female friendships, and the ARC is beautiful. My jaw dropped when I saw the pictures and style inside the book. But I just couldn’t get past the faults. I can’t raise the grade any higher. One dimensional characters are just something I can’t see past.

You know what? I’m going to leave my review here because there’s only so much time I can spend talking about fake dialogue, men who think with their dicks, and one dimensional characters.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

1.5 Star Review: The Songbird’s Seduction by Connie Brockway

Going into this book, I had been expecting something similar to Downton Abbey only much more light-hearted. I’ve heard of Connie’s books before, mainly a book entitled As You Desire, and wanted to see whether her style of writing peaked my interest. While she’s a good writer, her characters angered me to such heights that I can fairly say her work isn’t for me.

The main reasons this book was hell for me:

1. The damsel in distress who makes ridiculously bad decisions.
2. The hero’s name is Ptolemy.
3. The hero’s disillusionment
4. The part where the characters fall in love was missing.
5. The hero’s name is Ptolemy.
6. The heroine was inconsistent to her character
7. The hero rescues slews of damsels.

Okay, so maybe listing the hero’s name isn’t a real reason for not liking this book. But seriously, his name is Ptolemy. However I was really thankful that I didn’t have to go through the entire book reading “Ptolmy, Ptolemy, Ptolemy I love you.” That would have been terrible. No, the heroine calls him Archie, for Ptolemy Archibald Grant.

That’s a handful isn’t it? Archibald. Archie.

Okay so, basically the story is about Archie and Lucy: a love story. Lucy Eastlake is an orphan. When she was a young girl her great aunt’s took her in. She doesn’t consider herself a lady, for she’s not. She’s an actress of the theatre. She loves the audience. The applause. But within the home of her aunt’s comes exciting news, news of rubies. Of past love. Of money they will inherit. So Lucy takes her great aunt’s overseas to France. They think she’s completely and utterly fluent in French. She’s not, but she assumes she can get around France. How hard could it be?

But Lucy gets separated from her aunts and has to take a different ferry. Then sweet and handsome Archibald comes along. They take the trip together. They trail behind Lucy’s aunts. But there’s always something in their way: love, storms, Gypsy’s, and even the police.

The biggest issue I had with this romance novel was Lucy’s decisions and her inconsistency

I wanted to like Lucy. I thought that a character who works in theatre and who isn’t part of the aristocracy would be cool to read about.

Despite the fact that she grew up with a hard life and how people treated her, she failed to realize the reality of life. Not everything is rainbows and fucking sunshine out the wah-zoo. She failed to realize that a stranger wouldn’t just hand them money because they’d fairly earned it, without them making a deal. She failed to realize that love comes from trust and you have to earn that trust. You can’t just prolong your time together just so they’ll stay with you. It doesn’t work that way in real life.

Lucy also seemed inconsistent to her character. Here’s why:

1. She’s scared of getting sick yet she believes: I am quite within my rights to assume I could enjoy your island despite a few bugs and the straw pallet.”

2. She’ll be proud of herself as a woman one moment and then act like a damsel in distress the next: She liked that he’d leapt to her aid. It made her feel like a damsel in distress. And he played knight-errant so naturally…a tad crabbily, true, but naturally nonetheless, as though he’d rescued slews of damsels…

As for Archie, Ptolemy, Archibald whatever you want to call him, really:

I love the sweet guys, the guys that don’t get a lot of attention, the guy that doesn’t act like an ass. He’s geeky, he’s somewhat clumsy, and sometimes he stutters when he’s embarrassed. I found it cute. However, I felt like some things about his character were odd:

Interviewing indigenous people was an art.

And this:

Due to generations of systematic oppression, the Romani’s distrust of outsiders was legionary and impenetrable. He would have loved the chance to interview them.

What?…..

I get that he’s an anthropologist and sometimes forgets what he’s saying, but this I had a hard time deciphering. At first glance, I wanted to punch him in the nuts. But, I don’t want to make presumptions and say that his character is ignorant of those people. The way it’s phrased makes it seem as if he only looks at those people as studies, kind of like they aren’t even real people. But then again, the attitude of the Edwardian era toward people of different cultures such as the Romani was…. not kind. I don’t think this was the author’s intent, but I do think the author could have left this out.

But then there’s the part of the novel where you’re reading along, you’re reading…and Holy fuck! They’re in love? When did that happen? Did I miss something? Where was the development? There wasn’t even a kiss at this point or gazes. You know the kind of gazing I’m talking about. The ones where the author will describe their eyes for an entire page. Yeah. No chemistry buildup. Nothing. It’s not like I expected extra-horny pants or anything. I just expected relationship development. I could see friendship, but nothing romantic. So I didn’t see where it came from. It just slapped me in the face.

The Writing:

Connie Brockway is actually a pretty decent writer; it’s just that her characters didn’t appeal to me. There are certain quotes that I loved:

“And as for love? Love doesn’t pounce on you like some overly friendly puppy or catch you unsuspecting when your resistance is down like a bad head cold. It’s a process. It comes from a slow discovery, from the security of knowing how someone is going to react or what they are going to say, to shared ambitions and a common base of experiences. And from trust. Trust, Lucy. As in not lying to another person or manipulation them or playing havoc with their lives…”

I loved that Archie said this. It’s a great quote and I completely agree with him.

Often I see writers will write entire chapters wherein the characters do absolutely fucking nothing. In reality, I realize authors may think that it’s part of the plot when they write character’s thinking about love, life, death, and whatever insane decision they’re going to make next. But, it’s not plot. It’s information. It’s the character thinking. It doesn’t matter if it’s character development, the fact is that thinking about love on a train is still going to be the character taking a train ride to insert destination here. I don’t mean to be a pest about this, but it happens so much! As a reader, it’s really frustrating to read one book after the next where the author write chapters and chapter where nothing actually happens but the character thinking about their decisions they are to make in the chapters forthcoming.

While I can see why many others absolutely adore Brockway’s books, she just didn’t work within my taste for romance. However I will say that if you like Downton Abbey, if you like travel romances, if you like unconventional heroines, and if you like geeky heroes you might love this book.

ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty Review

1 Star Review: DNF at page 200

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Summary:

Keeley Chambers wants to be memorable. She longs for a future where she gets to play piano professionally. She’s trying to pursue her career at a University in New Orleans, where she’s been tasked to help the beautiful, talented, and rich Adelaide. But Keeley becomes tied with the local rich douchebag, Jude. Their first encounter doesn’t go well, not even a little bit. He insults her looks at every turn, to almost no actual reason that I can discern. To make things even worse, Keeley starts to have all the fuzzy feelings for the jerk. But on top of it all: she suspects he’s Adelaide’s boyfriend. Keeley’s best friend Janissa became the only person in this nauseating book I liked. She’s the single most rational person in this book, so at least there’s that. I wish she had been the Main Character. It’s a shame, really.

Why did I dislike Keeley?

At the start of the book, I thought I would enjoy her character. I thought a book about a piano prodigy would be really fun and interesting to read about. But I found it hard to like or even respect a character that starts to have feelings for a guy that does nothing but insult her:

“you clench your teeth when you get angry,” he adds casually. “It ruins the line of your lips.”
Does he unnerve everyone like this?…
“So when you said I wasn’t much to look at_”
“I meant you gave me a lot to work with. Your lips being the best of it”

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1. I found it a fucking struggle to like her for her irrationality and inconsistency:

I don’t think I hate Jude. He turned out to be just what I’d been so wary of, and just what Janissa warned against.

She would tell him off and then she would completely fall under his spell. Look that doesn’t quite work that way in real life okay? When someone is a complete asshole, you don’t just start to have feelings for them because they’re generous once in a blue moon. I don’t think I could ever respect someone like Keeley. Her actions are deplorable.

2. She assumes everything before she knows the facts:

You should’ve seen him with Adelaide. It’s like they spoke a special code language of snark and subtext. They’re totally an item. If not now, then in the way exes can be when they’re not done with each other.”

I really REALLY hate it when the characters in a novel assume something so ridiculous before even knowing that persons actions. I’m not trying to excuse Jude’s actions because being an arrogant jerk doesn’t make me like him at all. No, I don’t like a character that judges someone before they really should, no matter how much of an asshole that person is. But Keeley presumes Adelaide and Jude are a couple based on how they talk? No, I don’t except that. It’s flimsy and has no fucking basis.

3. She slut shames random people at concerts:

The woman, wearing a camisole with a shelf bra that does little to conceal bi boobs and perky nipples, is practically sitting in her date’s lap. He’s a total jock type, solid and tan. Why they’re sitting in the front row baffles me. They don’t fit with my idea of music aficionados. She slings her legs over the guy’s lap and wraps her forearms around his neck.
I’m equal parts annoyed and envious.

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Whereas we have Keeley’s best friend:

She’s sweet, a year younger than me, short, with a ton of grace and a great figure. Like, D-cup hourglass great. Maybe guys don’t swarm her because, pajama pants aside, she usually wears sweats and old T-shirts…

The author splits the portrayals of women by who wears what, instead of portraying them based on their personality and actions. It’s more of the way the author decided to portray other women that bothers me rather than the character’s thoughts about this couple. The author, unfortunately decided the best way to capture her readers was to portray most women in the books as mean sluts. Women who decide to show cleavage aren’t sluts. This is a problem that needs to be fixed, but I doubt it’ll happen anytime soon.

4. Her repetitive loathing self-hatred becomes the most annoying thing in this damn book:

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So wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to start. So I don’t.
But she’s sweet to say I’m put together. That much is deeply ingrained. Always look pretty, Mom used to say.

If it had only been a couple times, I would’ve been fine with it. Howver, she mentioned her looks so many times that it became annoying. I prefer not be constantly reminded of something when the character’s already mentioned it. I don’t want to know how the characters waistline is scrawnier than her best friend’s, when really she’s probably just fit. I don’t want to know how small her boobs are, and I definitely don’t want to be thrown crap like this:

“You’re graceful. You’re natural and unpretentious. You’re tall-I really like that. You have poise and this air of living in some other world. It sets you apart. And unlike most guys and all the stereotypes we’re working against here, I happen to adore small breasts.”

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I personally don’t like certain parts of my body, but that doesn’t mean I’m repeated it in my head over and over. But I don’t want to focus on the character’s looks while I’m trying to enjoy a book.

Ironically, I did actually enjoy the writing of the book. It’s nicely fast paced and if you can get around the annoying habits of the characters, then you might actually enjoy this book. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the main character. More often than not if I don’t even slightly like the main character, than I’ll usually end up hating the book. This is one of those cases.