Monthly Archives: January 2016

Throne of Glass Series Books 2 and 3 Review

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I read two more Sarah J. Maas books. I may have to keep reading her. Just so I know what happens. And I do like her books. And they’re easy reading so I can read something deep and then go back to her. So I decided to do books two and three together. Why not right? It is a series and I can do them together. There will be spoilers.

I liked Celaena in the second book. She held her feistiness and her strength and then in the third book I felt she turned into a child. She felt things differently in the second book. But then the situations between the second and the third are pretty drastically different. I loved her with Chaol in the second book. I loved her that happy. She was like a cute, little kid, she was happy. And then it got ruined. Nehemia dying and Celaena started flipping out. There were times I when things were coming to fruition that I stopped and thought about who Nehemia was working with. She wasn’t a delicate princess. I knew she was a rebel and I had a moment, just a slight one. And when Nehemia called Celaena a coward and it followed Celaena killed me. I know how much things people say follows you. It’s not fun. I can see why Celaena freaked out when someone called her a coward. I didn’t like Celaena as much in the third book. I feel like she regressed some. I feel like she was way more of a teenager in the third book than in the second. Celaena did mature through the book. What she did for Rowan at the end of the book was pretty noble. And then there were times were I felt that Celaena and Rowan were going to have a thing (which they didn’t) and I was upset and I was like Celaena, you whore, you are supposed to be with Chaol. But I liked them more together, as friends, after Rowan starts opening up to her. I did like her talking about her past.

There were a lot of new characters in the third book. I’m undecided on how I feel about that. I was comfortable with how things were working and then Celaena was in a new country with stupid people/not people, there’s witches. I understand why new characters were introuduced because if you didn’t have new characters the story would go stale. It’s understandable. I just don’t deal with change very well. I did like some of the new characters the cook and Celaena’s counterpart in the kitchen I liked. I like they got protective of her. Every girl, assassin or not, need friends like them. And what’s with the witches. I know it was because of the king they were in there but are they going to have more of a presence in future books? They must. I didn’t like those parts. The witches and their beasts kind of remind me of what I know of Game of Thrones and Daenerys and her dragons.

Dorian and Chaol are weird without Celaena. Their relationship was strained. And why wouldn’t it? They went after the same girl and one got her heart and then he sent her away. Chaol was trying to deal with leaving his post and Dorian was just hurt. They got it together at the end of the book though. I wondered at one point if this was supposed to be the end of the book and then Maas or the publishers decided it was going to be 3 more books because everything started tying up nicely and then it leaves you knowing there’s going to be more. Yes, you would call that a cliffhanger but it’s no more a cliffhanger than book 2. I don’t consider it a cliffhanger because I wasn’t yelling at the third book wanting to know more. No one was literally hanging off a cliff. Anyway, at the end of the book, I liked the way that Dorian and Chaol kind of came back together. I think it was because Chaol knew how it was losing a loved one.

Dorian and Sorscha were convenient and fast but I liked it. When they started sleeping in the same bed together I was pretty sure she was going to be a pawn of sort. She seemed like a good fit in the book. I really liked Sorscha and wish she could have stayed around more. Dorian and Sorscha were a good fit. I felt like it could have been a good marriage and that it could have been stable. But then Sorscha’s head.

And here’s my random thing I don’t like: the covers. I’m obviously not too old for the books since I’m reading them and pretty much enjoying them but too old to enjoy the covers. How does this work? They fit the books, they fit the world but I’m sitting here picking them apart. I’m thinking how unrealistic the hair and the skin is and then accepting what’s on the page. I’m a hypocrite. I know. No need to remind me.

 

The Ultimate Book Tag

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I decided it was time for a book tag. I haven’t finished a book to review yet and I hate not posting for a long time because I like blogging. So I found the Ultimate Book tag. Weather it’s ultimate or not, we’ll see.

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?
Typically no but I don’t usually read in the car. 99% of the time, I’m driving myself. I’ve tried when others are driving but I’m distracted. I want to look out the window if I’m not talking.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I’m not entirely sure. Who’s straightforward and let’s you imagine stuff. I tend to leave out stuff because it’s in my head and isn’t everyone in my head?

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter. 1. no one sparkles. 2. The world is better developed. 3. The females. Females are more independent and don’t always depend on the males.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
So yes? My purse usually has a book in it.

5. Do you smell your books?
No. But my nephew used to.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
Depends. It depends on what age group the book is for. Adult fiction I will only accept it if it’s like something in a James Rollins novel where they’re intricate and showing you something that’s found.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
The Twilight series. I had professors rolling their eyes at me.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I really don’t. I had a minor obsession with Amelia Bedelia when I was younger but nothing really funny.

9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?
Of Mice and Men.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Either my Complete works of Shakespeare or my literary criticism college textbook.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I’m definitely not an author. I will take notes for blogging purposes or future purposes, depending on the book.

12. When did you get into reading?
I liked bedtime stories but then lost interest until I broke my wrist when I was 11. Then I was off and running.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
Jane Eyre. Please. was there any question?

14. In school what was your best subject?
English or music or history.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
I’d give it away or sell it.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
I hate this question because I don’t compare books generally. With books like HP and HG, they’re so iconic that you shouldn’t compare. It’s not fair for anyone to compare.

17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
Getting distracted. Or forming really bad sentences.

18. What is your favorite word?
I had my kids in Hungary ask me what my favorite Spanish word was and I panicked and I said cinco. I think my favorite word is concupiscence. Just cause it’s fun to say.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I’m a nerd. I didn’t grow up with the words dork or dweeb being overly popular.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Fairies I guess.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Angels because that’s what I believe.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Spirits because of the creep factor? I don’t know.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Zombies? I don’t have an opinion on this.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Generally neither. But if I had to choose it would be the triangle and then the third person quickly pushed out.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action.

Okay, it got kind of lame at the end. Sorry.

 

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel Review

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Recently I made a shopping trip to Bismarck because I needed a place with better groceries and I needed to get my glasses fixed. But because it’s me, I made a trip to Barnes and Noble. I was with someone so I couldn’t stay as long as I had liked. But I did find one book that I did find interesting. It’s The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy.

I had the hardest time with this book. It’s a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, not my favorite folk story, and its set in World War 2, one of my favorite wars. But from the get go, I didn’t like it. A lot of people do, not me. I always make an excuse for why I don’t like a book. Like life issues or it wasn’t the right time for me to read this book or conflict of interest or something of that sort. I could do that for this book. But I won’t. Just a warning, there’s going to be spoilers.

From the start of this book, I had a hard time believing it. I know war makes you do drastic things but it seemed the father seemed way to easily convinced to abandon his children and then the stepmother be like go by Hansel and Gretel and the kids be like okay, let’s leave breadcrumbs to leave a trail. I wouldn’t have taken that at that age. By the way what is with that marriage? I didn’t like it. She had too much power over him. The stepmother just seemed like an altogether horrible person to me. She didn’t even tell the father where the kids were. I know it was for protection but still not a likable character.

So the kids. I feel like I’ve said this a lot but I was confused on ages. They say early on how old Gretel is but Hansel I couldn’t figure out right away because he seemed quite a bit younger but said the word penis quite authoritatively but then questioned what the circumcision is. But maybe I’m expecting of him. Maybe he hadn’t been fully told what a circumcision was. It’s totally possible. I thought there was a lot of pressure on him at the end to take care of him and Gretel and she was messed up. He did show his age when he got jealous of the baby and I appreciated that.

I questioned the priest because he wallowed in his own self-pity and drank because of it. I kind of always hate that character that wallows in self-pity. But then he redeems himself by killing Nazis then openly sat with the blood on him. Did he want to get caught so he would die and end his self-hate? How should I feel about him? I’m not quite sure. I also wondered how many of the clergy lost their faith during that time because there was so much strife during that time. And you see a lot of strife in the book. Side note: there are a couple other characters in the book but I don’t want to talk about them.

Magda saved the book for me. She’s the reason I gave this book a three on GoodReads and not a 2. I really didn’t enjoy this book. But then there’s the scene where she dies and I loved it. I hated to see her die but loved how it was written. I liked her snarky lines. Magda could not do any wrong in my eyes. I think she had a line at the beginning about Christians acting like the Christians they bragged to be. I liked that. I also like she was gypsy. I feel like if you weren’t Jew in WWII, you were forgotten and there were a lot of groups that were persecuted. This book showed that and I appreciate that.

Random thoughts. I found it was interesting that you didn’t know any of their real names. It bothered me and I really liked it at the same time. I always thought you were going to learn their names at the end but you didn’t and I was almost okay with that. Little disappointed though. I get the kids were too young and traumatized to remember so I get it. I also kept thinking of the movie that Heath Ledger was in about the Brothers Grimm.

Blood Infernal Review

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Recently I found a site called Book Outlet and they have super cheap books. I recently got my first order from them and with that I got Blood Infernal by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. This is the last book of the Order of the Sanguines trilogy. The cover says series which generally means more than 3 books but with how this book ended, there can’t be more. Historically I have loved James Rollins. (I haven’t read any of Rebecca Cantrell so I don’t know.) And also have loved this series. This book did not disappoint. It’s my favorite. The only thing that I have against this book is that it’s taller than the other copies I have of this series.

So before I talk about the ending because that’s all I want to talk about, let’s start with the authors and writing. First of all, they need to write more together. Then at the beginning, Rollins dedicates the book to Cantrell and she dedicates the book to her husband and son. I’m guessing her husband isn’t James Rollins. So that could be awkward. Wondered how that happened. Then they were talking about writing groups. What the hell is a wring group? I mean I can take an educated guess at what it is but someone needs to actually sit down and tell me for sure. Here’s the other question I have. In the acknowledgments, Cantrell mentions this weird thing about a cat. What? Is that an inside joke or is it something about the lion in the book? I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be looking so much into the acknowledgments. The writing in this book is fantastic. I like the crossover from other Rollins books that brought the time and date and pictures. It makes me more engaged. For me the only time that I could see which author was which writing was during the intimate parts with Erin and Jordan. Rollins isn’t that good at romance. He’s awesome at thrillers, not much experience with the romance. I did wonder how they split up the writing. Chapter by chapter or they did a detailed plan and split it up? It would be interesting to find out.

In my notes, I made a comment that everything is connected. In the book it says everything is connected to Bernard. I think nothing happens without a reason. This book is planned out so that everything does connect and come to an end. And since I brought up Bernard, let’s talk about him. He does know like everything. He is the reason for Rhun’s thing at the end that made me yell in my notes. Yes, I keep notes so I can blog. Don’t judge. If I didn’t, the blog would be less interesting. Also Bernard was cray with the legion. But so was Leopold. At the end, I really didn’t like Bernard. I wanted him to redeem himself but he didn’t. He got worse. Not like Legion possessed worse but I want to punch you worse. I wrote in my notes several times how he was sly. I mean I saw it coming but I was in denial at the same time. I mean, he’s from the crusades. He has to be sly right?

We also need to talk about Rhun and Elizabeth. They are what I am drawn to. Starting with the last book, I love Elizabeth. And I am using the “English” version of her name. The last book she became more motherly and feminine which countered Rhun. In my head, Rhun is super manly in a different way than Jordan. He’s the strong silent type. (he’s like that because of Bernard. All comes back to Bernard.) But there were many times in the book where I thought how much they loved each other. It took centuries for them to get really together. It surprised me when Elizabeth joined the church. It just hasn’t been her style up to that point and then it was okay, I want to survive so I’ll do it. Whatever. I guess it was noble. But their ending was perfect. Tommy was healed so they could get together because Elizabeth wasn’t distracted. (I did get concerned about what was going to happen with Tommy at the end but they got it.) And of course the thing with Rhun’s arm. Like of course it grows back. Why wouldn’t it? Why would I even question it? Elizabeth did talk about trading one curse for another, immortality for getting older. Looking at it and working at a nursing home, I get the getting older. Older people hate getting older. Immortality would get old too.

Let’s move to Erin and Jordan. I don’t have much to say on them because I saw their ending coming. But I did kind of bring up in my head that what are the chances that those two get together in real life? It’s one thing in literature, another in real life.

Other things that came to my mind. How many times do they really have to die in this book? It’s like they’re all cats. Does them dying so many times shorten their actual lifespan? It did get a little old how many times they all died and came back. The Faust house was amazing. I loved that scene and the scene where Erin talked to Lazarus. At the end when Christian sacrificed himself, I did cry out no. It made me sad. This ending made me feel things. And I’m a little bitter about it. Xao was creepy from the get-go. Hugh was different like a hippy but Xao you could tell that there was something weird about him. And then he goes crazy. There was another point that was made in the book that being ignorant hasn’t been a service to the church. Which is true. I can talk a long time about that. And it works to be said in this situation. But being ignorant isn’t a service to anyone in any situation.

Obviously, I loved this book. It was a great ending. I’m a fan.

Things I randomly wrote down:

TOMMY! Don’t trust that Priest!

It does make me sad when they talk about Europe places I’ve been.

Sophia=nun (I forgot a lot)

I want a pet lion.

Hugh is a cult.

Rhun’s leaving! Rhun’s leaving! Because Bernard is a sly fox!

Night Road Review

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I don’t have a washer and drier at my house. I have the hook ups for them, I just can’t afford a washer and drier. Since that is the situation, I go to my parents’ house. I’m reading off and on a book about the Romanov girls. But I needed a break from them there Russians so I picked up a book that was on my childhood bookcase that my parents, or my mother, has taken over. I found a book about Kristin Hannah called Night Road. I recently read another book by her that she got published last year and I loved it so I picked up this one.

I loved, like the other one, that it isn’t necessarily a love story. There’s love involved but there’s so much going on that the romantic love isn’t in the fore front. You definitely feel the mother’s love and the romantic love is a pivotal plot device but not overpowering. I hate that when love is an overpowering device. But the love did really come into major play at the end of the book and that’s okay because it didn’t slap me in the face. It almost seemed convenient that they got together but I would have said that if Lexi would have moved too. But if Lexi had left, it would have opened the door for another book or a longer book. The book had to end somehow.

I feel like insecurity brought the girls together. Lexie wonders who would like a drug addict’s daughter and Mia says being her friend would be social suicide. Neither of them believe they’re worth being friends with. They were okay with their books. I get that. It’s a teenage girl thing. Sometimes it’s an adult girl thing too. These girls were normal. Lexi had been hurt a lot so after 3 years, she still pushed away. I would too. I felt that Mia was a little overdramatic when Lexi and Zach got together, actually through most of the book. I had to keep reminding myself that she is a teenager. Teenagers can be a little dramatic. But I was okay, as horrible as this sounds, that Mia died because she annoyed me. She couldn’t make up her mind and sometimes acted like a spoiled kid, which she was.

I felt that Lexi was an interesting character through all this. She seemed a little more mature and she took responsibility where Zach didn’t necessarily. After the accident kind of annoyed me because everyone was attacking Lexi and asking for her head but Zach wasn’t included in that. I would have asked for both. But Lexi was driving. I don’t know how she got through everyone talking about her within ear shot. I also find it interesting that Zach’s ex-girlfriend had Lexi sit by her at the funeral and then she never comes back into the picture. I also find it interesting that she thinks she’s just like her mom when she gets to jail. And I hated that she went to jail. I didn’t want her to. I think it was admirable that she gave up Grace to Zach’s family but then want her to make Grace’s life better.

I don’t want to talk about Zach because I feel like he’s not the most interesting person in the book. Jude was an interesting character though. She was overly doting. A little suffocating. Anything to not be like her mother who she did kind of turn into. But I understand that she changed because, as a woman, how do you keep yourself in tact when you lose a child. Through the book I thought about how my mother was in high school. I’m glad she wasn’t as hovering as Jude. But I also didn’t go out and party. I wasn’t that popular. But I don’t know if my mom would become Jude if one of us kids died. But I can’t say that because I don’t know.

Overall, this was a good book. I wasn’t in love with it as I was The Nightingale. Maybe if I had taken some more time between her novels, I would have liked it better. It is a good book of loss, anger, redemption, and lots of emotions. What I’ve liked about Kristin Hannah in general is that there’s emotions to an extent but you put yourself more into the emotion. For me at least. I can’t speak for the general public.

Death Comes for the Archbishop Review

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me pull out Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather from my TBR pile. I appreciate this book. You can tell the identity of who wrote this and what time. It wasn’t written by a western writer because it’s not as bloody and not as Native American centric. You can tell this book is written a few decades ago because of the language. There aren’t complex words or anything, it’s just smart. Language has dumbed down in the past few decades. I blame the 1980’s, but that’s another post altogether. This book was written in 1927 and by a woman who used to be a teacher. Of course it’s going to be intelligent.

The type seems darker than in a lot of other books. At some point, I wondered if it were my eyes were playing tricks on me or if the text seemed smaller because there wasn’t as much ink. I’ve tried to figure out why to the question of darkness and I have no excuse. I don’t know if it’s the kind of type that they used or what. And it’s quite possible I’m seeing things or it’s a lighting thing. I do randomly like the picture on the cover. I don’t know why. It’s not the kind of artwork that I go for. It’s like a watery water color or something or the southwest and I don’t like a watery watercolor, it’s not my style artistically, and I’m more of like a cowboy art kind of girl. But the cover did grow on me so that I really did appreciate it. It fits the book, especially with the traveling parts.

This book did take me way longer to get through than I expected because it is just under 300 pages and I can easily read that in a day, 2 days at the most. Not this book. Part of it might because I’ve been reading a lot lately and I need to slow down and my lack of concentration is telling me to slow down. Part of it was because I would get random anxiety while reading this book. And not even like book related anxiety. Just anxiety. So it was really hard to concentrate on where the Bishop was or was going and what was really going on. I blame taking myself off that one medication. (Don’t worry, my doctor said I could do that and it was ethical of him to tell me that because of what the prescription was for) It affects my anxiety (not what it was prescribed for but having my emotions even out the first time in months was a nice benefit) and being off that med has upped my anxiety again on a low scale. But let’s talk about the book and not my anxiety. I did read this book without taking a break from it because I knew I wouldn’t come back to it if I took a break and started another book.

The book is structurally sound and it’s to the point. I think I would have had a harder time with this book if it were more descriptive. You saw what you needed to see. Cather didn’t waste your time. I appreciate that. I hate opening a book and reading a book when an author wastes your time. There were some really good lines that I liked. Cather, to me, isn’t that poetic of a writer but she’s a writer that can grab your attention if you let her.

I shamefully do not know much about Southwestern United States pre-Civil War. Which I believe is the fault of my history professors in college. They didn’t make it a priority and they should if your minor is history with an emphasis in American history. But the way that the whole situation is presented makes sense to me. The way that this priest had to go around baptizing and marrying people and the way that different priests interacted with each other. It helps that Cather was born just under a decade of the end of the Civil War. She would have known more of this era. She most likely knew people who were alive in the 1850s. That makes it way more authentic. I did like that she put real historic figures in the book like Kit Carson. And it felt realistic in some situations too. Like the travel and the lack of culture and polite society. Polite society was around but they were scarce.

Overall, it’s not like I hated this book. I’m okay with it. I just couldn’t concentrate during it.

The Nightingale Review

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“In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.” (first sentences) I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It was the Budapest book club’s February read. I got the hardcover copy of it because it is a relatively new book. (It came out last year. It’s still weird to say 2015 was last year) If you haven’t looked at that book, you should. It’s beautiful. I was impartial when I first saw it but the more I look at it, the more I love you. I might actually love the inside covers more with that map. Okay, now that I’ve talked to the appearance, let’s start with the actual book. There will be spoilers. I can’t help it. I liked this book way too much.

Let’s start talking about the family. The girls couldn’t start out more different and I liked that. It reminds me of a lot of real life relationships.  Isabelle was so much more radical than Vianne. They are both very flawed, both stubborn. Especially Isabelle. But I think that’s because she was a lot younger than Vianne. Vianne did become a rebel in her own way. She also saved people’s lives. At one point I wrote that I had gained respect for Isabelle and lost some for Vianne. But I think I regained respect and respected both of them equally at the end. But I really like the flaws.

Then you add the father element into the story. Crap. That man was something else. First, I hated him because he pretty much abandoned his daughters and drank himself silly. At one point, I wondered if he were a horrible person that got there after time or a horrible person due to circumstances of war and losing his wife. Then he started working with the Nazis. Which made my opinion of him go down but then shit man. He turns into a good man. He not only is like a double agent kind of guy, he dies for his daughter. I mean, way to bring yourself back into my good graces.

I did get confused for a while because I didn’t know French so I didn’t know that the German and French word for aunt are spelled the same. Sophie would say Tante Isabelle and I wondered why she was using the German word she should be using the French word but she was using the French word. But I looked it up. They’re spelled the same, I just don’t know how to pronounce the French word. Something I feel like I missed was what exactly happened with Isabelle? Did she die so that she didn’t end up with what’s his face at the end? It might have said it at some place but I may have missed it. If you’ve read it and you caught it, let me know.

I did have a few oh crap moments. First was when their name actually means Nightingale. Everything ties in. When Ari was taken away at the end it got to me because he was a little kid and was being well taken cared for and loved why take him away, and then when he came up to Vianne at the end of the book. At first I thought they had changed Ari’s name again and were calling him Julian and that’s the son Vianne was talking to. Nope. I loved that Ari found her at the end of the book. That whole last section was amazing. I could not have loved it more. And then when Vianne had to turn in Rachel. I may have mentally yelled at my book at that point. P.S. So much respect for Rachel because she lost a child. I haven’t experienced that but I know it can’t be easy. Then she barely survives the concentration camp. Sad. Tore my heart

We should talk about Captain Beck. If he would have lived, what would have really happened? Would he have been Julian’s real father? She legitimately liked him and you thought that they would get together. I feel like with Captain Beck around, Vianne was sketchier about things. He let her communicate with her husband, or made it happen. I think it was him trying to even out all the bad things that were happening on the accord of his government/leader. After the murder, you feel how scared they are, you feel it several times throughout the book, but there stood out to me. The aftermath felt real to me. I didn’t hate Captain Beck and I think that was the point. I wanted to hate him because he was a Nazi and they took the house from Vianne but he was decent. He was trying to be decent. But I did hate the next guy.

I think we should talk about how people dealt with war. There was the keep your head down and let’s do something mentality represented by each sister. You understand on each part because Isabelle is young and a go getter and Vianne is a mother and wants to protect her daughter. I feel like Vianne struggled more with what’s right and what’s wrong. Both women, and in actual war, you have to deal with what your idea of patriotism is. And both women did. I also like that at one point in this book they talked about how a generation was lost in the war and it’s true. So many died that a generation was pretty much lost. Even those who were affected mentally. The father in this book was a perfect example of that. He came back and wasn’t really fully there until the end of the book.

If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. I whizzed through it. It kept my attention. I felt it was well written and the story was well woven. I also like that the love element in this book was not romantic love it was a familial love. I would have still been okay with the book if it had a romantic love but I would have rolled my eyes.

Things I wrote down or liked:

Men always think war is about them (pg. 146)

We remember the missing as much as the lost, don’t we? (page 265)

Humiliated men could be dangerous. (page 288)

She was so tired of begging people to love her (page 302)

“She killed a man? WHAT!?!?!” said by me.

“She killed Kenny.” Said by me. I don’t know why. I don’t even watch South Park.