Adult · Books · Fantasy · Fiction

First Impression Friday: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Happy Friday folks! It was another short work week for me, as I took off today to take Boyfriend to get Lasik surgery later. This morning I’m getting my word count on at my favorite coffee shop. Days off are perfect for writing. ūüôā

It’s also time for another First Impression Friday! (For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.

I freaking LOVE this book already. The way the author takes the concept of a musical band and turns them into a group of touring, fighting mercenaries, then throws in handfuls of 80s music references without it being even slightly cheesy is an utter delight.

At first I found Tam to a strange choice for a protagonist. Compared to the other characters in the story she’s the least experienced and most normal of the bunch. After a little while I changed my mind. Seeing the story through her perspective made much more sense, since she’s a bit of a blank slate. Plus, she’s the bard. She’ll be telling the story of Fable for years to come.

It’s obvious some crazy shit is going to happen in this story. I’m guessing that despite their lack of participation in chasing after the Horde, they’ll end up right in it’s path at some point. Tam will also, most likely, end up joining in the fight and become more than just a bard. Maybe she’ll figure out that she has some kind of magical music gift than allows her to lull monsters to sleep! (Or not.)

Whatever happens, I already know it’s going to be amazing.

 

Books · Fiction

Top 5 Tuesday: Characters I Wouldn’t Bring Into a Haunted House

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I just love this week’s Top 5 Tuesday theme! I admit, I actually had a harder time filling this one out than I thought I would. For some reason, my brain kept coming up with characters that I¬†would bring to a haunted house instead. Luna Lovegood, anyone? You know she would totally find some species of zombie nargles or something.

(Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah, aka The Bionic Book Worm. Check out her site to see what topics are coming up!)

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Ronald Weasley¬†– Let’s face it, Ron isn’t the bravest of companions. He’d be making this face and panicking the entire time.

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Clay Fray¬†– It wouldn’t be a good idea to bring any of the Shadowhunters, really. They’d probably be trying to fight off all the scary things, thinking they were demons.

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Dracula – Entering a haunted house with a vampire seems like a good way to become one of the undead.

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A Unicorn  РWhy would you bring a unicorn to a haunted house? That seems somewhat silly.

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James Moriarty¬†– You really can’t trust that guy. Who knows what he’d try to¬† get away with.

 

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! Last week I talked about a book I was reading for the new book club I joined. I hate to admit this, but I gave up on that book. I hate quitting a book, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Oh well. C’est la vie! This week’s book is more up¬† my alley.

(For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by¬†J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go ‚ÄĒ especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil ‚ÄĒ and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings ‚ÄĒ and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

After finishing the first book, City of Bones, I knew I had to keep reading the series to see where it goes. So far, this one is just as good as the first book!

There are demons and dark forces afoot! Clary is still conflicted in her feelings towards both Jace and Simon, Jace gets thrown in prison, and there are dead bodies everywhere. And it’s only the beginning!¬†There’s never a dull moment with these books, which is why I got sucked in so easily.

I love how all the relationships in this book have become even more complicated, now that Valentine is back and trying to start a war against the Clave. Suddenly, everyone is pitted against each other. The characters can’t decide who’s really a friend and who’s a foe. Even family is pitted against each other. It’s been keeping me guessing since the very first chapter and, to be honest, I have no idea which side everyone will end up on.

Clary and Simon’s relationship is still struggling, which kinda makes me sad, because I think Simon is great. Obviously things will only get more complicated now that Simon is a vampire (which I totally saw coming, by the way). I hope he and Clary end up being more “official” anyway, because Jace is a turd. As much as I would like for Clary and Simon to end up together, I predict that she will keep hurting him and push him away. *sigh*

I predict that Valentine is going to keep killing Downworlders and recruiting demons to his cause. Eventually, they – the Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries – will realize that they have to join forces if they’re going to stop him. I don’t expect war to break out yet,¬† but I think they will start teaming up by the end of the book.

I don’t know where this story is going, but shit’s going to get messy.

 

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

A Court of Frost and Starlight: Delayed Opinion Post

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A few months ago I wrote a brief review of¬†A Court of Frost and Starlight¬†after it had been released. Considering how much I loved the first three books in the¬†A Court of Thorns and Roses¬†series, I couldn’t want to read the follow-up novella. Sadly, after finishing the book in barely over a day, I was left feeling like I had been cheated. From all the other reviews I’ve read since the book’s release, it looks like I am not alone in feeling this way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read far worse books. That being said, I’ve read far better. If this had been a standalone book that I just read on a whim I would have read it and just said “Eh, it was okay.” I think the fact that so many people were disappointed with it, however, is because, after the other three books, there were some pretty big shoes to fill. I didn’t say much in my original review, since the book was still pretty new and was afraid to give too many spoilers away. Now that’s been a few months, I’d like to chime in.

(Warning: Potential spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.)

ACOFAS lacked the plot that the other books had. I know, I know. It’s only a novella. It’s shorter, therefore, there’s supposed to be less detailed than a regular novel. Still, all the detail and events that were there just felt like fluff. I’ve read shorter books with far more substance than this book had. The other thing that really bothered me with the story was how everyone was coping, or¬†not coping, with the aftermath of the war. They’d all been through some pretty traumatic and f*cked up things. They killed people, watched other people die, etc. You would think they’d all be pretty shaken up, no? It was alluded to a few times, but it never actually felt like anyone was struggling too hard. It was like the war ended and everyone immediately stepped back into their regular places in the Night Court. Feyre was shopping all the time and Rhysand pretty much wanted to do nothing but have sex with her. Ummm, really? Even if they were all coping pretty well, this still felt like a highly unrealistic representation of what would be happening…and it irked me.

The only one who actually seemed to be behaving normally was Feyre’s sister, Nesta. Still wanting nothing to do with being a Fae, she’d distanced herself from the rest of the group and was passing her time drinking, gambling, and having sex. While this might not be the most productive way to spend one’s time, I felt like Nesta was the only one with a normal expression of emotions. Personally, I would have rather read more about what Nesta was up to than to read about¬†shopping.

The way Feyre, Rhys, and the other members of their group treated Nesta was pretty shitty. If they didn’t agree with the choices she was making they could have just left her alone and stopped forcing her to come around (she didn’t want to be there anyway). They also made it pretty obvious that they were not a fan of her multiple sexual partners, which really pissed me off. There’s nothing wrong with the whole “bonding for life” thing that Feyre and Rhys had, but I felt like the author was trying way too hard to push this angle and put down any other sort of lifestyle. I know these are young adult books, but I don’t condone slut-shaming. Considering how much sex was already in the rest of the series, I don’t understand where this somewhat misogynistic stance came from. I was also pissed by the way that Tamlin was treated in his brief encounter with Rhysand. I understand that Feyre has some ill feelings towards him given how he treated her, but at the same time, I don’t feel like his behavior was¬†that awful. Things had gone a little sour between them, but it wasn’t like he was physically harming her or anything. Rhysand showed up and saw that he was clearly not doing well (Can you blame him? He lost the woman he loved and just went through a war.) and pretty much kicked him while he was down. He seems to enjoy rubbing his relationship with Feyre in Tamlin’s face and it’s making him look like a giant douche.

The part that made me want to throw the book across the room was when Feyre decided she wanted to have a baby. Sorry, but the whole story turned to shit at that point. It was like Feyre did a complete 180 in this book, going from the tough, badass High Lady to an overly domestic type. It didn’t fit her character at all and it wasn’t something that I cared for. (I admit, my opinion on this may be slightly swayed by the fact that I am not someone who wants to have children and does not get all gooey-eyed over the thought of babies.) It felt so forced. She was only like twenty years old at this point and she’s a Fae. She has plenty of time to have kids. Shouldn’t she have lived as High Lady and did some “normal” Fae stuff first? Meh.

I’ve seen some people claiming that this book ruined the whole series for them. I don’t think I would quite go that far. I enjoyed the rest of the series, but I don;t think I would include this one in a re-read. What did you guys think? Did this ruin the rest of the story for you?

Out of curiosity, did any of you enjoy this one? (If you did that’s totally cool. There’s nothing wrong with that.) What did you like about it?

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! (Omg, I’m so glad it’s finally Friday. This week has been exhausting.) For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by¬†J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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I was chosen by the Deos. Even gods make mistakes.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

I learned about this book (and the recently released sequel,¬†Bruja Born) at BookCon this year. The author talked about¬† how she wanted to create a story that incorporated elements of magic and fantasy, while still remaining true to the history and folklore that inspired the story. Honestly, I don’t know that much about the history she’s referring to, but from the little I do know I’d say she did a good job. The culture surrounding the¬†brujas (i.e. witches) is rich and steeped in ancestry. I can’t wait to see what happens once Alex reaches Los Lagos (the land where she believes her family has disappeared to) because I’m expecting it to be filled with magic and darkness.

The only thing I’m not loving is the “relationship” between Alex and Nova. They’re barely even acquaintances at this point, yet they both have shitty attitudes towards each other. I don’t know if this is supposed to be signs of flirtation or if they really just don’t like each other, but it’s a bit confusing.

I predict that this one is going to get 3 – 3.5 stars.

 

What book(s) have you started this week? 

Books · Fiction · Life · Writing

The Many Stages of Writing

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Hey, remember when I wrote a blog post about the stages of writing and forgot to include the part where you accidentally delete said post and, ironically, have to re-write it? Le sigh.

Since working on this book I’ve been becoming more in tune with what the stages of writing look like. You’d think it would be as simple as thinking of something to write, sitting down, and putting words to paper/screen. Right? Hahaha. Nope. There are way more important steps involved in the process. (Such as eating snacks. Without snacks the whole system breaks down.)

The process is probably a bit different for everyone depending on your personality, creativity, and whether or not you’ve written a book before. This is what my very refined writing process looks like:

  1. Come up with idea.
  2. Wrack brain for more ideas, because the first idea sucked.
  3. Stick with the first idea.
  4. Start writing an outline.
  5. Discard outline because you know you won’t stick to it anyway.
  6. Write.
  7. Get excited over how well it’s going. Tell everyone on Twitter.
  8. Take a coffee/snack break.
  9. Write some more.
  10. Come up with ideas for a new scene or chapter. Get overwhelmed because now you don’t know which one to work on first.
  11. Wake up next morning with writer’s block.
  12. Doubt everything. Not just your story, but your entire life.
  13. Take a coffee/snack break.
  14. Write.
  15. Bang head on keyboard in frustration and stare off into the void.
  16. Doubt that you’ll ever finish your book. Who said you knew how to write anyway?
  17. Write some more.
  18. Go to the store for more snacks.

Do you think really successful authors, like Stephen King, eat lots of snacks while writing?

Books · Fiction

Top 5 Tues: Books I Want to Re-Read

The topic for today’s Top 5 Tuesday has arrived at the perfect time. I was actually planning on writing a post this week about books that I want to re-read soon. Then, voila, T5T arrived and made life easier for me.

(For those who are unaware, Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Shanah, the¬†¬†Bionic Bookworm. Go check out her site to see the full list of topics coming up if you’d like to participate.)

Top 5 Books I Want to Re-Read: 

Ocean at the End of the Lane¬†by Neil Gaiman – Now that I’ve re-read¬†Neverwhere¬†I feel like I need to go back and read this one again, also, since I originally read both of them around the same time.

The Historian¬†by Elizabeth Kostova – This book was one of my favorites back in college. It’s an excellent blend of historical fiction and horror. It’s also one of the few vampire books that I’ve ever really enjoyed, aside from Dracula.

The Darkest Part of the Forest¬†by Holly Black – This is a different faerie story, set in the same world as¬†The Cruel Prince. It’s been years since I read it though and I don’t really remember much about it.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien РI love these books and usually re-read them every few years. It feels like that time again.

Queen of Hearts¬†by Colleen Oakes – This is my favorite¬†Alice in Wonderland¬†retelling. That’s reason enough.

 

Do you like to re-read books? Which ones are you planning to read again?