The Magicians Trilogy – Lev Grossman

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Warning: This is going to be a VERY long post, because I am including all three books instead of giving them separate posts…because does anyone REALLY want three different posts about basically the same thing? I think not!

 

The Magicians

Ooookay so…a year or so ago, SyFy came out with a new series called The Magicians. I was expecting it to be about…ya know…party performers. Card tricks and bunnies in hats and so on. I was very confused about SyFy’s interest in something so puerile, and I Refused to watch. (Refused with a big ole capital R) I grew even MORE confused as an increasing number of friends insisted I watch. But THEN, my cousin Keith, who has suggested the largest number of my (now) favorite shows, told me I should watch. So I began watching and I thoroughly enjoyed it. About halfway through he tells me “Oh hey, you should read the books.” HOW DARE YOU TELL ME TO WATCH THE SHOW WITHOUT TELLING ME IT WAS BASED ON A SERIES OF BOOKS! Annnnd then I started reading the books and Keith was like “yeaaaah see they’re really not all that similar.” The basic concept is the same-ish but it’s not like the TV series ruined the plot of the books in any way.

SO MOVING ON…I finished the first about a week-ish ago and I fell in love. I wasn’t expecting it at all because, though the show entertained and surprised me, I still had a bit of a “ugh…magicians? Really? I’m not 5,” kind of mentality. It’s so much more than that though. “Magician” isn’t really the word I would use to describe the characters. Sorcerer feels more accurate to me. Witch even works. In fact, some of the “magicians” are referred to as “hedge witches,” but you’ll have to read the books to learn why. The setting is pretty awesome and the storyline kept me engaged, which has become harder and harder lately. (Yay for poor attention spans!) My only real complaint is that I don’t really LOVE any of the characters. I like one or two of them, but the majority are pretty insufferable. I know that doesn’t really inspire confidence in the stories, but I think their kind of awful personalities serve the book well. (I prefer the TV characters by FAR and that’s just VERY unusual…but shhhh don’t tell anyone.)

I expected this book to be a lot of things, and it was none of those things. I expected fluff and got darkness. Oh…and if you’re sensitive to obscenities, drinking, drugs, and sex…maaaaaybe don’t start this series. JUST to be safe.
Book Description
Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined

(from GoodReads)
Rating
4/5

The Magician King

I think I probably should have written this review sooner, because already things are growing foggy the further I get into the third Magicians book. WHOOPS! But I’m enjoying the trilogy so much that I started the third immediately after putting down the second and sort of forgot about this whole business of reviewing things. Oh well. HERE WE GO!

I think I liked this book even more than the first. We get to see more of Fillory. We get to see Julia’s weird and pretty tragic background. We meet some interesting characters and go to some fun places. There’s more adventure, per Quentin’s request. It’s just a fun jaunt. I did take SOME issue with the flashbacks, because I like things to be linear (OCD is fun y’all) BUT I think it suited the story to bounce back and forth. Of course, I did find myself speed reading/glancing over bits and pieces because I just REALLY wanted to know what happened to Julia to make her … well … HER. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know what was happening in the “present” bit of the story because I was in such a hurry to figure out what happened in the “past” bit of the story. And I wasn’t disappointed upon finishing her backstory.

I think I have texted my poor cousin more about these damn books than I have about almost anything else. Okay, that’s not true. I’m also entirely too invested in his love life, but that’s neither here nor there! But seriously you guys, I’m more and more interested in these books as I progress. They are definitely books I would recommend (and HAVE recommended), though again, if you don’t like to see profanity or sex…maybe steer clear of these babies. Not that it’s overly graphic, but I know some people’s sensibilities are a BIT more delicate than mine. So….yeah…just keep that in mind. BUT definitely read these books. DO IT!

Book Description

The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy.

(from GoodReads)

Rating
5/5
The Magician’s Land

So the final installment of Grossman’s trilogy kicked off pretty fast and pretty wild. I feel like the other two were more of a slow burn kind of story…but now that I’ve written that, I know that’s not the case, because the second book was full of the back and forth with the “present” and “past” and while it wasn’t ALL ACTION ALL THE TIME (you have to read that in a movie announcer’s voice), it wasn’t slow going either. OR MAYBE I’VE ALREADY FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. It’s possible. My memory is no bueno. ANYWAY. I mean, the story itself wasn’t fast paced in the beginning, but it started basically in the middle of the story Grossman wanted to tell and THEN went back to the beginning….and did the same basic past-present-past (etc) pattern that we saw in The Magician King.

There’s more mystery/intrigue/scandal. Quentin seems to be STEEPED in scandal in all of the books. There’s always SOMETHING going on with him. I think Quentin must be a magnet for all things strange. But I guess the books would be super boring if it was all “Oh hey…Quentin is a genius and he got accepted into Harvard or wherever and now he’s learning things and eventually he’s going to be an investment banker or a mad scientist or whatever it is that happens to geniuses.” Like…that’s not a book I’d read. Honestly, that’s basically what a book I wrote would sound like. This is why I stick to the reviews, guys. (Although, let’s be real…I’m not exactly killing these reviews either. LOTS of rabbit chasing going on here.) Uh so my point…I FEEL like there was a lot more scandal. Maybe because Quentin seems like more of an adult (even though he’s technically been an adult for a while). Maybe I don’t actually know what I’m talking about because I’ve managed to let all three of the books sort of run together and it’s becoming harder and harder to separate the storylines.

ANYWAY…this was by far my favorite of the trilogy…I guess because I was so anxious to see how Grossman wrapped up the story. It was nice to finally get to the end and see how he worked it all out. It didn’t really go the way I thought it would, so I think that means I can give it an A+.

I guess it all just boils down to my recommendation though. This book is another you really should read. Like…really. All three of the books are definitely worth your time. Unless you’re not a fan of magic…in which case, why are you even considering a trilogy called The Magicians? Get outta here!

 

Book Description:

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory–but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

Rating:
5/5

-Lesley

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My Kind of Crazy – Robin Real

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So I bought this book on a whim at Sam’s (when I was supposed to be shopping for practical things like food and cleaning supplies) because I liked the cover. I mean…LOOK AT THE SPARKLERS! I didn’t read the blurb or anything. I just saw the word “crazy” and saw sparklers and that was enough for me.

I maybe should have actually read the blurb because, as it turns out, it was a VERY adolescent story. Normally I like YA because it’s usually      a quick, fun read. This one…just…wasn’t. I mean…it had some glimpses at adult type themes, but most were handled in a fairly juvenile manner. I suppose, since this is directed at kids, I can’t complain much. There were several funny moments, but mostly in a “Oh how silly” kind of way. The characters were interesting enough (for high schoolers), and the main character’s father was interesting insofar as he was super troubled and kind of a jerk so he added a little dimension, I guess.

So anyway, there’s a promposal, some high school drama, parent drama, pyromania, and a stripper. That makes it seem interesting, right? So if you can get past the teenagery stuff to read about some pyromaniacs, this is the book for you! (Yeah! Way to close the deal, Lesley!)

 

Rating
3/5
(It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.)

 

Book Description
Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

(From Goodreads)

 

-Lesley

The Gender Fall (The Gender Game 5) – Bella Forrest

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Man…this was one of those books I just couldn’t decide if I liked or hated. I even took a LONG break from it because I was teetering between these seriously conflicting opinions from the beginning. It was breaking my brain a bit too much. (More than usual, that is.)
An example? I can’t tell if I love Viggo and Violet or if I think they’re complete and utter morons. They just can’t seem to keep themselves out of danger and it’s making me more than a little crazy. I mean, I understand that the series, in its entirety, has seen Viggo and Violet in danger because they’re trying to save their world, but shouldn’t people who are attempting to save everyone be a little less reckless? Or am I just a wuss?

What is it with these dystopian heroes/heroines and their blatant lack of regard for their own well being? I’m sure the readers wouldn’t particularly care for self absorbed characters coming to save the day, especially since it’s unlikely that such characters would do much in the way of saving people anyway. They’d be too concerned with their own safety BUT these completely selfless types don’t really exist in the real world. OKAY YES there are some, but they certainly aren’t nearly as prevalent as these types of novels would have you believe.

Anyway, the series thus far has been pretty action packed, and book five is no exception. There were a few more lulls (or maybe I’m just not remembering the other books well) but I think that was necessary to recover from said action.
I wasn’t as into this one, but I think maybe I’m just getting a little burnt out on this storyline. I mean…I find myself hoping the end is near, instead of enjoying the ride. Maybe I should take a break before I start the next one? Eh.

Rating:
3.5/5

I’m not going to leave a description because I don’t even know how to sum this one up (especially without spoilers)…and the only description I can find online is basically along the lines of “See what happens next!” NOT HELPFUL!

-Lesley

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

FullSizeRender.jpgWhat can I say about this one?
Let’s start with…this is another book I bought on a whim at Sam’s (when I was supposed to be grocery shopping) because I liked the cover…and because, for some stupid reason, I have a weird fascination with books about the aftermath of suicide. I read it in short bursts, over a long period of time…mostly while I was sitting in my car, outside the spawn’s school, waiting for her to be freed.

It had a promising start, but then it all sort of spun out and became more and more ridiculous as time went on. I mean, I don’t mind a little ridiculousness…truly. I’m usually pretty ridiculous myself. And okay…I should get used to things getting a little wonky  when I’m reading YA…but it was really just a cheap knockoff of some more adult friendly novels. I won’t even say which book it was compared to in early marketing, because that will give away the huge “twist” in the story.
ANYWAY, the good news is, yes there IS a twist or two. That usually helps keep my interest when I’m reading things…but I think Weingarten was trying really hard to be gritty and in doing so the story went from good to not good pretty fast. I’m sad it didn’t live up to my expectations. I REALLY wanted to like this. I just couldn’t. And oh my gosh…the ending. What even? I almost want to make you all read it just so I have someone to talk about the ending with…I mean…seriously. It was a huge WTF moment.
But yeah…I don’t think I can recommend this in good conscience.

Rating:
3/5
(I guess it could actually be more like 2/5 but I enjoyed the beginning, so I guess I’m being generous)

Book Description:
June barely has time to mourn the death of her best friend Delia, before Delia’s ex-boyfriend convinces her Delia was murdered, and June is swept into a tangle of lies, deceit, and conspiracy.

(from GoodReads)

 

-Lesley

Jess Bryant Will Make You Sweat

Okay…now that I have your attention…this is going to be a little different because I’m not reviewing a book…I’m reviewing an author.
Okay, so that’s not true, either…I’m not reviewing her…I’m raving about her. I’m “plugging” her. I’m doing whatever it is when you brag about one of your best friends. Advertising? I have no idea.

 

ANYWAY!

 

Follow me to my childhood. I knew a girl named Jessica Bryant. We didn’t “hang out” or anything. She was a year older and I wasn’t very cool, but we knew each other (because our hometown is tiny and everyone knows everyone else) and we were friendly. Once she graduated she sort of fell off the radar (at least for me) and that was the end.

OR WAS IT?!

Buh buh BUUUUUUUM!!!

Sometime last year (I think?), I somehow learned Jess was ACTUALLY WRITING BOOKS! A normal girl from my tiny ass hometown in Oklahoma had multiple books I COULD READ! I nearly combusted from sheer excitement right then and there. If you know me, you know I get VERY excited about supporting people I know. Anyway, we started talking a lot and got to know each other all over again then eventually we started having lunch together. Now I can say with complete honesty that Jess is one of my very best friends. So that’s our history!

Now…Like I said in my last post, I’ve never been much of a romance reader. The first time I ever read a book that was romance/erotica was by sheer accident. It was in the historical fiction section of the bookstore and I liked the cover so I bought it without even reading the little blurb. I was 18 or 19 and got slightly embarrassed by all the sex…not because I was some kind of prude but because I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN…right? Anyway…in the following years I read a few others, but I could probably count all of them on one hand, and every one of them made me feel a smidge uncomfortable. Like I’d been caught watching porn or something.

With Jess’s books, I didn’t find myself getting embarrassed at all. Yeah, there was sex (like, some super steamy stuff), but it wasn’t like OH HEY THESE PAGES ARE GOING TO SLAP YOU DIRECTLY IN THE FACE OKAY!

Her characters are well rounded and I found myself wanting to know them FOR REAL. If I could construct a machine that would turn book folk into real folk, I would want to put ALL her characters through. They’re complex and funny and brutal and lovable. Her story development is beautiful. SHE’S JUST AMAZING, YOU GUYS!

I have officially read every single book she has out and I recently threatened to steal her computer to read whatever unfinished, private stuff she’s been working on. (She doesn’t believe me, but I totally will.)

So please…if you get a chance, look up this angel and READ. HER. BOOKS.

Do it!

The Gender Game (Books 1-4) – Bella Forrest

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Heyyyy look who’s back! I went through a bit of a rough patch and sort of stopped reading…until I started again. Isn’t that how it usually works? Sort of like when you’re looking for something and it’s always in the last place you look. Ya know? Because, obviously you stopped reading UNTIL you start again…and it’s the last place you looked because you found the thing you were looking for so you stopped looking.

Wow! None of that has anything to do with reading or reviewing books. So let’s move on, shall we?

I read a lot of romance in my writing hiatus…and I’m not nearly brave enough to review them separately for the world to see (I mean, HELLO…my mom and sister read this!), but I plan on doing author reviews (especially since I really really want to plug one of my friends). The point of telling you THAT is this…my author friend suggested I get the Kindle Unlimited app so I could read books for free. I did (and am SO glad I did) so I could read some of her books and some of her friends’ books and so on and so forth.

BECAUSE of that, I discovered Bella Forrest. She was recommended to me based on the books I showed an interest in on the app. I immediately dove into The Gender Game because it’s dystopian fiction…and we all know how much I LOVE dystopian fiction. SO onto the point. I really enjoyed this one. Now, to be fair, it’s been a while since I read this one (as well as the second and third installments) so I can’t really remember details. That means you get to read a bunch of vague rambling. I’m going to keep it vague and relatively short so I don’t accidentally give anything away since I’m on book five now.

ANYHOO

Okay, so some important details. The world Forrest has created consists of Matrus and Patrus, which are separated by a toxic river. How, you may ask? The fallout from previous generations chemical warfare. Matrus is ruled by women and any man who seems violent or unwilling to submit are sent off to work in the mines. Patrus is ruled by men and all women are expected to be submissive little housewives who are considered property of their husbands. Sounds fun! They have brokered a tenuous peace, but both countries are always sort of waiting for the other to attack. They don’t trust each other and there seem to always be spies venturing back and forth.

Here we meet Violet. She’s a troubled kid (okay, so she’s 19 but that makes her a kid to a seasoned 31 year old such as myself) who is set to be executed for her crimes. Luckily (or unluckily), she is tapped for a dangerous mission (traveling to Patrus as a spy), thanks to her aptitude for fighting…but also because she’s expendable. Then all sorts of hell breaks loose and we’re just expected to strap in and ride along.

Let me tell you…this girl is just amazing. She’s stubborn and awesome and she refuses to quit. That’s the kind of person I want to be. I couldn’t put this book down. I would read until 3 am most nights because it was impossible to stop myself. I guess I could be biased because I almost always love these post-apocalyptic stories…especially if the main character is a badass female. (but I mean…most of the leading roles in dystopian stories ARE badass females…so I guess that doesn’t really have to be said.)

In book two, The Gender Secret, after getting to know Violet, Lee and Viggo and witnessing a savage twist in Violet’s mission, we get to see a new (and perilous) journey that moves SO quickly. There were times I caught myself holding my breath because I was so worried about where the story was going and how fast all these traumatic things were happening to our heroine.

I will say, I had a hard time dealing with some of the rollercoaster that is Violet and Viggo. I think you can create an interesting story that keeps the reader’s attention without putting them through ALL THE DRAMA. At the same time, however, that seems to be the nature of the world Forrest has created for us in this series.

In book three, The Gender Lie, Violet and Viggo CAN’T. CATCH. A BREAK. They are constantly running, fighting, nearly dying, fighting some more…and for what? They barely even know themselves! They find themselves in an unfamiliar safe haven with strangers who are helping them, but can they be trusted? Of course, Violet has no idea if she can trust these people, but she’s willing to try if it means Viggo gets the help he needs. We get to learn a bit more about the conflict between the various factions and we get more of the Violet/Viggo relationship. Eventually, we’re let in on the secret of The Facility and everything sort of starts to fall apart. Just some more hell for Violet to endure, really.

Book four, The Gender War, is more of the same. Running, fighting, planning, kidnapping, trades, evil people trying to do evil things to our favorite couple. The NEW queen of Matrus has concocted a pretty diabolical plan, since she’s basically the devil and Violet and Viggo, along with their very small, but incredibly capable army, are the only ones who know the truth about what’s going on, and therefore are the only ones who can possibly put a stop to it. Of course, one of them is seriously injured so that the other has to rescue them.

I know as this review droned on, I started sounding a bit like I didn’t enjoy the books.

That’s not true…I totally did, but considering it’s been so long since I’ve read them, it’s hard to write about them without giving too much away. I’m in book five so it’s hard to remember what’s a spoiler and what’s an important detail that will ruin the book if I happen to put it out there.

I swear, these books are good. You really really need to locate them and read them RIGHT NOW.

 

Rating
4/5

I’m not going to toss in a book description, because this post is already HUGE and since this is FOUR books, that’s just a lot of stuff to read. Sooo…yay!

 

-Lesley

 

P.S. The pictures are straight up screenshots from my Kindle library, so…let’s hope no one tries to sue me?

The Last Star (The third book of The 5th Wave) – Rick Yancey

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Okay so….it seems as though my cohort and I have both taken a hiatus from this blog. I feel like this unexplained vacation is unacceptable. HOW DARE WE LEAVE YOU, OUR READERS, WHEN WE HAD JUST STARTED?! (Please come back!!! We’re nothing without you!)

Well, this is how.

Amanda has an actual job, along with a child, husband, and numerous furbabies, and I’m an actual, diagnosed basketcase (also with a child, husband and furbaby). And while I’m sure other bloggers have no problem getting past these things, we are not your average bloggers. We are difficult and awesome and unpredictable and ABSOLUTELY LOVABLE WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!

(was that convincing? I don’t even know anymore. But I’m sure you guys love us EVEN MORE now…because you must…because we’re incredible.)

Anyway…so I did finally finish The 5th Wave trilogy (I had a bit of time once my kiddo started pre-school) and I really enjoyed it. It maybe didn’t go how I HOPED it would, but it was nice to see things wrapped up. But really, when’s the last time a book went the way we actually expected it to? I FOR SURE did not expect this ending.

Okay, so…While it seemed like the entirety of this series was intended to make us see how incredibly important our humanity  is, this, the final installment, almost seemed to extinguish that. The aliens wanted to save the planet…they wanted to save us at the core of who humans are…but to do that they wanted to eliminate our humanity. I’m not exactly sure how that is supposed to save humans. OR maybe I misunderstood this entire series and the idea is to save the ENVIRONMENT and not humanity? That DOES seem to be the most prevalent of all subjects at this point in history. NOT THE POINT!

IN MY OPINION (which is what this whole blog is about…right?) is that the idea of wiping out what makes humans HUMAN in order to save Planet Earth, is a lost cause…because without humanity, what even is Earth? I suppose most alien invasions have the express purpose of taking over the planet because their own planet has become a wasteland over the years…but is that what’s going on here? Are we to believe that Vosch’s idea of what the ACTUAL “Others” are (just a consciousness with no physical form?) OR is that just something that was concocted to make the adapted humans believe they were aliens? I don’t know. I’m not Yancey…but I have a feeling the aliens that sparked this whole genocide are, at least in some ways, the way Vosch had described. OF COURSE, that is depending on whether you believe there were aliens, in the first place, at all.

I, honestly, still have yet to decide whether I believe there were aliens at all. I know, at some point, Yancey had explained the aliens in some way, but without being able to ask the author in person, we have no idea whether the aliens were real, or if they were just a figment of Vosch’s imagination!

ANYWAY…here we are. We have experienced sacrifice, loss, magnification of humanity, among other emotions on the imaginable human spectrum. I think all readers will define the end of this trilogy in MANY different ways, based on our own opinions and scope of emotions. I have a tendency to feel too much about the loss of humanity as opposed to the salvation of humanity, so you’ll excuse me if I’m super opposed to all that happened in this book. (Imagine me screaming “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!” because that’s what I did.)

In short, this book kept me on the edge of my seat (literally…the edges of the cushions of my loveseat are all but flat because of the way I was perched while reading this blasted book) and also had me questioning the nature of humankind. Rick Yancey is a talented writer (who doesn’t need a random small town book reviewer [who hasn’t even been acknowledged as such] to tell him he’s a talented writer because DUH he’s already been published. He knows already, damn it…). I desperately wish I had the abilities of Sir Yancey. So if any of you know Mr. Yancey, or can somehow reach out to him in a way that will ACTUALLY provide a response, I would LOVE YOU FOREVER FOR PUTTING ME IN TOUCH WITH HIM (because I’ve already tried tweeting at him, his wife, AND his son, to no avail…COME ON YANCEYS!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!)

So that’s that.

Rating
4/5

Book Description:
The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

(From Goodreads)

(also, this is a terrible description…right? But I’m too lazy to write my own…Sorry Goodreads! You guys are generally very awesome!)

P.S. Seriously, I’ve desperately missed writing, and I SUCK at reading right now because I get too much in my head and I don’t do the things I REALLY want to do…so I hope either I get better at doing what I LOVE DOING or AMANDA GETS HER SHIT TOGETHER….which of course is not true life, because she’s doing what she’s supposed to do, which is TEACHING and PARENTING and WIFING…all I have to do is parent and wife…I don’t have a job…which takes up the majority of the day. So…What I’m trying to say is, I’ll do better. I’ll carry the weight if I have to. I love you all (mostly) and I will do my damnedest to make this job legit. Too legit to quit, y’all.

-Lesley

Distant Waters – A Novel of The Titanic -Suzanne Weyn

IMG_0978Phew. I did it. I finally finished my road block book. I can’t even tell you what a struggle this really was. It’s not that the book was awful…it just wasn’t really as good as I was hoping it would be. I think that could well be the reason I had a tough time getting through it. I am a huge fan of history and especially the Titanic. I don’t really know exactly why, but I’ve always been fascinated by it. There’s a good possibility my interest developed after watching The Titanic and realized just how gorgeous Leonardo Dicaprio is. That’s neither here nor there though. The writing was simple enough so it should have been easy to get through, but after about 5 pages (if even that many) I just wasn’t interested. Eventually, I decided I just needed to do it. Just do it, y’all. So I did. And I was super disappointed.

I did find that the book was definitely more suited for a younger audience…and really, who’s surprised about that? It IS a children’s book, ages 12 and up…but sometimes books written for a younger audience can surprise you. Anyway, this book is about the Titanic (duh), but I was surprised to find the main focus was on spiritualism. Psychics and tarot readers and mediums, oh my! I was NOT expecting that, but the book opens with a letter from the main character followed by her retelling of a spirit reading (given by her mother) and not anything about the Titanic. One nice thing about the story is that it combines history with science, romance and the supernatural. The bad? It was exactly what you could expect from a children’s romance. You had your typical “I think I love him even though I’ve only known him for a few days” and the typical rush to be engaged or married. AND this happened not just once, but twice!

I will commend the author for including a wide array of legitimate historical figures, including Nikola Tesla, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. In fact, Tesla was one of the main characters. There were some cool moments of spiritualism vs science directly opposed by the link between spiritualism and science. Then there was the argument against capitalism since Tesla’s role seemed to sort of point to the struggle between forcing the public to pay for things and giving the same service away for free. Though his presence played a much larger part in the story than that. Race was also mentioned, and I really expected it to be addressed more thoroughly but it was just hit on momentarily a few times, which I think was a huge mistake on the author’s part. So much could have been done with this storyline, but it was kind of abandoned (even if it was readdressed periodically, Weyn just didn’t really seem to know what she should do with it, so it all sort of fell flat). Finally, it wrapped up exactly as you would expect it to; with a sappy picture perfect ending.

Whoa, I’m not used to giving bad reviews. This is all sounding very negative, and I suppose that happens when you just don’t really enjoy a book, but I’m sure younger readers would be all over this one.

Rating:
2/5

Book Description:

(from Goodreads)
“From the author of REINCARNATION, another historical, supernatural romance, this time focusing on five sisters whose lives are intertwined with the sinking of the Titanic. Science, spiritualism, history, and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn’s newest novel. Four sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla’s inventions dooms them…and one could save them.”

-Lesley

The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody

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Did you know that Hillary Clinton wrote Fifty Shades of Grey under the pseudonym E.L. James?  Or did you know that she came up with idea of opening the borders to Cuba while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops?  How about her secret career of writing for television shows such as Breaking Bad and Scandal?  In this book, John Moe has made Hillary into an almost lovable human.  From secret missions to stop Beyonce from taking over the world to finding the perfect pantsuit, Hillary is an unstoppable machine. 

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This book is a short read and is absolutely hilarious.  It gives you a much needed laugh about the harshness of American politics today.  Written in email format it includes important correspondences to and from Hillary’s secret email account from family, friends, and world leaders such as Putin.  I could not put it down when I started.  Seriously.  It’s that funny.

For more information about this book or to purchase it, click here!

For more information about John Moe, click here!!

Rating: 4/5

-Amanda

**I recieved this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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The Struggle – So Not a Book Review

Disclaimer: This is most certainly NOT a book review. This is a rambling mess that probably doesn’t even need to be said, but I feel like with Amanda’s amazing presence, I should clarify that I haven’t checked out. I know, you’d all be devastated if I stopped writing. I mean, you’ve gotta have someone to laugh at and I’m pretty exceptional at making people laugh at me. I never really planned on being terribly serious when I agreed to write for this blog anyway!

Onward!

Sometimes I just can’t get into a book. For the past two weeks or so, I have really struggled to start this book I found in my personal stash. I don’t know where it came from or how long I’ve had it, but I’m pretty sure my momma might have found it at one of their book fairs (my mom just happens to be a librarian at my old high school) and since she knows I’m a big fan of the Titanic and its history, she snatched it up. BUT that must have been at least 5 years ago because it’s been sitting in one of my bookcases since husband and I bought our house. I thought I should probably give it a shot now since I don’t really want to start another series until I can finish The 5th Wave series, because sometimes I get a little confused when I switch between different story lines. For example, I have in my possession three different “I’m a wealthy man looking for a lover” type series (and admitting that is both embarrassing and sad). One of them distinguished itself pretty well, but the other two were totally interchangeable. I started the third while I was waiting for the second’s finale, but I kept getting confused about where I was and which person was with Bachelor A…and so on and so forth.

So all of that, just to say, I decided to stick to stand alone stories until The Last Star is released, but now I’m wondering if that was a mistake, because I have yet to get through the first chapter of my current book. That could also be because I’m not in a great headspace right now and I’m finding it hard to concentrate on anything. Even my favorite terrible reality show isn’t amusing me. I’m hoping it passes soon…it usually does, but since it’s already been two weeks, it’s getting harder and harder to believe “this too shall pass,” so I’m just sitting and hoping. I could definitely be sitting and READING and hoping, but for some reason, that’s just not working for me. Maybe if I had my reading chair I would stand a chance, but it’s a hammock chair and my husband keeps putting off hanging it so I have NOWHERE to read! NOWHERE! …is anyone else having flashbacks to middle school? Sooo dramatic! But really, I need a comfortable, quiet place to really sink in and read…and it’s also quite a bit easier when I don’t have the threenager climbing into my lap and swatting the book out of my hands. She’s a bit like a cat in that respect. She ignores me until I start doing something for myself…like reading, showering, sleeping, and even writing this post! (I’ve had to delete so many paragraphs of child typing since starting this.)

Anyway…anyone else REALLY struggle with getting into books? It can’t just be me..and surely it’s not JUST because I’m having some anxiety problems. And I know I’ve already kind of posed this question, but it just KEEPS popping up.
Does anyone have any useful tips for powering through a book when all you want to do is just throw it in a bonfire?

-Lesley