Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (2/11/20)–Anya’s Ghost

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

In my recent scouring of my early TBR (which also included Zenn Scarlett), I came upon this little graphic novel and decided to give it a go. Though my expectations were just above average, I was pleasantly surprised at how clever, sarcastic, and spooky it turned out to be!

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Anya’s Ghost

As far as Anya is concerned, her life is decidedly the opposite of perfect; alienated from her Russian immigrant family, and all but friendless in high school, there’s little that interests her anymore. To make things worse, she falls down a well on her way to school one morning, and is trapped there for the whole night. But what she finds at the bottom of it may be the key to changing her life.

For residing in the well is the neglected ghost of a girl named Emily. With one of Emily’s tiniest bones with her at all times, Anya can confide in Emily at any time she wants, whether it be to cheat on a test or get secret intel on her longtime crush. But the more time she spends with Emily, both she and the ghostly girl begin to change. The ghost is hiding far more than Anya knows, and if they continue on as they are, it may cost Anya her very life.

 

 

Anya’s Ghost was an absolute joy to read!

First off, let me just say, this had the perfect balance of paranormal spookiness and teenage angst–similar to comics like Courtney Crumrin (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t read it). The art style is very stylized, but not so much in a way that it distracts from the writing or the plot–perfectly cute, if you ask me. 🙂

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Beyond that, the story spoke partially to some of my own experiences. As someone who’s fallen into the trap of manipulative relationships, Brosgol’s use of an arguably parasitic ghost as a sort of metaphor for these sorts of friends was a masterfully executed move. She perfectly captures what it feels to be a teenager, both in writing and in art style, and the feeling of being an outsider vying for clarity and friendship in an environment that feels so unkind. Though I wouldn’t quite award it the full five stars, Anya’s Ghost was a graphic novel that undoubtedly spoke to me, and perfectly balanced paranormal fantasy with the drama of high school. Four stars for me! 

 

Today’s song:

Alright, sorry, I know I pummel you with David Bowie and Radiohead, but I personally think this is a masterpiece. Plus, it managed to lodge itself in my head all morning, so there’s that.

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/10/20)-Final Draft

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Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

While scouring the middle reaches of my TBR, this book stood out to me, especially from the synopsis; aside from the shenanigans that ensue from the switching of a creative writing teacher ([mournful sigh], oh, how I wish my school had more English options…[single tear slides down cheek]), the main character seems…a bit like me. Or, how I want to be, at least.

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Ooo…

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/10/20)-FINAL DRAFT by Riley Redgate

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

As a young, aspiring writer myself, I’m intrigued to see how–or if–I relate to Laila. Beyond that, I’m interested to see how the near-fall-from-grace plotline is handled, tightroping the line between approval from others and mental stability.

Oh, hey, and I just noticed…

…IT’S SHELVED AS LGBTQ+ ON GOODREADS!

SUCCESS!

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Today’s song:

hadakjsdkajshkdjashdkjaskjhj such a good cover eeee

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 3-9, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

It’s been an interesting week, to be sure. We got DUMPED with snow here, and we had a 2-hour delay AND a snow day, all in the same week. WHOA.

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I finally finished up the Watchmen TV series (AAAAA), got through a much better library haul than last week, saw Birds of Prey last night (super fun!), got to a really fun spot in my main WIP (almost 70 pages now), and as a result of all the snow delays, got to post a lot more! Pretty good week, I’d say.

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

The Order of Odd-Fish–James Kennedy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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Kiss Number 8–Colleen A.F. Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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One Giant Leap (Dare Mighty Things, #2)–Heather Kaczynski (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Lizard Radio–Pat Schmatz (⭐️⭐️)

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POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS: 

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

You in Five Acts-Una LaMarche

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All the Impossible Things–Lindsay Lackey

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Nights at the Circus–Angela Carter

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Roar–Cora Carmack

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Rogue Princess–B.R. Myers

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol. 2–Hayao Miyazaki

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Today’s song:

 

 

That just about wraps up this week in blogging! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Bedtime Book Tag

 

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Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag at A Little Haze Book Blog, and it looked absolutely adorable, so I figured that I’d give it a go! 🙂

 

– QUESTIONS –

What book kept you up all night reading? 

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I don’t read at night often, but the most recent example I can think of was Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams.  Not necessarily action-packed or anything, but I just COULD. NOT. STOP. LOOKING. AT. MIKE. ALLRED’S. GODLIKE. ART.

 

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What book made you scared to go to sleep?

Uh…not sure if I can answer this one. I honestly can’t remember any book, not even something from my childhood, that made me scared to go back to bed. Guess that’s because of my tendency to stay away from horror, so…

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What book almost put you to sleep? 

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Urgh, this book…we had to read The Witch of Blackbird Pond in sixth grade, and it was easily the most boring book I’ve read to date.

 

Which book had you tossing and turning in anticipation of its release? 

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Without question, Soul of StarsSince the moment I first finished Heart of Iron, I absolutely hungered for the sequel, for lack of better word. I’m so glad it delivered.

 

What book has your dream boyfriend? 

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uh…

Weeeeeeeell…

I suppose this is only a half-answer, because I really don’t have any book boyfriends. But I will give props to Leigh Bardugo in Shadow and Bone for making the Darkling sound drop-dead gorgeous, no matter how much of a manipulative creep he turned out to be. Villain crushes, guys, villain crushes. I dunno.

 

What book would be a nightmare to live in? 

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Don’t get me wrong, fighting monsters sounds pretty fun (maybe?), but once the B.P.R.D. comics hit the Hell on Earth arc, I kept thinking to myself, sheesh, I am so glad that we’re not living in a post-apocalyptic near-anarchy with giant monsters bursting forth from the ground. 

 

What book has a nightmarish cliffhanger? 

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It’s been a few years since I’ve read Dare Mighty Thingsbut I particularly remember the cliffhanger hitting me like a sledgehammer.

 

What book have you actually dreamt about? 

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I mean, dreaming about The Search for WondLa trilogy was practically inevitable, seeing as it made up a huge chunk of my childhood.

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I think I dreamed about it a few months ago, actually. There was a movie adaptation of it, and they used an animation style that looked kind of wood-cut. They also omitted a few key characters. Not sure why, but my brain really can’t be reasoned with.

 

What fictional monster would you not like to find hiding under your bed? 

Going back to Shadow and Bone, I’d say the volcra. [shivers] guhhh…

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I tag anyone who wants to participate in this tag! 

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Today’s song:

“In an interstellar burst,

I am back to save the universe…” 

 

That just about wraps up this tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 3-The Last Stand

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I had a snow day today, so I’ve had some lovely time off to relax, and most importantly…read.

As always, my TBR is in need of some serious cleaning, so hereby begins my third TBR cleansing session…

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. On a Dark Wing, Jordan Dane 

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her “lucky” break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death – by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky – she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden – Abbey’s secret crush – starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

 

Eh…I’d be on board, if not for the veeeery forced-looking romance. Also, buff dudes on book covers never fail to make me cringe, so this one’s a no from me.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Pledge (The Pledge, #1), Kimberly Derting

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Okay, yeah, this looks like the byproduct of the great Dystopian YA Craze of the 2010s, but at least the whole system with languages actually seems fairly original.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

3. The Truth Commission, Susan Juby 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

This was going to be the year Normandy Pale came into her own. The year she emerged from her older sister’s shadow—and Kiera, who became a best-selling graphic novelist before she even graduated from high school, casts a long one. But it hasn’t worked out that way, not quite. So Normandy turns to her art and writing, and the “truth commission” she and her friends have started to find out the secrets at their school. It’s a great idea, as far as it goes—until it leads straight back to Kiera, who has been hiding some pretty serious truths of her own.

 

Ooh, this sounds like some arty, contemporary fun! Still in!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Lorali (Lorali, #1), Laura Dockrill

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical – this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted.

Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.

Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.

But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

Another hapless victim of my insatiable hunger for quality mermaid literature. But at second glance, this one seems mediocre, at best.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Slayers (Slayers, #1), C.J. Hill

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

 

Oh boy…did somebody say formulaic?

VERDICT: LET GO

 

6. Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna, Lorna Schultz Nicholson

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Meet Harrison and Anna.

One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.

The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.

 

Hmm…I’m all for the autism spectrum representation, but the utilization of it feels like a plot device…no bueno.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. The Movie Version, Emma Wunsch 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.

But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.

I sense one of those rare coming-of-age novels that doesn’t involve a girl meeting a boy in order to change herself…*rubs hands together*

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Being Henry David, Cal Armistead

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

Awww yeah…this sounds lovely. 

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Anthem for Jackson Dawes, Celia Bryce

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson’s extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson’s future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

 

Yikes…whoops, must’ve stepped in a puddle of The Fault in Our Stars ripoffs…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Shooting Stars, Allison Rushby

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Everyone agrees that the paparazzi are the scourge of the earth. They’re low. They’re despicable. They’ll do anything for that perfect shot. And yet…how long could you go without your Us Weekly fix?

Meet Josephine Foster, or ‘Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo knows that the public-and the stars-have a symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi. She doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on a major undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett-teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her-at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: fine portrait photography classes, and maybe even quitting her ‘zo gig for good.

Everyone at the retreat wants to know: what Ned’s in for? But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment . . .

Bad photography puns aside, this looks cute.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

RESULTS: 

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

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Another successful TBR cleaning! Hopefully I can let more go next time, but I’m glad I caught some of the awful stuff that had piled up in the dark recesses of my TBR…

Today’s song:

This is the cutest little video!!!

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a lovely day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (2/4/20)–Zenn Scarlett

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been attempting to scour the older reaches of my TBR. Zenn Scarlett has been on my TBR for ages, and I’d forgotten about it for a year or two before deciding to pick it up, in hopes of an inventive new twist on a sci-fi book. In theory, it had loads of potential, and while it delivered in some aspects, a select few flaws unfortunately dragged the rest of the book down with them. Quite entertaining, at the end of the day.

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Zenn Scarlett

For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Zenn Scarlett has made her home on the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars, a veterinary clinic that specializes in alien life forms. In her rigorous training to become a professional exovet, Zenn must wrangle all manner of bizarre creatures. But strangest of all may be the unusual occurrences that have been popping up all over the clinic–several animals, many of them potentially dangerous to Mars’ human population, have been found outside of their enclosures under mysterious circumstances. And with growing unrest from Mars’ towners about the off-world wildlife, Zenn, with the help of her uncle, Hamish, the clinic’s insectoid sexton, and Liam, a towner boy who can’t hide his feelings for her, must convince the populace that these animals are worth saving.

 

Despite the lowish rating on Goodreads (currently at a 3.44), I was immediately hooked on the premise.

Let’s start out with the positive aspects of the book. It’s pretty clear that Schoon is a biology nerd, and it shows in the best way possible. He’s taken so much care into creating a plethora of fascinating alien life forms, even going so far to dish off some Latin names for them. Kind of unnecessary, but it did make the circumstances seem a little more real. And while I loved all of the critters, I had one major problem with them: almost all of them were described as mammalian or mammal-like.

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Okay, don’t get me wrong, mammals are cool, but to have almost all of the alien species be mammalian sounds preeeeetty preposterous. At least there were a few creatures that were reptilian, or outside of the animal kingdom altogether, but that took away from my excitement.

Beyond that, Zenn Scarlett as a whole felt unrefined. The writing was rather choppy, and often times clunky and unpleasant to read. The plot twists were predictable from the start, and while I liked the possible connotations of commentary on xenophobia, it felt far too easy to figure out. It might have been a bit more tolerable if this was geared towards a younger audience, but Zenn Scarlett is branded as young adult, as opposed to middle grade.

Going off of that, I really did feel like this could have passed for middle grade–and I don’t say that in a degrading way, but the characters and plot seemed easy enough for that age range to swallow. Zenn herself could have been anywhere from 12-15, from the way she acted and spoke, but I had a bit of trouble believing that she was 17. But if I can stretch my imagination for aliens, I can try to suspend my belief for that. Either way, I didn’t feel attached to her, or any of the other characters. I suppose they were a bit cliched, but it almost seemed intentional. Even Hamish, who was the only one of the bunch that I liked (I guess I have a soft spot for bumbling alien sidekicks), was a little tropey, at worst.

Finally, I felt that this novel could have been cut by about 30 pages. The storyline came to a satisfying conclusion, but abruptly transitioned into another plotline that could have been saved for book 2. A cliffhanger would have actually been a good thing, in this situation.

All in all, a premise that lost some of its potential along the way, but entertaining all the same. Three stars for me. 

 

Zenn Scarlett is a part of a duology, followed by Under Nameless Stars. I’m unsure if it was meant to be longer or not, but that’s where the series has stopped as of now. I don’t think I’ll read book 2, but it’s got a higher rating than book 1, so I suppose that might count for something.

Today’s song:

(You ever just have the urge to…go into a parking garage and have a dance-off with a bunch of your clones?)

(LADIES NIGHT!!!)

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a lovely rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Quick Fire Fantasy Tag

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Hello again, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Kayla’s Wordsmithy (thank you!), and I thought that I’d give it a try! I haven’t given as much love to fantasy lately, so I figured this would be a nice change. The tag was originally created by The Book Worm Dreamer.

RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (thebookwormdreamer.wordpress.com) in your post
  • Answer the prompts below – all fantasy books!
  • Tag 5 others to take part
  • Enjoy!

 

5 STAR BOOK

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The last fantasy that I rated five stars was The Demon Worldthe sequel to The Smoke Thieves. I know I blab about this one a lot, but hey…

  • Several butt-kicking women
  • Romance
  • Demons

What’s not to like?

ALWAYS GOING TO RECOMMEND

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Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy is the ideal gateway to YA fantasy, and a richly-imagined, heart-pounding ride from start to finish.

 

OWN IT BUT HAVEN’T READ IT YET

Um….shoot, I think I’ll have to skip this one. Everything that I’ve bought recently I’ve already read, and not much of said book haul is fantasy.

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WOULD READ AGAIN

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I’m devastated that I borrowed Other Words for Smoke at the library, because this was an absolute MASTERPIECE.

 

IN ANOTHER WORLD

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Fennbirn, the island setting of Three Dark Crowns is lush and rife with detailed mythology. A true feat of literature, in that respect, and an unforgettable series. The whole system with the Queens and their gifts is incredibly fascinating.

BACK ON EARTH

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Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (another five-star fantasy for me) is set in both the human city of London and London Below, a magical and unpredictable underbelly of the city, where all manner of strange creatures lurk. What a gem of a book ♥️

(Since I’ve already posted once today, just head over to this week’s Goodreads Monday if you’d like to see today’s song. 😉)

I tag anyone that would like to participate! I never know if the people I tag will end up participating in the tag, so I’ll just open it up to anyone who wants to. 🙂

 

Thanks so much for reading! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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