Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


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Title: Tarnish
Author: Katherine Longshore
Series/Standalone: Royal Circle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 448
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2013
Format: Audiobook

"Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court- and to convince the whole court they're lovers- she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice- but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history."

My Rating: 3.5/5

Ok, so while listening to this book on audio, I couldn't help but realise that I don't know a whole hell of a lot about King Henry VIII. I knew that he kept decapitating women who didn't bear him a son, but other than that I wasn't sure the details about his life and rule. I was intrigued by the idea of the Boelyn's and was interested in our main character Anne throughout the story. That being said, I found myself getting frustrated with her choices, possibly because I knew her fate. This being said, the character is an interesting one, especially because she was a character who spoke her mind... even when she shouldn't. In this time period that would be unheard of.  That being said, I don't plan to continue with the book series (or the books connected to this one). Ps. I don't think that there will be a spoiler for this review, based on my rating and the content, I just don't think I have enough spoiler details to fill one post.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley


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Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Pages: 250
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Mental Health
Year Published: 2016
Format: Audiobook


"Sixteen-year-old Solomon is an agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in three years, where is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she's being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to 'fix' Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they've built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same."

My Rating: 4/5

I got this audiobook when I found out it included mental health elements as well as an LGBT main character. These are two things that when represented in YA either go over very well or poorly with an audience. I really enjoyed this book overall. It definitely has some anxiety triggers which should be anticipated based on our main characters illness. I think that this novel did a great job of showing how people with a mental illness feel and how those around them might feel. It really encompassed what panic feels like and how panic can affect a person's everyday life. It also did an interesting job in speaking about the idea of "fixing" someone which a lot of people agree is not the way to think of helping people with mental health. As someone who has both known people with mental health problems and has experienced them herself, it was frustrating to have the idea that one character planned on fixing someone, but throughout the novel you see a different approach taken towards someone who might need help.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Spoiler: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

If you guys are looking for a quick and diverse book I would definitely recommend it to young adult readers. This short book encompasses so much. The idea of mental illness, mental health, LGBT, teenage angst, and the walls we all put around us. 

I think that this author did a magnificent job showing the idea that "fixing" someone is not the right approach to helping someone with a mental illness, and while I've never experienced agoraphobia, I understand anxiety and panic attacks. I also thought the many perspectives we witness in the book were interesting. The friend who follows Christianity standards, the mom who thinks that being gay is a choice, the people around Sol who see him as he really is,  and those on the outside looking in assuming how things are.


Characters (Just to name a few):
Soloman: His character is so fleshed out for only have 250 pages worth of story. I think the fact that he follows his urges to get help and find what he can manage. The ideas that swarm his brain, made me feel for him so much and I loved that he was working towards doing what he could, knowing that he may never be "better", as so many people expected him to be. I loved the way we left his story in the end! Beautiful.

Lisa: I docked a whole star for this ass hole. I did not like her the majority of the book. She just seemed to have a lot of trouble remembering that not everything was about her. And while she helped Soloman, I think that he needed a friend, not another person trying to make him "better". And this is why I loved the essay in the back of the book. She grew so much as a character, thank goodness. 

Clark: I liked how chill he was. I think he really helped Soloman and gave him something to hope for.

Soloman's Parents: I know a lot of adults might give them shit about letting Soloman stay home. And it's not that they didn't care, in fact, they cared more than so many. Anxiety is often crippling and they understood this and didn't push him if he wasn't ready. Maybe that's what helped him see what he might be able to do on a good day.

Lisa's Mom: She clearly has some mental health issues, and doesn't seem to care that those around her are affected by her actions. At the same time, the way she speaks with Lisa was so frustrating. To see her be the type of person to write it off on Soloman's parents, or a trend was frustrating as an open minded person. It leads me to realise that many people deal with judgements like these more often than being met with an open minded opinion.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock


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Title: The Smell of Other People's Houses
Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 240
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Year Published: 2016
Format: Audiobook

"In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn't like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can't hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance with the life she's always known on her family's fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it's safer to run away than to stay home- until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled."

My Rating: 4/5

This is an endearing story about how our lives connect to those around us. It includes many different perspectives in a tense time after Alaska became a state and shows different perspectives on the results of that. I really enjoyed this book and think it showed amazing compassion toward humanity and the ability to try again and work harder. I am very interested in other books by this author. This book did the amazing job of getting me out a reading slump and I couldn't be more grateful. The characters are flawed but lovable and easy to picture in their day to day life. Due to the short length of this book, I do not have enough to spill into a spoiler. 

Thank for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Review: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket


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Title: The Grim Grotto
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #11)
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 323
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year Published: 2004
Format: Hardcover Library Edition
First Line: "After a great deal of time examining oceans, investigating rainstorms, and staring very hard at several drinking fountains, the scientists of the world developed a theory regarding how much water is distributed around our planet, which they have named 'the water cycle.'"



"Dear Reader,

Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer not be damp. You might also prefer not to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.

In fact, the horrors they encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn't want me even to mention the worst of it, which includes mushrooms, a desperate search for something lost, a mechanical monster, a distressing message from a lost friend, and tap dancing. 

As a dedicated author who has pledged to keep recording the depressing story of the Baudelaires. I must continue to delve deep into the cavernous depths of the orphans' lives. You, on the other hand, may delve into some happier book in order to keep your eyes and your spirit from being dampened.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket."

My Rating: 4/5

This book took longer than anticipated again to read, but I enjoyed it so much more than the last one. This story shows so much growth for our characters and continues the mystery of VFD even further. Learning more about the Baudelaire's family past and introducing new characters always helps to keep the story interesting, and while I loved these aspects. I felt that Lemony Snicket's voice was missing in an odd way and wanted a bit more of that. I can't wait to wrap up the series in the coming months and then start the Netflix series which people have been raving about on booktube.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction,
Pages: 470
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year Published: 2010
Format: Audiobook

"With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12th- 'Cupid Day'- should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is... until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined."

My Rating: 4/5

I didn't hope on this train either times it was really popular, both when it first came out and when the film was released this past year. I just missed the boat, but when I saw it available on audiobook through Overdrive I jumped at the chance to understand the conflict behind this book. And I do understand it. This book has triggers for mental illness, abuse, sexual assault, suicide, etc. There are problems with this book for sure, but that being said, this book does something similar to both Thirteen Reasons Why and If I Stay (both books I've enjoyed in the past). It asks questions about how your life affects those around you and what you would choose to do if you could change something. I thought that the author for the audiobook was very good and kept me interested. I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of the movie Mean Girls but be warned that this book deals with a few more series topics, rather than comedic ones. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

So this book has been around for a hot minute. And I've just been skipping out on it because I wasn't sure if it was something I would enjoy, but when I saw it on Overdrive I couldn't resist. I heard a lot of my friends talking about how much they enjoyed the movie, and me being myself I couldn't watch the movie until I read the book. This book does hit on a lot of triggers such as sexual assault, suicide, depression, and that's just to name a few. So it's not that this book doesn't have flaws it most certainly does. But for a debut release (didn't realize this is how Lauren Oliver started), it's a gutsy novel. This story follows the popular girls in high school. You know the ones, hell maybe you were one or maybe you weren't but you know exactly who I'm talking about. You might even be thinking about someone as you read that last sentence. Hell, I was.

I think that those who enjoy Mean Girls might also get a kick out of the audiobook at least. The voice actor(s) did a marvellous job of portraying different characters and helped me to visualise the characters we saw in this gritty novel.

Characters:
Samantha: Her attitude at the first half of the book got me thinking about how the other half of my high school lived. I wouldn't say that I was popular but I had a group of very dorky friends, and as an adult, I'm grateful that it's who I ended up with. But at the time, popular girls did not make my life easy and this book really reminded me of that. I think that the change that Samantha undertakes is an interesting one. She doesn't leave her friends, which is what I expected after the first few times reliving her days, but by the end, she realized that someone had to pay for what they had done, and I guess she chose herself. I am interested to read more from Lauren Oliver, but I am hoping for some more likeable main characters. 

Lindsay: I won't lie. I hated her. I'm sure the author tried to show her redeeming qualities. But there is no reason to ruin someone else's life. And I hope that her loss shows her that. But if anything I think she will hate Juliet more. Probably claim that she pushed Sam. 

Ally: A bit ditsy, but sweet regardless. I do wonder about her future as well as her eating habits which are highlighted in this book but not truly dealt with.

Elody: I hope she straightens up her act because in the end she and Anna aren't so different... some food for thought for sure.

Rob: Ok, if you're an adult reading this I'm sure you could tell this guy was an ass hat from the first few chapters of this book, but if not I'm sure the ending really did it justice for you. He's a piece of crap guy. The type who gets what he deserves in the long run.

Kent: I love him. He's sweet and quirky. The kind of guy I started to fall for in high school and have spent 3 years with now. Needless to say, my kind of man.

Juliet: She broke my heart over and over. She is so many teenagers to me. And if we think that bullying has gotten better all you need to do is go to the internet and see how people are treated by their peers. I definitely related to her bullying experience, but I hope that she recovers in life and leads a different life. A happier one.

Anna: I think she's spunky but hope she does better than the ass hole she was seeing through the majority of the book. She deserves better.

Mr. Daimler: He is creepy. Which didn't really surprise me at all, but it's unfortunate that things played out the way they did.


Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


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Title: Saga Vol. 2
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Pages: 144
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2013
Format: Paperback trade copy (Own it)

"From award-winning writer Brain K. Vaughan (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, Done to Death), Saga is a sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of out space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet...
grandparents."

My Rating: 5/5

So I binge read this while I was indulging in some beverages last night and I loved it! Just as much as the first one if not more. I think that this instalment did a really good job of giving some background to the first volume. Readers have been introduced to aspects of this world, but this really explains them. And while this still has very adult themes, they are less in your face in this second volume. I really love the art in these comics and there are times while reading that I pause just to appreciate the hard work that the creators obviously put into this series. I can't wait to continue on with the series next month (I'm trying to pace myself so  I don't run out of volumes that have been published). I am also interested in more graphic novels that are similar to this series, so if you have any suggestions please let me know. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book Review: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket


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Title: The Slippery Slope
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #10)
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 337
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year Published: 2003
Format: Hardback Copy (Library Book)
First Line: "A man of my acquaintance once wrote a poem called 'The Road Less Travelled,' describing a journey he took through the woods along a path most travellers never used."

"Dear Reader,

Like handshakes, house pets, or raw carrots, many things are preferable when not slippery. Unfortunately, in this miserable volume, I am afraid that Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire run into more than their fair share of slipperiness during their harrowing journey up- and down- a range of strange and distressing mountains.

In order to spare you any further repulsion, it would be best not to mention any of the unpleasant details of this story, particularly a secret message, a toboggan, a deceitful map, a swarm of snow gnats, a scheming villain, a troupe of organized youngsters, a covered casserole dish, and a surprising survivor of a terrible fire.

Unfortunately, I have dedicated my life to researching and recording the sad tale of the Baudelaire orphans. There is no reason for you to dedicate your-self to such things, and you might instead dedicate yourself to letting this slippery book slip from your hands into a nearby trash receptacle, or deep pit.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket."

My Rating: 3.5/5

I really enjoyed the last book that I'd read in this series and was really looking forward to getting into reading them again, but unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me. I really thought that Lemony Snicket's writing style would continue to surprise me but it kind of went back to how I felt in the beginning of the series, that I had outgrown the story. I am going to continue the series, for the simple reason that I really need to hear about Beatrice and Lemony. I am far more interested in their lives at this point than the sad lives of the Baudelaire's. I know that this is going to catch a lot of flack from people who really enjoyed this series, but I'm hoping to get through the series and then collect my thoughts on the series as a whole.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco


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Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series/Standalone: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Book #1)
Pages: 326
Genre: Historical, Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Year Published: 2016
Format: Audiobook

"Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world."

My Rating: 4.5/5

I thought that this audiobook would just fill time while I was doing house work or driving but it became so much more than that. I would recommend this book as a great who did it novel for anyone interested in historical thrillers. I had heard quite a bit of hype for this book going around booktube, and it was accurate to how the story played out for me. I realize that this story isn't 100% historical accurate, and that this might be a problem for some, but I didn't mind, as there is an author's note in the back of the book explaining what changes the author had made and why. I think that the characters in this book were well fleshed out and for being in a time period where young women were not looked at as powerful, it did a grand job of showing a woman who knew her purpose and planned to be taken seriously. I really enjoyed this book and plan to pick up the next book in the series as soon as possible, preferably on audio. I wanted to note for those who do chose to listen to this book on audio, I loved the narrator and think that she did a tremendous job acting out the story, and keeping the listener's attention. I'm excited to listen to more books in this series and hope to have more reviews soon.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

This is yet another audiobook that hooked me. And more than any other that I've listened to before. Our story takes place in London during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders. Our main character, Audrey takes little to no shit from anyone and works secretly with her uncle learning the about forensic science. A little strange for a young woman in such a time period. Through her work, she begins to investigate a string of murders where women are butchered in the east end, and begin to piece together who the murderer could be. Is it someone close to her?

So since you've read the book you know who it is. But were you shocked? I was a little underwhelmed at learning who the murderer was, but blown away for the reasons of the murders. I think that the author had a mesmorizing way of writing about such gruesome things that kept me interested and wondering about who the killer was, what it was like to do an autopsy in such times, and why the bodies were being butchered in such ways. The narrator for the audiobook had a tremendous voice and kept me interested throughout the story. Her accent was amazing and I would truly recommend the audiobook to anyone looking for a good thriller. Please excuse the lack of care taken in the character section, I have trouble remembering side characters names in audiobooks.

Characters:
Audrey: I had my doubts that she would be a badass main character in such a time. And while the story does a great job of showing what life was like for young women in the time period, I had trouble believing that she would be able to investigate a body for Scotland Yard. Although if she had someone who admired her who was in charge I suppose that made sense. I did think that at some points she was a bit naive and at others so peculiar. But these two things really helped tie the story together. I think that the way she cared so much for women she had only really known in death was amazing, and how although she had a certain standard for the way she was brought up she didn't look down on these young women. She wondered about the choices that had placed them where they were. I can't wait to read more from her perspective.

Thomas: Now he is a sly fox. I thought for sure that he was going to be the ripper, but after finding out about his trouble past and being thrown out by his father, his actions started to make a lot more sense. I did think there were multiple times where his choice of words were irritating especially when he acted like such a know it all (even though he was). But I can't wait to see he and Audrey flirt even more in the next book.

Nathaniel: I'd be lying if I said he wasn't a suspect for me in the beginning. I had started to brush him aside a little, but after realizing that the author didn't even seem to note him suspicious, I became extra suspicious. Cause that's what kind of anxious person I am.  He was a delusional little shit, and super scary near the end, but I wonder why he became so obsessed with raising the dead, would be interested in a prequel from his point of view.

Uncle Johnathon:  He did seem pretty crazy near the start but after time I realized that science was his family and his job, and his love. So he was devoted? Does that make him crazy... maybe a little bit. I will miss him in the next story, but wouldn't be surprised if he turned up to lend Thomas and Audrey a hand.

Father (Edmond?): He was something, and while he did not deal well with the passing of his wife (who really does?) he tried his best to raise his children in a way that he deemed appropriate. I do feel sorry for him to have seen his beloved wife's corpse being maimed by his crazed son, but at the same time it really shocked him into action for Audrey's future.

 Blackburn: When did you become interested in Audrey and what will happen to you now?

Cousin V: I liked her spunk, but also the way she dealt with the cultural norms at this time. She still obeyed her mother's will, while staying true to who she was as well. A very interesting character to say the least.


Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Collen Oakes


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Title: Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Series/Standalone: Queen of Hearts Saga (Book #1)
Genre: Retellings, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 306
Publisher: HarperTeen
Year Published: 2014
Format: Hardcover Physical Copy (Own it)
First Line: "'Oh, my future queen, you're late!'"

"Only queens with hearts can bleed.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. There is no all-knowing cat with a taunting smile. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over wonderland. She has not seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father's approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland's dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one steap ahead of her cunning enemies or she'll lose not just the crown but her head.

Evil is brewing in Wonderland and maybe, most frighteningly, in Dinah herself.

This is not a story of happily ever after.

This is the story of the Queen of Hearts."

My Rating: 4/5 

I'm not a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and while I know the story and am interested in the world it creates, I want to start this review by saying I'm not here to critic this book for its alignment with the original classic. I think that retellings are something that you have to take with a grain of salt, which means you have to both respect the fairytale in its original aspect, but also be willing to give up some ideas you might hold it to. And if you do these things I think that you would really enjoy Queen of Hearts. This story is not one for the faint of heart. The author brings together violence and beauty in a way that is both poetic and startling to read about. And while this is a short first instalment in the Queen of Hearts Saga it is a powerful one. The world painted by Colleen Oakes is one of mystery, political intrigue, horror and wonder, after all, what would Wonderland be without that. I think that this book was very well done, but wished that the twists and turns hadn't been quite so predictable. There were points in this book where I could guess what was going to happen next and found that to be extremely frustrating. I look forward to continuing the series and following Dinah in her quest for the crown. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

These retellings are really starting to grow on me. This book follows our main character Dinah, Princess of Wonderland soon to be Queen of Hearts. Or at least that's what we all thought. Dinah goes through quite a few struggles in this book, dealing with the loss of her mother, the hatred of her father, the madness of her brother and the introduction to a new sister. One who seems to be favoured by the majority of the people, including her father. I really enjoyed the twists this book had on the classic, making some characters more relevant in palace life by changing their appearance and ranking in Wonderland. I also loved how Colleen Oakes created a beautiful palace, as well as the towers filled with horror. Amazing writing. I did not enjoy the love interest very much but understood why it was necessary. I also wasn't a huge fan of the twist of her crown being taken (um duh, saw that one coming a mile away). I also have some theories concerning the rest of the book. One being that Faina was Vittore's mother.

Characters:
Dinah: She is a strong character, but at the start of this book very much does what she pleases when she pleases which was frustrating to read about. Especially with the naive attitude that everything in Wonderland was good. It was great in fact. It was sad to watch her go through so much and not know who to trust. As well as getting to know the fact that her father was the real villain in all of this, or was he?

Vittore: I honestly think that she was abducted and being used to get rid of Dinah and give the kingdom an heir so they didn't have to worry about Dinah leaving. I also think that we'll get to know so much more of her backstory in the next book. Can hardly wait.

Faina: I strongly believe that Faina was Vittore's mother. And she suffered for her daughter, and her daughter suffered for her. What will her death mean for Wonderland? What whispering did she hear?

The King: I don't know if he was always this way or someone corrupted his thoughts. At this point anything is possible. But he is an evil man and I can't wait to see Dinah go to battle with him.

Harris: I hoped that he survived the interrogation that I'm sure he got after Dinah's running away.

Charles: He met a horrible end, but I wonder about his life as well. What did he know? What did he want from life? Were his riddles predictions? I also wonder if he got some sap from the Black Towers fed to him to add to his madness.

Wardley: He was an amazing main character and love interest. I wonder what he will do without Dinah there? Or was he helping a darker cause? Will he be in the towers? Ahh!

Davianna: Once again I want her story. How did she end up with the King and what was her life like?

Cheshire: I don't know what to think of this asshole. I think that he's on the king's side, but what if he was the guy in the bedroom... ugh.


Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "'How fine you look when dressed in rage.'"


Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Book Review: The Lightning Thief By Rick Riordan


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Title: The Lightning Thief 
Author: Rick Riordan
Series/Standalone: Percy Jackson and The Olympians (Book #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Adventure
Pages: 377
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Year Published: 2005
Format: Physical Paperback Copy (Own It)
First Line: "Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood."

"Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook, and into his life. And worse he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. 
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves."

My Rating: 4/5

This is a reread for me and one that's been long awaited. I loved these books when I was younger and the humour made my own middle school and high school experience laughable. I loved Rick Riordan's writing style and still do. I forgot how much I missed this world and this sense of humour towards mythology. I also enjoy the fact that this story gives mythology a new and interesting subject. I hadn't thought about it in a while. In all honesty the most recent time I'd thought about Greek mythology was while reading A Court of Mist and Fury. So this was a refreshing look at classic characters. I can't wait to reread the rest of the series and plan to during the coming months. The one aspect of the book I found lacking was the fact that Percy was only 12 years old while some of his actions made me believe he was closer to 14-15 years old. As an adult that's just a personal observation that I made while reading this book. I can't wait to see where the rest of this series takes me and hopefully start the Blood of Olympus series (is that what it's called).

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

What a fun reread to start the month with? I think this book helped to remind me why I read middle grade. Rick Riordan's writing style and humour held me interested throughout the storyline and I can't wait to continue on with his books. I hope to reread this series and start the next series at some point this year.. is that a reasonable goal? I think this story makes learning about myths more interesting and helps younger readers see what the Gods looked like and could look like throughout the years. I also really love the story arch in this first book. My one complaint is that Percy is so freaking young. I thought he was 16, and me being 22 made me see that 12 years old is a little young to be taking quests and such. Although the teenage angst was all I could wish for and more. Can't wait to read the second book in this series.

Characters:
Percy: A hilarious main character. I forgot how he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. I think that this was an interesting concept for Rick Riordan to bring up, and might help young readers identify themselves as a hero rather than someone who might need a little help (does that make sense). I loved his angsty and how he was introduced to the world so the reader could follow some of the main events. 

Annabeth: She is a real spit fire and I can appreciate that. I do wonder how her summer with her father will go. She seems to have a troubled past and I wonder what will happen after this quest.

Grover: Loved him. Reminded me of some of the people I knew in middle school and his character has to be one of my favourites in the series as far as I remember.

Hades: I won't lie I still picture the Disney version whenever this character is mentioned. I can't wait to see more of him. 

Poseidon: His description is amazing. I do wonder about his romance with Percy's mother and how his life will interact with Percy's.

Ares: As we all know, kind of a dink.

Zeus: This guy has the right to yell at people for fathering children... um, pardon you, sir.


Dionysus: Love the sass and lack of caring. Exactly what I expected from his character.

Luke: He makes for a kick ass villain I can't remember what his role plays throughout the series so I can't wait to read on and see him again. 


Favourite Lines:

Final Line: "I asked Argus to take me down to cabin three, so I could pack my bags for home."

Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review: The Reader by Traci Chee


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Title: The Reader
Author: Traci Chee
Series/Standalone: Sea of Ink and Gold Series (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 442
Publisher: Putnam
Year Published: 2016
Format: Hardcover Physical Book (Own It)
First Line: "Once there was, and one day there will be."

"Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who's taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father, something she comes to realize is a book.
Though reading is unheard of in Sefia's world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book's closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin's disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book hd been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning."

My Rating: 4.5/5

I'm trying very hard to get back to reading guys. At least one book a week if not more. So here's the first one that I felt like I kinda had to push through. I think that this book really reminded me why I personally chose not to DNF books. I started this a week ago and had a bit of trouble getting into it. I started reading on Sunday and made it about 80 pages pushing myself to get through them. I then proceeded to read it here and there, one or two pages every night. So when I picked it up this morning I was so confused about what was happening. If you feel this way if you're picking this up, please push through because around the 150 page mark it picks up the pace. I think that the part that was the most frustrating in the book was the pacing and timeline in the start of the book. There are many characters who don't seem related and it's hard to distinguish what is happening to who and when. Another aspect of this book I found frustrating was the use of words by the page numbers. I couldn't keep track of both the storyline and the story that was completely different on the bottom of the page. I appreciated the detail but it was a little too much for me.
While writing this review I looked up when the next book in this series comes out and it's sadly not until November of this year so until then I'll just be looking at the goodreads page anticipating following up with the characters.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: The Reader by Traci Chee

So this book was a really good pick up from the reading that I've had lately. I feel like I've read alot of books that I thought were just ok and this one was really good. So let's start with why this book wasn't a 5/5 for me personally. I debated over what rating to give this book for some time, but I found the start of the book to be so incredibly slow, it just wasn't a 5/5 for me personally. I was happy that I didn't chose to DNF this book after 80 pages though because I began to really enjoy it around the 150 page mark (this is an estimate). I think something the author struggled with was pacing in this book. I couldn't tell how much time had passed and where we were going. I also found it difficult to relate the main character at the beginning of her reading journey (it seemed to come a little to easily). It just felt strange to read about someone learning to read. I did enjoy the aspect that a book could be magical and teach you the future, present and past. I also enjoyed the assortment of point of views after I got used to it. At first it seems like there is too much going on at once but after you get used to it, it become enjoyable to see what you're characters are up too. 

Characters:
Sefia:I think she was an interesting chosen one character. She made it clear from the start her intentions but when faced with the reality of having to kill someone she wasn't so sure. Which I feel is extremely realistic. I also thought that she was a bit naive to trust some of those around her or to leave notes behind her. That made it a little to easy. I wonder what she will do now that she's on the run from The Guard. Will she stop and join them or count on the crew to help her. I can't wait to read the sequel in... November... 

Archer: I think that he was another interesting main character. Mute and tortured he made for someone who was interesting to see in the world. Having been caught and forced to do so many horrible things that he forgot his past. It makes me wonder what he will have to do now that he has his voice and memories back. Clearly he and Sefia are a badass duo, so I strongly hope that that continues.

Nin: I wonder about her connection with the Guard and Sefia's parents.

Lon: He got a little big for his shoes I think at some points in the library but he was a powerful character. I wonder how he knew Tanin and why it came to his death in the end. Obviously they weren't that good of friends.. I'm just saying.

Captain Reed: Loved this character he was charming and bad in all the right ways. I think that he served an interesting role in the story and it should be interesting to see him in the sequel. His crew is definitely a unique one and he seems like one of the more just pirates I've read about.

Tanin: Who the hell are you? And why do you think that bringing a raging war to those everyone will end in eventual peace? Will it be a forced peace? That's kind of what it sounds like to me. I'm glad she's dead but what will happen without her as the director. 

Harison: What a sweet boy? The stories about his past broke my heart a million times over.

Mareah: To have to give up who you were, are and a future is horrible. But to kill those you love to show you're loyalty to a cause? That's cruel. It makes me think hard about the Guard and what they believe. 

The mate: Creepy but in the best way. I want to know more about his life and how he came to understand the ship. Can we please have a novella for this guy? Please?


Moments To Remember:
Pg. 323
"'You got a chioce, Sef. Control your future, or let your future control you.'"

Final Line: "'Anywhere but here,' she said."


Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review: Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


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Series: Saga
Volume: 1
Authors/Artists: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 160
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2012
Format: Physical Copy (Own It)

"When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous, old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaghan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults."

My Rating: 5/5

Ok clearly, I loved this first volume that I read within 2 hours. I try to space out my reading of graphic novels so I don't just read those without a pause for other novels. I really loved this story and the adult aspect which I did have not experienced in a graphic novel before. I think the author and the artist did a wonderful job melding together their words and their artwork. I loved the characters, the world was extremely interesting and the narrative voice was fantastic. I can't wait to see where this story will go and hope to share it with my boyfriend (pretty sure I have him convinced to read it). I would note that this is a very adult storyline so if you're sensitive to nudity, swearing and adult themes I would not recommend. 

Thanks for reading and hope to post more soon!

Sidny

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


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Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series/Standalone: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 353
Publisher: Quirk Books
Year Published: 2011
Format: Paperback Physical Copy (Own it)
First Line: "I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow- impossible though it seems- they may still be alive."

My Rating: 3.5/5

I was recommended this book multiple times either by people I knew well or those who are very big in the YA reading community (whether through booktube, or book blogging) and I'm going to tick a lot of people off with this review and spoiler. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book for what it was. The photographs were chilling and held me captivated in the story when I was really into reading. That being said, it took me 2 weeks to get through this book and it didn't capture my complete attention for most of the time. I want to add that this book just did not live up to the hype for me. The premise was interesting to me, until about half way through the book, when there were many "secrets" being kept from the reader. I felt that I had figured out the secrets that some characters were keeping. I also found the love interest interesting and strangely hard to support for reasons that I don't even understand. I hope to continue on with the series and see how I feel about the next instalment before passing judgement on the series, but I am going into the next book with far lower expectations. 
All in all, I think that Ransom Riggs portrays an interesting story using photographs as well as imaginative descriptions. I would recommend this book to younger readers venturing into YA fantasy/paranormal for the first time.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

To begin, these thoughts are my own opinion and if you're a die-hard fan of this series more power to you.

Based on that opening line, I have a feeling many of you know what I'm about to say. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. It was a solid OK read for me. I think that the format of this novel was very interesting and yes I plan on continuing the story to learn more about the characters and the world. This being said, I didn't fall in love with the writing style or our main characters. I thought that this premise had a lot of promise and after being recommended it several times I had high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, it just wasn't the read for me. It took me a long time to read and I feel that while I'll remember this book, I may mostly remember the format. To continue my thoughts let's get into some character discussion.


Characters:
Jacob: Not my favourite main character, I felt for him in the beginning of the story. Dealing with the feeling that he didn't really belong and then witnessing a horrific scene. But then throughout the book, he was so severally wishy washy that it drove me crazy.  I think that his interest in Emma was questioned for only the briefest of seconds before it was just happening. It made me wonder about how he could make the decision so fast, but during other times just couldn't figure out what the heck to do.

Emma: Again interesting, but I wonder about her relationship with Abe and if she's really over it or if she's just replacing him with Jacob. I know it's been a long period of time, but still. She's been stuck reliving the same time over and over. It makes me wonder.

Miss Peregrine: I also wonder more about her past and her brothers. I think there may have been a name drop near the end of the book, but I'm too lazy to go back and check. I wonder if she'll ever be able to transform again. 

Millard: Probably one of my favourite characters. The way he speaks and just tells everyone how it is (especially after he's been shot). I wonder about his future in the series for sure.

Enoch: Creepy little shit... isn't he? But I like him for that reason especially. He's what I thought this book would be... creepy kids.

Olivia: She's so incredibly young, makes you wonder how mature she is internal.

Bronwyn: I think she's going to grow a lot throughout the series.

Grandpa Portman: How well his story lined up with World War II events was unfortunate because it made his "stories" seem like a cry for help when really he just wanted to share his past with someone so bad. Unfortunate how he met his end, and how no one believed him. To know that you're the only one you can count on.

Golan: Not completely surprised, but slightly creeped out to think about the people I pass every day without taking notice. Could I interact with so many people and not recognise them if they were the same person. Creepy.


Final Line: "We rowed faster."



Thanks for reading,
Sidny