Windwitch – By Susan Dennard

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Goodreads Synopsis: After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

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You guys. 😦 😦 😦  This book was such a huge disappointment.  😦 😦 😦   I really really enjoyed the first book, I mean it had it’s flaws but it had some really badass characters. Windwitch lost everything I loved from the first book.  I honestly don’t even really want to write this review because I’m so sad about this.

I don’t think I have a single positive thing to say about Windwitch. There were too many POV switches, basically ever character ever had chapters from their view.  It was confusing, boring, predictable, it had way to many coincidences.  It was just plain boring. With the first book I was racing to get to the end, I couldn’t put Truthwitch down. Windwitch I could barley pick up.

It had the whole “You thought this person was a bad guy but really they aren’t” after building up the same character in the last book as fricken evil. Merik was so angsty. Safa’s character turned into a puddle of blah.  Isult starts falling for Aeduan, which I personally thought was ridiculous. They had zero chemistry.   Everyone I cared for felt so different in this sequel! There was also a character, Cam, who was maybe transgender? Or genderqueer? He is biologically female but dresses as a male and wants everyone to use the male pronouns. He’s traveling with Merik but Merik  is rude to him most of the time and also doesn’t use the right pronouns. It felt like Dennard was trying to include a queer character but I was really uncomfortable with how Cam was written.

At this point I would not recommend the sequel to anyone, and I’m hesitant about the series.  Personally I will be reading the third book when it comes out, because I loved the first book. But that’s just me.  I gave this book 1 star on Goodreads.

3 NetGalley Reviews

These are my most recent NetGalley reviews, thanks as always to NetGalley for giving me copies of these books.

The End We Start From – 3.5 Stars.

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

This book was a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be, so I actually ended up sitting down and reading it in an evening.  The End We Start From has some really beautiful, and almost lyrical prose.  I wasn’t expecting an apocalyptic book to be written like this, and right away it hooked me on the book.

The characters in this book were all named with just initials, which was interesting. Though I felt it made the characters feel a little distant. I never really felt for them as much as I wanted too, and as much as I thought the story had potential to make me feel. But I did like the idea of seeing the end of the world from the point of view of a mother. In the end I decided to give this book 3.5 stars.

The Wisdom of Dead Men – 1 Star.

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Goodreads Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Nate uncovers dark secrets that threaten to reveal the true nature of the Wildenstern family. The British Empire is no longer the authority it once was. Instead, it’s controlled by private business organizations–the most powerful of which is Ireland’s ruthless Wildenstern family. Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Wildenstern has given up his dreams of travel and adventure to devote himself to being his brother Berto’s head of security. With the help of his wife, Daisy, Berto wants to change the barbaric ways of the clan. But there are many among the Wildensterns who like things the way they are, and will resort to whatever devious methods necessary to keep it that way.Meanwhile, the burnt bodies of women are appearing around Dublin. When a connection to the Wildenstern family is discovered, Nate, Daisy, and Nate’s sister Tatiana decide to investigate. Soon the young Wildensterns are digging into shadowy societies and dark family secrets that date back to the origin of the engimals, who are part animal, part machine. And what they find could shed light on the savage nature of the Wildensterns themselves.

This book took me months and months to read. I kept trying to get into the story, kept trying to be interested in the characters but I just wasn’t.  Part of this could be that I wasn’t able to read the first book. I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series when I originally got it from NetGalley.  Awhile back I’d read the prequel to the series and loved it, so I thought I’d read more.  Maybe if I’m able to read the first book and I like it I can come back to this one and try it again.  1 star.

Once, In Lourdes – 3 stars.

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Goodreads Synopsis: Four high school friends stand on the brink of adulthood—and on the high ledge above the sea at the local park in Lourdes, Michigan, they call the Haight—and make a pact. For the next two weeks, they will live for each other and for each day. And at the end of the two weeks, they will stand once again on the bluff and jump, sacrificing themselves on the altar of their friendship. Loyal Kate, beautiful Vera, witty C.J., and steady Saint—in a two-week span, their lives will change beyond their expectations, and what they gain and lose will determine whether they enter adulthood or hold fast to their pledge. Once, in Lourdes is a haunting and moving novel of the power of teenage bonds, the story of four characters who will win your heart and transport you back to your own high school years.

I was expecting this book to be somewhat dark, it is after all about four kids who have a suicide pact. But I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so disturbing.  I mean the book was interesting, it had more of an experimental feel when it came to the writing. It included some of the drawings of the main character Kate.  The characters were all interesting as well, I was able to feel for all of them.  The ending took me by surprise as well, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. It was a very dark ending. Which is why I ended up giving the book three stars. It whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Coda – By Emma Trevayne

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Goodreads Synopsis: Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.  Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?

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I was super excited to read this book, as the main character is a male bisexual, which you don’t see very often!

Sadly this book was not for me.  From page one to the end of the book I was confused as hell.  The main premise of the book wasn’t explained until half way through, and even then the explanation made little sense.  The plot twists were cliche and obvious and in short I was so bored. I had to force myself to finish this book, and yes I did skim the last few chapters.

Anthem has no personality. He wanders around through the story with confusing and conflicting motivations. He’s dull as a bag of rocks. He wants to fight the government and protect his siblings at the same time, but he never makes choices that make sense for what he wants.

As for the other characters…Where were they? What were they doing? I’m not sure, I never cared enough for any of them to look past the plot.  I wanted to care, I really did. I just couldn’t get to know any of them. I was also sad that the romance wasn’t M/M, but I did like the inclusion of Anthem’s ex-boyfriend.  It’s nice to see bisexual characters in books!

I think Coda was a really unique idea. I love Dystopian literature, I think the characters could have been badass. Sadly it just never happened. I gave this book 1 star on Goodreads.

Weird Girl and What’s His Name – By Megan Brothers

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the tiny podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything—sci-fi and fantasy fandom, Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they don’t quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she’s shared with him her “sacred texts”—the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula’s life. But then Lula discovers that Rory—her Rory, who maybe she’s secretly had feelings for—has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers. Meagan Brother’s piercing prose in this fresh LGBT YA novel speaks to anyone who has ever felt unwanted and alone, and who struggles to find their place in an isolating world.

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Another LGBTQA+ read! Weird Girl and What’s His Name is an easy read. It’s 336 pages, it has quirky characters who love the X-Files and it’s about finding yourself in life.

I found myself liking the first half it more than the second half. Rory is the narrator for the first part and I really liked his character. He lives with his alcoholic mother and his main friend is the funny but selfish Lula. His character really grows over the story. You understand why he’s in the unfortunate relationship with his boss, but the book does a good job of never condoning what happened. It was wrong and he begins to see that. He also learns that he wants to be with someone who loves being with him. And that was my favorite part. Rory really begins to love himself by the end of the book.

I didn’t like Lula’s character. And thus I didn’t enjoy the last part of the book where she’s narrating. Her whole running away escapade was so selfish. And I didn’t feel like she ever took responsibility for her actions like she should have. I think if not for her I would have given this book a full four stars. Also some of the characters in this book were biphobic, and all though they apologized for it I just don’t see why it’s necessary to say biphobic things. Let’s just stop with the whole “Bi people are confused” shit. It’s 2017 people!

I did feel for Lula despite it all. She goes in search of her mother, who abandoned her as a young kid. Her mom is seriously a terrible person. And it was hard to see Lula be rejected by her mom. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the treatment of the mom.  It didn’t feel supportive of women who can’t/don’t want to be mothers.  Lula’s mother is portrayed as a huge bitch through the story, like the mom literally doesn’t care about Lula at all. And I wanted it to be more positive, some people just don’t make good parents. It’s not that they’re messed up or anything.  Still it was good for Lula to grow up and realize that she had a great life being raised by her grandparents.

The overall plot was great, now I really want to watch the X-Files and see what all the fuss is about. 😀  I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads.  It’s a cute book, and if you can get over Lula you’ll enjoy the story.

Strange The Dreamer – Laini Taylor

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Goodreads Synopsis: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

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I’d read the other series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor last year. So I was fairly interested when I heard that she’d published another book. Plus I fell in love with the cover.

Strange the Dreamer is much better than Laini Taylor’s first series. You can tell right away that her storytelling and prose has matured, which made me happy. It’s so cool when you can tell that an author is growing and becoming better, it gives me hope for my own writing. 😀   There were still times when I felt her prose in this book went a little overboard, I caught myself having to read paragraphs twice before I understood what was going on. It was just all so flowery.  However the upside to the prose style is a very vivid world.

The world of Strange the Dreamer is fricken gorgeous. From fair blue maidens, to libraries that you wish you could go live in, from dream moths to ghosts. This world is amazing.

The characters are also well written, though I disliked some of them, I can’t complain that this was because of lack of development or poor writing. It was just a matter of the character being annoying in my mind. The character I’m talking about is Sarai, the other main character and eventual love interest.   Sarai is a good girl, too good. She takes care of her godling siblings/friends and doesn’t complain. She knows her family was slaughtered by humans but doesn’t want revenge. She was so boringly good, it frustrated me. I didn’t understand her lack of anger.  I felt that there was nowhere for her character to go, she was already perfect.

Speaking of anger, I loved Minya.  I want to read a book from her perspective. As a small child she is the one who rescues the other godlings, dragging them to safety when she was only 6!  She saw her family and friends murdered brutally and she wants revenge. I could understand that, I wanted to see her anger, to see her taste revenge and I wanted to see her be able to move beyond that eventually. A redemption arc I guess.

The main character, Lazlo was fantastic. I appreciated that he doesn’t get what he wants immediately, I like it that he has to work long and hard to reach his dream.  I disliked the romance between him and Sarai, it felt forced and I didn’t think they had chemistry. I honestly thought Lazlo was gay for quite awhile. Which would have been better in my opinion, but whatever.  I do however, liked the way the story ended. I won’t give spoilers, but I will say it will leave wanting to read the next book very badly.

Overall I really liked this book. Strange the Dreamer is a fantastic fantasy story, it has a stunning world and interesting characters. Four stars.

Light in August – By William Faulkner

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Goodreads Synopsis: Light in August, a novel that contrasts stark tragedy with hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality, features some of Faulkner’s most memorable characters: guileless, dauntless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; Reverend Gail Hightower, a lonely outcast haunted by visions of Confederate glory; and Joe Christmas, a desperate, enigmatic drifter consumed by his mixed ancestry.

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Again, I decided to read this because I’ve been on a classic literature binge.  This one is probably my favorite of my recent classic reads. Light in August is a haunting story. From Lena to Hightower to Christmas, each character has a past that makes their life difficult and each is struggling for something else in life.    This book is a fast read, and I should warn you does not have a very happy ending.  Lena finds the man who got her pregnant but he’s not what she thought.  Christmas gets into trouble with the law.  Only Hightower doesn’t have some catastrophe fall on him.   But I would definitely recommenced reading this book. It’s a book that looks into the heart of man, it shows people for what they are and how circumstance forces them to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

After reading this book I’m excited to read more by William Faulkner.  His writing was very impressive, and his characters deep.  Does anyone have any recommendations for more books by him?

In the end I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads.