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.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

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.

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Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies

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Goodreads Synopsis: Horatio Hornblower, now Admiral, sails over seas as challenging as any in his victorious career. As admiral in charge of His Britannic Majesty’s West Indies Station he is as gallant, daring, implosive as ever. In this tense time after Napoleon’s defeat, all kinds of vagabonds, revolutionaries, Imperial Guards. and pirates come sailing into the waters where Hornblower is working his small contingent of naval vessels to preserve the peace and eliminate piracy. With intrepid daring and brilliant strategies, Hornblower wins his victories. With this series of adventures, Volume 11, Hornblower’s professional life as a British naval officer reaches its climax, not in a battle against men, but against nature. Here the inner Hornblower shows his colors.

I have officially read this whole series!  It took me awhile, but the series is well worth it.

Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies follows the normal pattern of the series, Hornblower is out at sea making daring but calculated decisions and doing is duty for King and country.   There’s a really great scene where he boards a French ship and tricks them into believing that Bonaparte is dead, risking his honor and good name to stop the captain of the ship from bringing troops to St. Helena.  It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book.    This book is more like a collection of short stories than a single novel, the format is interesting, though not how I would have preferred.  Still it’s a fun group of stories, with sea battles and the romantic setting of the British Navy.

This last book is a great ending to the series.  Hornblower is finally in retirement, Barbara at his side. 3 stars on Goodreads.

Twain’s End

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Goodreads Synopsis: In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy?

In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter. Based on Isabel Lyon’s extant diary, Twain’s writings and letters, and events in Twain’s boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain’s End explores this real-life tale of doomed love.

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Like most people I’ve read Twain’s book Tom Sawyer, and awhile back I read some of his short stories as well.  So as a big lover of Historical Fiction I was super excited to get a copy of this book.

Twain’s End is an easy book to read, it personally took me forever because I sometimes have a hard time reading books on my kindle. But once I actually sat down and forced myself to read I found the pages flying by.

Lynn Cullen is a fantastic writer. She made the man Twain come to life, and all of the characters actually, in such a unique way.  She shows the story of Twain and Lyon’s love from many different perspectives. And I loved it the way she made me feel for everyone, even the characters I hated like  Twain’s daughter Clara. Even Twain himself is an unlikable yet sympathetic character. Ruling over the women in his life with an iron fist and being an absolute dick practically all of the book. And yet I ended feeling for him so much.

Isabel Lyon’s character is so interesting. She’s so good, and loving and kind to everyone. Even with her flaw of loving Twain while his wife was alive, she never acted on her feelings.  She was also frustrating with how she let Twain walk all over her. How she let everyone walk all over her.  Mark Twain was abusive at times in the story and still she loved him and that upset me a little.

But in the end I really enjoyed the story. I gave it four stars on Goodreads, and was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

 

Bone Gap – A Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

This book was really cool. Even though I only gave this book 3 and a half stars I did really enjoy it.  First off the prose was just great, I loved the way that Laura Ruby wrote the whole story. It’s a mix of fiction and fantasy and it’s super cool. I can honestly I’ve never read a book like this before.

The characters are also really great. Finn is such a great kid, a good kid without drama or pretentiousness.  Roza is a Polish woman whose immigrated to America and I really liked her. She cooks and is super sweet. 😀  I also really liked Petey, the girl who Finn likes whose a bee keeper. I mean how cool is that? I just really liked the super amazing cast of characters.

And then the ending was pretty good. There was times I was a bit confused. Because it’s a bit of an odd mixture, I’m still not sure what the genre of the book is.  I really liked what happened with Finn and how it explained how he couldn’t tell who Roza’s kidnapper was. To me the ending felt a bit rushed, but maybe if I read it a second time I would like the book more.

So yeah I read 3.5 stars, I liked it and would probably read it again. Anyone else read this book? Let me know what you thought! 🙂 

 

That One Time I Actually Enjoyed A SuperHero

Have I shocked you all? It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Marvel or DC or pretty any and all superheros. I don’t think they’re cool, I don’t relate to their problems and think most of their movies/stories are boring and cliche.

P.S I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone. If you are a fan of superheros good for you! No, really, I get why people like them. I hope you don’t take this personally. 🙂

Now that I’ve made everyone mad, whose here to listen about the one movie I did like? 😀

My husband took me to see Deadpool yesterday for Valentine’s Day. I heard a lot of mixed things about this movie. I know a lot of people are upset about the rating, other people were excited because it was going to break the 4th wall.

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Personally I was excited about it. I was hoping for a funny movie, one that didn’t take it self seriously, and a movie that was for adults. I got all three.  Deadpool, or Wade Wilson is hilarious.  I thoroughly enjoyed his humor. He has this running commentary going on 24/7 that’s just fabulous.
I really liked that the whole point of the movie was not him saving the world (so done with this) or saving the girl (we need more girls saving guys) but actually him trying to get his hot face back.  😀 Like I said this movie doesn’t take it self seriously.  I enjoyed seeing him make fun of the X-Men, and when it came down to it, I’m glad he wasn’t trying to be a hero. He just wanted his normal life and face back.

Here’s another surprise, I actually liked the romance between Deadpool and Vanessa. It wasn’t a whole bunch of gag worthy fluffy romance.  They understood each other with sarcasm and sex. And I enjoyed that they had a different type of relationship than what normally gets shown in superhero movies.
At times I was a tiny bit grossed out by the violence, I did flinch more than once, to the amusement of my husband. But I was glad that the movie was rated R. I’d honestly go see the movie again.

So those are my thoughts on the movie, has anyone else seen? Let me know what you liked  or didn’t like. Thinking about seeing it? Do it! 

Finding Audrey – A Book Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Wow! Seriously people what a book. I just finished it this afternoon and I really really enjoyed it.
Let’s start with the main character Audrey.  Sweet little Audrey suffers from extreme anxiety, she never goes out, she doesn’t have friends anymore and little things can send her into a spiral of fear.  I felt for her so much. As someone who deals with social anxiety (not as bad as Audrey’s) I immediately felt and understood her. That connection sucked me into the book and I had such a hard time putting it down.

Continuing on to the other characters I just have to say, what a well done group of people. The author, Sophie Kinsella, effectively made me feel something for each one of our characters. Whether it was empathy for Frank, the oldest son who has to deal with a school, a troubled sister and a crazy mom all at once. Or the Dad, who seemed to be trying his best to keep the family sane.  Or the little brother Felix because he was just an adorable kid.  Everyone grasped my attention and made me keep reading. Even the mom made me feel things.    She was a complicated character. On the one hand seriously crazy, at parts  I was so frustrated. Why wasn’t she getting any help? Because she needed it. And on the other hand she did a lot of sacrificial things for her daughter. I can see that it’s easier to judge when you’re on the outside looking in.  Mothers are a vital part of the family unit so it makes sense that the father just makes excuses for her crazy times, and then works harder to make things right.

From the synopsis it may seem like that romance is a big part of of this book. And while it is a large subplot, it is just that. A subplot.  The main focus of this story is about overcoming social anxiety.    Liuns, the love interest, is super cute. He’s funny and encouraging and he isn’t perfect either! Sometimes I get annoyed when the boyfriend is like this angel of perfection. This isn’t the case in Finding Audrey. Linus gets things wrong sometimes, he tries his best to help the girl he loves, but he doesn’t always understand what’s going on.

Reading the parts of the book where Audrey is talking with her therapist was so good for me. This book isn’t a how to or anything like that. But it did pose some reminders for me. It gave me ideas on how to push myself when I feel anxious. And also how to learn to take a step back and not obsess over moments in my day where I feel like I’ve messed up.

At the end I felt Audrey’s recovery was a bit fast. I would have loved this book to be a bit longer. I felt like her recovery was a bit like a light switch.  Suddenly she’s ”on” and feeling better.  I wanted to feel her knowing that she probably would never be perfect. When I finished the book it seemed like she didn’t realize that she would have good days, and bad days.   Had the book been longer it would have been perfect.

Still, at the conclusion I loved the book. I thought the plot was great, the characters fantastic and the overall story beautiful. I gave this book four stars on Goodreads.

Who else has read this book? Did you like it? Yes? No? Kinda? 😀 Let me know your thoughts! I love discussing books. 🙂