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Posts tagged “Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier: Frodo’s Review

Sapphire Blue

Summary From Goodreadssapphire blue

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

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I received an ARC of Sapphire Blue from the awesome people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphire Blue was a lot of fun to read because the world Kerstin Gier has created is freaking wonderful. I love the crazy deep cast of characters, the time travel arcs, and the historical aspects are fantastic. I knew I was enthralled by this book pretty early on. Why you might ask? I was able to move past the only issue this book has, OMG-esque relationship issues.

The first part of this book is forgettable, and I was really worried that I was going to have to slog through a whiny MC/angsty romance/blah fest that left the world untouched. There is this confusing are they/aren’t they together thing going on, neither of them seem to know what they want, and it’s frustrating. Also, Gwen wasn’t my favorite MC in Ruby Red, just alright, so this wasn’t earning her any points. Too much whining and behaving like a child. Luckily, this period only lasted a few chapters.

Then…BOOM! The action picks up, Gwen doesn’t have time to deal with boy drama, and we get historical attire, a fantastic party, and MOAR TIME TRAVEL!!! The depictions of the dresses, the hair, and the overall ensemble are so much fun to read, plus we get more time with Madame Rossini, my favorite secondary character. Gwen makes a fool of herself (per usual) but she really grows as a character as the book progresses which I’m SO happy about. Also, 18th century party? I can haz? YAY!!! It was so much fun and weeeee, you just need to read it!

Ruby Red teased us with the Lucy & Paul arc, but Sapphire Blue ramps it up a bit and I loved every minute. Both characters are really engaging, the romance is sweet, and Lucy especially is a standout strong character, despite us getting more Paul in this one. I want more Lucy in Emerald Green, please let it be so! *stares at it on my shelf nervously*

Anyway…I know this review is really filled with me rambling, but that’s because, despite it’s minor faults and rough beginning, I had sooo much fun reading it! I’ve heard Emerald Green is the action-packed book of the trilogy, which makes that even more enticing, but Sapphire Blue was silly, and, I think, intentionally so. Come on, Gier even threw in a sarcastic gargoyle! Sapphire Blue is meant for the laughs, and I had a bunch of them. Overall it is just a great, light read that anyone who enjoyed Ruby Red will love. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #165/200; 2013 TBR Pile #75/50; Mount TBR Challenge #75/150

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The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge: Frodo’s Review

The Mirrored Shard

Summary From Goodreads

Aoife Grayson must face death to win back Dean—the love who was ripped from the Iron Lands of the living when he was shot in the arctic north. But getting to the Deadlands is something that Aoife can’t do on her own. And if she can find a way there, Tremaine would surely never allow it. He has sworn to keep her in the Thorn Lands, the fairie home of her mother, Nerissa. But Aoife is determined to find her way out. And she has no trouble if that means she has to kill Tremain and his queen to do it.

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I received an ARC of The Mirrored Shard from the awesome people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

The Mirrored Shard is a book that drove me crazy. I like the worlds that Kittredge created, each with beings that, while they had different goals, were all twisted in some way. The different beings are reflections of people today, divided, but all of us equally flawed, no one exempt. The dimensional travel was something I really enjoyed and it was what got me to read this book to begin with. The worlds are depicted in such detail and are so vivid that I felt what it would be like to experience each one and that was amazing. The Iron Lands are reminiscent of the Iron Age with their world consumed by the mechanical, but with a futuristic twist to it, a nod to science fiction books set in futuristic settings. The Thorn Lands are pure magic, but because of that there is just as much twisted as there is good in it, it is greed and raw desire of humans transformed into and embodied by the fae. The Deadlands are our worse fears, an industrial version of the biblical Hell, and more twisted evil all rolled into one place. These worlds were a lot of fun to explore.

Now here is the but you were waiting for. I enjoyed exploring those worlds and everything between, but the whole time I wished I could be taking that journey with anyone BUT Aofie. Seriously, any side character will do, can we get a swap? No? I thought as much. She’s whiny, she keeps saying, or we are at least constantly told, that she is strong, that she refuses to show weakness. Despite that supposed version of the main character what I kept seeing was Dean. I miss Dean. I love Dean. I’ll die if I can’t save Dean. You know what it reminded me of? New Moon where Bella is running in the forest after Edward leaves her calling out his name repeatedly like a lunatic. It is one of the most irritating scenes I can remember in a film and Aofie did the same thing with Dean. Too much of the book was hearing her cry, whine, scream, and lose her shit over this guy. Ugh.

I do love the baddies in this book though, and there were plenty of them. Tremaine in the Thorn Lands reminds me of a stuck up rich kid type character, thinking they run the place and that people should do whatever they want, and mostly just acting like a jerk. I won’t spoil it, but the Deadlands has another big bad guy that makes Tremaine seem cute and cuddly by comparison, and he’s off his rocker which is awesome. The Iron Lands bad guys, the Brotherhood, are pretty tame because compared to a bunch of magical beings it is hard to see a mafia-style set of guys as all that scary. Oh and the Old Ones make a few appearances and those magical and mystical ancient beings certainly are not in a good mood. Overall just a great job by Kittredge on giving the reader a bunch of evil people to detest. I think I enjoyed them more than I should have because I didn’t mind Aofie having to go through some crap, at least give her reasons to whine as much as she does.

The writing is pretty solid in the book, with the only complaint that some of the terminology is pretty simplistic and cliche. Outside of that minor issue I think Kittredge has a good style and if her goal was to make us dislike the MC, though I don’t think it was, a congratulations are in order. My last note is on the ending. The Mirrored Shard is the final book in the trilogy and in the end you are faced with a bunch of awesomeness about to go down, a cool climactic battle approaching, the fate of potentially all the worlds at stake and…the book ends. That’s it. There seems to be another book worth of stuff that could go down, but it is not to be. So that kind of sucks. Overall this is a good, but not great book for me. If you can get past the MC being a whiner the worlds, writing, and plot are well worth it. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #151/200

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Mini Review Monday: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

MiniReviewMonday

 

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Summary From Goodreads

Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language-and William Shakespeare-here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a great mix of Shakespeare style writing, the classic Star Wars you know and love, and some extra humor thrown in. Doescher, and Murray Biggs who helped him with some of the “Shakespearean pastiche”, combined to do a very nice job on getting the technical aspects of writing in Shakespeare’s style correct, which is huge in making sure this book flows.

A lot of the better known lines are used throughout the piece, with a twist of course, and that made it seem like I was watching the movie at the same time. One of the things that sets this book apart is that Doescher used asides, or breaks from the “play”, to show added depth for the characters and what they were thinking. As the vast majority of people reading this have watched or read Star Wars I won’t analyze the characters, plot, or the other usual aspects. You know the story, but William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a fantastic addition to any Star Wars fan. I couldn’t help but say some of the lines out loud or sing along with the chorus so you know it’s a lot of fun. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #145/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess by Zoe E. Whitten

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s a simple story about a half-orc barbarian, an elvish thief, a nightmare, a quest, a kidnapping…I’ll start over. It’s a complicated and raunchy romp following the gastronomical and sexual adventures of Lana the light-fingered and Bran of Greenwood in their quest for a certain belt. A 2010 NaNoWriMo “winner,” this is cheesy porn at its finest, best read after The Hunger Games. Yes, really.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The thing you have to understand when you go to read this story is that the author says in a note to her readers that this is a “lazy doodle” so it isn’t one of her masterpieces. This makes it all the more amazing how great the story turns out to be. I laughed throughout the entire piece, from the nods to Monty Python to the joking references to The Hunger Games, from the “normal” sexual tales to the absolutely bizarre and hilarious, it all works.

The characters are fun and engaging, the story is really strong and would hold up on its own which is quite the feat, and Lana’s plight is actually quite moving. There is a sweet relationship mixed in with the silly sexual exploits that take place and they mesh very well. Simply put, it’s all of Whitten’s fantastic skill mixed in with hilarity and naughty bits. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a light naughty story. Thanks for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #142/200

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Pigments of My Imagination by Angela Kulig: Frodo’s Review

Pigments of My Imagination

Summary From Goodreads

From the moment Lucia steps into Bayside Art Academy, she is fed a steady stream of lies, but it’s not until she meets William that she begins to question the people she trusts. Unraveling fact from fabrication seems impossible until Lucia finds her first painting, and discovers the dead do not lie–at least not to her.

A dozen lifetimes ago, Lucia started a war. Not a war with armies or guns, but a bloody war nonetheless. The path leading Lucia to the truth is hidden within lovely art that spans the ages. In this life, however, Lucia doesn’t know where to look. Lost, she turns to the one thing she knows with certainty–she is in love with Leo, and has been before.

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I received an eBook copy of Pigments of My Imagination from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Pigments of My Imagination (from now on abbreviated as PoMI) is a book that I needed time to fully process, which, if you know my normal reviewing style, is pretty strange. You see, PoMI is unlike any book you’ve ever read. No really, if you can find me a book that is legitimately similar I’ll give you a cookie or something, but mostly I’ll just be very surprised. It’s original, so much so that I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, until now.

PoMI is a seamless blend of artistic expression, beautiful writing, and a bittersweet romance. It has elements that I’m still not sure if I would categorize as science-fiction or fantasy, maybe it is a bit of both melded together. The book is mystery and suspense, friendship and the deepest of true love, and maybe above all, discovery of one’s self.

PoMI asks what a lifetime is really worth and what is the best way to spend it. It examines bonds and which are the strongest. Is it familial, friendship, love? Can they all be one and the same? Who is your real family and what would you do for them no matter the cost?

Pigments of My Imagination is such a fitting title because as I read it I felt like I was in an artist’s dream, a fantasy of what the world might be like if all of the art forms in your head could become reality. The imagery is vivid and described in such a way that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. The academy is only the beginning, though it is lovely, and from alleyways to tunnels, from the city in the present to forests of the past, all of it is wondrous and depicted beautifully and in such detail.

I’m fully aware that this review isn’t my normal style, where I break down my main elements and summarize at the end, but that’s because PoMI isn’t a typical read. The word to describe it, if there is one, is more. It’s more than a book. The story is more than just a tale of lovers reunited. The characters are more than teenagers, deeper somehow, richer, and more vibrant. The area around them is magical both in the literal and figurative sense, filled with wonderment, and yet its darkest corners and crevices might be filled with just as much evil as our own world.

While PoMI had some minor flaws, nothing stood out enough to overcome how amazing and original the piece is. I encourage you to read it, you’ll never see anything else like it anywhere, trust me. This is art. This is magic. This is Angela Kulig at her finest. Thanks as always for reading.

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #138/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Jennifer’s Journal #1: Snatched by the Greys

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Jennifer’s Journal #1: Snatched by the Greys

Summary From GoodreadsJennifers Journal

My name is Jennifer, and this is my journal. My psychiatrist suggested that I keep a journal to write down my thoughts, particularly as they relate to a series of events in my life that no one seems to believe really happened.

You see. I was snatched by the Greys. Apparently they have a penchant for human women, or human pussy anyhow, because they fucked me six ways till Sunday before letting me go.

The Greys are a species of alien. At least that’s the way that I understand it. I’m not a scientist. Even if I were, I’m not convinced that there is a classification system for these creatures, at least not in the way that I learned in high school.

I’m not some sort of conspiracy theorist or crazy person. I don’t cover my head with tinfoil to keep the Greys from hearing my thoughts, and I don’t go to UFO conventions. Area 51 may or may not contain the remains of dead aliens and the spaceship they rode in on. I have absolutely no idea.

The only thing that I know for sure is what happened to me. I got fucked by aliens, and I liked it.

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It’s time for another Twitreview! This is where I tweeted live as I was reading the story and I feel like it is the best way to describe my feelings toward the piece. A compilation of tweets that, at least in the last two cases, has resulted in much hilarity. I hope you enjoy!


YA Wednesday: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

YAWednesday

The Nightmare Affair

Summary From Goodreads: 

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

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The Nightmare Affair caused much inner turmoil for me. The book has wonderful paranormal aspects, a rich and complex world and plenty of hilarity. However, the characters and I did not get along very well, many of the actions of the characters and their dialogue were childish and the ending was lackluster. So ya, I’m not sure what I should focus on more to determine my overall feelings beyond “mixed” or something similar.

So, lets start with the paranormal awesomeness since I want some positive vibes to at least start us off. You want ALL the types? You came to the right place! There are nightmares, witches and wizards, hags, sirens, fairies, well you get the idea. Arnett utilizes many of these paranormal creatures to their fullest potential and then some. She gives depth and a twist on each one to make them fresh and unique. Yes, there is a focus on a few types, but if you’re looking for a few new ones to read about you came to the right book.

The world in The Nightmare Affair is equally as awesome as the characters that inhabit it. The school really came to life for me and while some of the goings on weren’t wonderful I definitely would love to check a place like that out. Ooo and the creepy graveyard and the super freaky crypt? Loved those! Arnett definitely has a knack for creating a captivating world.

Dusty, the MC, gave me mixed feelings. While I enjoyed the edge she often had and her witty jokes there were parts about her that drove me crazy. One example of that would be her going crazy for seemingly every attractive boy she encountered or that gave her the time of day, it was just sad. Also, despite Dusty being an outcast because she’s a nightmare she is way too trusting. Meeting a person for the first time? Practically acts like they have a trust formed from years of bonding. It’s bizarre. Oh and the constant “woe is me because of my mother’s reputation” thing got old really fast. So ya, I kinda liked her but she bugged me at the same time. Eh.

Now, the not-so-fun parts. Love triangle? Check. Insta-love? Mega-super-sized check. The romance was pretty predictable, the direction it went obvious and the ending rushed and without purpose or build up. It was just a mess for me and the amount of times I had to hear how hot this guys is, how sexy the other one’s abs are, just stop it. Bleh.

Predictability. Unfortunately the plot was pretty obvious. The first encounter with one of the major secondary characters might as well of had “BAD GUY ALERT” stamped on it with red flags and flashing signs and lights. Some of the “twists” at the end were just as bad, especially with the crypt. I won’t elaborate because of spoilers and all but really this was what left me unsatisfied with the book overall. I could get over the romantic mess and Dusty’s quirks but when the book’s direction is clear 1/3 of the way in I am not going to be adding it to my love list.

So ya, I didn’t love the Nightmare Affair, but I didn’t hate it either. The flaws were pretty glaring but there were good parts that I did enjoy. It is Mindee Arnett’s debut so I’m curious to see how her writing develops from here. There is plenty of potential for the series but some tweaks and some surprises that aren’t quite so obvious would be welcome. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #131/200

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