Nemo @ The Moonlight Library
Review
4 Stars
Where is that kid from 'Matilda' now?
Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame - Mara Wilson

I don’t really review autobiographies or memoirs on this blog, it’s largely devoted to YA fiction, but these memoirs are written by the child actress who played, among other roles, beloved Matilda, Natalie in Mrs Doubtfire, and Susan from the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

 

 

Her name is Mara Wilson and she has some things she wants you to know. Mostly that she’s a grown up now, someone who has sex and is old enough to drink alcohol legally.

A more than competent writer, Mara shares with us stories from her school life, including a horrible bullying incident that led her to transfer to a performing arts boarding school, some behind the scenes stories from her acting days, and how she struggled to keep acting once she outgrew being ‘cute’. Obviously she’s a beautiful, intelligent woman now, but once she grew boobs she just wanted to quit acting. Did she break up with Hollywood or did Hollywood dump her? It’s still a bit ambiguous in this book.

 

Mara’s honesty is refreshing. She’s still a celebrity, even if she’s not quite famous as an adult, and a lot of people look back fondly at her childhood work and remember her. She’s honest about how weird that is, like acting wasn’t particularly hard for her (even though she really was one in a million, and its obvious for me to say here she really was talented) and it’s a bit strange how everyone keeps telling her how awesome she was. She’s honest about how she feels about the industry now and her peers who have gone on to star in grown-up films like ScarJo and KStew. She’s even honest about finding her niche in New York City and how she’s been stretching her wings as a storyteller. But best of all, she’s honest about her OCD and anxiety diagnosis and how she learned to deal with mental illness.

 

I enjoyed this look at Mara’s life, though she doesn’t remember much from the parts I was really interested in because it all happened when she was so young. She gives the impression of being an intelligent, innocent, precocious child who enjoyed being a bit of a show off but felt guilty about it at the same time. She’s grown into a competent, wise storyteller. As autobiographies go, this is one of the better ones I’ve read.

 

Have you seen any of Mara’s films? Did you ever wonder what happened to that kid from Matilda? Can you recommend any other celebrity memoirs?

Review
3 Stars
Beautiful Broken GIrls by Kim Savage
Beautiful Broken Girls - Kim  Savage

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Man, these girls were broken long before anyone even died.

 

Two sisters lead a completely sheltered life and when their promiscuous cousin dies, they seemingly commit suicide by drowning in the local quarry pool shortly afterwards. The younger sister, Mina, left several notes to her ex-boyfriend explaining why they died but in a convoluted way she hid them in places where he touched her, including adult bedrooms, which is weird, so the ex (Ben, by the way, and our sad little hero) has to set off on this strange little quest to break into places to find these notes and find out why the sisters died.

 

The biggest question that kept me going in this book was why? Why did the sisters act this way, wh did the whole town lust after them, why were they basically shut-ins with no technology allowed in their house and a control-freak dad who called every hour on the hour to make sure they weren’t, I don’t know, screwing around? Why did the beloved cousin die, and why did it have this weird effect on the sisters? Why was Mina so cruel and Francesca so confident (arrogant?) about how special she was?

 

Basically, because Francesca suffers from stigmata she thinks she should become a saint and so she volunteers at a soup kitchen where she passes horrible judgment on everyone and manages to convince herself that the youth pastor will fall in love with her once he only figures out how special she is. I’m not sure what she wants from the youth pastor, Mr Falso. Does she want to screw him or just his spiritual approval? It really smacks me of the whole ‘women as evil seducers’ because this skinny, starving herself teenage girl wants more from an older man when Ben (remember Ben, the actual main character in this novel?) was actually sexually assaulted by his old coach, not that he remembers it, and in fact the only evidence anyone has to go on is a entire list the coach made of kids that Ben happened to be on. What happened to the other kids on the list? Why is Ben singled out and made a fuss of years later over something he doesn’t even remember? Anyway my point is that underage girl + older man = girl is seducer but underage boy + older man = boy is victim.

 

Anyway,Francesca is pretty awful, she’s so convinced she has magical powers that it leads to complete tagedy. Meanwhile, Mina is casually cruel throughout the book and even murders a helpless tiny kitten just for shits and giggles, so neither girl is really one I found anything redeeming about.

 

And Ben’s drive to find the truth behind the girls is largely misguided and supposed to be based on his own backstory.

 

Look, this book was just weird. True, I did find all the Catholic stuff pretty interesting because I was raised Catholic then left the Church when I realised God doesn’t exist, but Ben having the break into places and find notes left behind where Mina had had to do the exact same thing months before to leave them there? And the fact that their suicide was clearly planned because of these notes brings up similarities to Thirteen Reasons Why, which I couldn’t even finish because it seemed to be about a girl who just couldn’t handle being a girl, and it seems that Beautiful Broken Girls also was about girls who just couldn’t handle being girls, and although parts of the book were interesting, other parts struggled to hold my interest, and it’s not really a subject I’m that interested, the weakness of women, I mean.

 

And the ending just didn’t make any sense to me, and I have thought about it a lot since I finished the book and I still don’t get it.

Review
4 Stars
Pointe, Claw was no the book I expected but was the book I needed
Pointe, Claw - Amber J. Keyser

I received this book for free from Walker Books Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

What can I say about Pointe, Claw?

 

I’ll start with telling you why I wanted to read it. I love those books that are about performing, whether it be musicians, actors, or dancers. And Keyser is a former ballerina, an actual former performer who can tell it like it is – and she does. She knows intimately not just the moves in ballet but how each muscle works while doing them, and delivers it with the knowledge of someone who hasn’t just researched but lived it. This makes Jessie’s narration so believable and so easy to live in.

 

The same can be said for Dawn’s discussions on evolutionary biology. Keyser has taken two huge parts of her identity and given one to each of the main characters in this book so that once again, it’s doesn’t feel like research. It’s more than research when you literally write what you know.

 

I wanted to read a book about a strong female friendship and I’ll admit I was a little thrown when I discovered the girls’ friendship was somewhat more than that. I loved reading about how strongly the girls felt about each other back when they were children, and how they felt about each other now they were almost grown up. I liked how both girls came from broken homes and neither wanted to return to them. I liked how the voices of the girls were so distinct. It was a very well written book.

 

While the book seems a little light on plot, it does a good job of unraveling the questions that pop up. The best thing about this book, I feel, is Jessie’s sexual awakening at the hands of her ballet teacher, which very much reminded me of the Phantom of the Opera, the film version, where Gerard Butler is Emmy Rossum’s sexual awakening but Patrick Wilson is her romantic awakening. I very much expected them to have sex even though Jessie was underage. At the same time, Jessie is struggling with her feelings for Dawn that she’s had since they were kids.

 

The book is certainly about girl bodies and how other people try to control them. Jessie is learning a dance that feels dangerous because it is so un-classical. Dawn’s mother drags her from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose what is happening to her body. Strangers leer and drool over the thin ballerina with no chest, grope the girl who dresses like a boy to hide her flesh. Both girls initially fight their animalistic urges, and both, eventually, succumb, in choices that are purely theirs.

 

It’s kind of hard to say why I enjoyed this weird book so much. I wanted to read about a dancer and a girl who’s turning into a bear, and I got both: but I got so much more. I got a real dancer’s experience. I got sexual chemistry and an almost love triangle but not quite (seriously it is NOT a love triangle). I got friction between parents who don’t understand their daughters. I got girls fighting to control their bodies. I got an ending I’m still thinking about, that I think works, but still makes me a little sad.

 

I know I haven’t actually said very much about this book but I really enjoyed it and I think if you like feminism, performing arts stories, magical realism or just plain weird then you might enjoy it, too.

Review
4 Stars
'Long May She Reign' Reigned Long In My Heart
Long May She Reign - Rhiannon Thomas

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Freya is twenty-third in line to the throne, so she’s never meant to be queen. Until a mass murder at a feast leaves her on the throne. The question is, who is responsible for the murders, and are they angry they missed Freya? Will they come after her? And how can she make being queen a success and help her downtrodden people

 

I absolutely adored this plot. There is no fantasy or magic in this book, just alternate-world historical fiction with a heroine who’d rather lose herself in science experiments than socialise with the wicked nobility of the court. She is woefully unprepared to be queen and at first everyone pushes her around and tells her what to do. It isn’t until she starts questioning tradition and shaking up the status quo that she really comes into being a real queen and oh my god YAS she won my heart over many times. More interested in science than romance, I’d heard a rumour she was actually asexual. This isn’t true, and there is a dash of romance, but by far the plot revolves around the politics of crowning a new, young, female monarch, and Freya’s own investigation into the mass murder. I had recently been watching The Crown on Netflix, which is based in Queen Elizabeth II’s life, and I found a lot of similarities between the two stories. If you like one, you’re bound to enjoy the other.

 

Probably the only thing I didn’t like was the result of who ended up getting the blame for the murders. To me it was’t that character’s fault that things turned out they way they did, even if they intended it that way. It was another character’s actions that actually ensured everyone died, but no one even thought of blaming that character. To me it seemed more like shooting the messenger, similar to who got the blame for a beloved character’s death in Mockingjay: clearly they were not directly responsible, but they got the blame anyway.

 

Like I said above, I adored Freya as a character who is too busy not being a complete nitwit or overcome with lust to focus on boys. A dash of romance is ok, and it’s especially ok when you’re falling for someone who might be an enemy… oh the angst! But I loved the politics involved in the shake-up of the new untried, untested, uneducated monarch and the fact that some people suspected HER of being the murderer! It was fascinating to read. I also loved that Freya had a cat she clearly adored, but who favoured her close friend Naomi instead.

 

Speaking of friends, Freya’s little gang of confidants was awesome. I loved Naomi’s unending loyalty, and the two relationships developed between possible suspects Madeleine, Freya’s heir and would-be-queen if not for Freya’s survival, and Fitzroy, the king’s bastard son and therefore not eligible for the throne, were so well-written I ended up adoring both of them.

 

I think the because the book focused a lot on politics and Freya’s appearances as queen and stuff like learning speeches and defying tradition as well as plenty of science experiments to determine how everyone was murdered on the way to whom and why, some people might find this book lacking a little in action and pacing. I took a while to finish the book but that was because of personal circumstances. The opening chapters were amazing, showcasing Freya as strong and independent, with a strong female friendship, a cute cat, and something better to do than sit around at a boring feast. My favourite part of the whole book was when Freya finally realised the power she had inherited as queen, and that she had a duty to run her country and look after her people, and not just solve the murder. My other favourite parts were watching the team stop and think and change their hypothesis on their murder investigation when presented with proof and facts.

 

Overall I adored this novel. It was really refreshing to read a YA book that was so almost fantasy but not, that really measured its use of romance, that showcased such a wonderfully rounded character as Freya, with all her ideals and beliefs and willingness to break tradition. The supporting characters were also really entertaining to read about, especially the two rivals to the throne who ended up being Freya’s closest friends. The murder mystery ran throughout the entire novel, and although I was ultimately unhappy with who go the blame, I think I can see what the author was trying to get at. I just don’t really believe in shooting the messenger. I believe this is a stand-alone novel, but if it were to get a sequel I would happily read it

Review
5 Stars
Sun sets on Study series as Dawn Study ends
Dawn Study - Maria V. Snyder

Sorry for being such a shit and forgetting to post the minimal reviews I've done this year.

 

This year has just been the absolute worst and I'm still finding it hard to find time to read.

 

I have this medical condition that causes me to lose concentration and fall asleep if I stay still for too long. It's being looked at, but the doctor doesn't want to treat me through the public system since I got tested through the private system. Essentially this specialist has an issue with my GP (who is the sweetest, coolest, most laid-back dude ever, and once dressed up as Gandalf for a fancy dress party, so you know he's cool) and takes it out on my GPs patients?!!!! Like is that even legal? Do I even want to work with this specialist? But the only other specialist in the state is on vacation?!!!! So essentially FML.

 

ANYWAY ON TO THE REVIEW.

 

I received this book for free from HarlequinTeen Australia, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I don’t even know where to start with this book.

 

You know how each instalment of a series is supposed to be more epic than the last?

Well, at one point Snyder has something like 28 characters ‘onscreen’, all with different motivations, characterisations, and backstories, including small children with more sass than they have the right to be.

 

I don’t know how she managed to keep it all straight in her head, let alone write it in a way that made sense to her audience.

 

The crux of the story is that Valek’s old BFF Ambrose ‘The Commander’ is going to invade Sitia and wipe out all of the magicians with the help of some old enemies of Yelena’s. The Sitians are preparing for war against Ixia, but they are being mind-controlled by food laced with Theobroma, which  strips a person’s resilience to magic. Meanwhile, Yelena has every bounty hunter on her tail, no magic, and a growing baby bump. Valek is getting too old for this shit, but he’s the only one who can face down certain people while trying to keep his newly-discovered magical powers a secret (which led to some truly awesome scenes of outsmarting villains, I might add).

 

The team – or ‘herd’ as they start to refer to themselves – of Yelena’s allies all work together to overcome their various obstacles including finding a way to beat Theobroma and work around the newly discovered resistance to the old fallbacks of laced poison darts. There’s a lot of investigation, sneaking, spying, assassin-ining, disguises, riding hard and fast, deals made and broken, and trust betrayed and earned again. All the while Yelena and Valek manage to keep the hots for each other: no mean feat after years together offscreen. I think Yelena is meant to be in her mid to late twenties now, and Valek is close to, if not, forty.

 

There’s so many characters in this book that we have to take on multiple points of view to tell the story. Yelena’s is always my favourite, mostly because it’s first person, but Valek is a close second, only because we get to see the real emotion hiding underneath.

As a conclusion to Yelena and Valek’s story I found this novel very satisfying, including the ending. I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and even fantasy novices, although it would probably be best to read the books that come before it first.

 

I look forward to the day Snyder gets an idea for a spin-off about a certain new female character set fifteen or so years into the future, but until then I’ll have to be content with re-reading this amazing, fantastical original fantasy series from cover to cover all over again.

Stop Misassigning The Original Stories in Retellings
Romancing the Throne - Nadine Jolie Courtney Flame in the Mist - Renee Ahdieh

Hello everyone! I've been away for a long time dealing with my personal life. I normally only post book reviews and musings here, which is why even though I've been blogging on my main blog for a few weeks now, nothing's been posted here, because I've only been doing memes and tags for that, and I'm still not reading anything. But here's a musing I feel pretty strongly about and I wonder if anyone else cares as much as I do?

-read more-
I still exist

I'm going through a really rough time in my life that started just before Christmas and ended up getting even crappier.

 

I haven't been reading and I haven't been on social media much.

 

It's all too hard at the moment. Gotta focus on my non-digital life.

 

I want to be back soon. Not sure when.

 

Miss you all xx

 

Nemo

Review
4 Stars
I Fell Under The Graces Spell
The Graces - Laure Eve
River is new to the school, and like everyone, drawn to the enigmatic Grace siblings. But unlike everyone else, River knows how to befriend them and seek their help as rumours of their witchcraft spread through the town. Or maybe she’s just far more determined to be a part of the Grace family. Either way, are the strange things happening a result of their playful spells or is something more sinister going on? First of all, River is not River’s name. We never find out her real name, which I like. River’s new BFF, Summer Grace, encourages her to call her by her ‘real’ name. River isn’t exactly a ‘likeable’ character. She’s far too enamoured of the opinion of others and how she can manipulate others around her. She’s does things and says things not because she means them but because she thinks she sounds or looks cool while she does it. It’s all to impress Fenrin, the male twin of the Graces. Like all teen girls, she’s enamoured by him. But because she’s soooo much smarter than all those other desperate fake girls, she tries to get to Fenrin by going through Summer, only to find that Summer is a pretty awesome best friend to have, because like River, Summer believes in witchcraft and magic spells and everyone loves Summer, but having Summer love River makes River special. River is actually pretty unlikeable. She’s practically delusional: she holds disdain for everyone except the Graces and especially hates all the girls who love Fenrin, despite being one herself. She thinks she’s the only person in the world who is deep and not fake, which is totally ironic because she fakes being Summer’s BFF to get to Fenrin, and her love for him is based purely on his looks (shallow). She is both supremely timid in hiding her personality and inner thoughts, and calculating and utterly confident that Fenrin will return her affections because she’s just that special. Is she after the Graces, wishing to be an honourary Grace herself, or after their rumoured magic? I think it’s both. And then there’s Thalia, the third Grace, and Fenrin’s twin. Fenrin and Thalia are older than Summer and River by a couple of years, and Thalia’s already got her own shit to deal with, but I never really warmed to her in the novel and then it almost seemed like she snapped and became another character entirely. Maybe it’s because I knew a girl called Thalia when I was younger and she was a complete bitch for no reason, so maybe my judgement is a little impaired, but Thalia Grace always seemed a little unhinged and then grew almost psychotic. Maybe it was always part of her personality, or maybe the pressure of being a Grace got to her, or maybe all those little harmless spells drove her mad, but I couldn’t grow to like Thalia. Not that that’s a bad thing, because I didn’t particularly like River, and at least Thalia is responsible for some of the bigger plot points. And I mean, we see the novel from River’s point of view, and how many older siblings like their kid sister’s best friend? I know none of my close friends’ older siblings liked me when I was a kid, for whatever reason, and I doubt my older brother liked any of my friends. So maybe that’s just a Thalia thing, even though the Graces seem pretty close as siblings. I loved the writing style. I loved how unexpectedly the plot went in a completely different direction to which I thought it would go. I loved how River was an unreliable narrator because I haven’t read many of those before, but it did cause me to wonder what the truth actually was a few times, because although River kept secret, she didn’t always come clean with the truth in the end. The only thing I didn’t like was the implied homophobia when two male characters were caught together and the only words used to describe it was ‘disgusting’. UM NO. Two boys in love is NOT disgusting. This was said not only by one character but by my recollection two, or at least the first character implied the second one was thinking it. So despite very few issues with the book, I’ve fallen under the Grace spell and I am really looking forward to the sequel, to finding out how the Graces deal with this new curveball, to finding out how River will be in the next book now that her relationship with the Graces has changed so drastically.
Review
4 Stars
Frostblood will heat your desire for more awesome fantasy!
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

When Ruby is captured and sent to prison for being a Fireblood in a land ruled by Frostbloods, she is unexpectedly rescued by a group of monks who want to use her to challenge the rule of the current Frostblood king. But Ruby will first have to master her uncontrollable pyromancy if she’s to stand a chance against the might of the king.

I thought Ruby was a really cool character. I liked riding around in her head for the most part – there was a few situations near the beginning of the book and right near the end where I seriously questioned her judgement, but overall she was a hard worker and as a teenager she’s allowed to be confused about what she wants in life. I’m kind of obsessed with elemental magic so I loved the dichotomy between Firebloods and Frostbloods: their appearance, their personalities, their cultures and customs. It was bleedingly obvious from the start that Arcus would turn into a love interest (because two young people + lots of time together to get to know each other = love), but it certainly wasn’t insta-love between the two. The author really put a lot of effort into moving the relationship forward into mutual admiration, respect, like, affection and then love. I totally bought it, and I love relationships where the couple don’t get along at first.

I really didn’t expect the plot to go where it went, but I did like the build up during Ruby’s training and I knew it had to go somewhere eventually. I think the addition of the arena scenes was a flash of inspiration and I enjoyed how long Ruby took to heal from her wounds. The only issue I had was near the end when her relationship with the king started getting icky and reminiscent of Warner from Shatter Me – and yes, I do realise that heaps of female readers think Warner is hot and desirable even though he sexually assaults Juliette. I think I am firmly on Team Arcus, if the author was trying to create ‘team’s, and the whole issue with the king just really made me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t like it when girls think being assaulted is sexy.

I found the pacing to be fine thoughout the novel. Even the part that I guess you could call boring or slow, which was Ruby’s training at the abbey, was enjoyable to read because of the sexual tension between her and Arcus, and Ruby learning to call the other monks family. What I didn’t really get the point of was the sequence where Ruby escaped, healed a sick little girl, and returned to the abbey. It had no relation to the rest of the plot except to show that she’d changed her mind about being used as a weapon to murder the king, which she already wanted to do in the first place.

I thoroughly enjoyed Frostblood. It really combined a lot of elements (ba-dump-ching!) that appeal to me. Elemental magic, strong teen girls, hot warrior love interests, royal scandals, and well-written action scenes that don’t leave our characters unscarred.

Review
4 Stars
Possession (Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy #2)
Possession: An Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Novel - C.J. Archer

This review was originally posted on Young Adult At Heart


A strange little girl summoned an evil spirit into Jacob’s sister Adelaide, and it’s up to the only other spirit medium in London, Emily Chambers, a seventeen year old mixed-race middle class working girl, to stop him before he hurts someone. Also, Jacob is broody.

Possession brings us largely the same as The Medium in that Emily must investigate this strange ghostly possession and then race against time to overcome a villain who keeps slipping out of her hands. Luckily she is aided by George, whom we met in the last book and has a large library on the supernatural, and seems to be a bit taken with Emily, and we also meet Theo in this volume, who is a relative of a man who might have been able to help pinpoint Jacob’s killer. Emily now has two real-life gentlemen protectors who love her, so what does she need that brooding, annoying ghost for? Oh yeah, she’s still in love with him, even though he’s always freaking mad at her.

In this book we get to know Jacob’s sister Adelaide a bit better, and she’s adorable. But the best character we meet is a spoiler I can’t even talk about, so you’ll just have to read the book and find out.

Possession’s biggest weakness is the villain’s ability to slip away just as our team is prepared to overcome him. Sometimes it feels a little bit dragging. I, of course, understand the need for conflict, but because of the setting, there’s only so much coach riding and waiting around while Jacob investigates as only a ghost can and visiting people to enquire after them we can do before I get annoyed at the protagonists.

Review
4 Stars
The Medium (Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy #1) by C.J. Archer
The Medium - C.J. Archer

SUMMARY

Emily Chambers is a seventeen year old orphaned spirit medium who lives with her older sister in Regency London.


PLOT

When Emily and her sister accidentally unleash a shapeshifting murderous demon from another dimension on London, the Administrators from the Waiting Area send a solid ghost called Jacob to Emily to help defeat the demon. But Jacob has secrets of his own, and Emily is determined to help find his killer.

I love how slow these books are forced to move plot wise because no one’s got a telephone and the characters have to walk everywhere to ask their suspects questions. While light on plot, this book is strong on character development, and especially on the romantic development that quickly happens between Emily and Jacob. Jacob is possibly the most handsome man Emily has ever seen, and since she’s only seventeen with all the emotional maturity of a teaspoon, she falls head over heels in love with him, even though sometimes he’s borderline abusive when he gets mad or orders her around and sometimes quite childish when he disappears on her.


CHARACTERS

Emily is our resident spirit medium. Not only is she an orphaned seventeen year old girl in Regency London, but she’s also mixed-race and not nearly pale enough to pass off as white. Luckily her sister, Celia, is white, and the two live very modestly as barely middle-class workers, charging to Emily to hold séances. Because of the nature of the business, most people think it is light entertainment or possibly fraud.

Celia is Emily’s overprotective big sister by about sixteen or so years. Too old to settle down and get married, her main goal in life is to marry off Emily and to keep her away from Jacob because obviously, what with him being dead and all, they can’t be together.

Jacob is Emily’s resident ghost, a young man who was unfortunately killed in a twisted revenge plot. For some reason he is much more solid than other ghosts, to the point where he and Emily could be intimate, if they wanted to be. He falls in love with Emily, too, and finds her exotic looks beautiful, and her brain smart and interesting.


WRITING

I love the writing in CJ’s books. Even though CJ is Australian, I always read them with very distinct English accents in place. I love the words CJ uses to describe the settings and fashion. I love the dialogue. I love the manners and the wit used against foes. I love how the genre is a mashed-together mix of historical, paranormal, urban fantasy Young Adult kind of thing.


PACING

Probably the only thing I don’t really enjoy about this book is the repetitive tendency to have to find someone’s address, approach them, interview them, and possibly return because they didn’t tell the truth the first time. After a while it gets slightly tedious. Also, the romance sometimes gets in the way of ‘there’s a murdering demon loose in London and we’ve got to stop it.’


OVERALL

I really enjoyed The Medium and I do wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes mash-up genres, historical, paranormal, romance and YA.

Blog name change!

My co-blogger and I split up.

 

It weirdly feels like a break up?

 

I'm going back to The Moonlight Library on everything I can that I haven't lost.

 

Someone stole my tumblr!

Review
4 Stars
BINGO: Sinner - a werewolf in Los Angeles
Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s Sinner is what you get when you really want to write a book about the shitty horribleness of behind the scenes reality TV and you already have the perfect character from a previous series to star in it, a washed-up charismatic teen rock star. Add in a cold and mean yet somehow irresistible love interest, perfect prose, and a love letter to Los Angeles and you have the fourth book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy series, Sinner.

 

It’s been a while since I read the series, but I remember loving it enough the paperback set and then sell that and purchase the beautiful hardcover box set. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like Cole and I might have been lukewarm about Isabel, but this book caused me to really get to know and even admire Cole (mostly through his undying and everlasting love for Isabel), and to admire and possibly even love Isabel for being the kind of give-no-fucks confident mean girl I’ve always wanted to be. I loved getting to know Cole through his swaggering overconfidence and how he mostly said and did stuff because he thought it sounded or looked cool. I loved how he was determined to do things his way. And I loved that he had many strings of relationships in the book, not just Isabel. His guileless friendship with not-quite-fatherly-figure Leon is one I hope to remember for a long time.

 

A lot of the plot revolves around Cole trying to see Isabel, Isabel somewhat denying her feelings because she doesn’t want to fall back in love with him, and Cole’s adventures as star of the reality webisode series just waiting for him to meltdown. I really bought the honesty of their relationship, although it did take me a little while to warm up to them.

 

When Sinner was first released I wasn’t entirely sure why. It wasn’t set in Minnesota, it didn’t star Sam or Grace, and quite honestly, it being about Cole didn’t really sell me. I bought it because I wanted to complete my set, but I’m really glad I’ve read it because Stiefvater’s writing is gorgeous, as usual, (and this convinced me to finally get into the Raven Boys series) and now I do understand that this unexpected fourth instalment gave us closure when it came to Cole and Isabel.

 

 

 

Read by candlelight or flashlight: 'Yuri' from Her Russian Protector by Roxie Rivera.

 

Black Cat: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 

Diverse Authors can be spooky fun: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

 

Supernatural: Goldenhand by Garth Nix

 

Grave or Graveyard: Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

 

Vampires vs Werewolves: The Vampire Stalker by Alison van Diepen

 

"Fall" into a good book - Sinner: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4 by Maggie Stiefvater.

 

BINGO!

 

FINALLY

 

It took me almost the entire two months of this challenge, but I made a bingo!

Review
3 Stars
The Vampire Stalker: A Book Boyfriend Fantasy
The Vampire Stalker - Allison van Diepen

SUMMARY
Amy is in love with the brooding fictional hero of a book series called Otherworld. Alex is a vampire hunter who accidentally finds himself in Amy’s world. Can the two figure out why their world met, and can Alex stop the vampire he’s hunting before Amy’s world is turned as dark as his own?

PLOT
I really liked the plot of The Vampire Stalker because it involved what the author called ‘literary physics’, the theory that some authors don’t make up a fictional world but somehow tap into another dimension and write about that one instead. I like it because I had the same theory when I was a teenager. I was really pleased to see someone actually make a story of this theory, even if it did involve a vampire hunter with a fan following akin to Twilight or Harry Potter. I mean, vampires are so last year, amiright? But it worked in this book.
I liked how Alex was as well-rounded a character as a real person, and even took offence to ‘his’ Chicago being referred to as ‘Otherworld’. He had a purpose and didn’t really have time for a romance to distract him. The only part of the plot that I didn’t really buy was the curfew enforced on Amy’s city when the police ‘realised’ the serial killer was a ‘real vampire’. I mean, it just seemed so fake. Even this current terrifying clown epidemic hasn’t caused any curfews, and no one is actually going to believe a real vampire is murdering people.

CHARACTERS
Another thing I found unrealistic was Amy’s close and personal friendship with her school librarian. I’m a book nerd but I would never visit my librarian’s house for dinner after ‘working late’ or whatever it is she was doing, or consider her a friend. It seems pretty inappropriate for a member of staff to be interacting with pupils that way, especially out of hours. Also it seemed that Amy wasn’t that close to the librarian to begin with, then all of a sudden they have this history together and she trusts her with Alex’s secret. And this librarian is OK with this weird teenager just coming to live with her.
And of course Amy was the kind of mousy-haired, non-makeup-wearing, book-loving YA heroine every brooding bad boy goes nuts for. And her book boyfriend just happened to be the less popular of the two male leads in the book series – because the more popular one is already in a relationship with a female vampire. But the thing I missed most was any kind of chemistry between the two – here was more chemistry when Alex was yelling at her and saving her life rather than any sweet, romantic moments between the two. I still don’t see what Alex saw in Amy – she’s your paint-by-numbers typical YA heroine, bland as beige and designed to appeal to the masses.

WRITING
Mind you, there was nothing particularly memorable about the writing. The best thing about this book was the literary physics theory – oh yeah, did I mention that ‘helpful, friendly high school librarian’ who is more than happy to run around two teenagers to book events also used to be a physicist who came up with the theory? That’s why she recognises Alex. I did find the reaction of the poor author who thought she imagined this world quite realistic – once she recognises her own villain is out to get her, she can only call her hero for help. But really, the whole point of this book is to bring some teen girls’ fantasy to life and see what it might actually be like if your book boyfriend stepped into your world and got to know you.

OVERALL
With a bland heroine and no spark between the two romantic interests, the positive is that if you don’t take it too seriously the book is a cute, fluffy, quick read and the other characters all seem well-rounded. I thought the somewhat original premise was given a great boost by the literary physics theory but unfortunately the writing itself lacked punch as well.

 

 

Read by candlelight or flashlight: 'Yuri' from Her Russian Protector by Roxie Rivera.

 

Black Cat: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 

Diverse Authors can be spooky fun: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

 

Supernatural: Goldenhand by Garth Nix

 

Grave or Graveyard: Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

 

Vampires vs Werewolves: The Vampire Stalker by Alison van Diepen

Review
4 Stars
The Thief
The Thief - Megan Whalen Turner

I was drawn to read The Thief because I’d heard amazing things about its sequel, The Queen of Attolia, and I wanted to get into the series and see what everyone was so excited about.

The Thief is the story of a – you guessed it – thief named Gen who is forced into using his considerable talent against his will for the benefit of a king he’s not particularly loyal to. Gen was a likeable character if not an entirely reliable narrator and I think that helped elevate the story. Out of the other characters which were overwhelmingly men, there were several I never grew warm to and one I never could quite figure out. Luckily Gen can carry the novel with the strength of his narrative and his integrity, even as a thief with honour. He was a likeable protagonist who worked hard and had a problem with giving up, which I found appealing.

During the road trip part of the novel there’s a lot of world building including vivid descriptions of geography and mythology retold by the various characters. At first I thought all of the world building was slowing the story down a little, but during the unfolding of the narrative it soon became clear why I was handed so much information. Particularly the geographical notes were essential to one of the puzzles Gen had to figure out, and I loved the originality in mythology, and I think it helped create quite a firm idea of Gen’s world.

I loved the way Turner combined several out-of-time real-world items to create her own world. While not based on the Greek Pantheon of gods and goddesses, the landscape was clearly Greek inspired and with inventions from all over time including gunpowder, the pocket watch and the printing press all smushed together in one book it is clearly not based on any particular time period or place, but it works together as one cohesive story.

I found the pace to be a little slow even when there was a deadline for narrative goals, but it was certainly worth pushing through those slightly dull moments to finishing the book and I think it was a great introduction to what I predict will be an enjoyable, imaginative and original fantasy series.

I received this book for free from the Coop Bookshop in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
An Average ending to a Brilliant Series
Up From the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

SPOILERS

 

I’m not reviewing this for my blog but I am claiming it as part of Halloween Bingo and I do have some feels about the final book in the Night Huntress series so let me just say…

 

-read more-

My name is Nemo.

By day I work in IT, by night I turn into a vigilante kitten snuggler.

 

"A good book resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper."

- David Quammen