And this is Why I Don’t Like Harco: Carry on by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Source: GoodReads

When I found out about Carry On, I figured it would be either epic or not so epic.  It fell in the latter category for me.

I’ve never really have been a Rainbow Rowell fan girl.  I’ve only read Fangirl and a short story by her.  And while I liked Fangirl enough, the short story was lacking.

Then there’s also the fact that I sort of skimmed all the Simon Snow fan fiction because Simon and Baz reminded me of Harco (Harry and Draco) and I’m not a fan of Harco.

I was hoping though, that with further development I could love Simon and Baz, that they would not have the same toxicity of Harco….but…I didn’t like the book and it wasn’t because of the relationship.  Though, I didn’t sense any chemistry between either Simon and Baz (and I was about 200 pages in before I gave up).

What really threw me off from this book was how vague it was.

Objectively, the construction isn’t halfway bad.  It’s readable.  And that’s actually a pretty decent accomplishment in YA-read a Colleen Houck book and then tell me that it’s readable and then get back to me.  Although, the multiple POV changes are grating after awhile, especially since they’re so random and some of the chapters are obscenely short.

That vague feeling was what bothered me about the whole experience.  I think the world building was intentionally vague, in part, so that it couldn’t outright rip off Harry Potter-but who are we kidding we know it was basically the substitute of Harry Potter in Fangirl Rowell basically out right says it.  But instead of sort of parodying Potter fics in the best of ways, it’s one of those fics I’d automatically x-nay because it’s just too random.

Like I said, the summary and cover seem to indicate that Baz and Simon are going to be a thing, but Baz doesn’t even make an appearance until a good quarter of the book (150) and Simon seems too focus on his girlfriend to even notice him-save to whine about how he cheated with said girlfriend.

I guess one could make the argument that Rowell is showing the randomness of some fandom ships-because let’s face it in fandom you see it all.  There are Giant Squid fics out there, people.  But I really don’t think that’s what she was intending.  To me, it was almost as if she wanted us to forget that Carry On was a fan fic written by Cath and not the cannon Simon Snow.

I think that might’ve been what killed the story.

If the book would’ve sort of gone all out there in parody mode with it’s tropes it might’ve been more enjoyable to me.  Instead, it read very, very, bland with a plot that seemed to want to hide itself.

Which is fine, perfectly fine if you’re not trying to make a parody of Harry Potter.

The reason Harry Potter works so well is that it’s plots are so absorbing as well as the characters.  I couldn’t get absorbed in either aspect here.  I wanted to love Simon and Baz, and was thinking hey maybe when Baz gets involved into this mess it will work better but….

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

In fact, the chemistry between the two was so lacking it made me sad. Simon’s relationship with Agatha broke up ridiculously fast.  I didn’t get why they were a couple either, but it really reminded me of a fan fic where the cannon pairing it broken up fast to force another couple together.

And that couple was Simon and Baz.

Honestly, out of the amount of interaction the characters were having if anyone should’ve been a couple it should’ve been Simon and Penny…but….no.

Clearly in the friend zone like Hermione.  ANd of course, that’s not the couple I was rooting for.  I was rooting for Simon and Baz, but more or less because of the blurb and the cover.  When together, they weren’t that magical.  In fact, they were sort of forced together like Harco is often forced together.

And that dear readers, is not a good thing.

Overall Rating: It’s a DNF,  I’m giving it the higher ranking of DNF (two stars on GoodReads) because the structure was fairly decent and for the most part it was readable.  But it really didn’t work for me.

TBR Pile: What My Credit Card Bill is Thankful For

It’s November.  Which means Thanksgiving and one month before Christmas, and all of that stuff.  Actually, November is probably my favorite month of the year.  You can look forward to Christmas, but don’t have to deal with Post Christmas Depression.  Anyway, here’s my orders list and two I’m going to really try to read it reads.

Preorders:

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer: I am really looking forward to this book, but am sad that this series is ending.  I figure when I read it I’ll pretty much lock myself in my apartment for the weekend-oh, wait, I do that a lot anyway (my neighbors are sort of scary), but I probably won’t cook that weekend and clean and stuff.
  • Ten Thousands Skies Above You by Claudia Gray: This is my cheese series.  I like it even though it’s probably not the best book for my mom.
  • Soundless by Richelle Mead: It’s Richelle Mead.  I’m a little nervous though.  A lot of my trusted friendly reviews haven’t exactly been thrilled with this one.  So….
  • Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young: Haunted hotels.  I’m so in.

Four, so far and hopefully that’s it (likely–not that likely).  This is good since October was very heavy in the book buying month.  I’ll probably go into town once in November and do a book buying adventure then and I might go to Barnes and Noble’s when I’m in civilization in November-or at least do an Amazon binge on Cyber Monday.

Most Looking forward Release:

Um, duh.  I really want to read this one.  I’ll be posting my results of my reread soon.

Scheduled Reads:

I’ll admit, I’m a little bit of a political junkie and since November is election month…why not?

Do Judge a Book By Its Cover: Dress Up Time

It’s October which means Halloween is coming!  I thought I’d look at covers where the characters on the cover appear like they’re wearing some sort of costume.

Who Is She:

Lady Mary Crawley, duh.  In this spinoff mystery book to Downtown Abbey Lady Mary finds out that there is a secret deep within the manor.  Will she discover it by the end of the book, or will it be as infuriating as the plots are in the actual TV show and readers will have to wait an entire year before figuring out what’s going on in the dungeons of the manor.

What the Book is Actually About:

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

Source: GoodReads

Win or Fail: 

Win.  It does capture the mood perfectly.  Though she really looks like Michelle Dockery.

Who Is She:

Robin Hood.  Yes, in this gender bending version of Robin Hood (becuase gender bending YA is all the rage thanks to Stephenie Meyer) Robin and her band of merry ladies fight the evil Queen Johanna.  Will Robin be able to steal from the rich and give to the poor while catching the eye of Lord Marlin?

What the Book is Really About:

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Source: GoodReads

Win or Fail:

Confusing.  The cover is not bad, but I dont get it.  And yeah, I did sort of DNF the book and all but it just conveys Lady Robin Hood, and this is NOT a Robin Hood retelling.

Who are They:

Martians with extremely bad fashion choices-those tights- and who don’t know how to hold a weapon properly.

What the Book is Really About:

In this hilarious, action-packed conclusion to The Ever-Expanding Universe trilogy, teen mom Elvie Nara is on a quest across the universe to save her daughter (and maybe stop an alien race war in the process).

After dealing with killer whales, evil scientists, the return of her long-lost mother and, certainly not least of all, the challenges of breastfeeding, Elvie Nara has just about had it. And then the Jin’Kai (along with the aforementioned estranged mom) kidnap her baby.

And before she knows it, another Jin’Kai attack puts her on the run again, but not before discovering that Olivia was implanted with a genetic tracking device. So along with Cole, Ducky, and her dad, Elvie goes back out into space to follow the signal. There she finds evil Dr. Marsden up to some evil tricks and realizes that Mars may hold the secret to defeating her enemies once and for all. So, off to Mars she goes. Because alien race war aside, Elvie really wants to be back with her daughter. For a kid she wasn’t even sure she wanted, Olivia has come to mean the world to Elvie—and she’ll search the universe to be with her again.

Source: GoodReads

Win or Fail:

Fail, fail, fail, fail, fail.  How many times must I say that?

 

Who Is She:

Chocolate Onasis will do anything to do be a celebrity.  These are her exploits.

What the Book is Really About:

“The divine Shiraz Bailey Wood is back in this hilarious sequel to “Diary of a Chav” to enlighten us with her signature brand of madcap humor on her demented, glorious life in the gritty suburbs of London.”
Chav: (n.): 1. A word that makes most Brits think of hoodies, hip hop, bling, and trouble. (It ain’t a good fing, bruv.)
At the end of the school year, 16-year-old Shiraz Bailey Wood isn’t expecting incredible grades. But when her test results come in, she’s astonished to discover that not only did she pass them all, but that she’s also actually clever! Emboldened by an invite to higher-level classes, Shiraz decides she can’t waste her brain power frying eggs for minimum wage at the greasy spoon Mr. Yolk. So even in spite of her Mum’s objections that it ain’t her place, Shiraz enrolls in SuperchavAcademy’s “Center of Excellence” to get even brainier.
Setting forth into the heady field of academia and hanging out with other boffin types seems like just the ticket to avoid getting stuck living like a chav forever in crappy Goodmayes Essex. Smooth-talking lads with whopping allowances tempt her-but Shiraz has to figure out: are these posh types really any better? Or maybe being a chav might not be all that bad-as long as it stands for Charming, Hilarious, Articulate, and Vibrant.

Source: GoodReads

Win or Lose:

Lose. I liked the first book enough, BUT that cover makes it very difficult to want to read said book.

Who is She: A BAMF with a cape and seems to wield a sword and perhaps water magic.  Bonus points if the love interest turns out to be a pirate-one can hope, right?

What is the Book Really About:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Source: GoodReads

Win or Lose:

Win.  I like how there seems to be a nostalgic nod to old 80’s fantasy covers.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Characters to Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week the topic is fair game as well as it’s Halloween oriented.  I thought for this week, I’d look at the ten best character to dress up like and I’d provide some tips about how to dress like them-or links, since I’m not really in a tip like mood.

Because Halloween, that’s why.

10) Bella Swan: I actually did a how to guide for this character a couple of years ago, so I’m going to link it here.  Honestly, what I think might be a more interesting costume is going as Beauford Swan.  Okay, maybe not he’s just as boring as Bella.  It is though a fairly easy costume to do.  Just practice your Kristen Stewart I don’t give a flip/haven’t showered in a week look and you’ll be ready to go.

9) Nancy Drew: Another character I did a dress up guide too.  This one is fun because there are so many versions of Nancy you can go as.  The sleek looking vintage version, the mom jeans wearing video game version, or you could always go for one of the various movie or television adaptation versions.

8) Any Meg Cabot Character: Because they’re ridiculously easy to dress like and it’s sort of cheat since I did multiple Polyvore sets for the characters.  What’s so nice about these characters though is that most of them are average day girls whose sense in fashion is usually described in express detail.

7)The Lunar Chronicles: I haven’t made any sets or guides for how to dress these characters, but I think a Halloween costume-a good Halloween costume would be to dress like these characters.  I actually saw some people dress like these characters at a book signing (wish I would’ve gotten some photos).  What I think is so interesting about the costumes that I saw was that they could be fairly simple or elaborate.  Personally, the more elaborate the better.  You could use one of these Once Upon a Time costumes for inspiration.

6) The Blue Bloods Characters: Okay, I know.  I’m sort of rehashing my What Would ___ Wear series that I did.  But it’s an essential Halloween guide IMHO.  It gives you pictures of clothes that you can use for your inspiration.  If you like wearing OTT couture go as one of these characters.  You also can make it a little more traditional Halloween-y by drawing veins on your arms or what not.

5) Jane Austen or Other Regency Characters: If you’re more of a romantic type you might want to dress like a Regency character.  Not surprisingly, there are a few shops on Etsy that sell regency inspired dresses.  Some you can even tailor to perfection.

4) Harry Potter and the gang: A good old standby if there ever was one. However, what I think might be more original is going as one of the side characters like Severus Snape or Hagrid.  This guy seems to have the Snape thing down pact.

3) Anyway YA Girl in a Ballgown: Meaning about 70% of YA book covers.  This could actually be a parody costume-to a degree-and a great way to reuse an old prom dress.

2) Lola Nolan from Lola and the Boy Next Door: I did a series of Lola looks last year in my Isla reread.  She’s great to dress up for Halloween because she dresses for Halloween all year around.

1) The Headless Horseman: Because why not go with a classic.

 

Not Amused: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Source: GoodReads

Full disclosure.  I DNF’d this one around page eighty.  I’ll probably be giving it away in a give away at some point.  I think I read enough though to give a review of why it didn’t work for me.

Anyway, I was excited about this book.  I  had it on my TBR list for awhile, and saved reading it for this week-Halloween week.  The thing is, it did not work for me.

I was expecting instant love, but what I wasn’t expecting was some fucked up world building (meaning, lots and lots of info dump).

In theory, I should’ve loved this.  A lot of the world is heavily rooted in Pre-Columbian America, but I just couldn’t connect.  And when there was a random naked ritual that sounded borderline like an orgy.  I left the building.

I read Brave New World, that’s enough orgy porgy for a lifetime, thank you very much.

The random naked trope just annoys me.  It’s not because I’m a prude, but random moments of nakedness with no explanation other than to make the main character uncomfortable and add sexual undertones to the story just doesn’t work for me.

It also doesn’t help when eighty pages into the book, the characters remind me of cardboard cut outs.  The main character clearly has the YA Little Miss Special Snowflake going on for her.  Her brother is playing the role of the token best friend.  And her mother’s a deadbeat.  I didn’t stay long enough to meet the love interest, but I don’t think I could’ve handled the pain.

Despite being annoyed with the cliches this book used and the main character, I will say that it moved first.  But there was just something weird about this book.  Something that didn’t connect with me so I DNF’d it.

So in the end, I’m not sure if I DNF’d it because it really didn’t work for me.  I’m not sure if it’s so much because the book wasn’t for me or that it suffered from structural and character issues.

I can’t recommend it, but at the same time I can’t say it’s truly awful.  Because I really see some people liking this better than me.

Overall Rating: A DNF.  It fails for me though.

Patty Beagle Presents: When Stephenie Meyer Hit the Find and Replace Button

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Twilight! This special double-feature book includes the classic novel, Twilight, and a bold and surprising reimagining, Life and Death, by Stephenie Meyer.

Packaged as an oversize, jacketed hardcover “flip book,” this edition features nearly 400 pages of new content as well as exquisite new back cover art. Readers will relish experiencing the deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful love story of Bella and Edward through fresh eyes.

Twilight has enraptured millions of readers since its first publication in 2005 and has become a modern classic, redefining genres within young adult literature and inspiring a phenomenon that has had readers yearning for more. The novel was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a #1USA Today bestseller, a Time magazine Best Young Adult Book of All Time, an NPR Best-Ever Teen Novel, and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. The Twilight Saga, which also includes New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, has sold nearly 155 million copies worldwide.

Source: GoodReads

Once upon a time, a  woman made millions by writing a self-insert fantasy based on a dream she had where a super glamorous version of her made out with Henry Cavil* in a meadow.

I was not that woman.

Hurricane Patty

Adorable, cute, perfect. All of these descriptions describe yours truly.

For one thing, if I was going to write about my dreams it would involve me being the only puppy in my house-no pesky Chihuahuas or terriers-and eating a big juicy steak.  There would be no vampires because, ew, drinking blood is nasty.

Alas, no one is interested in hearing the fantasies of a perfectly sweet and demure Beagle.

I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you people.  Especially when said woman ten years later publishes the same book but hits find and replace on all the pronouns making all the sires bitches and all the bitches sires.

That is just so confusing.

Oh, it could be interesting.  Like you know if there was really a purpose other than changing the genders, BUT there was no purpose.

Instead, it just showed how archaic Ms. Meyer’s views of gender are.

Yes, 2005 was ten years ago but gender norms haven’t really evolved that much in ten years ago.  At least not to the extent that Stephenie Meyer would like you to think.

Take for instance the author’s note that deals with the non-gender swap between Charlie and Renee.  Back in the late 80’s early 90’s according to Meyer, bio-daddies weren’t likely to get sole custody unless the mother was a crack head.

Um, nope.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Times infinity.

This legal beagle knows from her owner’s family law case books and life stories, that plenty of single men raised their kids  back then.  The court doesn’t look at gender generally speaking, and there are plenty other excuses besides the fact that Charlie-who I will rename Charlene could’ve not had primary custody of Beau.  But whatever.

This comes from the same woman that thinks boy’s can’t be raped.  Obviously, she did not watch the two plus year old story on One Life to Live where crazy Margret kidnapped Not Todd Manning and we were forced to endure the year long pregnancy slash baby napping of their son.  Then again, a lot of people don’t get that men can be raped.  Just ask the characters Graham and Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time.  It’s really sad though, that this can’t be addressed and instead Beau and Royal (what a stupid ass name, not even my call name HRH The Pretty Precious Princess, is that ridiculous).

Me while reading this.

Me while reading this.

Even little issues like Bonnie (used to be Billy) not going fishing with Charlie because it isn’t manly and Beau fainting because he has vasovagal syncope-a disorder that might my owner add mainly affects women, she would know because she was handed a handout for said disorder because she  suffers from it-which they proceed to make bad jokes about for half a chapter because heaven forbid Beau faints because he can’t stand blood because he’s a boy.

It’s funny how “traditional” Meyer is with her use on gender.  I say traditional becuase many of what are proclaimed to be traditional gender norms, aren’t really that traditional.  Like the color pink.  Up until the relative recent past, it was commonly worn by boys rather than girls.  And one of MJ’s annoying baby Chihuahua puppies name is Pinky.   And yes, he’s a he.

Pinky the annoying puppy.

Pinky the annoying puppy.  Brainy the annoying puppy is in the background.

So there, Meyer, the so called gender norms you believe in nobody buys it.  See Pinky the annoying Chihuahua for Exhibit A.

Most of Life and Death consisted of Meyer retelling Twilight where Beau likes the color blue better and still cooks Charlie lasagna, but eats it all instead of waxing about not having a bite.

Seriously, it’s lasagna, Charlie.  Everyone loves lasagna.

Well, cartoon orange cats and beagles like it.

Anyway, Charlie throws a hissy fit.  Which I think is so over the top because I eat the last bites of lasagna-or really anything that I’m allowed to eat all the time.

That’s the main difference between this and Twilight, besides the ending which is probably the best part about this book.

If Twilight only ended this way then we wouldn’t have three sequels.  Okay, so Meyer kind of half asses the ending, but it’s a better ending.  Feels much more realistic since no one turns into a pervert, there’s no baby Loch Ness monster, and Beau actually has to deal with (gasp) consequences.

Albeit, the consequences don’t last that very long.

And Beau is like I don’t give a damn I have ultra skinny vampire girlfriend to keep me happy.

It’s truly disturbing how Edythe’s attractiveness is described by her extreme thinness.  I don’t know what Meyer is thinking.  I am a corpulent Beagle and am still considered to be very, very, cute.  Adorable.  Except when there are baby Chihuahuas involved.

I hate baby Chihuahuas.

They ruin everything.  Do you know I have to spend most of my days outside now?  Who wants to do that?  And they poop on my bed-oh, the indignity.

Bed Patty

My bed has been defiled!

The point is, Edythe is like a baby Chihuahua unreal looking.  And that means she sucks*.

You know who I kept thinking Edythe was throughout Lady Edith from Downton Abbey.  Except Lady Edith isn’t stupid enough to spell her name that way or become a vampire.

Vampires suck.

That’s one of the lessons I learned from this book because, you know, you have to learn a lesson from every book you read.

Really though anyone should just skip this because this book is just so bad, I’m not even interested in it even though I got some much needed attention (meaning, more food).  Originally my owner wanted to write an article about gender in YA, but after reading this she couldn’t because she told me it was a book so bad it would be like kicking a puppy to write a review.  Hence, why I am discussing it.

I’ll go back to being tormented by those evil Chihuahuas now.  Look at what my life’s become….le sigh.

Thank You,

Patty Beagle

*Patty states Henry Cavil, because he was the choice Meyer originally had in mind to play Edward before being deemed too old.

*Note I disagree with Patty, personally I think baby Chihuahuas are adorable and don’t look anything like the Cullens.

The Gods Approve (Sort Of): The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Source: GoodReads

Bookish Confession: I never read a Riordan book before.

Or all the books by this author I should’ve read already.

I don’t know why, I know they’re extremely popular, but they’ve sort of flown under the radar for me.

I picked this one up though, mainly because I am interested in learning more about Norse mythology and have just had such horrible luck finding such a book that’s decent.

Grant it, the one series I read with Norse mythology in it was The Witches of East End (ugh, Uncle Arthur and Freddie) and that series pretty much blows, so anything has to be an improvement on it.

I actually liked The Sword of Summer quite a bit.  Magnus was an interesting main character, and the book didn’t fall to many pitfalls that other books in the genre did.

I think what I liked the best about it that it wasn’t romance heavy at all.  In fact, there was no romance there.  And sometimes, just sometimes I want a romance free novel and this is it.

I think if I was to describe this book it would be like a buddy flick with some Thor thrown in.  It’s just pure fun.  To be fair though, I don’t know if it handles it’s source material with that much accuracy.  Then again to be fair, it just might.  My recollection of Norse myths are pretty bleak.  Ask me about Greek mythology and then I can get picky.  So if I knew more about Norse mythology, I might’ve not had liked it as much as I did.

The characters are all fleshed out.  The main character was delightful and felt surprisingly realistic, despite his circumstances.  The actual plot, while using the typical quest formula didn’t feel old to me like it usually does in these sorts of books.  I also liked how there were humor in this book.  It’s so hard to find humor-at least entertaining humor in YA these days.

The thing is, even though I enjoyed The Sword of Summer, it was hardly a perfect book.  It was a little bit on the cheesy side, and I could see the series quickly going down hill, but right now I enjoyed it for what it was.

Overall Rating: A solid B+ a nice start to the start of a series especially if you’re a Norse or Riordan neophyte like yours truly.

 

 

Shallow Pet Post: Puppies!

The below post features a lot of pictures of my new long haired Chihuahua puppies-Pinky and Brainy (yes, I named them after the 90’s cartoon characters).  I just got them this weekend.  They’re currently living with my mom until after I take the bar here, but you know…puppy pictures.  So,  if you don’t like puppies or extreme cuteness stop reading now.

THe Kids

 

The pups are currently staying at home right now-my mother is holding them in the picture (she hates getting her photo taken, so I’m actually surprised my sister convinced her to take this shot).  Pinky is the white little boy, and Brainy is the dark headed little girl.

Pinky ears

Was sent this picture today.  Apparently his ears have finally popped up.  The vet said it took so long because he’s currently teething (they are 10 1/2 weeks old and weigh a little over two pounds.

Dolly and DP JR

Dolly (my sister’s rat terrier) and Brainy are holding paws.  I think she thinks Brainy is her long lost baby.

IMG_20151011_202841Pinky with my mom’s dog, Baby.  Baby hasn’t been doing the best lately, but she seems to like Pinky.

Candy Corn

Brainy modeling her spiffy candy corn jacket.

Moom

Finally, a photo of Patty (barking) because if I don’t include a picture of her here she’ll be even more jealous than she already is.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Mash Ups

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s  topic is top ten mash ups.  To shake things up I’m not only matching authors with other authors, but authors with screen writers as well because why not.

10)Stephenie Meyer and Stephen King: Because it would be a mash up from hell.  Mwhahahahaha.  Come to think of it, the mash up from hell would probably be Stephenie Meyer and EL James (but I don’t want to start the apocalypse with vampires who are obsessed with tampons).  Actually, I’d like to see what King would do to the Twilight characters.  I’m sure if anyone could make them interesting or at least have a crazy clown kill all of them.

9)Ellie Marney, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss: There are so many Dr. Who spinoffs why can’t there be a Sherlock spinoff that’s really an adaptation of Marney’s Every trilogy.  Marney can write a great mystery and you could totally adapt the second book to have Sherlock and Watson meet up with Mycroft and Watts.  Sold, sold, sold.

8)Huntley Fitzpatrick and Sarah Dessen: Because duh.  It would be the contemporary of the ages.

7)Melissa de la Cruz and Ron Carlivati: Because de la Cruz writes soap opera and Carlivati used to write soap operas until he dragged out his story lines for two plus years and ratings tanked.  All kidding aside though, when Carlivati wants to he can write decently (actually he can write pretty good ).  I think if anyone wanted to turn Blue Bloods into a TV show he would be the one to go too.  He’d probably adapt the books into something a little more campy than de la Cruz did-though I really don’t know how much cheesier you can get when you have your 16 year old characters refer to each other as “my love” the point is I think if you had these two collaborate it could be interesting good or not so good.  I’m hoping for good.

6)Jennifer Lynn Barnes and Ally Carter: I think they’re friends IRL, so this could potentially totally happen.  And I wish it would.  At the very least I think there could be a crossover between the Gallagher Girls and The Fixer.

5)Sarah J Maas and Rosamunde Hodge: Because epic fairytale retelling.  That’s why.

4)Lisa Kleypas and Judith McNaught: I’ve been reading a lot of historical romances by these ladies lately.  I enjoy their books, but I feel like both authors are missing something the other has down pact.  Why not combine the two?

3)JK Rowling and Marissa Meyer: Because book would be total boss.  Both the authors excel in world building and I would read anything by both of them.  Though I know it’s sort of a weird pick since cyborgs and wizards are two completely different things.  Though Cinder has mind magic (sort of, it’s really bio electricity).

2)Jane Austen and Any Historical Romance Novelist: Hey, there was nothing on this list that I couldn’t feature a dead author.  I think it would be hilarious to see how Austen would react to a modern day regency novel.  Especially the sex scenes.  But what would be even better would be a collaboration of old and new, I would totally eat up a book like that.  Oh yeah, we get Austen retellings but they just lack the magic that an actual Austen novel has.

1)Meg Cabot and Amy Sherman Palladino: I would kill for a book or a TV show collaboration form these two.  I think there are plenty of Cabot books already perfect for collaboration.  Queen of Babble, I think would be a nice choice.  Of course, Lizzie movies to New York City and that’s a little bit different than Stars Hollow but I can imagine the snappy dialogue  and how Sherman Palladino could flesh out the side characters.  Teen Idol would also be a good one to expand on and bonus that it has the small town setting.   Heck, they could even pay Meg Cabot to be a consult for an entire new project with Palladino and it would be killer.

 

 

If Jane Austen Met a Hot Gambler: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

She stood at danger’s threshold—then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven’s dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London’s most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper “mouse” can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion…and the promise of love.

Source: GoodReads

This book could also be known  as Jane Austen Did Have a Happily Ever After and Married a Reform Rouge.

Okay, Sara is not exactly Jane Austen.  Instead of writing witty commentaries on society, she writes gritty books about undesirables that might even have Dickens blush.  And she’s out researching a novel-because unlike certain authors she doesn’t rely on Wikipedia as her only source material (Not that there was Wikipedia back in her day) and ends up saving super hot and rich Derek.

Of course, things develop from there.

But first Derek and Sara have to deal with obstacles.

And while the obstacles in romances always annoy me to some degree, I couldn’t help but swoony at them throughout it.

Lisa Kleypas is one of those authors I can usually count on for a solid experience.  Some of her books are better than others, but none of them I’ve read so far have been bad.

This one while not the best Kleypas’s book I ever read, was thoroughly enjoyable.  The characters were richly described.  Particularly, Derek.  The side characters also held my interest enough where I’ll probably-okay, I know-I’ll be indulging in their stories later (I bought a lot of Kleypas’s books on Amazon a couple of weeks ago).

The characters also deviated enough from the typical Regency stereotypes which made it more enjoyable.  I liked that Derek was a self made man-something you hardly ever see in these books and that Sara wasn’t a the stereotypical pathetic spinster.

Instead, she was a kick ass activist with a pistol.

The characters themselves were stellar.

The plot.

Eh….

It was just sort of stagnant, while there was more excitement than Again the Magic, the villain though annoyed me.

I just really expected more from Kleypas than to use that trope of all things. I just didn’t like how one note that villain and it made what was a good book a bit over dramatic.

Still though, Dreaming of You is probably one of the better historical romances I’ve read recently. I liked the characters and their backstories, and their romance was charming.  I just wish there wasn’t that over the top melodramatic villain.

Overall Rating: A solid B.