13.10.15

Musings: I'm going out of town and you can't come with me

musings       nola





Hey, friends!  

I'm going to be on hiatus this week while I go conference it up in the beautiful New Orleans.  

Expect me back next week with some sporadic posts, and things will get back into full swing by the end of October.  

Cheers, 



9.10.15

#BBCreativity Project Yellow Team: #QuietYA, featuring Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

#quietya


The fantabulous Nori has decided to bring bloggers together to try some new things and get creative.  Me and the most awesome Yellow Team decided, for our project, to highlight some of those young adult books that didn't get the big press releases, that aren't being made into movies, that flew under the radar--but that are still fantastic!  For more great #QuietYA titles, check out the other members of Yellow Team:  Stefani, Karina Romano, Kim, Sara, Emma K, Lauren, The Book Jar Blog, and, of course, Nori.

My choice is... 






synopsis 


"An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen lens." - Kirkus Reviews

Becca and Johnny become entangled after a car crash steals the lives of two people they love. Officially, the crash is an accident. But Becca and Johnny are convinced: someone did this.

As they plot revenge against the person responsible, a bond—intense, unyielding, and manic—takes hold of them. And in an unexpected turn of events, they fall for each other.

Or so they think.

In an upside-down world where decay is beautiful and love and hate become one, Becca and Johnny find themselves grappling with reality. Nothing is exactly what it seems, including what they've come to believe about the crash. Question is: will they learn the truth before it's too late?

No. The question is: when they learn the truth, will they care?


why you want it


No one was as excited about this book as I was.  I feel pretty comfortable saying that.  I first came across it when it was published in its original German as Silber, with a wicked Tim Burton-y cover that I still prefer to the U.S. edition.  I waited longingly, unknowing if it would ever be translated into a language I can speak (aka English, because American school system).  And then it happened.  It happened!  Dream a Little Dream was mine!

And it was just what I'd always wanted.  I raced through it, delighting in every page of the bubbly, exciting plot.  All the ingredients are there:  an innovative dream world, a sinister plot, a curious and independent heroine, and an adorably healthy romance.  Seriously, all the swooning.  (Did I mention there are British boys who recite poetry and play guitar?)  Moreover, the writing is that dryly humorous, subtly pretty style that I can't get enough of.  Finally, the book has this magical quality.  I can't put my finger on how, but it gives off the same feelings of bubbly whimsy that I get when reading Howl's Moving Castle.  My main complaint?  The sequel isn't out yet.  

If you love fantasy in any capacity, check out Dream a Little Dream.  It's a wickedly funny, but still poignant adventure through surreal dreamscapes and human foibles, with characters you'll insta-love.  



your thoughts


What are your favorite #QuietYA books?    

 



6.10.15

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I want to forget I ever read for personal reasons

top ten tuesday                tbr



Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  


Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

Let me just claw out my soul.  



c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten


one After the Red Rain - Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, & Robert DeFranco 

Stop.  No.  Never.  The plot of this was so ludicrous and saccharine that I wanted to rip out my teeth through my skull.  Just imagine that.  
two
Asylum - Madeline Roux 

I wanted to like this book so badly.  It had ghosts!  It had asylums!  It had serial killers!  But then the plot was draggy and the characters were flat and I cried inside.  

three Insanity - Susan Vaught 

Again, how could you possibly go wrong with ghosts and asylums?  Like this.  With a series of episodic find monster-kill monster-repeats until you reach the end and are like wtf just happened?  
four Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyers 

I shouldn't even have to explain this one.  Renesmee.  Also there was no plot.  To the extent that the movie makers had to MAKE UP a plot for the second movie.  Also Renesmee.  
five
Fire and Flood - Victoria Scott 


This wasn't awful, but it wasn't that great either.  It was sort of derivative and meh and I could figure out the ending by the end, but I didn't even care.  
six Switched - Amanda Hocking 

I read this because I wanted to know her secret.  Apparently it's typos and stalker trolls.  Also...hot trolls.  Just let that settle.  
seven Trial by Fire - Joseph Angelini 

I kinda lost it around the time that Lily and Rowan fell in love out of nowhere and then Rowan and Tristan rubbed Lily's naked body in herbal paste and wrapped her in mummy cloths.  

eight Eleanor and Park -  Rainbow Rowell 

I think of this book and I feel like that weird outsider kid who picks their nose at the lame kids' table.  Why didn't I love it!? Why didn't I think it was adorable and cute!? Why did I find it boring!? 
nine Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater 

I tried so hard to love this.  Maggie seems like a really cool lady.  But the girl fell in love with a wolf.  Am I the only one who finds that kind of creeptastic!?  Also nothing happened for like 100 pages.  

ten Crimson Bound - Rosamunde Hodge 

I just don't get it.  Cruel Beauty = gorgeous, slow burning romance with unique world and whimsical plot.  Crimson Bound = random generic heroine and instalove and I don't even remember what happened.  



3.10.15

Discussion: Halloween month goals, or C.J. takes on all the creeptastic things



discussion             halloween goals




I'm sorry, have we met before?  I'm C.J.  I thrive on all things creepy, disturbing, macabre, morbid, dreadful, ghastly, grisly, funereal, moribund, nightmarish, bizarre, uncanny, eerie, and otherwise upsetting to the vast majority of the human population.  
In that spirit, I've decided that this Halloween month, I'm not going to squander my 31 days of fearful fun.  So I'm making myself a list of dark delights and I plan to accomplish every one of them.  And in case you too are a little off in the head, perhaps you can find this list...useful.  



to read 

House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski 

A Madness So Discreet - Mindy McGinnis 

Hollow City - Ransom Riggs 

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl - Paige McKenzie 

The Doll Collection - ed. Ellen Datlow 


to watch 

The Babadook 

Children of the Corn 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 

The Omen 

The Taking of Deborah Logan 

The Devil's Rejects 

Ju-On: The Grudge 

Funny Games 


to watch again

The Nightmare Before Christmas 

Donnie Darko 









2.10.15

ARC Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

review         book



I'll Meet You Theretitle: Legacy of Kings
author: Eleanor Herman
pages: 384
format: Paperback
isbn/asin: 978-0399171611
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 3.5/5 (from hated to loved) or 6.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Court of Fives by Kate Elliott, the T.V. show Spartacus, and other cinematic historical tales.
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


in short


I'm a fanatic when it comes to the classical period.  I mean, I took Latin in high school.  That should give you a hint.  So, I was immediately struck with grabby hands when I found out that a bonafide, badass historian was going to write a fantasy about Alexander the Great.  What's the switch from writing sexy histories about scandalous emperors to teen fantasy romance look like?  Pretty good.  I wish I could say great.  The story just dragged on so, and there was an almost wide-eyed innocent quality to the writing that read a little too young.  There are also plot points that had my BS detector singing.  Yet, I trucked steadily through this book as though entranced, and I think I can attribute that to the history.  Herman's portrayal of classical Macedonia is so lush and lifelike that I found myself as interested in the descriptions of clothing and court customs as I was in the story (perhaps more).  If you can muscle through the slowness, it's worth it for the atmosphere.  

in depth


The story begins with Kat, an orphaned village girl with a special affinity for animals.  She and her best friend, Jacob, finally share the passionate kiss she didn't know she'd been waiting for.  But then Jacob is chosen to come to the capital to compete in a deadly competition of warriors, where the losers are lucky to live and the winner is lavished in glory and gold.  So Kat follows him to the capital of Macedon.  

But soon, she finds her fate entwined with that of Alexander, the unexpectedly kind prince, with whom she shares a seemingly preternatural bond.  Whose mother she's sworn to kill.  Alex tiptoes around the threat of war from the magic-hating Aeserian lords.  His sister wants to drive a wedge between him and his best friend so she can summon dark magic with his blood.  And across the sea, his fiancee wants to escape her fate, and finds herself even more trapped.  

Complicated?  You don't know the half of it.  I think that's part of why I slogged through the first half.  There are seven POVs that range in overlap from basically on the same arc to holy hell, who are you and where the hell do you fit with the rest of these crazies?  (Aka Zofia, who never intersects with the others for the entire book.)  Each character's arc is so elaborately conceived, with secret motives, inner passions, and complexities of character (which is good), but so separate that the tale feels disjointed.  Parts that do not quite form a whole.  Naturally, I struggled to find the unifying thread for much of the book.  

The plots themselves are often brilliant.  Herman treats her characters as viciously as history treated them.  They make devastating mistakes and suffer crippling defeats.  They also persevere with passions ranging from valiant to obsessive (*cough*sister of doom*cough*).  I especially loved Alex, who's almost too good and swoony to be true, but gets away with it because he's freaking Alexander the Great, y'all.  He's also just naive enough to open himself to horrors.  

His sister is also pretty cool, being a self-confident, badass manipulator who craves Alex's death, but loves Macedon even more.  Kat is pretty cool.  She's kind of generic YA-cool-girl, but I'm curious to know more about her magic.  On the other hand, Jacob is a whiny pathetic jerkface and Hephaeston (aka best friend) is so gullible that I practically screamed in disbelief.  I mean, seriously?  You're going to believe chick-whom-you-know-to-be-batshit over your best friend of forever?  

But when Herman edged into a groove towards the middle of the book, she caught me.  Plots begin to intersect, characters begin to act like intelligent human beings, and there's betrayal, blood, death, and magic galore.  (Who doesn't love spells using dead baby bones?)  And all of it is steeped such rich historical detail that through the slow parts, I found myself fascinated just for the history lesson.  While her writing errs on the naive side in some places, Herman's potential shines in her passionate portrayal of this ancient world.  If she can transfer some of that sharpness and beauty to her dialogue and plot, her sequel will be a fearsome thing.  

Ultimately, it's a worthwhile read, especially if you geek out on history and don't mind plot density.  It's a book that I enjoy more the more I think about it, with characters I care about (and some I'm really invested in just because I want to gleefully cackle over their corpses).  I doubt it'll be a frequent re-read, but I'm definitely checking out the sequel.  


in a sentence


Despite clumsiness in its over-sprawling plot, Legacy of Kings delivers on its promise of cinematic, historically rich fantasy.  



rating         



will i read this author again?  Yep 
will i continue the series?  Not gonna rush out, but I'm invested enough for book two.  Gotta watch my baby Alex.  




Note: I received this copy in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected by stated opinions.