Archive | November, 2012

Ratings: My Explanation

9 Nov

Now that I have a few reviews posted, I feel the need to explain my ratings so everyone is clear on how my opinionated mind works. But just a quick word on reviews first. You’ll notice I don’t ever write summaries of the books. I always link up the cover to the description on Goodreads (which, btw, everyone should create an account to. Life changing. Seriously.) but never go intro great details on what the book is about. In my mind, you can read a description of the book a thousand times in a thousand places but when you are reading a review, you want an opinion: the good, the bad and the ugly of it. I also always try to avoid spoilers. So while I may mention things about what happens in the book, I try to keep it vague because my review are geared towards people who have not read the story yet.

Ok- onward!

My rating scale is a five star rating scale stolen directly from my Goodreads account.  If my review is hovering in between two different ratings, I try to bump it up to the next one and give the author the benefit. After all, writing is a shit-ton of work and I feel like maybe that half star on some obscure rarely read blog will magically make that authors life better. A girl can dream right? I mean if I had written a book I would want that half star. But I am ADDing… focus…. Here is my rating scale description.

1 Star – 50 Shades of Terrible.

I rarely, if ever, give a book a single star. I think most books have potential to be good read for the right audience. Excluding that crap that is the 50 Shades series, which disgusted me.  A horribly weak protag, possessive and repulsive love interest and poor writing? It’s not even the graphic scenes that bothered me, it’s that the sex scenes are so poorly written all I see are crappy words strung together! WHY IS THE FEMALE SEX SO DUMB!?! Ima a hit bitch with the full works of Jane Austen the next time someone mentions how great that Twilight fanfic is. AHHH!

Sorry, got a little angsty there. My POINT is that when I rate things just consider 50 Shades my lowest level.

2 Stars – Very Mediocre (you MUST say this with a New York accent.)

I consider these books at the meh-why-do-I-have-to-finish-it level. These are the books that I have to pump myself up to read. I tell myself “Sydney, the faster you read it the faster you are done! Yay!” Maybe the character annoys me, the world is poorly built, my WSOD meter is stretched too far… you catch my drift.

3 Stars – Head nod worthy.

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Yep pretty much sums it up. I wouldn’t buy it but I would recommend it to a certain audience.

4  Stars – I would buy it.

These are the books I truly enjoy. They are the books that I push onto other people just so I can talk about them. If I borrowed the first from the library, I would go to Half Price Books and pick up the series. I want to crawl into these books, befriend the characters. These are also the books that make me think, shift my view about things. I enjoy thought provoking books and many of the books at this level do just that.

5 Stars – Obsession.  

Think Harry Potter. Inheritance Series. Graceling Series. Uglies. My favs. These are bought brand new and have a special rotating spot on my book shelf. You must read all of these books because they are the bestest ever omg-I-love-them-so-much-I-might-burst books. Totally gush worthy status.

I hope this helps! I just wanted to make sure we are all on the same page. hahaha page! Get it?! Cause we like to read!  No? Ok…

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it” – William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

7 Nov

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Book One of Seven Realms Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I read The Heir Chronicles in one week flat so when I was bopping around Goodreads one afternoon at work and found out she had another series, I. Was. Pumped. And now after reading the first book in the Seven Realms series, I am happy to say it’s even better than the Heir books.

The Demon King (which is a badass title, btw) instantly captures your imagination. I love a book that comes out swinging without confusing the crap out of you with way too many details. The story starts out slower initially but the world she creates within the first couple chapters is like a picture being painted before your eyes. Even now, books later, I can still put a pen to paper and draw all Seven Realms, the city, the clan, everything. The world she creates is so real and tangible I feel as though I could get on a plane and fly to it.

One of my favorite things about Chima’s writing is her ability to create realistic characters. And she never just creates one, she creates two or three or four and each one has depth and a true and separate personality. I hate when authors have changing POVs and yet only fully develop the one or two main character’s emotions. But from Han and Raisa to Amon and Bird, Chima’s gives each one motivations, fears, dreams, and worries. The diversity of characters leads to a much more colorful and captivating story because the plot never becomes bland or stagnant. They each have their own prospective (usually very different) that gives the reader multiple view points so they can understand all aspects of issues and problems. Hell, she even makes you feel pity for asshole Micah at one point when she spent the whole book making you hate him!

The way she ends her books is another gush point of mine. She doesn’t leave you dangling on the edge of a cliff hanger but makes you salivate for another bit of the story. She peaks the story with enough time for you to calm your breath without wrapping up loose ends. She tidies up the story just enough to not make you mad at her for ending the book (you know what I mean by this I’m sure). It’s truly an art.

Simply put, read this book. If you like fantasy and want a vacation from the real world, this is a great getaway.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

6 Nov

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(Books of a Faerie Two)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

After reading Lament, I wasn’t necessarily running to the library to rent Ballad. But after reading Ballad, I wanted hightail my faerie-loving-ass to the book store to buy the third book in the series. (Which was going to do until I found out book three is not yet published -_-)

Anyways, I think Stiefvater had a nice warm up with Lament and hit her stride with Ballad. Dee annoyed me in Lament with her star-struck teenage love and I was worried that the story would continue down that road in book two. But alas! I was wrong. And I am very happy to be proven wrong.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie is written in James’s perspective. I find James much more realistic and down to earth than Dee. I want to be friends with James. I want to play music with James. And I think Nuala is a bad ass, despite her need to wring humans dry in order to survive. They both have feelings that we can relate to. It’s not the punch-drunk-shot-gun love that Dee and Luke have in Lament, it’s true feelings. And the best part is, we get to watch those develop! In a natural and uncreepy way. James is a good guy with a great talent, and his lust to be better doesn’t outweigh his sense of reality. I like that he actually learned from his experiences in Lament (i.e. faeries are evil and manipulative) and doesn’t bow down to Nuala automatically. I also like how Nuala changes. She goes from evil-doer to real-person compassionate. But it’s not a switch, it’s a process. Stiefvater takes the time to actually build a story and create a realistic situation this time and I couldn’t help but root for James and Nuala. Because I felt like this time (thank goodness), I got a chance to know and understand them. I could relate to them. It was awesome.

If you like fairies but thought Lament was shallow, trust me when I say book two is leaps and bounds better than book one. It’s definitely worth the read.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

1 Nov

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Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I love me a fairy-tale retelling. Although the whole time I was reading this I couldn’t help but think about my little sister’s Barbie and the Twelve Princesses movie. And Azalea, no matter her description, looked like Barbie to me.

I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely a fluff read, but sometimes you just need a break from the heavy stuff and this was a great vacation. Simple, sweet, and clear. There was romance, drama and a good villain. What more could you ask for?! I loved the character dynamics in this books. The estranged father battling his grief over a lost love and his children warming his frozen heart. A sweet docile daughter finding her voice and saving her family and assisted by a handsome man. It’s like… a fairytale!

While this book has a bit of depth, it’s nothing life changing. Which can be good or bad depending on what your expectations are. I wanted a well written retelling and that’s exactly what I got. It’s a quick, lovely read in which I highly recommend to those who need a coming of age tale.

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