Solaris Seethes But I sure Don’t…

Solaris Seethes by Janet McNulty

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Let’s start this review with a huge sigh…This was a book I REALLYwanted to like. This was not just because it was going to be my first review for onlinebookclub.org, but because I love the idea the author had.

This is a book about science fiction, myth and the power of belief. Rynah is a badass scientist/warrior on her home planet of Lanyr. In an attempt to defeat the demons that haunt her past Rynah partners with people across space and time to help save the planet and life she clings so desperately to. Rynah partners with some unlikely companions: the philosopher, the warrior, the lover, the inventor and Solaris (a talking ship) to go on adventure of a life time.

The book melds futuristic sci-fi with old lore mythology in a story what a heartbroken woman will do to try and divert fate and prove that family ties are stronger than societal perceptions. The first novel in a trilogy the book that will give you feelings reminiscent of Dr. Who, though this is mostly just because of the traveling through space on a ship that is more than just a ship.

Now let’s talk about the good of the book. The world building is really fun and differs per planet in a really colorful way. Also I really liked the idea of Rynah and what she could represent for women in the world of sci-fi.

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The bad…the whole book felt like it was trying so damn hard.“Rynah put the craft in forward and sped off. Wind ripped through her long locks-she had lost her hair clip during the firefight, as they never hold when one is darting about in an effort to avoid death-as she steered her way to the nearest shipyard.”The style of writing drove me crazy in the first quarter of the book before she finally stopped with whatever less than amusing technique the author was attempting to accomplish.

There was one super long sentence that was over 9 lines long and was pretty much just adjectives. Everything was dash this or parenthesis this to make the sentence LONGER and LONGER. As you can see-it drove me crazy. “She turned a corner, dodging into another person’s yard (decorated with a blue picnic table and patio umbrella with daisies painted on it, despite the shabbiness of his neighbors), before diving through a loose board in the wood fence (its edges rotted) and into another alley, and forced to squeeze past an abandoned, green Cadillac (with rusted fenders and a missing left, rear tire) that nearly blocked her path.” This style calmed down after about a quarter of the way through the novel and became a lot more manageable/tolerable. Also the characters are really one-note and lacked connectivity. The characters were all taken from different points in time on what was supposed have been earth yet they all just accept their new fates and lives left behind with pretty much instantaneous acceptance. And the worse negative of all: Rynah was totally the stereotypical cold-hearted bitch.

On goodreads I gave it a 3/5 stars but really it more of a 2.5/5, I just felt like the author tried so hard to do something really  cool and I really wanted to like it.

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*There will be spoilers…you’ve been warned*

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Shadowhunters – regular whiny teenagers with super powered tattoos or rad warriors fighting demons for mankind’s salvation?

It occurred to me I should just review the whole 6 book series in one post, instead of spreading out the posts. Cassandra Clare has written quite the amount of books and short stories about the shadowhunter universe, and now has a show. But, this is about the six original books called The Mortal Instruments.

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City of Bones introduces us to a fifteen year old Clary Fray boring, artist girl from New York and her best friend Simon (fifteen year old teenage boy and member of a crappy band). Clary’s world is turned upside down after witnessing a murder by people, only she can see…

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The world of The Mortal Instruments is one of werewolves, warlocks, vampires, demon hunters and fairies. A world filled with young love so strong it puts the crush in crushes. There is violence, corruption, devotion and ultimate good. A place where the past never stops haunting you …and summoning demons to try and kill you.

Ya, know: normal healthy relationships right? 😉

Anyways, the books are no great literary feat, but they’re a lot of fun to read. The books are what I call popcorn reading – entertaining, but not a lot of substance or life changing capabilities. Kind of like watching reality t.v haha.

Here is my 5 star rating of all the books based on their entertainment factor (this is my second time reading the series, and I will admit I was much more generous with my rating system this time around):

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City of Bones: 5/5 stars. Good introduction to characters and world building, lots of drama.

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City of Ashes:4/5 stars. An interesting read, but too much whining about being in love with ones own brother. Incest is just not hot-come on people…

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City of Glass: 5/5 stars but I really think more like 4.5….  The shadowhunter world is really interesting. I like how Cassandra Clare plays with the newfound abilities she gave Clary. Sebastian is also a pretty interesting new addition to the character line up.

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City of Fallen Angels: 3/5 stars. I think this was the weakest book in the series. Clary is finally with her great love Jace, but she is still constantly doubting his affection and thinking he will break up with her even though he tells her OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN that he loves her. Also, Clary’s mom, Jocelyn, is the least interesting/weak plot point character. It was fine when she was in a coma, and it didn’t matter. Now that the story is revolving around her too, it’s just not good.

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City of Lost Souls: 4/5 stars. Jace and Sebastian make an intriguing team, and though I really felt like the series could have ended as a trilogy (especially after my feelings on the fourth book). This was an entertaining read and helped keep the series going for me.

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City of Heavenly Fire: 4/5 stars.  Alright, this book was long in a very long series. It’s over 700 pages! And wraps everything up OVER and OVER again. I mean I love when all the loose ends are all tied up but even this was excessive for me. The ending was good-I can’t argue that, but the book could have been around 400 pages. The battles are very cool and of course Clary and Jace’s epic powers canceled out how much they whine about loving one another and never being together. Super spoiler alert: the finally have sex! It only took 6 damn books and it is so cheesy. Super spoiler alert: how the hell did Jace magically have a condom with him in the demon realm??? What do I love though in books? An emphasis on safe sex in a YA novel, so thank you Cassandra Clare.

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A New Year-A New Day. A Reading-Sewing-Knitting Challenge

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Happy New Year! (I can still say this because it isn’t February yet right? 😉 )
This next year will be one of great changes for me but one thing will remain the same…I set a Goodreads book challenge!

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This last year I set my challenge of 110 books and surpassed it by one book!!! Goodreads tells me I read 36,541 pages and my shortest book was 104 pages(Betty and Veronica Vol. 1) and my longest was 870 pages(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).

There were many good books and only several bad ones out of the whole bunch! Looking back I read a lot of fabulous Urban Fantasy series. The Others by Anne Bishop definitely ranked high up there on the Good books scale, so much so that I have loaned them out to two other people since reading them! I haven’t finished the series but The Hollows by Kim Harrison is definitely winning in the contest of favorite book series. Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs is a close second. Werewolves, witches and vampires (oh my) was definitely the theme of the year.

Best Series: The Hollows by Kim Harrison

Best Comic: Bitch Planet with the Jughead comics coming in a close second

Best Nonfiction: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls or Talking As Fast As I Can by LaurenGraham

Best ReRead: Harry Potter(of course) by JK Rowling

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Best YA: Turtles All The Way Down by Johnn Green

I set my new goal for 100 books because I’m back in school full time for the first time in a few years(woohoo!!!). I figured I should pull myself back a little because of it.

I failed hard.
I failed hard at last years make nine challenge. So much so that I wasn’t going to reattempt it this year. BUT then I saw everyones wonderful make nine challenges options and decided I’d try it again…
It’ll be a combined make nine of knitting and sewing not separate like a lot of challenge choices I’ve seen cause I’m in school full time and planning a wedding this year on top of a ton of other things so I don’t have time for that nonsense 😉
Anyways…
Stay tuned for my #2018makenine

When You Give A Girl A Sword…

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When You Give a Girl a Sword…Secondborn Review

I as many other people on Goodreads it seems couldn’t resist Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol…I especially couldn’t resist it when it was offered as a Kindle First book and I could get it for only $1.99(I mean who can honestly not be tempted by that kind of deal?).
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It took me a while to get into this book. I found the different Fates slightly confusing to keep track of especially because they aren’t explained what each one represents until later in the book. When I finally got over my confusion and gave up trying to figure out the social structure of the world I could finally enjoy the story.  Because let’s be honest-we don’t read YA for much other than the fast paced structure and the yearning over eager life or death  romance right? 😉

The concept is good. A world where you are only allowed two children and only the first born can inherit anything. The second born is sent away as a child soldier to fight the wars and do the dirty work of the first borns while the family still gets to reap the financial benefits of a child they no longer have to support. This system of course creates a lot of abuse and neglect(which duh). A second child can inherit if a first born dies-talk about creating sibling rivalry.
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The story revolves around second born Roselle St Sismodes and her mother is the be all of be alls of the Fates. Roselle’s privileged upbringing causes her troubles right from the start. Beginning with the fact that her life has always been televised-an easily recognized face is the exact opposite of what you want when the goal is to blend in.

There is romance in this book(YA duh), action, rebellion and adventure. Roselle creates friendships that will last a life time-if only they can survive long enough to live that life. The book is filled with a lot of girls kicking ass(something I always appreciate), clever boys and wicked mothers. The concept is interesting, the world slightly complicated though rather stereotypical (I feel) to most YA romance adventure novels these days. That isn’t to say it isn’t worth a read because I do recommend it. I’m just saying that a lot of these books tend to have the same sort of feeling to it and this is no exception. It’s the first in a trilogy so we’ll see what’s to come of the second.

All in all, I’d say 4/5 stars

-Happy Reading!
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The Antispoiler Hero

A Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

**Spoilers Ahead**

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Alright people! In the last book Vin accidentally released Ruin. In the plot twist her attempt to follow the rules set for her turned out to be a trick all along. The villain who is an almighty God (possibly?) Ruin has been planning this for hundreds of years just waiting for the right moment to strike. Now Vin with Elend(who is emperor of all) are racing against the falling ash trying to find all the food cashes that the previous ruler had hid for this very time in history.

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What do you do if you can’t trust your words and you can’t trust the written word? What if all your thoughts are the only things safe from Ruin?

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I don’t want to have any spoilers so what I will say is thought this book gave a very real and honest depiction of depression and grief. Anderson’s depictions of the character Sazed emotions throughout the book were so spot on to how it really is in peoples lives. I feel that in a lot of fantasy novels the characters emotions get put aside quickly to move the book forward(which is completely understandable) but it dishonors the bonds created between the characters in the story.

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All your favorite characters are adventuring and working towards the ultimate goal of the book: saving the world(duh). You get to learn more about the side characters like the Kandra, Hammond, Breeze and especially Spook which I really enjoyed. Good guys become bad in this book and the creatures you thought bad you realize might have just been misunderstood.

I’m realizing this post is rather convoluted but I am trying so hard to do absolutely no spoilers because I really, really thought the book was so fabulous and the perfect way to wrap up the series. GO, GO, GO to the book store and pick up this series today!!!

-Happy Reading!!

Wonder Woman: A Caricature of Empowerment?

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Wonder Woman and the quest for women’s empowerment. Now I have mixed feelings about Wonder Woman as a whole. I like what she represents but hate how she has been turned into a caricature of a powerful woman. I won’t claim to be an expert on Wonder Woman by any means…I’ve only read one of her comics and watched her in animated shows as a kid until seeing the new Wonder Woman movie(which is absolutely fantastic-go see it now, now, now!!!).

Her creation story is fabulous because her creator was inspired partially by birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger and was meant to be a feminist icon. Diana has had a lot of different powers and looks over the years. Her skills are her Amazonian training like tactics, hunting(which I found interesting considering I remember her being a vegetarian) and combat. She also has the lasso of truth, indestructible bracelets and a tiara that serves as a projectile. Now she is seen as regularly using her sword and shield.

 

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Wonder Woman has also had in my opinion a lot of foolish and ridiculous abilities/accessories that led towards my feelings of her frequently being a caricature. At one point Diana owned a pair of glowing, red, magnetic earrings that allowed her to receive messages(before cell phones were common I’m guessing). There is of course the stupid invisible plane and the telepathic abilities she possessed through her tiara allowing her to summon the plane on command. There was also the purple ray capable of healing fatal gunshot wounds even through a person’s brain and a Violet Power Ring of Love(yes that really is the title) that enabled her to alter her costume at will and not only that but the ring reveals a person’s absolute true love to them. On top of ALL THIS RIDICULOUSNESS Diana has mental radio waves that could let her receive messages from those in need of her.

No wonder Wonder Woman isn’t taken seriously…if all those powers aren’t an example of how society is supposed to view Diana throughout the years to top it all off when she was finally allowed to join the Justice Society of America it was as their damn SECRETARY!!!!

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I really hope that this movie inspires a powerful reboot of Wonder Woman bringing her back to the feminist icon she once represented with a modern twist. As of now I feel she is on par with Super Man who is considered the laughing stock of the comic book world characters. He has been unable to keep up with the modern age and times and hopefully Wonder Woman won’t fall to the same fate.

-Happy Reading and Go See Wonder Woman!!!

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust…Will They All Fall Down?

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Mistborn trilogy book 2!!! A book dealing in consequences of actions, relationships and the notion of whether attraction is more important than similarities in personality.
Oh Brandon Sanderson…this book didn’t get as good of reviews on Goodreads  but I really have to disagree. I found it even better than the first. I like the way the author dealt with aspects of the human condition and how their can be consequences to abuse and violence.

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The book begins where the second left off. Keisler is dead but Vin has succeeded in achieving his dream of overthrowing the thousand year reign of the Lord Ruler. What do you do if you have achieved the plans of someone no longer alive and don’t know where to go from there? This is the main issue in the second Mistborn book. Vin has made Elend King but can a philosopher really be a good king? Can a relationship work if balance of power is unequal forcing one partner to essentially use the other as a weapon? Is it possible to consider that a form of love?
Battles are won and lost as ash rains down from the sky smothering farms and mists begin to fill the daylight hours causing deaths among those brave enough to wander into them.

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Sanderson really knows how to tell and epic tale with a fantastic feminist, female main character. Where her strength doesn’t make her unloveable but enables people to love her and appreciate her more. I think this is Sanderson’s greatest strength as a fantasy writer…his ability to write a fantastically created well rounded world.

I really don’t want to accidentally give away any spoilers so I will just say this… give this fantasy series a try the second book is even stronger then the first in my opinion and well worth the 600 plus pages to read it(if I’m remembering the page length correctly).
-Happy Reading and Crafting!

The Blood Tells All…

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This book is the definition of a can’t put it down urban fantasy series. I received this first book for free at Emerald City Comicon and didn’t have high hopes for it…don’t ask me why because now that seems so foolish. I wanted to read it as a break after the Brandon Sanderson Mistborn Series novels before starting a different book he has written. Instead I have now ordered all four of the other books available in The Others Series on amazon and am impatiently awaiting the 3rd one now.

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The book introduces you to a world of “the others” and humans. They may coexist now but it certainly isn’t a peaceful one without trials and tribulations. The humans and The Others are both creatures of Namid who created all creatures on earth. She gave The Others all the forest areas and the humans safe places where they could grow and develop as a people. The trouble with humans is we always want more don’t we though? Soon people overgrew their areas and tried to shove their way into The Others areas but how can humans win out over claws and mystical powers? And when it comes down to it should we really triumph over everything?

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The series tells the story of Meg, a lone girl who has the simple power to change everything for The Others and humans alike…though we’ll have to see if it’s for better or worse. Once Simon allows Meg into the Courtyard there is no turning back for either of them, will Megs abilities sink ships or keep them afloat allowing the tides of change to keep them current(could I add any more water themes to that sentence??).
I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll just say this… if you like books about vampires, werewolves, coyotes who turn into people and have ever wondered what the seasons would be like if they were represented in children this is the book for you. I couldn’t put it down and Anne manages to keep you on your toes wondering what will happen next till the very last page.

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When A Girl Walks Into A Clock Shop…

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What would happen if Pride and Prejudice met a steampunk universe? We’ll you would get Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. I came across this book by going to a panel at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Washington. David was part of this really cool panel called Kicking Ass in a Corset: An Homage to Fearless Ladies in Fantasy! And three out of the four panelists were dressed in Victorian-esc clothing which instantly won me over because if it’s themed and you dress up I will instantly be a fan.

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Anyways, I’m allowing myself to get off topic. David of course spoke about his book and I loved the concept so I went and purchased it right after the panel so I could also have him sign it-because again I’m a sucker for anything that I can get signed by the author/artist. Sometimes this is a really successful move and I’m really happy with the purchase other times not so much. Luckily for me it was the former instead of the later.

Arabella exists in a world where space travel on ships that sail in the Victorian era is possible. She has lived her whole life on a colony on the planet Mars. She was able to learn English Victorian customs but also have the unique situation to be raised by a Martian and learn all the customs and freedoms that come with living on Mars. As what happens in all good stories this life promptly come to an end when her mother decides that she would behave in a more lady like manor if she was back in traditional London, England on Earth. Will a lady or an adventurer triumph in the end?

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The book is filled with all kinds of space adventures while fitting in with the societal requirements of the era the story is based in. I thought the concept was really interesting and it covers a lot of topics including immigration, race and gender bias while keeping the book light hearted and fun. It took me about a hundred pages to really get into the book but once I did it just zipped by. David had all kinds of unexpected plot twists that allowed for a lot of character development for not just the main character but the side ones too. If you like imaginative stories with strong heroines then this is a book for you 🙂

Can Misadventures Be Marvelous?

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter lacks misadventures and pretty much anything marvelous. It should really be named the Boring, Lackluster Life of Ingrid Winters-almost divorcee, sad attempt of a teacher and a not-so-great mother.

This book was torture to read. Not at first because I kept hoping it would turn around. I had hope that the adventure would start or at least Ingrid would grow somewhat of a back bone and stop messing up her life. When I finally had to accept that this was just how the book was and it was NEVER going to turn around and become the fun book I thought it would be is when the torture started and continued until the VERY LAST PAGE. Why Ingrid why? Why do you let your husband treat you like crap? Why are you so neurotic? Why are you such a lackluster mother? Why do you allow yourself to be bullied at a job you so obviously hate?

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This story represents I feel like most women out there in the world minus the “adventure” to Russia to complete an agreement that no one really understands and doesn’t actually benefit any of the professors at the school. They think if they get this next great thing in the status quo their lives will become greater and more fulfilled. We feel we have to work harder so we can afford the bigger house that we just MUST have because it will make our lives that much happier.

This step will make us a better mother because don’t our children deserve the very best? And isn’t it much easier to spend money on a house that we can’t afford than to invest our time in another person or our children? This book shows how we let the “alpha” people walk over us even if they don’t really know best because we decide that it is easier to give in then fight or talk louder over them and allow ourselves to be heard…isn’t this really how Trump became president?

You don’t have to take my word on this book…I feel like when  I went on Goodreads people either absolutely LOVED it or really HATED it like me. I didn’t buy this book because it called to me but as a place holder between the Mistborn series because it was offered as a Kindle First to me from amazon.
Read it if you dare 😉

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As and end note…after my trip to Emerald City Comicon I may have bought too many books haha…