Aly in Wonderland

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Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas Dear Maas,

I need this. Now.

No pressure.

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire  - Sarah J. Maas Actual rating: 3.5


Gods, he was brilliant. Cunning and wicked and brilliant.
Even when he beat the hell out of her. Every. Damn. Day.


You GUYS.



I've been fiddling with the rating in my mind all night and half of today. Truthfully, up until around the 400 page mark, it was going to be two stars. The last quarter, however, blew me away.

It's a shame that it had to take so damn long for it to get good. I don't mind filler chapters but... 400 pages worth? Come on.



There's only so much whining, self-pity and emo-angst that I can take and trust me when I say that everyone is an angsty emo crying over themselves in this book.

You have to go through pages and pages of boo-fucking-hoo accompanied by the world's teeniest violin, before you get to the good stuff.

And, as always, the good stuff doesn't last long.

Basically, it was like when Stewie from Family Guy was really fat and he couldn't quite reach the ice cream.



What's the saying? The longer you wait, the better it tastes?

Yeah, no. Because even though it was really damn good, IT WASN'T ENOUGH.

I also had a problem with the constant POV switches. Not only are we dealing with Celaena's mind numbing self-pity but you've also got Dorian's, Chaol's and some new characters: Manon, a Blackbeak witch, Aedion (the King's general! Who knew!) and, lastly, Rowan. You're thrown a bucket of information in every chapter, and it's so, so hard to follow:

- the battle strategies
- the internal monologues
- the secrets
- plans
- family ties

It got to a point where I was either too bored to care, or too confused to bother caring. Surely, everything will be explained at the end, right? Surely, all this extra information will come in handy at one point, and it will be explained, right?!



My main problem was the information we're apparently supposed to know/remember, and the family ties.

In Heir of Fire everyone and your mother is your cousin. A few people have told me I should have read the novellas but... why? Is everyone honestly going to spend an extra twenty-something pounds to get all the novellas, so they can catch up on family and information that could easily, EASILY be placed at the end of the novel, like so many books do?

Thankfully, I found these pictures on Tumblr which came in handy when reading.



But still, it was damn confusing, especially since they're brand new characters I, personally, had barely heard of or not at all. So a little index thing at the end would have been nice. Just sayin'.

Celaena:

"There's this... rage," she said hoarsely. "This despair and hatred and rage that lives and breathes inside me. There is no sanity to it, no gentleness. It is a monster dwelling under my skin. For the past ten years, I have worked every day, every hour, to keep that monster locked up. And the moment I talk about those two days, and what happened before and after, that monster is going to break loose and there will be no accounting for what I do."


Adarlan's most feared assassin? More like the most feared kitten in the world.



Christ, even I got a little bit depressed after being in her head. I didn't understand her sudden wallowing. When Nehemia died in Crown of Midnight, yeah, she wallowed, she was sad, she mourned, but she picked herself up and fought against it. For some absurd reason she falls back into that pit for hundreds of pages in this one.

Rowan paused his stalking. "You're worthless."
"Tell me something I don't know."
He went on, "You would probably have been more useful to the world if you'd actually died ten years ago."


Come ON, Celaena! You're Adarlan's assassin! You bow to no one! You dismembered a man for getting in your way! SHOW HIM WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF!

She just looked him in the eye and said, "I'm leaving."




For hundreds and hundreds of pages. She literally throws her reputation and hard work down the drain because feels, man. I get it, you're a tortured soul with a crappy life but Jesus, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

No, instead, she runs, she hides, she submits like a kitten and rolls around on the ground screaming, "RUB MY BELLEH!"

... it would have been nice, she supposed. It would have been nice to have one person who knew the absolute truth about her -- and didn't hate her for it.
It would have been really, really nice.
She walked away without another word. With each step she took back to her room, that flickering light inside of her guttered.
And went out.


Stop trying to get people to accept you and love you, because they won't. Fight back and prove them wrong! Show them what you're made of! Make them fear you, not pity you.

I guess she got the memo late though, because she only starts improving after the 350 page mark. Which is a long, long time to wait.

Rowan

HELLO, FUTURE HUSBAND.

I absolutely loved, loved, loved Rowan the second he was introduced into the story. He's a lethal Prince warrior (Dorian who?) with strong, lethal powers of ice and wind (Dorian who?) and a man who has seen horror, pain and has suffered for centuries, yet still fights for what he believes in. (Celaena who?)

"... You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you've committed. And I know this because I've been doing the same damn thing for two hundred years. Tell me, do you think you will go to some blessed Afterworld, or do you expect a burning hell?"


Chaol who?

Yes, you guessed right.



He is training Celaena, getting her ready before she meets his Queen -- her aunt Maeve. He's ruthless and cunning, and doesn't take "no" or "can't" as an answer. He is literally everything Celaena's should have been in this book.

"There is nothing that I can give you. Nothing I want to give you. You are no owed an explanation for what I do outside of training. I don't care what you have been through or what you want to do with your life. The sooner you can sort out your whining and self-pity, the sooner I can be rid of you. You are nothing to me, and I do not care."


YOU SAID IT, BROTHAAAAA.

Rowan is the only person who will be brutally honest and straightforward with Celaena. If she's being a whiny brat, he tells her. If she moans and bitches about her life, he reminds her that some people have it a million times worse because, after all, you left Endovier, whilst others are still rotting away.

He's not all bad. As the story progresses, we see a softer side to Rowan, which only made me love him more.




Aedion

Okay, brace yourselves.

Aedion is the King of Adarlan's general... and is also Celaena's cousin.

Apparently, they're so similar looking that no one fucking noticed this before.

They are described as looking like "siblings", yet it takes Chaol MONTHS to notice this.

Okay, let's work through this together.

You have a tall, blonde general with "Ashryver" (or violet-looking) eyes... and hey, look! The King's assassin is the spitting image of the general! Are they related? Let me think about that for a few months!

Aedion's history is thrown at us in buckets. Apparently, Celaena an he were close, like siblings. Apparently, they grey up together. Apparently, Dorian has actually met them both already!



I don't know, guys. But that kind of stuff? It seems way too obvious to be overlooked. And for people as observant as Chaol and Dorian? Yeah.

Aedion is almost on par with Rowan on my best character EVAAA list. He's snarky, cool and always in control.

The men paused when they beheld Aedion standing before them, still hooded. The general drew his fighting knives and purred, "None of you are leaving this alley alive."
They didn't.




His only scope is to restore his cousin, Celaena, to her throne where he can then work for her, until the very end of his days. It's such a pure, perfect thought but he knows it's going to be harder than ever now that the king is getting wind of their actions.

I am definitely looking forward to getting to know Aedion a bit better in the next books.

Chaol & Dorian

Remember back in school, there was always that one couple who constantly split up and got back together like a goddamn yo-yo?

Chaol and Dorian are that couple. So many things could have been resolved if only they talked to each other and didn't have bitch fits about every little thing.

And Jesus, what a disappointment Chaol turned out to be. Not only is he being a pussy about the future, but he's also decided that he cannot accept Celaena (who is supposedly the love of his life) for who she is. A queen. Fae. With powers.

"I've already made my decision about her. And when the time comes, regardless of whether you are here or in Anielle, I hope your choice is the same as mine."


You tell him, Dorian! It's a shame, because I was so supportive of Chaol and Celaena's relationship, but he turned out to be so WEAK.

Dorian, on the other hand, is another story entirely. He falls for the first healer who gives him the big, insta-love eyes.



I saw that shit coming from a mile away, and for someone who is supposedly head over heels for Celaena, he quickly forgets about that in favour of bedding someone with a much weaker will.

HOWEVER, I will say one thing in his favour, and that's the whole magic thing? Yeah, he's definitely getting awesome at that. If only he stopped being such a whiny kid, then maybe he could do great things. Maybe.

Manon

I honestly do not have much to say about the Blackbeak witch because I didn't quite get what her constant point of view was about. We get a little plot (well, we know what they're supposed to be doing) but for the most part, it's a bit like Hogwarts: The Watered Down Edition. Apart from a few cat fights, practice and arguing, not much happens.

She bored the fuck out of me.



Overall, Heir of Fire could have been better. It gets an extra star for Rowan, and another one for DAT ENDING but if it had carried on in the same manner as it had started, it would either have been a big fat DNF or one/two stars.

Now, we gotta wait a year for the next one.

The Fault in Our Pants: A Parody of "The Fault in Our Stars"

The Fault in Our Pants: A Parody of "The Fault in Our Stars" - Steve Lookner Call me a bitch, call me cold-hearted, I don't care. This seems hilarious.

*grabby hands*

"Grand." -Augustus Waters

"A douchefest." -Hazel Grace Lancaster

"Will there be a braille edition?" -Isaac




Come to mama.

Red Queen

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard This is another episode of Inside Aly's Brain, and not totally complete. Full, better review to come!

**Thank you to Orion for sending me and ARC in exchange for an honest review. **

I used to think there was only the divide, Silver and Red, rich and poor, kings and slaves. But there's much more in between, things I don't understand, and I'm right in the middle of it. I grew up wondering if I'd have food for supper; now I'm standing in a palace about to be eaten alive.
Red in the head, Silver in the heart


To say Victoria Aveyard took me by surprise would be an understatement. I went into this with mid-high expectations, wanting to love it but at the same wanting to not love it so I wouldn't be terribly disappointed. The truth is, I was both. I was both delighted and slightly disappointed, but not enough to stop me from reading the next books. (No pressure here, Aveyard. Just pop 'em out soon, okay, and no one gets hurt.)

I've seen this sort of thing done before, like with Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses where the roles are reversed. What are now considered as "below" your average being have been flipped to be "on top." Where I didn't enjoy Malorie's execution of her series, I enjoyed what Aveyard presented.

In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don't believe that.
The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.


Mare Barrow lives in a world divided by the colour of your blood. Where other worlds and countries have been divided by politics, skin, beliefs, this dystopian creation is split by the colour of the blood that runs through your veins. If you're a Red, you're the scum of the earth, the lowest of the low. You're a slave, you're poor, you barely have warm running water and you live in the slums - the Stilts. If your blood is Silver, it means you're a noble. You have powers -- telkies, nymphs, whispers -- and you have money and food and clothes. You use the Reds until they die. At which point, you will discard them and move onto the next group.

She has no hope left. Soon, she will be conscripted. When she finds out her best friend, a boy she's taken care of since childhood, has been fired from his job, thus sealing his fate to war, she desperately seeks out the help of a rebel group who want to rise, as Red as the dawn. The price they ask her to pay is too much, and she resigns herself to her fate.

The only thing that serves to distinguish us, outwardly at least, is that Silvers stand tall. Our backs are bent by work and unanswered hope and the inevitable disappointment with our lot in life.


But things are changing in Mare's world. From petty thief, she becomes something more. An important change, yet one that may cost her her life.

On one dark, desperate night, after all hope seems lost, she tries to steal from the wrong man. He pays her a kindness, only to reveal himself later as the person Mare least expected...

The glass goblets in my hands drop, landing harmlessly in the sink of water.
I know that smile and I know those eyes. They burned into mine only last night. He got me this job, he saved me from conscription. He was one of us. How can this be?
And then he turns fully, waving all around. There's no mistaking it.
The crown prince is Cal.


Soon, she finds herself thrown into a mad, wild goose chase and intrigue, deception, politics and a "love triangle" between two wild-opposite princes. But, as always, anyone can betray anyone.

Okay, so this is where my problems start. The "love triangle" I've heard people rave about. So gather around children, for Aly is going to tell you a little story.



This isn't a love triangle. When this happened:

It was him who saved me from Evangeline. Cal who saver me from escaping and bringing more pain upon myself. Cal who saved me from conscription. I've been too busy trying to save others to notice how much Cal saves me. How much he loves me.


I did this:



I dare you to tell me I didn't "get it" or whatever, but the truth is that there is no semblance whatsoever to a concrete enough romance for me to think "Oh, aaalll the ohes!" When this triangle came to light, so to speak, I was left very perplexed and confused. Why? Because not only are the 'relationships' a handful of times, if that, and Mare kisses the boys once each. How does that create love? Even for insta-love, I found it hard to believe. They were barely more than acquaintances.

There was literally no chemistry, no relationship, nothing to make me think that Mare liked them or that the boys liked her.

Another problem I had was with the world-building. I feel that, for dystopia, we were given close to nothing to work on. We don't know why the world is the way it is, or why there are suddenly people with powers and silver blood running around, smashing shit up and killing puppies, just that it is that way. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt for this, though, because Mare, our MC, has only ever seen the Stilts (her hometown) and the Palace, a giant glass structure, so she hasn't seen the world and doesn't know enough to explain to us why things are that way. I'm hoping to see more explanations in the coming books. (Which I am mega excited for, by the way.)

I also wasn't entirely sold on Mare's relationship with her family, or with the other people around her. She speaks of her family only to cement the idea that Reds are poor and weak, and they deserve more. What happened to good memories in bad times? Mare has none, she only gives us the sad stuff. Like her relationship with Kilorn, her childhood best friend, I saw it more as a convenience than actual friendship... and I felt the same about Julian, her instructor at the palace.

However, this a me-not-you thing. From the other glowing reviews, I can see that everyone loved the characters, the story, everything, but I did and didn't. I guess I needed a little more... oomph to completely sell me on this story. The second half was much, much better and I raced through it.

Overall? I will definitely recommend this book to my friends, I will do a re-read later on (it might just be that I wasn't quite in the mood for dystopia, and I expect to love it the second time round) and I am looking forward to the next books!

In the Woods

In the Woods  - Tana French
There was a time when I believed I was the redeemed one, the boy borne safely home on the ebb of whatever freak tide carried Peter and Jamie away. Not any more. In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood.


My copy is so much better than yours, aHA!



When I was around seven or eight, my dad took me to school like any other morning. I remember it was raining -- those nasty sheets of water that make it difficult to see the palm right in front of your face -- and the local radio kept warning everyone to "be good" on the road. My sister and I were singing some random lyrics we heard off the TV in the back of the car, and my dad kept telling us to shut up because he couldn't concentrate. It wasn't until I grew up that I realised just how important it is to concentrate whilst driving.

Anyway, it usually took us about 20 minutes to get to school, but that morning half the roads were closed. A kid a few years older than me had been hit by a car, died on impact. They said he didn't suffer, that the driver had not seen him fly into the road, and the school was going to be shut for the day due to the weather.

To this day, I remember the news. I don't, however, remember the boy's name, or what he looked like or what year he was in.

A few years later, Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal. This, I remember as if it were yesterday. It was all over the news, parents became a hundred times more protective. Police came to the schools and gave talks about safety in numbers, of never leaving a group of people and wandering off unsupervised and teachers lectured us about leaving school without confirmation of a buddy or parents picking up.

We didn't realise back then just how big the case would become. I remember talking to my friend and she said, "This whole thing has nothing to do with us, Maddie wasn't even in England at the time." But it was terrifying to know that a child could just vanish in the middle of the night, never to be found again.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, so I'll tell you. With the death of my school mate, the town had closure. We knew who did it, we knew it was an accident, and there was nothing we could do about it.

With the disappearance of Maddie, there was no closure, and with it came that sense of helplessness you just can't shake off. Like, you know you should be doing something to help, but what? What can you possibly do to help? Even now, she dominates the news -- random sightings, quick updates on the family, what Maddie would look like today and, lately, the family's book release and the ensuing Twitter abuse.

In the Woods shows exactly what lack of closure and/or involvement can do to a person. In the case of Maddie, there's still that desperate want to know. It's in our psyche to want information, and Maddie's disappearance gave us none. We thrive on knowledge, because we know what to do or how to act; but there was no knowledge with her. To this day, reading about the case gives me chills. Rob, however, lives the nightmare every single day, trying to dig through those lost memories to find out what happened, exactly, that summer day in Knocknaree.


As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.


Rob Ryan is now a detective in the Murder squad and, with the appearance of the body of a twelve year old girl, Rob and his partner Cassie take it upon themselves to find out the truth... even if it means Rob has to go back to the woods, where everything began.

In the Woods is emotionally investing. I don't think I've ever felt so many emotions, enough to make me stop reading for a few days. You go into it with doomed certainty that something terrible happens or the author just about plays Russian roulette with your feelings. I've never felt such a feeling of hollowness, sadness, abandonment, of complete unfulfilment. It sneaks up on you, guys, and you don't even realise it's happening. Next thing you know, you're sobbing, clutching a pack of cigarettes to your chest and reaching for the vodka with your spare hand.

Rob Ryan... I have a lot to say about him. He's the type of character you fall in love with, you hate, you scorn, you mock. He isn't just a made up person on paper, he's as real as you and I.

Adolescent conversations, no doubt, and made more so by the fact that Cassie and I brought out the brat in each other ("Bite me, Ryan," she would say, narrowing her eyes at me across the futon, and I would grab her arm and bite her wrist till she yelled for mercy), but I had never had them in my adolescence and I loved them, I loved every moment.


Not only are you bound to fall in love with Rob, but also with Cassie. The narration bringing you their friendship and partnership is incredibly stark, raw and real. You feel everything they feel, see it all through their eyes, and when things become ugly and desperate, you jump right onto that wagon with them.

Even after all this time, I find it difficult to describe them to you. They were so full of little things, things that at the time seemed insignificant and disconnected as the jumble of objects in some bizarre parlor game: faces and phrases and sitting rooms and phone calls, all running together into a single strobe-light blur. It was only much later, in the stale cold light of hindisight, that the little things rose up and rearranged themselves and clicked neatly into place to form the pattern we should have seen all along.


As I said before, it starts with this doomed certainty, with these mentions of "hindsight", that I found myself terrified and excited to carry on.

I wasn't disappointed. Tana French has become number one on my top-authors-to-read list.


The Sound

The Sound - Sarah Alderson
"And that," she says, still pointing, "is the Sound."
"The what?"
"The ocean," Brodie says, still pointing. I squint at the thin strip of blue that I can see glimmering invitingly just beyond the flats. "It's called the Sound," Brodie repeats, and then turning to me she adds solemnly, "People die there all the time."


Aye, papi. When I picked this book up, I expected mystery, romance, a little bit of terror and a conclusion that would rock my socks off. Unfortunately, I was repeatedly slapped in the vagina with a vapid, passive, silly main character, party-hard boys that follow their dicks and a hint of mystery.

A hint of mystery, which makes me sad. The Nantucket Nanny Murders is mentioned in passing, and doesn't do much for the story whatsoever. Instead, we're given an explosion of HORMONEZZZZ!!11!1 Because at seventeen, if you're a virgin it means you're probably a nun and have cobwebs down below. And if you do have sex, you're a slut or a "skanktron" (I love that insult!). If this was marketed as a romance, then I would probably have liked it more... but a mystery?



The Story:

Aspiring music journalist Ren Kensington takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket. She goes there with the idea of getting away from a sleazebag ex-boyfriend, so boys are totally off the cards...



... partying is a big no-no, because Ren must absolutely concentrate on working on her blog...



... and, of course, she must stay far, far away from the local bad boy, without judging him first.



Ren doesn't like to judge. In fact, she's the definition of non-judgemental.

You should come. If you think you can cope with slumming it with townies." I frown up at him. What is that supposed to mean? Is it because he saw me with Sophie? Does he think I'm one of them? A preppie rah? Immediately I feel my hackles rise. It makes me mad. It's like when people think you're an emo or an indie kid or a trancehead - why this need to classify? Why can't you like all types of music, and hang out with all different types of people (OK, except the tranceheads)?


She is not a Mary Sue, AT ALL!

I look in the other direction. He's hit a nerve. But I don't want him to know it.
"What?" Jeremy asks, sitting up.
I shake my head. "Nothing."
"No, tell me," he says gently, his hand brushes my knee.
I take a deep breath and look up, feeling my cheeks starting to flare. "I'm just being self conscious. I know I'm not small and cute like a bird."
"Says who?"
"Just someone."
"Someone blind?"
"My ex-boyfriend. He said I had fat thighs."


Girl, you got bigger things to worry about than fat thighs. Nannies are getting murdered, sweetcheeks. And, you know, you're sort-of seeing a guy who put some other guy in a coma, who pleaded guilty for this crime? The one everyone is telling you to stay away from?

Look, this book isn't the worst book I've ever read in my life, and it's not bad, but the priorities are completely messed up, and there is enough hypocrisy to make your eyes bleed.

Here's what I wanted:

-mystery
-answers!
-little to no romance.

I don't mind romance in my mysteries but when every other page is Ren making out with Jeremy, or Ren thinking about sexing up Jesse? That's where we've got a problem. Nannies are being murdered (okay, two nannies have been killed, with a year separating them, but whatever) but all Ren worries about is Jesse's "hard, hard chest" and Jeremy's "dazzling, sweet smile".



The Characters:

They are so typical of your average YA, I doubt I even need to describe them. We have:

- Ren. Vapid, dumb, messed up priorities. She's a Mary Sue who trounces every other Mary Sue in the stratosphere. In fact...

I refuse to be a cliché. I refuse, point blank, to fall for the hot, moody guy with anger issues. Is my name Bella Swann? Am I the protagonist of every paranormal romance lining the shelves of Waterstones? No. I am not.
Also, unlike Edward Cullen, the voice in my head pipes up, Jesse most certainly hasn't fallen in insta-love with me and isn't torturing himself over the fact that he can't be with me in case he eats me.


This book's saving grace is the humour, I swear. And the irony. And the hypocrisy. It's all pretty hilarious.

- A four-year-old kid called Brodie who acts more like an eight/nine year old. How many four year olds know what "bases" are and who say...

"What?" He asks. "I'm totally down with the kids."
"No, really you are not," Carrie says.
"No, Dad," Brodie pipes up beside me, "you really aren't down with the kids."
"Put in my place by a four-year-old!"


Would a four year old even know what "down with the kids" means?

- Jeremy Thorne. The Ivy League, sweet, intelligent, hot guy who somehow cannot resist Ren's "fat thighs" or "frigid virginity". He is the image of a dickhead and the representative of "convenient personality swap."

"I want to go home," I say, feeling suddenly stone cold sober and overwhelmingly tired.
Jeremy studies me, pressing his lips together. His expression is hard, quite a way removed from his expression ten minutes ago.
"Can you take me?" I say, hating having to ask.
"I've been drinking," he answers, a small smile at the side of his mouth.
I grind my teeth. He knew I needed a ride home but he still drank. I can't believe it.


- Jesse somethingorother, who apparently likes to beat people up with no reasons, but... hey! I ain't judging, said Ren.

The characters are the biggest stereotypes you will find in YA. You have the "like, omg, like" Sophie who is described as a "preppie rah" (whilst Ren, of course, scorns those who label people), one boy is described as...

Robert Pattinson—if you genetically spliced him with Buzz Lightyear.


And is, of course, an asshole. Then you have the love triangle between Edward Jeremy, Bella Ren and Jacob Jesse, freely sprinkled with an abundance of slut-shaming, more stereotyping, back-stabbing, bitching and talk about sexsexsexsexsex.

Seriously, this book is like an overly long episode of 90210 and definitely not a murder mystery/crime book. It makes me sad because it takes everything that is wrong with society nowadays, rolls them all up into one big, gloopy mess and hands it to you on bound paper with a pretty cover.

Another thing I didn't quite understand was that, apparently, Jesse sister was raped the year before... but because the guy's dad is an amazing attorney, they had "no proof".

For someone who watches a lot of crime shows, I find this hard to believe. The police would've done a rape kit on Hannah (Jesse's sister), and it would've come up with the guy's DNA. That would be enough to lock him up. But no, JESSE HAS TO TAKE THINGS INTO HIS OWN HANDS!!1! He's so cool, because he's going to kill the guy and go to prison, but it's t0tes worth it, yo!



The clichés, the plot conveniences (fucking hell, I saw that "serial killer" from a mile off), the stereotyping and the slut-shaming were almost too much to bear. It was predictable from the get-go. Of COURSE Jeremy turns into a douchecanoe and Ren realises that Jesse is actually a sweetheart. Of COURSE everything is solved within the last 5 pages, leaving ample time for Jesse and Ren to snog like there's no tomorrow. OF COURSE OF COURSE OF COURSE.

Whatever.

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles)

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles) - Gena Showalter DNF at page 40.

I can't get over the character's narrative, the awkward descriptions and the forced interactions. Everything is just so blah. It has that tired, strained writing that makes it difficult to read because it keeps pulling you out of the story and whacking you over the head with it's stupidity.

I've heard many good things about [a:Gena Showalter|48192|Gena Showalter|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1355785033p2/48192.jpg] and her urban fantasy series so I was looking forward to reading an Alice in Wonderland re-telling... with zombies.

Okay, so if you didn't know this already, then I should probably tell you: I'm a HUGE Alice in Wonderland fan and, sometimes, it borders on obsession. For Christmas two years ago, my sister bought me the limited edition picture books of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. I've read them from cover to cover and my first tattoo (which I will get one day, I promise) is of the White Rabbit's pocket watch on my calf. Like this:



And I also want this:



So when I found Alice in Zombieland and Through the Zombie Glass on offer, I didn't think twice about waving my bank card like a lunatic. Although I'm not a zombie fan in the slightest, I thought I could work with it because of Alice.

I was wrong.

It only took me 40 pages to realise that Alice and I? We weren't going to get along. She's sixteen and acts like a bratty eight year old, whilst her eight year old sister acts more mature and sophisticated. Pure role reversal. Not only is Alice bratty, but she failed to capture my attention by being selfish, dumb and an angsty teenager. She mentions how her family forgot her birthday four times, how they prefer her sister to her six times and how her father is an alcoholic eight times.

When her father's biggest fears come to fruition, this is when Alice goes, "Oh NO! IT'S ALL MY FAULT! I'M A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING WAH WAH WAH!"

Yes, you are. You fail at life. At EVERYTHING. Alice, you suck.

So yeah, take a big, fat DNF. Sometimes, I'll re-evaluate my DNFs and try to finish them, but I doubt I'll be trying Alice in Zombieland again any time soon.



Cinder

Cinder - Marissa Meyer
"I don't know. I don't actually remember anything from before the surgery."

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. "The cybernetic opetation?"

"No, the sex change."

The doctor's smile faltered.

"I'm joking.”


^That, right there, is what I need in a good book: humour. If it's angsty-wangsty-emo-smeemo, the book can kiss my ass because it will take away any enjoyment I had. It will throw me in a ditch with a couple of razorblades and an Evanescence album on repeat. I cannot deal with wangst where it has no place in the book.

But this is where my problem with Cinder stemmed from. Although it has humour, it has a bigger balance of Angsty Teenage Syndrome.

It's a Cinderella re-telling! I hear you scream. It's not exactly a life of joy and roses!

You're right. Cinderella's story is sad and lonely and angsty. It's all of those things and more, but Cinder started with humour -- a heroine who don't need no man, with witty, smart comebacks, and I immediately liked her.

"I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on."


Here's the thing: the minute I started to warm up to her, she became an angsty teen who listened to that one Evanescence album on repeat. Sure, she had a right to -- her sister had contracted the plague, her stepmum and stepsister are Bitches, capital B -- but I wasn't sold. It was too much all at once for me to work up any real sympathy, and for me to be able to commiserate with Cinder. Her sister contracting the plague, to me, was something that happened to everyone. It didn't feel personal enough.

Another major problem I had was that nothing actually happened. If you cut out a chunk of the book, or decided to skip say, eight chapters, you won't have missed anything. It's the same recycled scenes slapped onto the pages over and over again: Cinder going to work at the Palace, Cinder bumping into Kai, Kai and Cinder flirting, Cinder runs away and goes home, where she then talks to Iko about Kai and the flirting, Cinder argues with Adri, her stepmum... and click repeat.

And, truthfully, I wasn't sold on Prince Kai and Cinder's growing relationship.

He seemed way too obsessed with her, too keen on her to really give me a feel of his, well, feelings for the cyborg. It was more lust than anything else... and Cinder's hot with him one minute and cold the next. Here, I can totally see why. Cyborgs are the lowest of the low in this dystopian era. How can she possibly tell Kai that the entire left side of her body (and inside) is made out of wires, plastic and metal? So I can see why SHE was awkward with him, but I couldn't see why HE was obsessed with her. It made no sense. He appeared one day with a broken robot (or whatever they're called) and BAM! Insta-obsession at its finest. Kai badgers her constantly to go to the ball, tries to buy her consent with gifts and just won't leave her alone.

Kai also just randomly info-dumps Cinder with all his family problems and his worries about becoming an Emperor. Bearing in mind they've only met TWICE when this happens and Cinder has her own shit to worry about.



Kai started growing on me by the end, though it was the fungus type of growing: it's irritating, it stinks, but you can't stop it growing without slathering it with some even stinkier cream.

Another major problem was how there was almost no worldbuilding or descriptions. Cinder mentions hovers, but doesn't tell us what they look like.

Do they look like this?



Like this?



Or this?



What's a netscreen? Is it like a TV screen? Or is it a projection? What's a portscreen? Is it like a slim-line phone? What does CINDER look like? She says only her hand and leg are metal, but how can she see these LED lights? How can she see the script running in front of her eyes? How does it work? The hell does Iko look like?! Because all I can imagine when I think of her is Wall-E:



And the world-building could've been worked on more, too. I don't quite understand why there was a Fourth World War or why the Lunars are so dangerous/hated. We're only told that Eartherns and Lunars have been enemies since forever. And how the crap did the whole Lunar thing come true, anyway? How did these people come to live on the moon?

Explanations are everything to me, because I hate coming away from a book with a billion questions and no answers. I've been told by a few people that the later books show more development, descriptions, etc. and I'm curious to see how it all works out the end so I'll definitely be reading more.



Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl: A Novel - Gillian Flynn After Devouring the Film.

I actually watched the film nearly a month ago, but never got round to, er, 'reviewing' (?) it. Sometimes, my laziness amazes me.



T'is me.

Moving on.

I went to watch the movie with beyond low expectations. Movie adaptations can either be ginormous farts or all confetti and glitter and awesomeness. Gone Girl was both, but the farts were the child-excited ones, because it was amazing.



The actors played Nick & Amy perfectly and my friend, who hadn't read the book and had no idea what the film was about, was hypnotised by the mindfuck relationship and story line.



I think the only thing I would change about the film was the music, which seemed to pop up at the most awkward times, and sometimes the music didn't sync to the scene. As in, echo-y, mournful music to an up-beat, angry scene. You know? It might just be me, but whatever.

So yeah, 4/5 to the film! And my rating for the book is staying the same because I still want to shove a cactus up Nick's butt.



Look at that smarmy face. I just want to punch it.





DO NOT CLICK ON THE SPOILER TAGS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK. I'VE WARNED YOU.


"There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold."


Hi! I'm Nick Dunne, and I'm a fucking asshole. I guess that -- considering I admit that I'm an asshole -- it should make me less of an asshole. I have a cleft chin, which I like to mention in passing (don't women find it adorable? The cleft chin? The proper American-boy thing?) and I'm a goddamn asshole. I'm such a huge asshole that I took my wife away from New York, dragged her to my childhood town in Missouri and then decided to have an affair, rather than divorce her and give her a happier, better future, because I'm a fucking asshole. I'm a selfish mama's boy who likes to get his own way, much like my wife, because I've been babied and petted my entire life -- but I won't admit that to those who matter! Ho ho ho! Because I'm not actually the baby of the family, I'm older by a whole three minutes. Oh yeah, I have a twin sister, Go, and she thinks I'm an asshole, too. In fact, she thinks I'm such a huge dickweed that she likes to tell me this every so often. I'm also the asshole who treats my father, who has Alzheimer's, like shit because he's an asshole, who passed his stupid, annoying fucking genetics onto me and made me an asshole. So I hate him. I'm like a prepubescent child who hates everything and everyone and yes, maybe I did murder my wife, because why the fuck not.

Dear Diary,

I am scared. I am terrified. Because I'm a psycho bitch who is trying to frame my husband for my murder. There is no wrath like a woman scorned, amirite? He's a lying, cheating, philandering, spineless bastard who got his just desserts. No, I am not a psycho bitch. No, I do not see any harm in trying to trap my husband in a loveless marriage while he screws his pretty, young student and ruins everything we built. No, OF COURSE I am not a spoiled rich brat! Yes, I do hate my parents for getting rich off my life. It's okay, I will punish them, too, much like I punished everyone who has ever dared turn against me.

I am a calculating bitch. I know what makes my husband tick, I know his patterns; it's like studying an animal in its natural habitat... I even know how many times he pisses in a day. A fascinating study on how to make the Cheating Bastard pay.

He doesn't know that, though. He thinks I'm dumb, too busy baking cupcakes and playing nice with our little shit neighbourhood, too stupid to realise he's screwing away, coming home with some slut's scent on his skin...

He doesn't know that I am under his skin. I will RUIN him.


Nick again!

My wife is missing. I'm not bothered though, I never really liked her anyway. Like a broken toy. I played with her, I unscrewed her and now, poof! She's gone. I should really try to cooperate more, instead of wallowing in self pity, be an asshole and screw my mistress, but I shan't. Instead, I will get drunk, cry to my poor, poor twin sister then go balls deep between the legs of a girl who has fallen in love with me.

I am an asshole.

Dear Diary,

The plan is in place and the man shall suffer! I can't wait to see him unravel and be torn to pieces by the rabid, hungry, desperate public. I cannot wait to see how they make me a glorious, wonderful, loveable saint and he, a demon. I can't wait!

In fact, I'm currently holing up in some cabin on a lake (very Hollywood!) where no one know's not'in and no one asks not'in. However, I have made friends with a poor, abused bitch and a weird fishy guy. Literally. We watch the Ellen Abbott show and cry over that poor, poor girl, Amazing Amy, mysteriously missing... and all the clues point to her cheating, philandorous husband! The horror, the shame!

I love it.


I am in trouble. I am a trouble asshole. Every clue, everything, points to me. I am the husband who murdered his wife and threw away her body in the river, thanks to a web search I did when I was thinking about writing a book... I say thinking, because I suck at everything and I never go through with anything. In fact, for four years of marriage, it was always yes dear, sure dear, anything you want honey because I cannot for the life of me do something decent with my life. In the shower, I have a wank, then I go to the kitchen and have a drink, go to The Bar (hurrhurr we thought we were BRAINY and COOL and possibly slightly HIPSTER so we could appeal to the younger public! Aren't we funny?!) and do a few hours work because I am a waste of space, then come home, bitch at my wife used to bitch at my wife and go to bed. If I didn't go out and screw my mistress.

Anyway, I am in trouble. But I am innocent.

I think.

_____________________________________________________

After reading the above, how do you feel?

a) Confused?
b) Angry?
c) All of the above?
d) All of the above and more?

If you answered D, ding-ding-ding! We have a winner, because Gone Girl is a huge, confusing, messy clusterfuck of mini and large mindfucks. If you think you know, forget it, because you don't. I went into the book thinking, "Okay, okay. I can see where this is going. Very clever."

But the truth is, I didn't see where this is going. It was a lie. Everything you read is a ginormous, stinking lie. There is literally nothing you can... let me rephrase that: nothing you read can be can be trusted. I am giving you fair warning.

It's the day of Nick and Amy Dunne's 5th anniversary. There are crepes and mentions of love in the air... until Nick gets home and his wife is... mysteriously... gone.

Much atmosphere, very ooooh.

I hate Nick with the burning intensity of a thousand suns. He's an asshole, a prick and I would skewer him with a hot poker if I could. Right through the belly button and I'll even spin him around for a little bit, so he can get the full 360 feel of it. He is the exact reason why some women have commitment issues. He is the embodiment of the lying, two-faced man that will ruin your life. He's the man who will take take take and never give, never say thank you ... he will projectile vomit over your dreams, everything you love and he will isolate you from the world.

He will hurt you.

He is that man cockroach.

Gone Girl is the book you cannot talk much about without seriously spoilering the life out of people, so I will keep the rest of this review brief. Gillian Flynn says she loves Nick so I am not sure whether she ever intended to make him such a dislikeable, horrible character, but if she did it worked incredibly well. I never felt an ounce of sympathy for him.

Okay, maybe once. Once. That's it.

All I'm going to say is: this book was worth the... four days it took me to get through it, and that's just because I didn't like Nick. I sometimes had to physically remove myself from the room where the book was, in case I did something crazy, like burn it. But this book is so, so, so worth the migraine at the end. It's worth the bottle of wine you will drink whilst rubbing your temples and thinking, what the shit? It is worth the emotional hangover you will have in the morning.

SO worth it.

Parabolis

Parabolis - Eddie Han ISN'T IT GORGEOUS?!



I can't wait to dive into this book. I'm prepared to be miiiiind-blowwwwwwn.

Soul Love

Soul Love - Lynda Waterhouse I seem to be finding a lot of books I read in school, books that I've been thinking about a lot lately.

From what I recall, this one was a page turner, and the final twist absolutely killed me.

Going to re-read, then write a proper review.

Untitled

Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas Dear Maas,

I need this. Now.

No pressure.

Throne of Glass II

Throne of Glass II - Sarah J. Maas
“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.”


You know you have a serious problem when a book is incredibly good, but you're still too interested in what Chaol Westfall looks like naked.

Yeah, he's definitely taking up a spot on my book boyfriend shelf.

This book is not without its faults, but it was so damn good, so well written, that I couldn't care less. It's been a while since I could overlook the flaws and see a book for what it is -- exciting, fast paced, fun and with an actual plot.

The problem I have with trilogies is that, more often than not, I'll find myself reading the second book and being bored. I can safely say that this book does not fit in the category. It picks up a month or two after Throne of Glass but it doesn't skim over the fact that Celaena has a job to do, and she's running out of time.

Where Throne of Glass focused heavily on the forming love triangle and the constant, relentless drama, Crown of Midnight brings out all the emotions that are buried deep somewhere within my chest. I'm not cold-hearted, but it takes a lot to make me feel true sadness or sympathy for characters in a book. With this one, I was in a constant state of agony. It was pure torture. Actually, this GIF explains it pretty well:



The Plot:

Torn between her protectors -- a captain and a prince -- and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...


Celaena Sardothien is now the King's Champion. Her job? To slay, and bring the king proof, his enemies. It ranges from anyone to anyone. A rising rebellion? Dispatch them. Treacherous word of mouth? Find the culprit and bring me his head. Up until now, though, Celaena has faked each and every one of those deaths, instead giving the targets a chance to disappear forever, within a time scale, or she will kill them.

When the king gives her the details of a rising rebellion, Celaena knows time is running out, and she needs to get to the bottom of all those questions, and quickly.

She never thought it would be easy - far from it - but she didn't expect those obstacles: pain, betrayal and a neverending loss.

When I picked up Crown of Midnight at the store, I knew I'd either love it or hate it. It's safe to say that I love the shit out of this book, and have bookmarked all my favourite passages. It's because it doesn't skim over what needs to be done and is fast paced. For a 400 something page book, it flew by quickly and whenever I thought, "Just one more chapter," it would end on a cliffhanger which, of course, meant I had to read more now. There is a point to this book, but there are hundreds of twists and turns you take on the journey to get there. Whenever one problem is resolved, another crops up, and the crazy thing is, once you think about it, it all begins to make sense.

The twists? Some, I saw coming. Others completely floored me.



The Characters:

Talk about character development! Although Maas still doesn't show us Celaena as a true assassin, a cold-blooded killer, she grows as a character, and as a human being. What I love about her is her personality: she's cool and detached and makes the most hilarious remarks and comebacks, but when needs be, her emotions rule her being... making her human and easily someone I can relate to. Yet, she knows when enough is enough, and knows when to put an end to her misery and get to work.

A familiar, dark fire rippled in her gut, spreading through her, dragging her down into an abyss without end.
Celaena Sardothien stood from her chair.


Also, once I pictured Celaena as this:



I loved her even more.

Chaol.

I love him, and I'm rooting the CelaenaxChaol ship so hard, I'm scared it will sink. Although he looks out for her (sometimes too much, and it can seem insulting considering, you know, Celaena is an assassin and a good one at that) he's also willing to battle at her side. He doesn't put her on a crystal, pwetty pedestal and does all the dirty work for her, but he sticks by her and helps her when she needs to be helped. He doesn't get between her and her job, even though he disagrees with how she does it half the time, but he's still there whenever she needs someone.

I adored the way the romance grew between them. There's no insta-love involved, they don't even say the words, and when it happened, I squealed like a little kid at Christmas and danced around the office.

His relationship with Dorian is rickety at the moment, because of the love triangle but his loyalty knows no bounds.

And, sometimes, that's what gets him in trouble.

Dorian.



There's only so much emo, weepy, self-pitying bullshit I can handle, and Dorian presses all those buttons. For 50% of the book, he's wallowing in misery because the best friend got the girl therefore he can't have the viddly. In 30% he wallows because the fact that Celaena feels betrayed means he can't get the viddly.

But, hello there, character development! In the last 20%, Dorian completely smashes out of his comfort zone and starts doing stuff. He researches, studies, talks and questions people in order to find answers. He doesn't sit idly by, watching others do the work for him, but he gets up and finds the answers himself, and I admire him for that.

And, ugh, because of it, I actually like him.



Did NOT see that coming.

Team Chaol!

Yep, I don't care that Dorian isn't a snivelling brat any more, I'm still team Chaol.


Star-Crossed

Star-Crossed - Rachael Wing Gosh, it's been years since I read this book, and I only happened to find it on here by chance. It's a story that's stuck with me, oddly enough, and I think it was the writing style -- very, very different yet very, very good.

I think a re-read is in order.

Star Crossed

Star Crossed - Nenia Campbell

I need AAAAALL the Cinn.

My Immortal

My Immortal - Tara Gilesbie I can't. Stop. Laughing.

Just some quotes for my darling friends:

- "I felt a little depress then, so I slit my wrists. I read a depressing book while I waited for it to stop bleeding"

- ""Then he put his thingie in my you-know-who"

- ""He was so sexy that my body went all hot when I saw him kinda like an erection only I'm a girl so I didn't get one you sicko."

- "My name's Harry Potter although most people call me Vampire"

- "then he put his boys thingie down there and WE HAD SEX"

- "he had a really big you know what"

- "VIOER EXCRETION ADVISD"

- "Vlodemort and da death deelers!"

It's still unknown whether this was a trollfic, or if the girl was serious when she was writing it. Frankly, I'm siding with this article here and think that, if it was a trollfic, then Tara is the Master of Trolls. Too much work and dedication went into not only butchering the English language, but also in keeping up with two different personas and accounts, the different the stories, the "falling out" of her and "Raven"... It's too horribly bad to be true, yes, but I like to think that it IS true.

Also you guys need to watch the videos on their channel. They are so pathetically funny, I end up in stitches every time.

Those poor, poor girls.

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