Susana "Lost in Fantasy Land"

I love to get lost in the pages of a good book. At the moment my favorite genres are urban fantasy and dystopias.

 

The Dress Shop of Dreams - Menna van Praag

Lately I can't seem to find the patience, or the will, to write reviews. Especially for books that I don't like ( which unfortunately seems to be the rule lately).

I feel emotionally drained at all levels, so my patience for half assed stories is even more reduced.

This was my first story by the author, and more likely will be my last.

Some writing styles and stories work out for me, others don't: what is supposed to feel magical realism feels lame to me, and sometimes I just feel like dnf a book after a first paragraph.

But then bad things happen, and I feel so lousy, that this is just the kind of story that I should be reading: a story about which I just don't care about.

I thought this was going to be about a character, Cora. Instead there was a myriad of characters _ most of which I couldn't care about _ with their vastly pov's, who would change briskly at the will of the wind?

Every single time I would start feeling some connection to a character, boom, there would be a pov's change.

For me the characters felt cardboard, the romances weak as hell ( with the exception of the police officer and his wife... that one I would have liked to have had more), and one of the characters _ Milly _ almost made me throw the Kobo against a wall.

Not for me I'm afraid.

Great beginning...

The Obsession - Nora Roberts

... but then the whole thing fell apart into a boring story that could be called, "My house's Renovation- The journal". -_-

Look, for that there's "House Rules"... of which I'm fan.

I've read so many NR's books and lately it seems as if the author has fallen into this clinical writing style that annoys the hell out of me.

As for the romance, it is probably the weakest of them all.

A big meh for a big book.

 

How this was nominated for best romance _ by GR's _ is beyond me.

At 62%

Troublemaker: A Novel - Linda Howard

Tricks, the Retriever, continues to be the main character.

Acácia
Acácia
Acácia
Acácia
Nosy neighbours
Nosy neighbours
again the same nosy guys
again the same nosy guys
Candy stripe rose
Candy stripe rose

Here are some photos I took today: hope they cheer you guys in this very important day, for America. And for the rest of us. -_-

I do not want to live in a world who has Trump for President. -_-

I've read 37%

The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon

How in the hell, is this book in a "best fantasy" category is beyond me. -_-

The world building is extremely weak. There's some paranormal elements. Some made up words...

The characters, except for Lark, are not well developed. And even Lark, comes out very naive for someone who is 19. Also, I wanted her not to be so... goody two shoes.

This is a book about a romance, but I really like my characters to have a choice about it... and being abducted by the guy isn't what I call romantic.

 

Image result for if disney mothers were alive

The Girl Who Drank The Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon - Kelly Barnhill

I definitely need to read more Kelly Barnhill stories, because this is my second book by the author, and once again I've given it five stars...
Look, I don't know how to properly review this story. Part of me just wants to gush about the writing, the plot, the characters, the depth, the symbolism, the enchanting magical realism writing style.
I don't want to pick things apart, like I normally do.
This is a story about finding out who you are. A story about love and friendship, and what makes family. In the end this is about moving on, because the world doesn't stop changing and neither do we.
Just read it.

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall - Judy Sheehan

Picked this up because I wanted something more lightweight before starting reading my next book... and I sure got it. -_-
The writing is juvenile. The characters are undeveloped clichés. Nothing is properly developed, not even the cheesy teen romance.
By now some of you are probably saying, "oh, you're being too harsh just because this isn't for you."
Thing is, I would never in a million years give this book to a middle grader, or even a teen. And that is because this is one of those books, that manages to not develop a decent plot so that it can gush about a stupid, maybe toxic romance. For those who have read this, you're probably thinking, "oh, but Nick is a good guy!"
Yes, Nick is not a bad guy for a sixteen year old. But I found him manipulative, and in the end of the story, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, because I couldn't help feeling that another women got sidetracked of all her potential because of a guy.
What a waste of an original concept.

October Reads

October proved out to be a month with reads above the average: I only dnf'ed one book.

I am so proud of myself... although that might mean that I'll Dnf two books in November: namely the ones that I managed not to finish in October. -_-

Books Read: 8

 

A Feast of Sorrows Stories - Angela Slatter The Princess and the Bear - Mette Ivie Harrison Spindle - Shonna Slayton When the Moon was Ours - Anna-Marie McLemore A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas 

 

Shifting Dreams - Elizabeth Hunter Firefly Hollow - T.L. Haddix The Rat Prince - Bridget Hodder

 

Anthology- Horror/ Dark Fantasy- A feast of Sorrows 3.5 Stars (Arc)

 

Fairy Tales - The Princess and The Bear ( #2) - 3.5 Stars

 

Historical Fiction (with traces of retelling):

 Spindle - 3.5 Stars (Arc)

A Study In Scarlet Women - 2.5 Stars (Arc)

 

Middle Grade / Retellings: The Rat Prince - 3 Stars

 

Paranormal Romance:

Shifting Dreams ( Cambio Springs, #1) - 3 Stars

Firefly Hollow (#1) - 2 Stars (DNF)

Firefly Hollow - T.L. Haddix

Dnf at 70%

 

I started this on a whim after seeing some good reviews of some friends.

I just wanted something that would make me want to read, so I started this, and I found myself liking it.

I had never read a paranormal romance in which the paranormal element was so toned down.

Also for a story that takes place in the fifties, the characters were surprisingly modern. I should know that sooner or later there would be a catch.

Sarah is a feminist, she knows what she wants, and she knows how she'll get it.

She wants an education, and she has the support of her family.

 

Owen, also wants an education. Unfortunately due to his condition _ the shifter thing that runs in the family _ he won't be able to follow his dream. Also, as a consequence of his different condition, he ends up estranged of great part of his family.

In that moment we believe when he says he will live the rest of his life as a hermit. Too bad the author didn't explore this.

 

Some years go by, Sarah returns home, due to some events, and I'm afraid that things start happening extremely fast: things that had been properly developed would allow for some real conflict.

But no, instead the romance between those two blossoms in the blink of an eye, and by the middle of the book, I was ready for the thing to end. Really.

 

We have two characters, extremely likeable, sweet and reasonable who start behaving as idiots. Because by that moment, the book was only about their romance. The shifter part was still extremely undeveloped, and Sarah who up until now had behaved in a logical manner, decides to act all drama queen.

Maybe I'll finish it some other time, but at this moment I just don't have the patience for it.

Too bad, because at the beginning of the story I thought I was reading a four star book.

Shifting Dreams (#1)

Shifting Dreams - Elizabeth   Hunter

I started this hoping to have found another urban fantasy series that I would love.

Thing is, this series is more romance oriented than I was expecting it to be. Nothing wrong with it, just not what I was expecting.

The characters were actually interesting, the romance was well done, the world building not too messy, and I actually didn't know who the culprit was, so not too bad.

I am actually curious about the couple in the second book so I may read it one of these days.

For a paranormal romance, the guy was not a alpha douche bag, and Jenna ( the main character) could definitely kick his ass when needed.

Reading progress update: I've read 44%.

Secrets in the Snow: A Novel of Romance and Intrigue - Michaela MacColl

Why I'm about to dnf this:

 

First there's the cheesy similes:

 

“Jane?” Eliza yawned delicately, her elfin face adorable as a kitten’s."

 

"Eliza went still as a beautiful china doll."

 

There's the inconsistencies. The author isn't able to define an age for a character:

 

"He was eight years old but had the intellectual capacity of a child half his age."

 

Later on...

 

"He was a boy of six."

 

In the book, Jane is nineteen years old, so I really don't understand the need to quote parts of most Jane Austen's books: by that age, she had only written her so called juvenilia as well as Lady Susan.

I can only attribute that decision to the need of having something well written in this story.

 

Then there's the occasional inclusion of words and phrasing that are heavily linked to Jane Austen's writing and putting them in the mouth of someone else...

 

"To Jane she embodied the perfect combination of sense and sensibility."

C'mon! That wasn't even the title that Jane Austen originally chose.

 

“You may flatter her lively dancing. Or her complexion,Or her fine eyes." (said by a cousin)

Please. Stop.

 

“But my nerves won’t stand for a noisy party. (Told by Jane Austen's mother)

Really Mrs Bennet?

 

“If he deigns to come, I am certain he will be too discourteous to dance, no matter how many women require partners.”

Just STOP.

 

“You’ve no fortune and are only tolerably pretty."

Said by one of Jane's brothers... because heaven forbids that what she ends up writing would come out of her head!

 

I always thought Jane Austen must have been an incredibly smart and interesting woman to get to know... at least until I read this :/

Where is her spirit? Her wit?

In this story, young Jane Austen comes out as a bratty, irresponsible girl, who doesn't care a bit about her reputation!

And calling a man that isn't her kin by his first name?

Are you kidding me?

you know what? I've had enough.

Oh, and I was already forgetting about the x-ray vision -_-

 

"He no longer wore his disguising scarf, but his face was concealed beneath his hat.
She could only see make out his tawny eyes, staring at her intently."

HOW CAN SHE POSSIBLY SEE THE COLOUR OF HIS EYES?!

 

*all quotes removed from an arc

 

 

 

 

 

 

New arcs

 

A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

 

   Arc Provided by Berkley Publishing Group through Netgalley

 

Book Status: Already Released ( October 18th)

 

Here's the thing: I've never been a Sherlock Holmes fan. I would see some "Poirot" episodes, "Miss Marple", "Murder She Wrote", but I never had the patience for Sherlock. serialization with Cumberbatch didn't improve matters, because I really dislike Cumberbatch's weasel... face. -_-

 

Tony Stark, I mean Downey Jr, was able to make me sit quietly for a couple of minutes in front of the screen, but not enough to make me want to finish watching it...or maybe it was that Watson dude. *cough*

 

I do however love House and Wilson! So maybe not all is lost? ;)

 

But I digress. This story, well by now it must be painfully obvious that I didn't request this because of the character...

I requested this because of the author! Sherry Thomas would probably make me read a book about Hannibal Lecter! *okay, maybe not*

 

I've read the author's historical romances. Her _until now_ only contemporary (please, give me more!). Even two of her YA trilogy, so of course I had to read this one. A female Sherlock? Yes, please! Surely she wouldn't be as annoying as Cumberbatch's performance.

___

I'm afraid that after having read this, I'm no longer sure. Reading this was very strange. And uncomfortable, because I couldn't understand her. But maybe that was to be expected?

 

Charlotte, future Sherlock Holmes to be, left me wondering in those first pages if she had some level of autism, because if so, that would explain some things.

But then she started talking, and I was left wondering if she was trying to impersonate Dr. House's aloofness. But later on, the girl has the beginning of a panic attack... so I guess in the end she's more like Wilson. But we do end up having a Watson in the book, so that was a little redundant: that overflow of emotions.

 

By now you're probably saying that none of this makes sense... well that was what I felt at the beginning of this story, so join the club! ;)

Back and forth without actually seeing the events taking place! Hello? This had so much telling, it became absurd. This was supposed to be about the beginning of Sherlock's career, and we don't get to see it!

And what about Charlotte's decisions... are you kidding me? Where is their logic? So, Charlotte Holmes, our main character... how can I say this?

She became a little tiresome. A little like Sheldon, but less funny...

Then there's the other characters: there's Liv, one of Charlotte's sisters. Then two other sisters. I can't remember their names. Then there's the mother (who is an abusive bastard), and the father, who is a lying bastard. Lord Ingram, who ends up being the most interesting character in the book, but he's married, and that makes him a fool. Although not as ridiculous as Charlotte, because Charlotte wins first prize.

There's a Scotland Yard Inspector to whom it is given way too much time in this book, with countless (hours and hours of my life were wasted forever) interrogations that suck the life out of us.

That means that a lot of people die during this story: don't worry, you won't care about any of them. In fact, if you're anything like me, you'll probably end up mixing the whole gang!

In the end, the thing improves a little with all those deaths being perfectly resolved and all that, but it really is impossible for me to forget the fact that for probably three quarters of the story, I was extremely bored by it.

 

However, I have to give credit where it is due: even with a boring story, Sherry Thomas's writing style is still two hundred percent better than that of other writers.

Presenting Prince Char ;)

The Rat Prince - Bridget Hodder

  This was a cute Cinderella's retelling, with an unexpected main character: Prince Char of the Northern Realm... who happens to be a rat. A royal rat. lol

 

Now Char is an industrious, fast on his little feet, smart prince, who happens to have a soft spot for poor Lady Rose, who has been nicknamed Cinderella by her wicked stepmother... Char is well aware that the well being of his kingdom depends on getting rid of Cinderella's stepmother: the women is dead serious on poisoning all of Char's people. And that, simply cannot be. That is when Char devises a plan. He will help Cinderella get to the ball so that she can meet the prince and hopefully getting him smitten with her. With Cinderella as Queen, Char hopes to at last have some peace at his home. Good plan, right? Now if only Char and Cinderella would understand one another... With the help of a recovered family heirloom, Char and Cinderella end up getting much more that what they were expecting. Like I said this was a cute retelling. Fast paced, well written, I think younger readers will probably have a blast with this. For me the only downside, is that I can't help wishing that the romance had taken longer to develop, and that in the dialogues between the love birds hadn't relied so much on "cheese"... if you know what I mean. Sometimes, less is more. And this is destined for a younger audience so...

I've read 9%

Secrets in the Snow: A Novel of Romance and Intrigue - Michaela MacColl

Wow author, could you have written Jane Austen in a more disagreeable manner? -_-

Not happy about this.

 

Drama, drama, drama

Faithful: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

Arc Provided by Simon & Schuster through Netgalley

 

Release Date: November 1rt

 

Here's the thing, I am starting to realize that Alice Hoffman's writing is like a drug to me: I am addicted to it ( why? Idk. Faulty wiring in the grey cells... depression. Who knows?), but it really messes with me. And not in a good way. Because through imagery and beautiful phrasing the author embellishes ugly scenarios. The worst is that lately, her books seem to be dominated by weak people and by their socially inapt families, and the fact that through some convoluted fairy tale scenarios, most people overcome their issues.

Unless you're killed: Alice Hoffman's characters have a high mortality rate. Mostly due to cancer,(strangely, in some parts of the world, cancer is already seen as a chronic disease, but not in A.H's novels), but there's also drugs, and finicky parrots that suddenly decide to fly (yeah, I still haven't got over that one) leading their owners to death.

 

The writing as always is great... although there was some repetitions that could have been avoided. Like Ben's last name. Over and over... and over.

 

But that is not the main reason why this book left me mad as a wet cat.

These are:

1) Use of trigger warning situations only for the shock value of the thing

A friend who is a comma, is bad enough. Survivor's guilt, is bad enough.

Attempting suicide is already too much. Did the author really had to had a rape scene in a psychiatric ward?

(show spoiler)

So that Shelby got to say "I was fucked" over and over. And for me it wasn't used as a form of dissociation. If "that" was the idea, then the whole thing was poorly done.

 

The whole thing becomes even more problematic, after she tells her mother what happened, and the mother doesn't do anything about it. That's right, for about two years Shelly does whatever she wants, falling into a deep depression.

And like I said the rape is never properly addressed, so yeah for me, that was really badly done.

 

2) At the beginning of this review I use the term "weak people". Let me explain: I am not trying to diminish the character's pain. Thing is, bad things happen in life. People die. Family die and we never get over it. That doesn't mean all of us are going to do drugs. That doesn't mean that we're going to enter a relationship like some sort of parasite. Especially if that person likes you. Most of the times we just go on with our lives.

 

3) Due to the synopsis, I thought this would be more friendship oriented than it ended being. Shelly and Helene are supposed to be best friends, but at beginning, the characterization that the author makes of the two of them felt so heavy handed, "good girl/party girl; good student/couldn't care less about it; reserved/kind of sluty (hopefully this word will be removed from the final story), that I was left completely baffled about what I was reading.

 

4) The use of a physical image associated with cancer to create pity

After the accident, Shelby shaves her head. She even says that people look at her with pity because they think she has cancer. Maybe if the author hadn't said something of the type, I couldn't care less? But she did, and from that moment on, my hatred for Shelby started growing. She wanted to blend in the background? In that case, average appearance normally does the trick.

 

5) Alice Hoffman and romance normally don't walk hand in hand.

Obsession, insta attraction and following disappointment, yes. Thing is I had imagined many roads for Shelby and Ben. For a moment I thought, "okay, the author creates the most wonderful Ben's". Read "Practical Magic".

I was happy, or at least I was hoping for a possibility of happiness. And then the author had to choose a "new adult" approach to ruin things.

 

6) The new adult romance vibe

You know why I mostly can't stand new adult? It is because of the way abusive/toxic relationships are dealt.

Stalkerish vibes?

Away you go.

A guy deciding what is best for you?

Yeah, no.

Dark, brooding, been in prison vibe?

Hell no, Give me a Ben. Even if it started out messy.

 

7) The cancer card

That's right! Who cares if the story line was already fucked up as it was? The story wouldn't be complete without someone dying from cancer... in a few pages.

 

8) Another death, because the death tally in this book still wasn't long enough.

YES I KNOW DOGS DIE! ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE FOURTEEN YEARS OLD! MY DOG IS FOURTEEN AND A HALF AND HE IS DYING! LEAVE THE Fictitious

ANIMALS ALONE!

(show spoiler)

Really, stop with the soap opera!

 

9) No magical realism. There was this supposed "angel" (stupid me was thinking something along the lines of "Turtle Moon") who ended up being a Mr. Know it all, stalkerish type.

Just No.

Truth is, had this been written by any other author ( that not one of my favourites) I probably wouldn't have even finished it. As it is, I feel as if I've read some weird as fuck soap opera. And I hate soap operas.

Guess it is time for me and Alice Hoffman's writing to part ways.

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