Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Apollo's RavenApollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like this was the book to introduce me to historical fantasy, and for that it will forever have a special place in my heart. We follow two kingdoms trying to fight for survival, Rome and Celtic culture, young first loves etc.

From page one, I did not realize that I was about to embark on this exciting journey, filled with political intrigue and magical abilities involving animals. I was hooked on the first sentence, and was constantly thinking about what would be the outcome for these character. Truly, I cared and connected with their struggles and joys, which is a rare thing for me to usually say.

Tanner has created a bad-a*s princess from Brittanica, Catrin who is fierce and loyal and my favorite character in this book. I just love her determination to change fate/ change the outcomes of things. She has all of these hidden magical abilities that were deeply explored, and definitively satisfied what I was looking for in a character.

The gods demand the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul's journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to do the same as mine. I prophesize your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a Raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire to overtake your kingdom and to execute my curse.

This is the curse, that was said by the former queen at her first execution as to what will happen in the kingdom's future. The whole plot of the book revolves around trying to change/break this curse so that Catrin can save the ancient kingdom of Brittanica, which she loves oh so much because it's always been home. Her star-crossed lover, Marcellus who's on the other side of the conflict, and because of this it added another layer of 'why we can never be together' to their relationship.

In general, I thought that this book was just well-crafted. My only one complaint would be that there were too many storylines going on at the same time, that I often felt like I was losing track. Not only are their so many characters, but we also get to learn everyone's backstories, which can be extremely helpful for worldbuilding but can get a bit confusing when trying to connect the dots.

**This is an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day and you can find it here on their website.**

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Poems of Robin R. Rabii: Insights That Nurture ConnectionThe Poems of Robin R. Rabii: Insights That Nurture Connection by Robin R Rabii
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going into this poetry collection, I was a little bit hesitant because this usually isn't the medium through which I consume written art. From the beginning, the prologue and various soliloquies turned me off, because I started wondering if this whole book was going to have such a wordy alliterating style.

Fortunately, I found some treasures that I could ponder on. The author doesn't hesitate to address issues like racism, sex, politics, feminism, homosexuality, environmental issues, head on; which is something that I could really admire.

One great thing that he was is choose a descriptive image and flow with it for the stanza of the majority of the poem. That makes it feel more consistent, and what also contributes that that feeling of consistency was the repetitive. Sometimes there are phrases that seem to repeat over and over again, but I can identify that's just to emphasize a certain point that he was trying to convey.

However, the balance that has to be struck is to not make it too preachy and for it to come from a place of humble suggestion. I understand that the author clearly wants to convey a message to the reader, but saying "do this, do that." isn't going to be that effective for me. If I honestly wanted to go learn how to be a better human, I would go to some other trusted source.

Another writing device that is often utilized in poetry is rhyming, and the author does rhyme in several spots. Most of the time, I find rhyming distracting, if not unnecessary because it makes me go on a puzzle hunt trying to connect which words rhyme with which one that subtracts me concentrating on the message.

Within the poem about Mother Earth that's called "Unconditional",he uses the metaphor of a violent assault to describe what humans are doing to earth. Obviously, since the first stanza the reader knows exactly what he's talking about based on the context, yet he still comes right out and says "this is mother earth" directly in the poem. I feel like that's overstating, or rather stating the obvious which seems to indicate that he isn't keeping his poetry mysterious enough.

My absolute favorite poem was called "Holding Hands" in which it describes the marriage of two gay guys and it really had an open and frank discussion. The way that the author set it up what in an interview or Q & A style which really make for an interesting discussion. My favorite line from that is:
Unclog your thoughts,
Accept love as a smasher of boundaries...(and later on)
Love unclogged is true freedom and
hope for all of us,
creating possibilities for the impossible.

Overall, if you want to get into a collection of poems that explore deep themes and problems in today's "conditioned" society, I would say to go and pick this awesome collection up to give it a try!

This book was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day and you can find it here!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Marriage PactThe Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A psychological thriller who follows a newly-married couple, as they find themselves joining this mysterious pact which will change their lives forever. We start out with young love between Alice and Jake, seemingly a picture-perfect couple. The Pact is supposedly there to protect their marriage, to keep them together and on the path to their dreams.

But then... everything falls apart and becomes a nightmare. Except their not dreaming; this is reality staring down at them for the "consequences" of their decisions. Some thing in here are funny, while others are just downright creepy...friend. The thing with this book is, it won't let you get your breath, it won't stop for even one minute to let you catch up. The pacing is just that excellently quick, which is good if you have problems with focusing your attention, which is good if you're like me and have problems doing that.

Throughout the book, Alice and Jake manage to break the rules, gets seduced by the image/allusion of these rich people throwing parties at their house, and the original intentions where this Pact was born from. I'm not going to say anymore, except that if you like the sound of this intriguing plot, then this is the book for you. There's no way out of this mess apparently, even though they are both willing to find it...friend.

Furthermore, because Jake is a marital counselor, we get lots of statistics and facts thrown in about the probability of divorce in xyz situations. We get different scenarios of marriages trying to work their problems out, teenagers/children of these to-be-seperated parents,etc. which provides a very in-depth and more delicate look to this topic.

Alice is a lawyer, and I guess that I just never realized how high-maintenance being on the job it. Meaning that Alice is always working over-time, long hours at the firm, so exhausted of being beaten, elated at winning. Which is a thing about books that I enjoy, giving us a simple look-in into the daily lives of these people.

Overall, if you aren't in the mood for chick-lit (this isn't it), but if you want to read a fast paced thriller about an adult relationship and all the intricacies and problems that come of that, this is the book to pick up!

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Goodbye DaysGoodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[actual rating: 3.5 stars]

Carver Briggs, has a normal life with his best friend's “Sauce Crew” who do everything in life together. After sending one fateful text of an inquiry of location to Mars, Blake, and Eli who were driving somewhere, all three are killed in a car crash instantly. Left as the only survivor of the squad, Carver questions who’s to blame for this terrible event that made his life spin out of control.

TW for this review: self-harm, suicide, homophobia

I have extremely mixed opinions about this book. On one hand, I perceive this as a beautiful celebration of life, and on the other hand, there were some extremely problematic sections in the text which really bothered me and wasn’t amusing. Therefore I will try to divide this review into two sections:

“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

At its heart, this is an exploration of grief, guilt, and the fear of moving forward while leaving such a big part of yourself behind. The blurb really caught my attention, because I feel like this could be a cautionary tale for teenagers to think about what they do and what consequences can result because of this. Don’t mistake the stereotype of this genre, this is far from a fluffy contemporary.

The mental illness representation in my opinion, was quite accurate. (view spoiler)

“He grins and starts making elaborate tying motions with his hands. He fits an invisible noose around his neck, tightens it, and jerks it upward, sticking his tongue out the side of his mouth. I stifle a laugh and pantomime opening a bottle of pills and dumping the whole thing in my throat… We meet eyes again. Under his deck, Blake of pantomimes cutting his wrist.”

These lines are inexcusable and should not be even placed in the text. There is no correction, Blake and Carver consider this whole action sequence as a joke, because they are currently in a classroom with a shitty teacher that pisses them off. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for this type of disgusting joking of attempted suicide.

“Yeah, well you’re gayer than… riding a white pony through a field of dicks… ‘It’s cool dude. We just need to have a gay-joke training montage, where you’re running while I ride my bike, and lifting weights while screaming gay jokes, all in preparation for your redemption from this humiliating defeat.”

Not having or having a gay friend doesn’t give you the excuse to make these homophobic, and then while apologizing saying: “There aren’t really homophobic. None of us are. We just---didn’t think.” Excuses excuses who do you think you are?

“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what'd happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”

Yet quotes like these make me recognize the value that this book brings. Quotes like this blow my mind and make me love Zentner’s writing style even more.

**Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Ending Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
I think the most daunting hour was nearing the around the 20s, because it became increasingly difficult to not just collapse and fall asleep on my desk.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?
Any volume of Saga or Lumberjanes, because it's a quick read that has a lot of pictures, so it's easier for your brain to process this at the dead of night. 
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Would like some collective tab that announces all of the winners of the prizes, because otherwise all of the way of communications are scattered, and you take to keep on checking multiple blogs/social medias.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

All the Twitter chat questions and involvement of the participants.I love making new friends!5. How many books did you read?
8 total books, with a total number of pages 1687 
6. What were the names of the books you read?

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I think that my favorite has to be GOODBYE DAYS, because it's a beautiful celebration of life and I adored all of the characters.
8. Which did you enjoy least?HOME (Binti #2), but the only reason why is because I hadn't read the first one therefore I was very confused on what is going on with the worldbuilding and character development.
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Definitively doing it next time, would love to spearhead some of the future Twitter chats that are going on.

See y'all in September! 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hour 13 Update

Here are the three books that I've finished, currently have scattered thoughts so will update and review later
Have Read:

Currently Reading: 

Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? – On the beautiful East coast in the great garden state of NJ.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? – Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? – I gathered up all of my favorite snacks into a stockpile, so we've got: pretzels, raisins, caramel candies, cheese, and of course my favorite--the grapefruit.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! – Hello y'all, I'm Mars, a queer teenager blogger who devours YA books like nobody's buisness. I've been blogging consistently for about one year, and this is my third round of Deweys.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? – DNF way more and way more quickly. Previously readathons I have made myself slug through books that I hated or weren't really entertaining at all. Also, going to try to do a bunch of pictures for the Instagram challenges.

Well, fellow readathoners, Happy Reading!