Deliciously Evil ~ Vicious Book Review

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There are no heroes in Vicious. The pages are dominated by the egos of two college best friends, who happen to discover the secret to Extra Ordinary beings. God complexes, obsession, and super villains.

At first, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like this book after my disappointment with The Book Of Speculation, but I was consumed by the beautiful lyricism and quickness of V.E. Schwab’s story telling. I kept flipping the pages trying to figure out who’s side I would be on by the end of this novel. Victor or Eli’s? There’s no way to fully divulge into the characters and plot without spoiling anything, but I will say this. No one is a good person in this book.

Because I was introduced to Victor first, I was more empathetic towards him but by the end I was convinced that he was simply more likeable than Eli. Not any better by any means. I loved every single character, but I was a bit confused by Serena’s motives. She turns on her sister for seemingly no reason, but Schwab explains that E.O.s (extra ordinary people) lose parts of themselves when they gain their powers. Maybe that was the point? She probably could’ve conveyed it better, but that is my only critique.

Vicious isn’t preachy, but it asks the reader to think critically about what makes someone a good or bad. Everyone in this book commits a crime. No one is innocent (save for Sydney but that’s debatable). Eli and Victor do bad things but I found their reasons to be valid. What separates the two is Eli’s unyielding denial. Victor is completely honest about his cruel intentions. As I was reading, I could tell that Schwab is really into anime or comics books. This was a perfect superhero/super villain story.

V.E. Schwab has become a new favorite of mine and I encourage everyone to go out and get Vicious. I believe it’s one of her lesser known books. It’s not YA. It’s not romance. I honestly can’t give this book a generic label. It wasn’t necessarily action packed but it was insanely INTENSE and suspenseful. It was incredibly different from what I’m used to reading. I hope she plans to expand on this universe and bless me with a second book.

TLDR; If you love fast paced YA you will love Vicious. The plot moves along smoothly, its prose is easy to digest but still meaningful, all of the characters are likeable, and it wraps up nicely. Lots of violence and blood. Tons of blood really.

The Not So Spectacular Book Of Speculation ~ Review

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Some books, like people, you are just drawn to…..but The Book Of Speculation was simply an itch that needed to be scratched for me. When reading the summary I was immediately sold and captivated by the idea of mermaids and circuses…..buuut….

First I became well acquainted with denial. I thought to myself– yeah this book will get better! I kept turning the pages hoping that I’d be swept under the so called spell of The Book of Speculation. But…BUT I made a new friend. Her name is rage and she created thirty fires that melted away my soul. I absolutely HATED this book. I don’t even think hate is a good enough word. Don’t get me wrong, The Book of Speculation is a page turner, but not because of its whimsy writing and magical characters. In my opinion, Erika Swyler failed miserably at the magical realism aspect of this story. This book is a page turner simply because you are going to want to find out what keeps killing off the matriarchal lineage of this family. That is the only reason why I kept reading so kudos to you Erika for building up enough suspense.

Tone deaf I think perfectly explains what is wrong with Swyler’s debut novel. Swyler isn’t a bad writer. I honestly would pick up another book of hers, but I just don’t think magical realism is her thing. There were moments where I was genuinely confused. For example, Evangeline thwarting her grandmother to death with a spoon!?!?! I laughed so hard and from then on decided to hate read this entire book. MAYBE I missed something? Amos and Evangeline are insufferable and I couldn’t help but feel like Swyler was forcing feeding me their relationship. I didn’t get any sense of chemistry from them. Their relationship just kind of happens?

Let me go ahead and get in on the characters. The only person I liked in this book was Doyle. Everyone else was incredibly unbelievable. Simon is a doormat, Enola is neurotic with a unexplained stick up her asshole (like really her attitude was so unappealing), Frank and Alice are the most boring and uninspiring people in this entire clusterfuck. Alice and Simon have no chemistry. THAT’S THE THING NO ONE IN THIS BOOK HAS CHEMISTRY. And I don’t know if Swyler got too caught up in trying to make everything seem magical….I just really don’t know what happened. Most of all I just found myself not caring about any of the characters. I read this book immediately after I finished Dragonfly In Amber, so maybe that’s why I disliked it so much. It was no match to Gabaldon’s storytelling, but days after reading it I concluded that this book is just dull.

There’s nothing wrong abrasive and rude characters, but I think Enola just wasn’t handled correctly. Everyone could’ve been handled better. This book is steeped in nauseating melodrama and pettiness. I just couldn’t stomach it. I was so happy when it ended.

The Book of Speculation isn’t bad enough to not suggest. I would still suggest this to book to anyone interested in its genre. It just didn’t work out for me. Maybe this review was too harsh….

TLDR; If you love corny, cheesy, magical stories about traveling circuses then this  might be for you. Swyler’s clearly got an imagination, but her characters are really flat. I will be looking out for other books she might publish in the future. I hope next time around she WOWs my socks off.

Diana Gabaldon’s Dagger In My Heart ~ Outlander and Dragonfly In Amber Review (Spoilers)

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How do I go about articulating my thoughts? My feelings? A week and a whole novel later, Dragonfly In Amber STILL has me SHOOK! It’s been a long time since a book has invaded my heart space. Not only is Gabaldon’s writing amazing, but she has managed to get me to care about two fictional characters the way a childless auntie coos over her nieces and nephews. I felt so many things while reading Outlander and Dragonfly In Amber. Stress, anger, sadness, and fear for the Frasers. Even betrayal as I wept during Jamie and Claire’s eventual parting. I ACTUALLY CRIED and that’s incredibly rare for me.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first 300 pages of Outlander, I really enjoyed the tedium of Dragonfly In Amber. I was instantly sucked into their lifestyle as French aristocrats and overall enjoyed them functioning as a married couple. What I most enjoy about the series so far is that it’s kind of one huge history lesson.

That being said, I do have my critiques but my criticism has very little do with the books. Let me explain. Now I’m not going to beat the SJW dead horse. I’m not trying to be an angry woman of color either, but I always find myself feeling detached somewhat when I read historical fiction. As much as I love Claire, I do question some facets of her character. She’s a white woman from the 1940s who willfully gives up her rights to be with Jamie in the past. There’s no mention of slavery in the books, and while I don’t read stories to feel validated I do often have this thought in the back of my head. How does Claire feel about these things? How does Claire feel about Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era? Hell, I would even love some insight on how she felt about World War II as a combat nurse (the Holocaust!!! HELLO!!). Aside from the obvious war is bad. Is Claire more than just book smart? She doesn’t really express any sort of multiplicity in her train of thought.

These thoughts don’t make me enjoy the book less. Or any historical fiction for that matter. Diana Gabaldon wasn’t trying to make a political statement and no one should expect her to. The series is a cheesy romance novel wearing the costume of an epic adventure. This leads me to the strong rape culture argument surrounding the books. While I understand that a lot of the things that happen in the books ARE appalling and downright DESPICABLE, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Gabaldon reinforces rape culture and violence against women.

HOLD UP! DON’T LIGHT YOUR TORCHES YET! LET ME EXPLAIN!!!

It is important to critically understand what you are reading, but I don’t think feminist theory should be applied to EVERYTHING. It’s possible to enjoy and consume media while still acknowledging its shortcomings. Gabaldon has every right to tell her story the way she wants. We have choices in life which is why I would not suggest this book to anyone who doesn’t like violence of any sort. Do not read this book if rape and violence triggers you.

Opinions are like buttholes. We all have one.

Since I’m discussing the problematic aspects of Outlander, Jamie gets raped by Jack Randall. The aftermath is important to his character and his development. He suffers and Claire suffers with him. And I loved the way Gabaldon handled it. We never talk about sexual abuse when it involves men. NEVER! This is why NOW I haven’t watched the show entirely. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the Starz adaption. So I can’t really speak on what has been portrayed in the TV, but in the books I think Gabaldon did a really swell job at handling Jamie’s character and his rape. HOWEVER I did not enjoy reading about what happened to Mary Hawkins or Fergus. I do think the story could’ve done without their sexual abuse. Especially with Fergus. I cringed and had to put the book down for thirty minutes. I wish I could ask Gabaldon why she felt as though she had to let two characters endure rape that is never really discussed later.  This is my biggest complaint. Of course I eventually picked the book back up, but I was emotionally exhausted. I did think about taking a long break after, but I was committed to the rest of the book. I had made it so far there was no need to stop.

Diana Gabaldon drained my soul with these books and I won’t be reading Voyager for two months. I need time to recover honestly but my money was well spent. If I’m committing to a thousand pages I better be destroyed. I wish I had taken a break after Outlander. I immediately dived into Dragonfly In Amber without taking a month long gasp of air.

Claire is a bit of a Mary-Sue. A bearable one though. Sometimes I feel like Gabaldon gives us more insight on the characters surrounding Claire. But Claire’s faults doesn’t detract from the story. Honestly, I read more so for Jamie. In most romance novels the love interest is a brooding asshole who takes his anger out on everyone around him. Jamie is the EXACT OPPOSITE and I love it. Jamie is considerate, kind, eager for Claire’s happiness, and emotionally available. Jamie is so willing to love Claire and it was such a refreshing departure from what I’m used to. Jamie actually talks about his problems and allows Claire to help him sort through them. He doesn’t push her away. There’s never a misunderstanding that ruins their relationship for the sake of storytelling.

TLDR; If you enjoy happiness don’t read this series. If you like having free time don’t read this series. If you’re a whore for torture, melodramatics, and a sprinkle of adventure DO READ THIS! Allow Gabaldon to ruin your life and deplete you of all your HP. Email me if you’re interested in a phoenix down.

Diana, if by any chance you read this I would like to have my soul back.

Undermajordomo Minor~ My Review

 

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Have you ever felt like a book was written specifically for you? As though the writer secretly knows and creates a story that perfectly fits with who you are? That’s exactly how I felt after reading Undermajordomo Minor.Patrick DeWitt’s writing embodies everything I love about story telling. His sense of humor is amazing. I could feel fragments of my personality lifting off the pages. Now the story didn’t make any social nor political statements of the sort,so you’re probably wondering why I hold it so personally. It’s Dewitt’s try at a dark fable. It felt magical and it mirrored a lot of Tim Burton-esque storytelling. I could totally see Burton getting a hand on this and immediately feeling compelled to adapt it into a movie.

I have no complaints about this book. Nothing about it bothered me in the slightest. Even the random ballroom scene with the salami. I embraced it just as much as I embraced the rest of the book. However, I would like to personally ask DeWitt WHY he wrote it and if it really had any significance that I missed.Simply to hear his answer. Hoping that it would be just as witty and hilarious as his writing.

This book doesn’t necessarily fit in a genre? Lucy Minor is a teenager but this book has no YA elements and the ballroom scene definitely solidifies that. I do think anyone 17+ can enjoy this book. It’s really whimsical despite how dark it is.

TLDR; Go read this book. It was the best two days of my life and I was so sad when it ended. I’m proud to have it in my collection and DeWitt has immediately become one of my favorite writers.

The Pretentious Elephant In The Room

As I sifted through the many booktubers, I’ve noticed this strong YA presence. Not to say that it’s a bad thing but a lot of these booktubers are close to my age (early twenties). Anyone can enjoy whatever genre to their liking, and I guess it shouldn’t matter as long as people are reading books…..

I just remember reading Twilight before it was a pop cultural phenomena. I was thirteen and I still remember the horrible disappointment I felt when I finished the book. I remembering feeling as though it talked down to me. It was so dull and uninspiring. Twilight is the sole reason I left YA behind at an early age. The next book I sought after was Memoirs of A Geisha and I never looked back. I started taking up adult contemporary and getting my hands on anything I saw in the book section of Walmart.

I guess ‘leaving YA behind’ is a huge exaggeration on my part. I did pick up YA books but they never quite satisfied me? In my personal opinion, YA doesn’t challenge the reader. That could partially be why it’s so popular. Most YA books are easy reads. I finished Twilight in a day. I finished Evermore in a day. Every YA book I picked up, it took me no time to finish it. It was like gobbling up tons of information. Useless and mindless information. TLDR: I think YA is soulless and lacks depth. Not all YA books but the vast majority from my experience.

That all being said, I’m still very shocked to see adults who read things like The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc etc and think it’s ground breaking literature? Maybe I’m overthinking it all and it really just all boils down to personal taste.

Booktubers I’m currently into:

bazpierce

climbthestacks

Libby Stephenson

mynameismarines