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Posted in Book Lover, Teen Fiction, Teen Science Fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings (Review #22)

Released: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Page Count: 544

Price: 7.99

Description:
Known across the galaxy as the Bloody Baroness, Captain Androma Racella and her motley crew of space-bound privateers roam the Mirabel galaxy on the glass starship Marauder, taking what mercenary work they can find to stay alive.

When a routine job goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew find themselves placed at the mercy of a dangerous bounty hunter from Andi’s past. Coerced into a life-threatening mission, and straight into the path of a shadowy ruler bent on revenge, Andi and her crew will either restore order to the ship—or start a war that will devour worlds.

 

Okay, where to start? I picked up this book really due to all of the things I heard about the book. None of them good at all. I watched a few book reviews on YouTube that complained about basically everything within this book. I decided to read Zenith myself to not only form my own opinion, but to see if people weren’t just being overly critical.

The first thing I noticed while reading that really caught my attention (not in a good way) was how there was a lot of elements I felt were put in to make it sound cooler. For instance, the nickname the Bloody Baroness repeatedly said to be given to her by people whose crossed her path. It’s never really said why specifically though the title Baroness, which traditionally means the wife or widow of a baron and was usually called lady. I also found it slightly annoying that the book constantly mentioned her blood red nails. I get it. Red like the blood of her victims.

But back to the “cool sounding” elements. Everything mentioned in the book was there to sound good. The ship made of impenetrable glass (but at the same time needed metal for extra protection), one of the crew member, Breck, whose skin is so tough bullets can’t get through, but somehow manages to get hit hard enough for her nose to get broken.

The crew is built up to be this scary and tough crew that can never be captured or taken down, but everything that has never happened to them all happens at the same time. No one has ever gotten the drop on Andi (the Bloody Baroness) or her crew, but that immediately happens in the beginning of the novel. Also, It’s kind of hard to sympathize with these main protagonists when I am constantly reminded of all of the people they have killed. There is constantly lines such as: “How many lives had she stolen? How mant families back on Arcardius would don shades of gray in mourning for weeks to come?” Gilly, the youngest of the crew, can turn on and off her murderous desire and be scared of being taken away, but in the same sentence she is refered to as a bloodthirsty little fairy.

There are also other points that didn’t make much sense to me. If Andi and her crew is the best at what they do, how come they don’t have a lot of funds to get the equipment they both want and need?

Then there is these lines:

“The girls lined up side by side, Andi with her swords, Gilly with her gun. Breck unveiled a black short-whip that crackled with light. Lira stood with her fists clenched, appearing weaponless to those who did not know the ways her body could move, lithe as a predator on the hunt. Her scales flashed as she glared at the bridge’s exit.”

This happens when they are attacked and eventually surrounded in what comes another situation I don’t understand. They are able to kill everyone that surrounds them, but their attacker brings out more and they are forced to surrender. Why didn’t bring out all of your troops to begin with? The first group didn’t even have to die. Oh and apparently the only person capable of capturing Andi was her ex lover who betrayed her and is the original owner of her ship.

So it goes without saying that I didn’t like this book. But at the same time, the story definitely had potential, especially with the ending. If the authors had perhaps took their time or maybe focused less on throwing a lot of cool things at the reader, it could have been a good book.

Final rating: 2.5/5. Would I recommend it? No, only if you would like to form your own opinion on the book. But, because I like to finish series, I will be reading the next book in the series when it comes it called Nexus.

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Posted in Lifestyle

New Year, New Goals

If I have learned anything in 2018, it is not to be afraid to take leaps of faith and to take risks. I obtained the most happiness for myself by doing just those things. Quitting my job was the biggest relieve and greatest joy I could have ever presented myself, so for this new year I am planning more leaps of faith.

I have small goals and big goals for this year for myself. One of the first being to start a novel, for which I have had the idea for going on 4 or 5 years now. It originally came to me during a creative writing class and when I turned in the summary I was discouraged in a way from writing and presenting it to my peers because of the racial themes presented within the novel.

I will be discouraged no more. So my first goal is to just get a good start on it this year. Complete an outline and write 10-15 chapters (rewritten and corrected throughout the year).

Another goal of mine comes from inspiration of the most knowledgeable man I know in regards to music, Earl Harville (https://www.youtube.com/user/wicky617). I have been watching his YouTube videos and IG stories of him creating what is now a full length album (Due out January 18th) and it has been amazing to watch and must be even more amazing to feel. Creating something that comes from your own heart and mind and then having the courage to share it with the world is beyond inspiring. I constantly read his IG posts about some of his favorite songs he has written that made the cut for the album had come to life and what it means to him. Not to mention that he is creating the arrangements, music, and words himself. I don’t have enough musical capabilities in me yet to do all that on my on (I just got to G Major on the piano because of inconsistency and being overworked), but what I can do something. This year for Christmas I gifted my brother with instrumentals that I have been buying unlimited leases for all year just to present it to them for one day (11 in total), and in doing so I earned myself some beyond great deals for some beats for myself.

That is how my second goal comes into play. I am challenging myself to create 3-4 songs (whether I’ll release them is another matter of its own) that expresses my regular feelings of self doubt and other emotions I struggle with. I see artists that have a heavy hand in creating and writing their own music speak about how it has been therapeutic to them in a sense and I have heard some of my favorite songs have come out of moments of darkness in their lives. I’m hoping that doing something that requires a lot of creativity and a willingness to put myself out there will help me come to terms with and accept the woman that I am today.

Next up, is my goal for embracing my curls and natural hair more. I tend to avoid wearing my hair curly because of how short it seems when I do (Shrinkage is a MF hater!). So, I normally wear my hair in crown braids or a ponytail or just hide it with a hat. This year I want that to change. I want to develop a hair regime that keeps my hair healthy and moisturized ( and have already began to do so with my new love Rice water) and experiment in natural hairstyles like braid outs, twist-outs, Bantu knots, etc. WITHOUT worrying about the opinion of others and whether or not this hairstyle is acceptable in the workplace.

One that is also important to me is my weight loss goal. I’m not sure if others know this about me, but I’m not really a fan of how I look. I haven’t taken a decent picture with my friends since about 2015 because of my insecurities about myself, one of them being my weight. So, to start towards a healthier lifestyle that is constantly recommended to me by my doctor, I have a goal of losing 5-6 pounds per month. I have a basic idea of how I plan to do this and have already cut out junk food and bread out of my life( I miss marshmallows and Flamin’ Hots already).

Something that has been a dream of mine for the longest is to travel to another country. I have wasted money on lesser things and I want to come out of 2019 with some new cultural experiences. The first step of this goal is to get my passport by February or March. After that I need to decide on a location and time ( most likely Thailand, China, South Korea, or Canada for my birthday) and budget and plan. I can go out drinking and dancing any day of the week. It something completely different to learn about cultures other than my own and gain an experience that I can’t here. I still regret not studying abroad during my undergraduate years.

Speaking of college, I also have the goal for myself to not only take the GRE with the Psychology test as well, but to decide definitely on what my concentration and future career will be. I don’t want to be stagnant in my field and still going through any indecisiveness once I start applying for colleges after I take my GRE. I want to be sure that whatever I chose I will have job satisfaction and personal satisfaction in what I will be doing for my career. I have been able to lower my options down to three in the recent months but I want to take the GRE by May and start classes by September of this year. My second option is to begin saving up around this time so any out of pocket costs can be covered in advance and I won’t get caught by the surprise bills that come in life like I have so in 2018.

And lastly, and perhaps the most simplest of my goals for me. I want to read 6 books a month from genres that I would never normally reach for in hopes of me gaining an appreciation for them. So romance is no longer off my list to review along with historical novels. Those are some that I avoid like a plague.

This post turned out way longer than I intended, but I am curious as to what are your goals for the new year are if you have any. Comment down below!

Posted in Book Lover

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald (Book Review #25)

Released: November 2018
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Page Count: 304
Price: 24.99

At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. This second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima, expands on earlier events that helped shape the wizarding world, with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.
I was kind of nervous heading into this review because I don’t normally read play scripts, but once I actually opened up the book I was reminded of my days in high school reading Shakespeare.

My nerves was immediately gone.

I think I may start preferring these kind of novels over what I may normally read. It was filled with details in a way me and my mind wasn’t use to, it felt beyond refreshing. I absolutely love the character of Newt and his way with magical creatures. It really is unfortunate that he is being sought after for help because of how his previous actions impacted the magical world (in a good way). The book definitely had a twist that I didn’t foresee coming which I am beyond grateful for as a reader who is desiring a bit of a switch up. There was one aspect of the book that I did see coming my way due to J.K. Rowling mentioning earlier this (LAST) year that Dumbledore was in fact gay. I kind of hate the world of Twitter for spoiling that for me.

I may also add at this point that the line art in the book is beyond amazing! It was almost hypnotic to me and fit the wizard world so great.

I do hope she finishes this series in good time as I am dying to know how this ends for all of our heroes, even the ones that has strayed by the conclusion of the script. (Now that’s one that really hurt. J.K. always coming for my soul).

I would rate this a good 4 out of 5 and for those who wouldn’t normally read something like this, look into what you can expect from something that is written like a script. Do a little bit of research beforehand so you won’t come out more on the disappointed side.

In other words, HAPPY NEW YEARS! I hope you all have brought in the new year in a way that is pleasing and satisfying to you.

Posted in Book Lover, Fiction, Novel

A Christmas Carol (Book Review #24)

Released: December 19, 1843
Publisher: Chapman & Hall
Page Count:
Price: 0.99

A Christmas Carol was first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843. It has become a Christmas classic and has been continuously in print since its first release, as well as being made into numerous plays and movies. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. It explores themes about the treatment of the poor and the ability of people to reform themselves. It is worth reading every Christmas.

I was surprised by how cheap I got the ebook version of this novel as it is considered a classic, then I saw how long ago it came out. I know of the story from different versions done based on it throughout the years such as the one by Disney and the version with Jim Carrey, but I have never actually picked up a copy of the book to read it myself.
When I began reading the novel, the words felt like something a narrator would tell to the audience watching and that is an aspect that I enjoyed about it. Scrooge immediately came off as an a$$, something I expected.

The story is as wonderful in the book as it was for me on the screen. It makes me wonder the motivations that went into the creation of this novel. I didn’t look too much into it, but what I did see is that this book was sold out by Christmas Eve the year it was released and has never been out of print, yet somehow the author didn’t seem to make too much money off of it during this time period due to a publishing company illegally printing his book and then going bankrupt when he sued them. I’m pretty sure that plenty of authors could relate in some form to that now as there are some online sites that creep out of nowhere and publish free pdfs of their own books.

This book was a selection by my book club and it was the perfect one to wrap up this holiday season for me. I should very well after this make it a habit to read more books that relate to the holidays as I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the novel. I was surprised because of not only the fact that this book is more than 100 years old (so of course the way people talked then and the words used are different from what I am used to), but also because I usually try to avoid things that has the potential to be emotional and cheesy to me. I am not a big fan of drama.

I would absolutely recommend this book for others to read as it is a classic tale that has managed to stand the test of time.

(First book review of the new year is DONE!)

Posted in Book Lover

Turning 25: And Updates

I woke up this morning with a sore body, feeling all of the hard work I put in yesterday at work. As I prepare myself to get ready for another day at work I realized something. Today is a day I almost forgot about and I’m slightly embarrassed by that fact. Today is my day of birth. It feels like any other day though, something I can easily look over. I wanted to take some time this morning and reflect on my life, what I have accomplished, and things I wished I would have done instead.

I always tell my little sister to do whatever it is that you want to do. If you want to go to college, go to college. If you want to go to hair school instead, go to hair school. Never make a decision because others want you to make this choice. That is something that I did and is definitely regretting. I let others pick the university that I attend because I was too timid to stand up for what I wanted. And if I could redo anything I would have finished my degree way sooner than I did.

While I do have more lively regrets, they are all something that I learned and grew from (as corny and cliche as that sounds). And I’m kind of glad that I outgrew the faze in my life where I would go out every weekend and get slapped. A stay at home warm and fuzzy with a book is everything I need and more. Which is exactly what I will be doing tonight.

On to my updates, I am finally almost finished with Crimes of Grindelwald and I also have a new satire book sent to me from an author that I have started as well. Crimes of Grindelwald review will be up later tonight.

Posted in Book Lover, Fiction, Game of Thrones, Novel

Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before the Game of Thrones (Review #23)

Author: George R.R. Martin
Price: $35.00
Published: November 2018
Page Count: 738
Before I actually got my copy of Fire and Blood. I had read a lot of comments about Fire and Blood saying that the book is basically a copy and paste from The World of Fire and Ice book (which I also own). Now that I’ve have finished the book, I’d have to say that I agree with those statements, as well as some of the material coming from his shorts that he has released over the years. The only really good thing is that he expands on some of those points and answer the questions the placed in the description. But what I found kind of disappointing is that there isn’t much about the War that led to Robert Baratheon becoming King and everything is really accounts that comes from Maesters recording the conversations or from word of mouth sometimes coming from a fool named Mushroom which at various points in the story is an unreliable source of information.

One of the most interesting parts of this story is the Dance of the Dragons aka Targaryen (Blacks) vs Targaryen (Greens) with dragons. It was so intriguing to me because all of the people involved had different temperaments and one of the more angrier temperaments kicked off the war into high gear by acting brashly over a childhood injury. It was amazing to see even the people on the same side of this Targaryen was mortified at what he had done and understood the implications immediately. But what also irritated me is the constant, “no one knows for sure…” or “some say this happened and some say this did”. I can understand why this type of wording came up since they are using multiple accounts for telling a story, but can most of the behind the scenes or deaths be known for sure.

Once again, I believe a good opportunity was missed with the events right before the Game of Thrones because people have questions about that event too. Was Lyanna actually kidnapped or did she leave for love? Did Robert and Ned know her true reason for leaving? Did Aegon the Mad know? Did Gregor Clegane actually kill the Targaryen Baby or was there a switch made? Did Little Finger have anything to do with the war behind the scenes?

Maybe I’m just too nosey though. But I would have preferred the next book in the Game of Thrones series instead of the history book we got here, mainly because some of the material is already out there. It isn’t exactly right to have people pay for multiple items and throw all of those into one book that comes at the steep price of $35. So for that I’d give the book a solid 3 1/2 out of 5.

Tell me will you guys be picking up this book? And if you did what are your thoughts on it?

Posted in Book Lover

Where Have I Been?

Well to answer it plainly, I’ve started a new job that had me working some crazy hours so that I can have a little mini vacay for Thanksgiving. I’ve been living my best life. A bit tired but it isn’t my old job and that says a lot.

But, I’ll be getting back to reviewing shortly. I’ve picked up the new Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. Something that’s a bit different from what I’ve read and reviewed before since it’s a screenplay. After that I plan get my hands on the Fire and Blood book by George R.R. Martin that’s tells us about the World before we know it in Game of Thrones.

So until later!!!!

Posted in Book Lover, Crime Fiction, Fiction

Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer by PD Alleva (Review # 21)

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

Description:

The Denemer’s had it all: fame, fortune, family, and the American Dream. But tough times have brought them to their knees. Controversy and financial decline are destroying the family bond and Gerri is ready to give up. He’d rather die than face another catastrophe, something the Devil is more than eager to assist. When Gerri’s suicide is prevented by a voice in his smart TV, he enters a dimension where past, present, and future collide, and the fate of the human race hangs in the balance. But Gerri is not alone. The Devil’s minions are nipping at his heels and Kelli is right behind them, determined to save her family and put right what has gone wrong. Will they be successful? Is the bond between husband and wife strong enough to defeat evil? Can they prevent World War III or will evil’s plan triumph? Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne and Gerri Denemer is an inspirational thriller of dark fiction and romance in an epic battle between good and evil.

The beginning of this book had me very puzzled and sort of confused about what caused the events that I was reading. I did get a bit frustrated until I realized that things were being revealed as I continued to read. I was very appreciative of the fact that the revealing of information wasn’t done in the normal flashback sense and everything revealed was relevant to what the current character was going through. A lot of the books I have picked up recently throws a lot of information at you, and not in a creative or non cliche like way, so it was wonderful to get a switch of things that allowed me time to process everything.

One thing that I did immediately get is why Gerri was in the situation he was in. It was clear that he was involved in something that was going to make his family lose everything and he wouldn’t swallow his pride to take a role he believed was beneath him. Kelli Anne, his wife, was really hard on him. I can understand blaming him for what happened, but damn. Even when she was trying to help him she was still ragging on him and sometimes that pushes an individual closer to the edge.

This is a book that one definitely need to have patience with because you don’t get everything in a rushing stream of information. Bits are dropped when relevant and helps keep suspense. At least it did for me as a reader.

Some of my favorite lines from the novel is:

“Can’t you see…what your heart has done to this pure woman…and your sons will be dealt a hand you can’t see.”

This line had me making old woman noises of agreement and if I hadn’t hated Kelli Anne by this point, I would have felt bad for her. Her character overall just seemed confused as she would insult him one moment, then say that she’s sorry for turning her back on him. It irritated me personally.

Overall, I would rate this book a 4/5 largely due to me liking the uniqueness of the storytelling here. You guys can go to this link: https://www.amazon.com/Presenting-Marriage-Kelli-Denemer-Horror-ebook/dp/B07HFJGJQR to order the book if interested. It will be released on November 11, 2018.

Also, the series that this book is apart of features each installment as a stand alone tale, so there’s no need to fret about reading book one before this one.

A BIG show out to PD Alleva for sending me this copy of Presenting the Marriage of KELLI-ANNE and Gerri Denemer!

Posted in Book Lover, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Science Fiction

End Game: Rules of the Game (Review # 20)

Today I’ll be doing a bullet review of the last book in the End Game series.

Released: December 27, 2016

Publisher: HarperCollins

Page Count: 368

Price: 8.99

I should have listened to the review of the series that I had read. I really should have.

This is what I get for being curious, but everything deserves the benefit of the doubt.

If you haven’t been keeping up with my posts, I started reading the End Game series after coming across it and reading reviews saying that the first two books were great, but the last ended in a whimper. After completing the book, I completely understand. Throughout the series, I considered Sarah and Jago the main protagonists in the story as we are constantly following them and are invested in their blooming love story at this point, and in this book they die. It’s not that the fact that they died that irks me, but it is HOW they died. After all of the time we spent following them I thought and still believe that they deserved a death as epic as Big Alices’. People whose abilities were hyped up beyond measure was sniped out and ended in seconds. It was very lackluster. Sure, we got to read from different points of views, but I felt closer to Sarah and Jago versus the others and I feel that was the intent of the first two books.

I’m not sure what happened during the writing of this book, but it just didn’t excite or grip me as the first two books and I really don’t believe it’s coming from a “disappoint reader because it didn’t end the way I wanted it to” standpoint. Everything just felt more rushed and things that I wanted explained in further detail was just glanced over. I almost don’t have a problem with the players that did end up surviving, but at the same time it was sort of an “ehh that’s nice” moment for me. I wasn’t thinking God that these characters survived because as I mentioned earlier I didn’t feel too attached to them and their outcome as I was with Sarah and Jago. I’m going to end my bullet review here to hide some of my disappointment in the ending.

Overall, I’d rate this book 2/5. Really was a let down as the first two books were amazing. I noticed that there is a prequel series for the End Game and I haven’t completely decided on whether I should be done with the series or should I see it all the way through to the end.

Posted in Book Lover, Crime Fiction, Fiction

Amber Alert by Dan Lawton (Review #19)

Released: November 6, 2016

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Page Count: 308

Price: 4.99

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Even though I went in blind with this story as well, the title essentially gave away the central focus of the story. I could definitely appreciate the mystery of figuring out the connection between characters though.

The story begins with Scott Baker watching a woman from his car. The woman is Abby and as she is checking her mailbox finds a letter from Scott, that while short had long term effects. Abby knew Scott from her past and now that he is out of jail, he is seeking something from her. Abby has moved on and has a loving husband (Kurt) and child (Chloe), but all is at risk now that Scott is back in her life. Scott takes an oppurtunity presented by a distracted Kurt to kidnap Chloe and throw the main plot of this story into motion. As detectives are assigned to the case Abby struggles to find her daugther and keep her past hidden from those close. Meanwhile, Jordan hears about the case from reading his Sunday paper and can’t help but to constantly think that he has seen Chloes’ face before. Or at least someone related.

Now to be completely honest, there isn’t really a character that I really like/love. Just some that I prefer over others (excluding Chloe). Jordan seemed to be in the story just so there could be a witness to the past life of Abby and Scott around. His interaction with Chloe was just all a bit too convient. I had expected the connections to come together in a different and less Lifetime movie (not a good one) way. I did like his addition to the story however as he gave a bit more insight to what Abby was desperately trying to keep hidden.

Detectives Hank and Melanie offers an…interesting subplot as well with their messy partnership as Melanie is dating Hanks’ daughter, Bree who really hates her dad for prioritizing work over her. Hank reminds me of an slightly off the wall detective that sort of does his own thing that often borders on the line of whats allowed in his work. Think of any cop movie or Chicago P.D. I feel sorry for him at times though as he is constantly hounded by press and the mayor over this case while trying not to have this case become a duplicate of a previous missing child case.

With everything that was going on, I would have almost forgotten that really only a day or so goes by the entire book. I’ve gotten so used to books expanding over a long period that it completely slipped my mind that they could be shorter. I’m actually thankful that the book wasn’t unnecessarily long in an attempt to make the book longer or was filled with useless filler chapters. There were a couple of twists that I weren’t expecting and enjoyed a lot (I’ll refrain from doing too much spoiling here). I’m also glad that one of the big mysteries in the story wasn’t just left to my imagination. That would have killed me slowly.

Overall, I would rate this book 4/5. I really hope this is a stand alone book. I honestly don’t see where else this story could go after this unless someone else goes off the deep end and tries to do something else to Abby and her family.