Monthly Recap: November 2015

Is it just me, or did November fly by with the blink of an eye? Life continues to be hectic as I attempt to juggle working two jobs; which is why my reading time has decreased so much, and in accordance with that, my time to write reviews and blog. As always I remain hopeful that things will pick up for me in the coming weeks.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday preparations  🙂  Seasons greetings from me!

24106033Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’d honestly say that the main focus of this book is character development, as the reader learns more about the respective pasts of Strike and Robin, and how events made them into the people they are who make the decisions they do. As someone who loves character development, I appreciated that aspect of this book immensely.
As for the mystery and the killer: while reading I often equated this story with something that Lisbeth Salander would come across, in the sense that there is deep misogyny and violence against women. I did not guess correctly, though in retrospect I can see the clues were there all along.
Do I recommend this? YES. I love this series, and the writing continues to suck me into this world with ease. The ending is particularly cruel, so onwards I go, waiting for the next installment.

Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot – 2 out of 5 stars
Mia obsesses over whether Michael loves her, or is in love with her.
At first it seems like an immature worry, but it is important to remember she is fourteen, experiencing her first relationship… and that we all probably did wonder the same when experiencing similar circumstances.
(I listened to the audiobook; Anne Hathaway’s narration was missed)

Since the Surrender by Julie Anne Long – 3 out of 5 stars
After an absence of five years, Rosalind March returns to the life of Chase Eversea with a plea for help. Her youngest sister was arrested for petty theft, and after being sighted in prison, awaiting trial, she disappeared…
Thus this historical romance took the course of a mystery! Truth be told, those guilty for the disappearance and the motivations behind why were easy to see from the get go. But Chase and Rosalind were likable enough characters to read about.
In my opinion, the real star of the book is a young street boy named Liam. He reminded me so much of two other characters from two favorite series of mine. I could have followed him around forever.

23160039A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I had to debate my rating of this one for a bit; 3.5 stars, or 4?
There are many excellent things about this book, such as Deanna Raybourn’s writing and her ability to create appealing characters. In many ways Veronica reminded me of Amelia Peabody, for their eccentricities and the ease into which I could hear their voices. But if I am to discuss Amelia, then I must also mention how Veronica’s first book mirrors my disappointment of Amelia’s: the mystery in both are weak. Murder happens, and then it takes significant time for an investigation to occur.
The real star of this story is the dynamic between Veronica and Stoker. Theirs is a slow burning relationship that I liked and want to see more of! This book could have easily been a standalone… But it is not, and I can only hope the questions left unanswered become compelling lines of continuity throughout the series and not villainy that drags on.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin – 5 out of 5 stars
Dunk and Egg short stories are EVERYTHING. I love both characters and the ability to be in the time when the Dragons ruled Westeros. Fans of the book series will happily devour this; it also goes very well with a certain section in The World of Ice and Fire book, if you have that.
These stories make me hungry for more prequel stories. Still waiting to hear about that notorious tournament at Harrenhall, George!
(Also, the illustrations in this book are stunning, with how they capture moments from the story and the expressions and body language — especially Egg’s! — of characters)

Winter by Marissa Meyer – 4 out of 5 stars

16060716Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – 3 out of 5 stars
I might be a bit generous giving this three stars. After all, the villain was no where near as creepy as Naughty John, and there was the problem of only two characters — Henry and Ling — being directly connected to the dream plot for a majority of the book. This is an issue when there are so many characters in the story, which offer many unmoored point of views and cause the story to drag. These characters have something in common and need to band together to accomplish things.
Also, I would appreciate less Evie, because I continue to find her selfish and annoying.
On the positive side there is the emergence of the series’ Big Bad to keep me wondering along with the promise of the Diviners joining forces to confront him. The dream plot and the connection to the American Dream of the 1920s was also an interesting perspective to play with and gives me hope that the truth of Project Buffalo will be as good. Just…less Evie, please, I’m begging you.


Review: Winter

Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) 13206900

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review: Don’t get me wrong –- I really liked this, and that last chapter filled me with some serious happiness, but if I am to be completely honest, then I have to say the biggest problem with Winter is … Winter.

Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress were each given their own books, in which the fairytales they correspond with can thrive with Marissa Meyer’s imagination while still playing a part in the overall plot of the series. Due to this, I feel as if I know them better, and can relate to them better since having their own book gave them the time to be the star and become fleshed out characters that I love.

Winter, unfortunately, is not given that treatment. She is introduced briefly in Cress, but it was nothing thorough. Her book is the final in the series; everything needed to come to a climax and be concluded within its pages. Yes, the fairy tale of Snow White is still there, but it never really felt as if it were needed in the overall plot, nor did it feel like it did anything to make Winter stand in the spotlight. I wanted to love Winter, but I still come away feeling as if I do not know her very well at all, aside from the obvious things such as the symptoms of her lunar sickness, her beauty, and her kindness.

That being said, this series conclusion was filled with plenty of action and romance that is sure to keep fans happy. The pacing can be a bit up and down, but I think that is due to the issues I mentioned above, and it can be forgiven once those action scenes do come around to move things along. The Lunar Chronicles has been sparking my imagination and happiness for a few years, and it is sad to think that I now have to let these characters go.