Review “Crimson Bound” by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound

Rosamund Hodge

Pub: Balzer + Bray May 2015

IMG_9611

Rating: 4/5 Stars

“When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.” -Summary, Goodreads.com

As much as I loved Cruel Beauty and fairytales I was definitely excited to read this book. I may disappoint by saying that it wasn’t quite as good as Cruel Beauty. Of course, this could be because I have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast.

Let me start off by saying that Hodge still kills it with her beautiful world building, lush language and picture painting. Girl kills it. I even missed my train stop because I was so engrossed in it. Also, once again a beautiful embossed hardcover and jacket.

One of my only issues with Cruel Beauty was that I felt that some of her characters needed work, especially the second-level or background characters. Going into this book I felt that way but towards the end I changed my mind. I thought that Erec was multi-layered and so was his relationship with Rachelle. A mark of good character building (hello Orange is the New Black) is when the writer makes me change my mind more than once on how I feel about them. I definitely felt this way with Erec ad Rachelle. Towards the end you realize that Rachelle doesn’t always make the right decisions, that she’s flawed, and I love that. She’s human (well, not really). Without giving away too much, at one point she tells Amelie that she couldn’t have gone on without her, that she would have given in to the forest. And as a reader, I believed that.

A big gripe I had was the summary. This is compared as a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood…but it isn’t. At all. I think they may have taken this angle to sell more books, but she really doesn’t need it. The forest and perhaps her aunt’s cottage were the only similarities. Some parts were a bit trippy and filled with odd creatures that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland but overall this stands on its own. Not to mention the summary didn’t even include Erec, who was pretty important… I also enjoy reading her acknowledgements because she always lists inspirations.

Crimson Bound had less musings on humanity and life lessons than Cruel Beauty but here’s one quote I liked: “This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope.” (Hodge, 383).

Overall, I recommend and will continue to read her beautiful books. Any thoughts?

Advertisements

Brilliant Books Offering Refund on “Go Set a Watchman”

Wow. This statement release by Brilliant Books of Michigan is everything I’m feeling about this Harper Lee publishing debacle.

“We at Brilliant Books want to be sure that our customers are aware that Go Set A Watchman is not a sequel or prequel to To Kill A Mockingbird. Neither is it a new book.  It is a first draft that was originally, and rightfully, rejected. The book, and some of the characters therein, are very much a product of this era in the South.

We suggest you view this work as an academic insight rather than as a nice summer novel. This situation is comparable to James Joyce’s stunning work A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and his original draft Stephen Hero. Hero was initially rejected, and Joyce reworked it into the classic Portrait. Herowas eventually released as an academic piece for scholars and fans—not as a new ‘Joyce novel’. We would have been delighted to see Go Set A Watchman receive a similar fate.

It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as “Harper Lee’s New Novel”.  This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted.) We therefore encourage you to view Go Set A Watchman with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that.”

Full article here:

Why Brilliant Books is offering refunds to customers who purchased Go Set A Watchman

 

Review of “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group, Pub May 5, 20154

19104936

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

“In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?” –Goodreads

I really really loved this book. I went into it pretty excited because when I was a teenager I was sucked into the “Clique” and “Gossip Girl” series. I loved this world of high fashion and luxury because it was so alluring. I received an email from Netgalley to review this book and seeing the title and the description I thought it would be kind of similar to the aforementioned books. But, it was so much more than that! I can understand why they marketed it the way they did and chose the title “Material Girls” because it is a great title and it certainly draws in readers, but don’t judge it by that.

This book, like so many other popular YA novels, deals with a corrupt futuristic society. I think this trend is so interesting because it shows how we as a society are worried about what’s to come. The “Silents” run this world, and are basically the invisible faces and millionaire gatekeepers behind the creative, money-making industries. In 7thgrade these kids get “tapped” to go into creative industries and whoever doesn’t make it is an “adequate” and does all the other ‘boring’ jobs. Everybody wants to be in the creative industry. But, as it turns out, everything is fake. Trends, celebrity relationships and personas all created for the public consumption. Kind of reminds me of “Josie and the Pussycats”. Remember that movie?

What really drew me in was the writing. It turns out that the author, Elaine Dimopoulos, is well-educated and it shows (she went to Yale, Columbia and Simmons). She also did her research, which is shown in the sources list at the end of the book. The style is easy enough for its audience, young adults, to understand, but is in no way superficial or dumbed down. The pacing is exciting, the book is fun, and the characters are great. (I loved Vivienne!). It’s certainly a creative, fresh take on the future. It shows us that teens can make a difference in this world and make their voices heard.

Something really refreshing about this book was the ending. It isn’t tied with a bow, happy ever after. Things aren’t completely resolved and I’m totally OK with that. Because real life isn’t like that. The whole message of this book is in a line Vivenne says (I cut out some middle parts so as not to spoil anything): Change doesn’t happen overnight, Marla. Sometimes it takes a hundred years, sometimes more. Believe me, people saw what we did. For three days, the whole world stopped and paid attention…then there will be someone else to pick up the fight, and that person will make another small dent. And so on. We pound and we pound until everything comes crashing down.”

Make waves, question the power, and be the change you want to see in the world. Great read, highly recommended for teens and adults alike. I think this is going to be a really popular book.

Any thoughts?

“Relative Strangers” Good Tales Book Tours

 

 

Relative Strangers by Helen Treharne

Genre: Paranormal

Pages: 301

Published: August 23rd, 2014

Blurb:

Meet Sophie Morgan… practical, Welsh, prone to occasional profanity, and seemingly a vampire magnet.

Sophie Morgan is 23 and has always done the right thing. She’s caused no stress for her family, worked hard through university, has taken a successful leap onto the career ladder and nurtured a reasonably healthy bank balance. It’s no small surprise then when, on a post relationship break-up, mini-break to Antwerp, she pursues a pair of thieves who steal her friend’s handbag. But this is only the start of her world being turned upside down. Ripped from the streets into a dark alley she is violently attacked, barely alive when quirky Irish bar worker, Michael Kelly, stumbles across the scene.

The pair, shocked by their experience and uncertain whether they have killed her attacker in the brawl which follows, go into the night for answers. They get more than they bargained for. Sophie quickly learns that vampires exist, her neighbours back home aren’t what they seem and new boyfriends can be found in the strangest of situations.

Relative Strangers is the first in a new vampire series with a distinctly British flavour, but which will appeal to everyone. Reviews call it ” a vampire tale with bite”, with “brilliant characters that draw you in” and a very fresh take on the genre. Read it now to find out reviewers are raving about.

Goodreads | Amazon

EXCERPT from Relative Strangers by Helen Treharne
Rachel hadn’t felt so good in years. The colours of the world were vibrant and laid out before her like a beautiful carpet, a glorious vibrating kaleidoscope of nature. Birdsong echoed in her ears like a concerto and the golden welcome of the rising sun made the world look like a furnace, molten lava pouring over it all.
She sipped the coffee that she had made. It tasted bitter and she spat it out over the perfectly dressed window sill. She’d made it out of habit. Ferrers had instructed her to appear as ordinary as possible. The routine of everyday existence would eventually help her contain her urges, or rather the singularly dangerous one, the one to kill. So far, it wasn’t working. Perhaps it was time to succumb to the hunger and to all the other suppressed desires now angrily bubbling to the surface.
Her reflection in the window surprised her. She had half expected it to be absent. Her hair looked thick and luxurious; her eyes sparkled and the hazel flecks in her irises danced in the sunlight. It had been years since she’d felt this good, hell, maybe a lifetime, maybe never at all. She felt strong, powerful, and alive. Had she always looked this beautiful, she wondered. Had her new vampire state made her better, or only imbued her with a new found confidence? Either way, she liked it. She could feel every nerve ending in her body, everything performing in precisely the right way, like a well-oiled machine. It was magnificent.
Who would have thought life could turn out like this? She certainly didn’t

Author Bio:
After a successful career in business and career coaching, Helen Treharne returned to South Wales in 2010 to focus on writing, among other things.
Relative Strangers, a modern vampire story featuring an increasingly feisty Sophie Morgan, hits digital bookshelves in 2014. In addition to being the creator of the developing”Sophie Morgan” series, she is an urban poet and social commentator who can frequently be found ranting in the Twitterverse. She knew the degree in Sociology would come in handy some day!

 

Helen lives with her husband, three cats, an entrenched tea addiction and an increasing collection of stringed instruments.She can’t be trusted near stationery.
Author Links:
This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

“Relative Strangers” Review (Good Tales Book Tours)

relative strangers

 

Relative Strangers by Helen Treharne

August 2014, Smashwords

Rating 2.5/5 Stars

I got approached by Good Tales Book Tours to help them promote books on my blog. They’re doing virtual tours with a selection of books on different blogs on various days. It is very cool and I am so excited for the opportunity. Here is their website: http://goodtalesbooktours.com/

Anyway, Friday is my date to promote this book. So you’ll see information on the book, the author, an excerpt and other cool things. I wanted to post my review first to kind of keep it separate.

As you guys know I have an affinity for vampires so not only did I sign up to promote the book, I asked to review it too!

It’s marketed as a modern vampire story, which is cool because it’s not your typical vampire narrative. If you’re the type of person who can’t figure out why everyone is in love with the romanticized vampire and not trying to run away, then this book is for you. These vampires are murderers and they’re the enemy. It’s kind of a European Buffy with a crime novel flair. I’m into the sexy vampires, but I’ll read it all!

My main problem with this book was that it was very very slow. The start was slow, the middle was slow, the epilogue was awesome and things finally clicked into place. I know this is going to be a series, based off its GoodReads page, but the first book could have been more exciting. The problem wasn’t necessarily a lack of action. There was murder and fights for sure. But, we spent way too much time in the main character, Sophie’s, head. Too  much inner monologue, not enough dialogue. It also may have helped if we were introduced to the vampire’s perspective earlier, which doesn’t really happen until 2/3 into the book. Those were definitely more interesting parts.

Another big problem was that this book really needs another round of edits. There were tons of grammar mistakes.

Lastly, I wasn’t that attached to Sophie. She had this self-satisfied attitude that people should just listen to her because she said so. Without giving anything away, there’s a part when she tells someone to move…and we hear her thoughts such as well he should have left by now. I wasn’t too happy about that part. Just because she told him to get out, doesn’t mean he should or is going to. But, in all fairness she can be pretty badass and isn’t scared to bust some vampire skull.

If you like a non-traditional vampire narrative and want to see them killed then you will like this. It also has a strong European voice and if you’re more familiar with that you may like the book for it. The author’s voice certainly shines through.

Any thoughts?

Great New YA Book, Explores New Topics

23341894

Pub Date: June 16, 2015 Disney-Hyperion

Summary:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.”

This isn’t a review but I just wanted to draw attention to this book. I recently received an email from NetGalley about it and I am so so happy to see that it talks about a part of OCD that is rarely discussed or portrayed in media. When we think of OCD we usually think of the compulsive side, i.e. the checking locked doors and tapping/touching/counting, whatever it may be. But the obsessive dark/forbidden thoughts are silent and people you know may suffer from it and you wouldn’t even know. I myself suffer from this form of OCD and although it is not debilitating for me I cannot read this book because it makes it a lot more difficult for me to control when I see other people’s obsessive thoughts. I know I just got more personal than I ever do but this is a really important book and it already has almost five stars on GoodReads so check it out!