Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Year One by Nora Roberts - Book Review

A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author - an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives...

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.


Book Breakdown

So let's start off with saying that I have never read a Nora Roberts book before. I'd heard of her of course, I don't live under a rock for crying out loud. Plus, my grandmother has read some of her books. They just never appealed to me... until I saw this one. It sounded so cool and so I grabbed it when I could. It was a very slow read for me. I would put it down for a few days and then come back to it later. 

It started out so good, the Doom out there and weird supernatural elements in there. It was great! Then it got really... basic. It was so terribly black vs white. Not gray area at all. Which made no sense, no one is ever black or white. Humans... or even uncanny. That's how it was here. The good ones never did anything evil and the bad ones never did anything good. It made me laugh at how clear cut the lines were. That just wouldn't ever happen. When I read, I don't mind and even enjoy taking some logic out of things, escaping to somewhere else. This was just too far though and again, I found it funny, no one is ever that black or white. Most of us are shades of gray. 

SPOILER INCOMING

This is an adult book and the plot.... ugh. I have seen better characters in things like A Living Nightmare and that is geared towards kids! Also... I hated how quickly Lana moved on from Max... sure she still remembers him and wears his ring but she jumps so fast... only a few months... I just... The writing is also kind of strange... I don't know how to describe it but it's just off somehow... all in all, this will be the last Nora Roberts book I ever read.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Music Monday - Damh the Bard

Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren over at Always Me. The point of this meme is every Monday you share two of your favorite songs from the past week. So here are the songs I've been listening to this week. 








Sunday, January 28, 2018

Queen's Quality Volume 1 - Review


The adventures of mind Sweepers continue in this supernatural romance! 


Fumi Nishioka lives with Kyutaro Horikita and his family of Sweepers, people who specialize in cleaning the minds of those overcome by negative energy and harmful spirits. Fumi has always displayed mysterious abilities, but will those powers be used for evil when she begins to truly awake as a Queen?


Fumi has never shown much romantic interest in Kyutaro, the quiet but formidable Sweeper who may be the only one who can keep Fumi's power under control. But when Kyutaro tells her that he'll never leave his side, she unexpectedly starts to fall for him!




Manga Breakdown

Quote: “Anyone whose first thought is to rely on someone else . . . isn't capable of moving forward.”

I have been reading so many manga this month. I am in one of my manga moods. So there will be lots of manga reviews to come. So buckle in and let's jump into this manga.

This series is a continuation of the manga QQ Sweeper. I really don't know why the mangaka decided to do that, other then the fact that this series we follow Fumi more and in the other we got to peek into Q's head. 

Anyway, this picks up pretty much where the other left off, she's still a cleaner, still living with the same awesome people. Fumi finally is told about the Queen thing. Making her fear the evil queen will take over. Q is also told that he can never tell Fumi that she was the little girl he'd fallen in love with but he must stay by her side. I feel so bad for him, that's gotta suck. 

Now the art is freaking stunning and I know that lot's of people will say this is kinda like that other series this author did... you'd be right, there are lots of similar things in this series and Dengeki Daisy, so if you're a fan of that series, you'll love this one as well. I know I am loving it.



Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Favorite Werewolves


I'm a paranormal girl. I love vampires and werewolves and ghosts and all that kind of stuff. So I've already done my top vampires so I thought I would keep this theme going. 



Jacob
(Twilight)
Yeah I know you're probably rolling your eyes but I can't it but love him. He was one of the first werewolves that I liked. Even though I totally am Team Edward.


 Vivian
(Blood and Chocolate)
She was actually one of the first strong female werewolves that I ever read about. She's awesome.


Calla
(Nightshade)
I know that this may come as a shock to some but I actually like her character.



Lucian
(Underworld)
He's just a freaking badass but he has a good heart.



Lupin
(Harry Potter)
I mean... come on? How could he NOT be on this list?



Elena
(Bitten)
She's sexy and smart. Strong and kickass and yet still perfectly soft. She's like perfect.



Clay
(Bitten)
All I have to say is... *Swoon*

Friday, January 26, 2018

50/50 Friday - Favorite Book Set in Winter/Summer

This meme is hosted by myself and the wonderful Laura from Blue Eye Books.

What is 50/50 Friday? 
Everyone has a favorite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Example: best sequel you've read/worst sequel you've read.


Topic for the Week
Favorite Book Set in Winter/Summer


Winter
This was actually harder then I thought. I have so many favorite books that take place during winter. Here is my pick!




Summer
This was harder... most YA books take place during the school year and that's not summer. So this one took a little digging for me but I did find one! 



Topic for Next Week
Best/Worst Book Read in January





Thursday, January 25, 2018

Library Wars Volume 1




In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!







Review 
Love this! The storyline feels so relevant to today. The government censoring books for 'problematic' things. It's kinda like a nightmare of what could come if certain people got their way. If this ever were to happen Id be the first to sign up for the Library Forces. Now, let's actually talk about the manga shall we?

Iku has dreamed of joining the Library Forces ever since she was saved by her 'prince' when she was trying to get a fairy tale book that she had waited a decade for. The government has come to a bookstore to take all the books that it has deemed hurtful and our girl Iku, well... she happens to have one of those harmful books. She tries to keep it but is found out and low and behold, she's saved by some guy. She doesn't remember his face and never got his name.

Still, she joins the Library Forces because of him. Not only does she want to meet him, she wants to be just like him, saving books. She works her butt off and isn't too bad at her job. Though when she gets chosen to join the special forces... she runs into problems but Dojo... her instructor... who used to be mean to her is slowly coming around... is he the one that saved her all those years ago?

So the plot is epic but it's based off a novel...? I need to look more into that. The art is mostly great, there are a few panels where it's not up to par but it's mostly really good and I'm sure it will get better as the series goes along.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Labels

So I had someone ask to pick a label when it came to my lifestyle or how I dress or something. I always just use Alternative because that broad label fits me better than any little one. I'm not punk, scene, or even goth. Though I would lean more towards goth than any other and while I really like goth music and it is my favorite type of music. I also really love alternative rock or music like Icon for Hire and Evanescence. So there isn't really one solid label that fits other than Alternative as I grab from all of those things. 

Then there is another label I claim: Pagan. I guess I could go more for Wiccan but part of my practice varies from Wiccan so I couldn't say that is 100% correct though it would be close. I could keep going, people have come up with some many labels these days.... I could say that I'm a cisgender, bi sexual, pagan, alternative, bookworm, writer, blogger, baker, ex retail worker, mother, Native American, Irish, Independent... so on and so on. 

When did we get so obsessed with our labels? 

Is it easier to find our own kind this way? Easier to find the ones we have things in common with by using such labels? That can work sometimes but I can say that in real life, I've never met another bi-sexual person. Just me... so that would leave me rather lonely if I'd only be friends with others like me. 

So if that is aside, do we use labels as a way to tell people who we are without wasting a lot of time? Maybe if these people don't like our labels we know we don't want to be friends with them. 

Do we use labels to try and make ourselves feel better about ourselves? More special? Because the Nerf generation has always been told they are special that when they get out in the real world and see it's not true that they lose their minds and have to create a way to be special?

I don't mean to pick on anyone. I was the same way... still am a little, trying to let it go. I don't want to just be a label. There is more to me than that. I read this article and this article also and it really helped me see that by using so many labels and just defines ourselves so hard, we aren't leaving any room to grow, we are judging others just by what they labels they use. We are pushing others away when they have labels we don't like.

Why do we try to put ourselves into a box? It's not very comfy in there, let me tell you. Then you start to feel the weight of these labels... take Goth for example, if you aren't wearing the right clothes, listening to the right music, reading the right stuff and so on and so on... then you aren't goth. If you like reading light and fluffy books but want to be goth and so you make yourself read books you hate just for the sake of that label? 

Where is the fun in that? Life is so short, don't put yourself in to a box. Don't make others put themselves in a box either. You and I are more than whatever labels we have. Don't ever forget that. Just always be yourself no matter what. Don't let other's tell you who to be. Don't think you have to be this or that way just because the rules of the label say so. 

Fuck the rules and fuck the labels. 

Just be yourself, that's what is going to make you happy and that's all it's really about. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything About

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl



10) At First Blush



9) The Winner's Kiss



8) The Falconer




7) Did I Mention I Miss You?




6) Falling Kingdom




5) Birthright



4) Hello, I Love You



3) Truthers




2) Second Nature 



1) Soul-Mate

Monday, January 22, 2018

Manga Monday - Mini Bleach Reviews (Volumes 2-4)


Since I have a bunch of little reviews today, I thought I would stick them all into one instead of three. It just made more sense to me this way. So let's dive into these manga reviews! 




Quote: "I decided no one has the right to take a life. I exist! I should have the right to live and die freely! Like humans, or even bugs. Even a mod should have that right. So I refuse to take a life. I won't kill."

This volume is even better then the first. We get to meet Chad and Mr Hat and Clogs. We get more info on Hollows and we get to know Rukia more. We also see poor Karin getting sick over this poor suffering soul of a little boy. We also learn that Ichigo doesn't like killing. He saves the Mod soul even after the damage it caused in his body. This volume was very action packed.... this whole series is going to action packed so that's a given. Overall, this manga series is going to be one heck of a fun ride.




Quote: “If I were rain, that join sky and earth that otherwise never touch, could I join two hearths as well?”

This volume is all about Ichigo and the death of his mum. Every year, his family takes the day off from school and go visit the grave of their mother. It's a sad time and Ichigo feels so guilty and thinks that he is the cause of his mother's death. In a way... he's not wrong. But it wasn't him who killed his mother but a Hollow! 

We get to see why Ichigo wants to protect those he cares about at any cost. We also see he and Rukia bond a little more and I enjoy that as their friendship is interesting. Overall, my favorite volume yet.




Quote: “We are drawn to each other like drops of water, like the planets we repulse each other like magnets, like the color of our skin.”

This is the volume where Don Kanonji is brought in. Which if you love him, you'll love this and if you don't like him, like me, then you don't like it. His heart is in the right place but he's annoying and has no idea what he is doing. Through Kanonji's actions, Ichigo must battle a Hallow and hope to save everyone around from it. We also get Mr Hat and Clogs, whom I love to death, every time he's in the story I love it more. 

We also learn more about the Hollows which is always nice. I love that this series gives us a little info every volume so we learn new things but it's not boring and just an info drop kind of thing. It keeps it fresh while expanding the world perfectly. 

We also get to meet one of my favorite characters in the whole manga in this one! UryĆ»! 



Music Monday - GARNiDELiA

Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren over at Always Me. The point of this meme is every Monday you share two of your favorite songs from the past week. So here are the songs I've been listening to this past week. 

I've talked a lot about K-Pop here but not enough about J-Pop. J-Pop was actually my first dip into the Asian music market. I loved the happy sounds of their pop music and they have some great dark bands as well. I found J-Pop the way most non Japanese people do I assume.... anime! 

After I found it, there was no turning back. Here is two of my favorite songs by GARNiDELiA.





Saturday, January 20, 2018

3 Mini YA NetGalley Reviews!


We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.







Review 

Another NetGalley review that I am so behind on. I am still trying to play catch up and get these babies done. So let's just jump into this, shall we?

Freddie and Rain are wonderfully written characters. I love them so much. They are well flushed out and even have a few flaws that make them seem that much more like real people. I love that. It's also cool to see that for once the male is human and the female is supernatural. If you want that kind of gender switch thing, get this book! It's also strange to see a YA story told from the male leads POV. That doesn't happen very much. 

This book just kind of throws what we have come to know and love about YA paranormal out the window and it does work. I'm sure people will love it! 




Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.

Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous. 

The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.

When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.



My Thoughts


I am slowly getting through all my NetGalley books. Which is really helping my stress level. Now to the actual review. I'm a simple person, I see anything paranormal (vampires and witches especially) and I got to read it or at the very least give it a try. So this one pulled me in quickly. I loved the characters and I thought everything was well done but the whole war part.... I just felt that it could've been more. Otherwise, I can't wait to read the rest.









Olivia Geroux knew her king was reluctant to marry her, whatever the negotiations had arranged. But she never expected to find handsome, arrogant King Rowan obsessed with his stepsister instead. And before she can determine what course to take, she overhears her greatest ally plotting to murder the princess.

Olivia must act quickly—and live with whatever chaos results. As the assassin hunts his prey, a magic mirror appears to show Olivia the three paths that open before her . . .

~ If she hesitates only a moment, the princess will die—and she will become queen.
~ If she calls for help, she will gain great power—but she must also thrust away her own happiness.
~ If she runs to stop the murder herself, she will know love and contentment—but her whole country will suffer.

As she lives out each path, her wits and courage will be tested as she fights to protect her people, her friends, and her heart. And deciding which to follow will be far from easy . . .




My Review 

I had no idea this was the second in a series! NetGalley should've told me. That being said, I still enjoyed this novel and I want o go back and read the first one now. It's well written and while Olivia isn't my favorite character in the world. I enjoy that she felt like a fully flushed out character. I loved seeing the different paths she could take. I wasn't surprised that she chose the one she did though. It seemed pretty obvious to me.

Friday, January 19, 2018

50/50 Friday - Book With Most Complex/Straightforward Plot Structure

This meme is hosted by myself and the wonderful Laura from Blue Eye Books.



What is 50/50 Friday? 
Everyone has a favorite and then we also have something we dislike. Like a coin, there are two sides to every question. Example: best sequel you've read/worst sequel you've read.


Topic for the Week
Book With Most Complex/Straightforward Plot Structure


This one will be fun and really easy for me to answer. I got a lot of books with easy to understand plots.... like any contemporary books I've read. Easy and straightforward. But I will just list a Middle Grade book series that I loved as a kid and even now.

A Living Nightmare (Cirque Du Freak)
In the tradition of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot, Cirque Du Freak is the frightening saga of a young boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into a dark world of vampires. Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and a petrifying ending, Cirque Du Freak will chill, thrill, and leave readers begging for more.
Now.... sadly, most books I read have rather easy to understand plots so I wouldn't call them complex but I will go digging and see if I can find any that are a bit more..... well a bit more.

Well, I'm actually going to cheat because I have not read this series yet but I plan to soon and from the HBO show, the plot can get complex and even hard to understand at times. So it fits here. 

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice)



Topic for Next Week
Favorite Book Set in Winter/Summer






Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner - Review






Cunningham's classic introduction to Wicca is about how to live life magically, spiritually, and wholly attuned with nature. It is a book of sense and common sense, not only about magick, but about religion and one of the most critical issues of today: how to achieve the much needed and wholesome relationship with our Earth. Cunningham presents Wicca as it is today: a gentle, Earth-oriented religion dedicated to the Goddess and God. Wicca also includes Scott Cunningham's own Book of Shadows and updated appendices of periodicals and occult suppliers. 





My Thoughts

This book was the second book I ever read about Wicca. It helped me so freaking much. It made everything idiot proof. Which I personally needed when I first started coming from the background I did. It's written in a way that is easy to understand, easy to follow, and the author just feels like he's sitting there talking to the reader. It's a personal kind of feeling and I loved that so much. There is a lot of info in this book, everything one would need to start down this path that they've chosen. 

Some have said that this book is too 'fluffy' and while I agree that it leans to the lighter side of things. I liked that going into this from my background it was a good thing. Had it not been so fluffy I might have not continued on. So while some people hate the fluffy part, I don't. I think these 'fluffy' books are perfect for people like me. So I will always love this book and think it's great.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Manga Monday - Bleach Volume 1





Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach , has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society. When she's injured in battle, Rukia transfers her sword and much of her power to Ichigo, whose spiritual energy makes him a formidable substitute Soul Reaper. But the orange-haired teenager isn't sure he wants the job: too many risks and moral dilemmas.


Manga Breakdown 

Ichigo is just a normal 15 year old guy... except he can see ghosts. Though everything changes when a Soul Reaper named Rukia comes floating into his room and a Hollow attacks his family. Little does he know this one encounter will change his life forever.

Once Rukia gives Ichigo her powers, he's forced to do her job and go after the Hollows. He's not sure he wants to that, but once a Hollow tries to attack him and then his friend Orihime... he knows he has to fight to protect them both, even if the Hollow was once Orihime's brother.

Next we get to met Chad, a badass guy with a heart of gold, and his pet Parakeet. Not just any Parakeet but a 'cursed' one! It causes horrible things to happen to it's owner. The question is though, is it really the bird... or a Hollow? 

This is great first volume. It really showed us what we are in store for and we got a great impression of most of the main characters and how they are going to be. The art is great! Very detailed and clear and all the characters are all attractive. I love how the series blends humor and seriousness.