September 2021 Reading Wrap-up

In September I read 1,915 pages across five different books. It was an average reading month. One of the books I would consider great, two were good, one was average, and sadly, one was bad. I completed my to be read list so that means next month I get to read a book of my choice instead of one that was pulled out of the TBR jar. Here are my thoughts on the September books!

I really enjoyed this installment in the Stranger Things books. Max was already one of my favorite characters and this just made her feel a little bit more relatable. (I still think Robin is the character I relate to the most by the Rebel Robin podcast.) We really get to see Max develop through this story and we get to see how her relationship with Billy got to point it is at and why they are so tense with one another. The reader also gets to immerse themselves into Hawkins as that has not been done in any of the previous books, it feels like home in a way. This book was fast paced but I would not say thrilling, I almost wanted to binge read it, but I stood my ground and kept my read a book in three days going. The plot might throw some readers off, but I thought it added more to season two as we got to see it through another set of eyes.

The characters of this novel were amazing and well developed. Throughout my time reading this, I was thinking of actors who could play them in a film. (Anya Taylor-Joy for Camila, by the way). I will be thinking about them for a while. The setting was very well fitting for a story such as this one. The writing was poetic, but it dragged and seemed to go on for ages. I would really recommend this to fans of Pat Conroy. This plot was interesting, and I was wondering how it would end and what would happen, but the writing just wore it down for me. (I did the audiobook for this one).

The characters were not anything new to the genre, if you have read any other recent young adult fantasy than you are more than aware of these traits. The setting of an English manor is always one that piques my interest and if you like gothic or classic British literature then you will probably enjoy this setting. The writing was fast paced and easy to read. The plot was something new but just was not done properly, there was not enough building or foundation on the magic system. An average read.

I did enjoy this read. The characters did annoy me at times but overall, they were well written, and I can see that sometimes just committing to someone is hard for some people. I like that we did get both women’s perspectives to see what Jake was trying to choose between. I don’t think these characters were likeable, but they were real. Elin Hilderbrand can paint a beautiful setting and really immerse you into it. The writing was fast, but you never truly felt like anything was left out. I don’t think this needed to be a forbidden romance but then it wouldn’t be as exciting, would it be?

Kya is an unforgettable character, and, in a sense, we really grow with her throughout the story and become connected with the marshlands that she calls her home. In my head I can see the shack and have a perfect picture of what the marsh and the small beach community look like. This is a science and English lover’s dream of a book; beautiful writing yet that sense of biology and learning about the ecosystem. The plot is unique like our main character and had tropes that I love. There were some things that I thought were random and some lose ends that I found that did not tie together nicely but I cannot discuss that here as there would be spoilers. Overall, this was a good book to end September with and I look forward to future books that the author might release.

The overall average for the rating of the September books are a 3.5 out of 5 stars!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fN0pKnNYQhyA_hRCYm8tg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyrain729

Canterbury Tales Review

PhotoRoom_20200810_133634

This is a retelling of the Canterbury Tales. This is not the original. Barbara Cohen took four of the original tales and made them easier for us to understand in modern times. This is done in prose and not poetry like the original.

The first tale that we are told is the one of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale‘. It is a fable which uses animals to get its point across. The reader learns in this that if someone is too prideful they might not see their own faults or anyone’s around them. This could lead to their downfall.

Then we come to ‘The Pardoner’s Tale‘, this is a tale to teach the readers about greed and what corruption that it can lead to. However I found that it could also teach us you get what you deserve and treating others how you want to be treated.

Ah, now the tale that I remember the most from reading this in high school, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’. In this tale we really see how women were as people and how they were treated in fourteenth century Europe. I do think this is a feminist story, we see how women want to be treated in a relationship and also that there is more to a woman than just her face and body. Something that I really wish men would understand.

The last tale that we come across in this short book is, ‘The Franklin’s Tale‘. This is a tale on relying on someone else, having faith in that person. It can also be seen as staying true to yourself. It is a story of honor, very much Stark and Tully manner.

When I purchased this book on Amazon, a year ago, I thought it was all the Canterbury Tales and the original version. Not a version that is made for young readers to understand and get a general idea of Chaucer. This is my fault! This is all a me problem and not the book problem.

I found that the way the prologues are done to be awkward. They mention tales that the reader will not read in this bind up, I found myself being confused by this. I know that I did not go into too much detail about what the tales are actually about but when they are around ten pages long I feel like there is not much that I can say without spoiling it.

Should I find a copy of the actual Canterbury Tales to read it? If so, do you have a certain one that you recommend? Again, everything here is a me problem so I felt like I should just give the book an average rating of a three star.

Star Wars: Knight Errant Review

PhotoRoom_20200806_133609

Kerra Holt is a Jedi. She is known is an errant knight in Sith run space. All alone and not in her own galaxy. Her goal is to end Sith rule and the oppressions it has on the citizens on multiple planets. Rusher is a mercenary, he works for whoever will hire him and his crew. Usually his employer is a Sith lord. He does not like the Sith but it is a way to make money. Narsk is a spy, taking work for Sith lords just like Rusher. Those are our main characters.

Lord Daiman rules a few planets in Sith space. He is only in his twenties but sees himself as a god. He tells his people that they or their universe simply did not exist before he did. Most know that this is a straight up lie but they live in a dictatorship, where questioning that could end up with death or another kind of severe punishment.

Kerra is on a mission to kill this Sith lord and rid the galaxy of him. She will save his people and take them as refugees, back to the Republic. She lives undercover in this world to understand its people and investigate how it is ruled. She is one Jedi who has to take down many Sith lords. Can she do it?

Rusher is working for Daiman. There is a battle to come and he has been employed to have his group be the troops. Rusher knows that Daiman’s whole regime is a scam. He knows that the elites just play this game of power. He is just a piece in it. It gives him something to do and money to make.

Narsk is one of the few people who has a general idea why this war has been happening, what started it all. One of the ploys from his current employer, Daiman’s older brother, is to kill Daiman. He comes across a Jedi in this time as well. They both have the same goal but for different reasons and go about it very differently.

Are all Sith bad? Are all Jedi good? Is there a pure evil and a pure good? These are questions that go throughout many Star Wars novels.

*****

 Before starting this novel, I had no idea that it was an adaption of a graphic novel. I thought the book came out first and then the comic. So, I have to say, read the comic first! From reading other reviews I have heard that this is very helpful and adds more to the characters and the story!

John Jackson Miller’s books seem to very plot driven and not character driven. Kerra Holt was without a doubt our main character, she’s on the cover of the book and the title is about her. I still had lots of questions, how did she get to sith space? How long has she been there? Does she plan on going back to the republic? We do not really get any answers to those. Then we had other character POVs, who I did enjoy, but they were just a long for the ride. We did not get any real development with them. I would have liked to know more about the certain Sith lords in this story.

Characters were a three out of five stars. I enjoyed them and liked the tension that we had between Kerra and Rusher but we only really had development with Kerra and none of the others.

The atmosphere was like most Star Wars books set in the old republic era. I thought seeing how each government on the planets ran and I really like the tundra world that we see in the last part.

Atmosphere is a four out of five stars.

The writing was not anything special. The very last chapter, I do think was beautiful but the rest was just average for me.

The writing was  average so that is a three out of five stars.

The plot. Earlier I said that Miller’s stories are more plot drive than character driven. Now that I think about it, yes, there was a plot, but it was just a lot of action taking place. There was not any dull moments but it was always go, go, go, and I think that was over done. Then the ending, I just thought it wasn’t good. We did all this travel and fighting throughout the novel and then the ending was just bland. I wanted to know what happened next. Maybe I have to read the comics to find out.

The plot gets a three out of five stars.

Now time for the intrigue. I was intrigued. I wanted to know who characters were working for, what their motive was, would they be alright, and so on.

Intrigue gets a four out of five stars.

I have a lot of questions about the logic. This isn’t necessarily about the book but I just felt like this taking play a thousand years before the events of the Star Wars movies, nothing has really changed with the society. The technology has not advanced much.

Logic is a three out of five.

Lastly, did I enjoy Knight Errant? It was an average read for me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read the comics before hand. I will read the comics at some point. I wish we would have learned more about the characters and that our plot was not always at such a fast pace. This is just one stop on my journey of reading all the Star Wars canon and legend books.

 

Song for a Whale, Book Review

77ca10235ea05c2c1592afd280e8b987-w204@1x

Iris was born deaf. It runs in her family as both of her maternal grandparents are deaf as well. The disability seemed to have skipped a generation, so Iris is the only one in her home that is deaf, her mother and older brother know American Sign Language but her father still struggles with communicating with her as he says that languages are not his thing but numbers are, eye roll.

She attends a regular public school that is full of “normal” kids, she is the only one who has to around with an interpreter, it is hard for Iris to fit in. One day, in science class the teacher plays a video about a hybrid whale who goes by Blue 55, he has yet to be tagged and is only followed by his unique song.

Blue 55 is the son of two different kinds of whales so his song doesn’t match any other whale songs. He cannot communicate to the other whales. Therefore, he is alone in the dark waters of the Pacific without a family or pod, a group of whales.

Iris cannot help but compare 55’s story to her own. Being so alone in the world, feeling like no one is listening or there to understand. She feels like she must help this whale who is four thousand miles away from her home in Texas. Iris must find a way to communicate with this whale and let him know that he is not alone in this universe, other’s relate to his struggle with communication.

The characters in this book were alright. I had to keep reminding myself that this book is middle grade and that Iris is twelve years old. I have to say most people that age are annoying, trust me, I know because I was an annoying twelve year old before. You think that you know everything but you don’t. That being said, I think that it is okay that Iris is this way as it is typical for someone her age.

Now, the parents, that’s another story. First, the dad not taking the time to learn sign language to be able to communicate with his daughter just makes me mad. In this book she meets a friend who wants to learn right away but her own father doesn’t!! Then there is the mother who does not want to let Iris go to the deaf school where she would be around her peers because the mother does not want to feel alone. What? Wouldn’t you want your kid to have friends? Come on. I gave the character’s a four out of five as I felt like our main character was realistically written.

The atmosphere in this book is nothing special. We start in Houston, I felt like it was a smaller town so maybe the family is out in the suburbs. Once we get to the traveling aspects of the book the atmosphere gets better. Nothing to write home about,   an average three out of five.

The writing isn’t great either, very, we did this and then we did that. I understand that this is middle grade so that writing style might be easier for the age range to understand. I also felt like we had jumps between chapters with no explanation of what happened between the two scenes, that leaves readers confused. Writing is a two out of five.

Throughout the story, I do feel like there were several contradictions. Yes, there are several similarities between Iris and Blue 55 but she has a family and he has none, she does have friends when he isn’t is in a pod. That is just one example.

With the main character of this book being deaf we do get that disability representation. As I am not deaf I cannot tell you if it was properly done but the writer, Lynne Kelly, does work as a sign language interpreter and seems to have a lot of experience working with those who do have hearing impairments. It really opened my eyes to how frustrating it must be to be deaf.

I would not say that I enjoyed this novel but it did not bore me either, God bless short chapters. The parents did bug me a lot but we are seeing them from the point of a view of a tween and I feel like most tweens do see their parents as annoying. All that aside, I do think this book would be something good for young people to read. As it does bring representation to the deaf community and that was something as an adult that I have never read before. It also shows you that nothing is impossible and if you really work than you can reach your dreams even if there are a few bumps in the road, they just make  you more determined.

February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

DF1F3A6B-301B-44B8-969E-B4EDDF678E53.JPG

In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

“Wicked Saints” Review

IMG_8812.jpg

“She had come here to stop a war, to bring about justice for her gods, to bring them back.”


Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, was raised at a monastery in the country of Kalyazin. She has no memory of her parents; all she knows is life in the mountains. Her mother knew that the child she was carrying was touched by the gods. “Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.”-Page 34. The records in Kalyazin, never spoke of a cleric who could speak to more than one god, but Nadya could hear them all. She is something divine.

“War has made us all used to living in desecrated spaces once considered holy.”

   Across the border in Tranavia, there are different rulers, the high prince being Serefin Meleski. He is the prince and one of the most powerful blood mages. He has been sent away by the king, his insecure and weak in magic father, to Kalyazin. He is to kill the cleric and take blood magic to those who still believe the ways of the old gods. “If he pushed Serefin out of sight, the slavhki of the court would never recall the son was more powerful than his father.”- Page 74. It is obvious that Serefin has built up resentment to his father in these years away from the court and in battle in a foreign land.

“Don’t you wonder what it would be like? To be someone else, with no expectations upon you or the fear of retribution keeping you on the same path.”

    A monster, not knowing what path he is to take, who he is to become. He has had a conflicted life, starting at the same age. Is he just a normal boy with powers stronger than some or is he becoming a monster? He has left the cult he was raised in, to find the path that he truly wants or needs to take. “Here was the very thing she had ben taught her entire life was an abomination-and he was very much the worst kind of abomination-but he was also just … a boy.”- Page 116

“The girl. The girl and the monster and the prince.”

     These three have to come together and assassinate the king, to a end a holy war that has been in the works for a hundred years. “The Tranavians had found ways to shield themselves from the gods; that was one of the reasons the war had begun in the first place. It meant that if they had found some darker method of harnessing magic, then the gods would not know. It was terrifying.”- page 135. Nadya is being sent by the god she still believes to end this war by bringing her gods back to Tranavia. Serefin has come back to court to find a suitor to be his future queen. The monster must decide what his fate will be. How will all their paths cross to take down the king?

“No one. Just a girl. Some small scrap of divinity.”

  Ah, a young adult fantasy that received a ton of hype. Will I enjoy it? I did! I am always hesitant opening up the cover of a book that has been talked about so much on booktube or bookstagram but Wicked Saints did not disappoint. I think the audiobook would be better for the Something Dark and Holy series, as I am still not certain on how to pronounce certain names and locations that are mentioned throughout the story. A glossary would come in handy as well as I was often finding myself confused with the gods, characters, and words that are used in this universe. The writing style was average, it made me feel cold though and I think that is perfect for a world that is inspired by Poland and Russia.

This plot line was entertaining, wondering how all three paths and plots would cross. I liked how we had multiple kinds of magic and how they were against each other, both types seeing the other as an “abomination”. I did not know which one was truly the good one. Theories were constantly coming to my head as I read this story, there were so many twists and turns, I was wanting to know what would happen next. I will be continuing this series when Ruthless Gods comes out on April 7,2020.

October TBR

This month, all these books except Wicked Saints were hand chosen by me because I hit my Goodreads reading goal of fifty books! Yay me! The book Thief was included in this TBR originally but since it is a carry over from 5e previous month there will not be a description in his post.

Wicked Saints is the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy. It is a Slavic inspired fantasy novel that has a lot to do with blood magic. Three paths have to meet to take down the king and end a war that has been in the process for generations.

Princess Lia has a life laid out in front of her. One of the parts of life is an arranged marriage by her parents, one to form an alliance with a nearby kingdom. Lia runs away when it comes time to marry this unknown prince. She starts a new life in a small village but that gets flipped around when strangers approach her, one the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin who has come to kill her.

Sadie had to raise her sister all on her own. Mattie, the sister, is found dead one day. Sadie is going to do anything to get revenge on the killer of her sister. The police investigation didn’t do well enough, she needs to bring justice to this all.

The other part of this book is told in a podcast format, the reason why I am doing this as an audiobook. That’s where our other character comes in. West is a radio host and hears about the story missing girl. He wants to find out what happened to her, West starts a podcast to help spread word of this case and document it.

(I didn’t include The Book Thief, since it was a carry over, or Prisoner of Azkaban since it’s the third in a series.)

August Wrap-Up 2019

August was my weakest reading month ever! I was so busy and exhausted but you’re not here to read my excuses. I ended up reading three books that adds up to 1,346 pages.

Texas, post civil war America, Ruby is growing up in this frontier of a state. She has recently become a woman, she starts to make decisions of her own and one of those being applying to art school in Philadelphia. To her surprise, she actually gets in and gets to leave Texas, her family, and her love, Bismarck. Not only does Ruby learn about the arts at college but she learns about herself and the world that is changing right in front of her eyes.

The first thirty-five percent of this book dragged on and on, plot points were happening but I just felt very bored and found myself thinking of other things than the words in front of me. The romances in this book has no real foundation, but the characters, the way they interacted and spoke made it seem like they did. I feel like they from meeting and then straight to the bedroom. The main thing that made up for that was Suanne Schafer’s writing style, I am shocked that this was her debut novel, the writing was beautiful and very detailed! The other thing that I liked about A Different Kind Of Fire was Ruby’s character arc, I think character arcs are so important! This ended up being a 3.75/5 stars for me.

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall a sickness and later death, before her first memory. She sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt hates her alongside her cousin. Jane has never known love her family doesn’t love her who else is there to do so? She falls ill,one night she tells the doctor all of her struggles he suggest her going to any other family she has,all Janes knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is a way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at the boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, That is something that I love about classics, you can tell that the writer is really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twist and turns throughout life. My two complaints are I didn’t really care for the plot and the writing was really dragged out this book could have been 300 pages shorter.

Jane Eyre Book Review

August TBR 2019

August Wrap-Up 2019

Jane Eyre Book Review

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall to sickness and later death before her first memory. She is sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt and cousin hate her. Jane has never known love, her family doesn’t love her, who else is there to do so? She falls ill one night, she tells the doctor all of her struggles. He suggests her going to any other family she has, all Jane knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is the way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at her boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield Hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

“I am not an angel, I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”– Jane Eyre

For starters, I did the audiobook for Jane Eyre and then followed along in my physical copy of the book. This book took me twice the amount of days than I had originally hoped for. I don’t think the novel is something difficult to read but it was so long and dragged on and on. I also found bits and pieces unrealistic, I’m not going to say which ones as they are spoilers.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, that is something I love about classics, you can tell that the writers really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre, I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twists and turns throughout life.

Overall, I feel strange writing a review for a book that has been with us since the mid-1800s. I know people love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. If a book is hundreds of pages longer than it needs to be I find myself getting bored and not wanting to read. The plot didn’t really seem important to me, it wasn’t something extravagant that caught my eye. Yes, I did not expect some of the plot twists and those were fun but it just wasn’t my favorite book, or classic, for that matter, that I’ve read.