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Friday, April 19, 2013

Girls & Monsters- Anne Michaud

The following is a review based on an ARC I won in a goodread give away contest. It in no way affects my enjoyment, or review of the novel.

Girls and Monsters, I was super excited when I read the premise and saw the title. What a great idea, powerful girls, fighting monsters in what the back assured me was a dark but uplifting collection and for who ever has been brave enough to confront their childhood fears and lived to tell about it, I mean YAY! However the synopsis LIED to me because aside from maybe two of the stories this collection was dark as promised and depressing as hell.

I want to start with something positive however before I get into each story. The writing was good, the cover not so much, but the writing was interesting, well worded and edited and kept me engaged. It was the plots and the characters that I had major issues with. I think this author has promise and would be interested in reading more by her.

Death Song is about a small town where en evil Limnade lives and kills people, but she protects the town from the recession. The MC is a poor outcast girl whose father is a drunk. She is in love with Jo, the mayor’s son.

Opinion: The love story is all one sided so that’s kind of depressing and at the end even though people won’t die anymore everyone blames her for killing the creature and their town now being affected by reality. It ended on a sad depressed note and all I could feel was bad for the MC. Also at the beginning the author describes a Limnade as a Greek mermaid….this isn’t really accurate Limnades are Naids a type of water Nymph…. Mermaid and Naids are very different.

Black Dog a self mutilating girl goes to Europe by herself and is haunted by a mysterious black dog apparition as the voice in her head tells her to keep cutting herself…And her parents have no clue she hurts herself…

Opinion: Worst story in the book. Scarlet (the voice in her head calls her Scars) is obviously schizophrenic which she even mentions since her aunt is and that sort of thing does run in families. This is not a monster or a child hood fear; it’s something she honestly needed help for. Also I am a cutter and I have friends who cut. Your parents unless they are idiots will notice if you have deep gashes all over your legs and arms and refuse to wear t-shirts and shorts or bathing suits….Unless you cut some place super sneaky like high up your thigh, stomach or chest, you will get caught. And hopefully, get help. The explanation for the black dog was lame and I didn’t quite know where the author was going with it. Also the girl dies commits suicide at the end to save her “boyfriend” from the dog and the voice in her head, so tell me how this is uplifting.

A Blue Story A supposed Bluebeard retelling about a girl who lives in a town where the pets are disappearing and she eventually finds out it is her next door neighbor and he has kidnapped all the pets. I won’t tell you what he has done with them….but it’s not pleasant.

Opinion: Eh…. Mediocre…. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t like it that much. This is sad because aside from the 12 Dancing Princesses, I love a Bluebeard retelling the best! The MC was flushed out enough that I could totally understand and get her. There wasn’t a real love story which was nice. The villain however was too much of a mustache twirling “muuuaahhhha I shall spend ten minutes I could use killing you and hiding the body, explaining about my dastardly deeds!” Ended on a not so uplifting note, actually a creep in not a good way note.

Dust Bunnies MC goes with her sister to Berlin to clean their dead Grandma’s apartment and the MC is afraid because when she was small she found out a giant spider lived under the bed.

Opinion: Okay this is the reason for the higher rating on this book. Best story in the novel and one I actually quite enjoyed. There is a nice little twist at the end and it was truly a bit spooky. Mainly because spiders freak me out. This could be a Goosebumps book or a three part mini series on Disney.

We Left at Night Zombie story. Basic, stereotyped, a bit boring. Zombies everywhere, family runs from zombies.

Opinion: Rushed ending, and I think zombies are outdated and over played. I wanted it to end so I could write the review, the MC’s voice sounded like most of the other MC’s in this collection. I don’t know how this qualifies as a childhood fear being over come.

Maybe it’s just me and short story collections are not my thing. Or it’s just in short story collections you will like some and hate some, who knows, collections like these, especially all from the same author, are kind of hit or miss. I would like to see what this author could do with a whole novel. I am supportive of anyone at least TRYING to write a strong female lead.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My First Tag Post: What book would you sacrifice?

Okay so I have never done a tagged review before so hopefully I am doing this the way I should. First off a shout out to who I "stole" this from. The lovely Musicplusbooks
Basically this tag is about books you hated. So again, personal opinion you may or may not have read my reviews on some of these books.  I am going to add a few on here, just cause four wasn't enough.

1) An Over-Hyped Book: Let's start this off with a Zombie Apocalypse! Let's say you're in a book store, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies' only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated do you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

Beautiful Redemption without a shadow of a doubt. I rather enjoyed this series and heard so many great things about the last book... But alas it didn't live up to the hype.

2) A Sequel: Let's say you've just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

That one is simple! Fever by Lauren DeStefano... Wither was good, but man the sequel was HORRIBLE!

3) A Classic: Let's say you're in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at his face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it's worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What Classic did you chuck?

 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, what a worthless POS that book is, with one of the SICKEST love stories ever.

4) Your Least Favourite Book of Life!: Let's say that you're hanging out at the library when BAM global warming explodes and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You're trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What is the book you first run to, your least favourite book of all life, what book do you not fully regret lighting?

Vlad by Carlos Fuentes I am sure there are others I have equal hate for... But because of the squirrel scene this got 0 stars on my blog and one on goodreads.

5) The First In a Series- You are wandering the woods, starving, lonely and in desperate need of a bathroom. What book would you use to... well... "clean" yourself up.

Dead Until Dark- Charlaine Harris.... I used to like this series but I can no longer abide by it and the many crappy novels that have spawned after it.

6) The Retelling- Death has finally found you, but he says, in a totally sexy voice, that he will spare you one more year if you can sacrifice the worst retelling you have ever read. This means, fairy tales, historical or mythological moments or even other author's books.

A Breathe of Eyre By Eve Marie Mont- read the review I wrote... I hated this with a burning passion. Way to make Jane Eyre dumb.

The One You Looked Forward to- we all have them, the novel , not always hyped, that you have had on your tbr list and want SO SO badly...That failed all expectations. You are driving and see someone you hate bleeding by the side of the road. You stop cause, well YOURE, at least, a good person. What hated book would you use to staunch the blood flow?

Quiver by Holly Luhning. It was supposed to be a beautiful murder mystery about a cult who worships Elizabeth Bathory, it wound up being more about the pathetic MC and her failed love life and toxic BFF.

Burnt Offerings- Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake 6)

Burnt Offerings

*Spoiler Alert*

Burnt Offerings is one of my favorite Anita Books.

First because it has a plot that takes us a bit away from the Richard/Anita/Jean Claude drama threesome shit.

1) The council- the council comes to visit and while yeah they are a bunch of sadistic fuckwads their characters are pretty cool, The Traveler, Padma, Warrick, and you meet Asher, with whom I am besotted. I despise how LKH twists his character into something unrecognizable

2) The fire bug- this was much better than the normal gruesome murders that happen and you can tell LKH did her research about what happens to buildings when they put fires out and the kind of equipment needed to go into a place that is water logged.

3) Anita taking charge of the wereleopards and basically rescuing Richard’s wolves since he’s off being a pouty baby and Sylvie is strong but not strong enough. I like her taking charge as Lupa.

4) Ronnie dating Louie- this is cool but it foreshadows the issues that Ronnie is beginning to have with Anita’s life style and we see a dwindle of Anita’s normal human friends

5) Where is Anita’s job at animators inc? Where is her zombie raising? You see Larry briefly, but come on I like her death magic!

So I didn’t have as many issues with this, the clothing wasn’t as bad, though I think LKH must have stock in Nike. barf Sex is minimal but decent and it ends rather well.

Definitely Dead- Charlaine Harris

2016 Edit: I use the word slut in this review, negatively. In the past few years I have changed quite a bit. I try to not judge a woman by how many sexual partners she has had: her body, her business. I also try not to use slut in a negative way . I won't edit the review because it is who I was more than four years ago, but I did want to put in this notation as a warning. I do wish the author had allowed Sookie to embrace her sexual escapades rather than slut shame other women and make Sookie so hypocritical. Thanks.

** spoiler alert **

 Okay so here we go with Definitely Dead…….Ummm so we are back into the 3 star category.

We’ll start with where we left off, yes? Sookie living in the apartment Sam loaned her after her house got burned down. But ummm. WAIT NO! She’s already back in her own home? Uh? How much time has past? We don’t really know. A couple of weeks…But apparently we missed all that in the in-between land known as only in the author’s mind Or perhaps in a short story that was published else where……

Well let’s see some points here… Good and Bad, well who am I kidding, mostly crap.

1) Again I must point out that the innuendos and sex scenes are some of the worst I have ever read, I happened to know that Eric’s “pistol” was more of a .357 Magnum than a snub nose

2) Again I must also point out that for a woman in the 2000’s Sookie has the worst fashion sense and her hair and make up style is not much better. More 90’s really, blech.

3) Oh No!! Sookie is not only beat up like twice in this book, she also almost gets raped twice… This brings the count up to six I think….. And I am sure there is more to come. At this point she really does need to get the hell away from all these supes.

4) Hadley- Unless you read the short story you would have no real idea what was going on. It is just suddenly thrust on you that in a time we didn’t read about Hadley died and left everything to Sookie. The Queen and her lawyer come to Sookie’s house to offer her the reward of punishing the person who killed Hadley (who was doing the Queen). So this whole book really surrounds something that couldn’t even be put in the novel, it had to be a short story, like in hind sight.

5) The ectoplasmic reconstruction- This was quite possibly one of the best things about this book. It was interesting and very well written.

6) Amelia- One of the better characters to be introduced in this series. I am glad she becomes a major player. I just love a Good ole fashioned witch.

7) Quinn- yuck, just another guy trying to get into Sookie’s pants. He’s not as awesome as Eric, though the weretiger thing is pretty fun. But you also just know he’s got some major baggage.

8) Sookie and sex- in this book she tells Quinn over and over again she does not want to have sex so soon in their relationship because of Bill and Eric, she wants to wait and make sure that their relationship is solid. However after only one date they wind up doing such heavy making out in her dead cousin’s apartment that they both get off… Someone tell me how that is taking it slow? We all know Sookie is a slut…. She should just bang him and get it over with.

9) Finally after all this time we find out that Sookie is not special just because she is Sookie… We always knew she was boring, stupid and just barftastic, aside from the telepathy. The big question has always been: Why does everyone want to fuck her? The answer? She has fairy blood! At least this is an explanation, however lame and last minute it actually is.

10) Sookie is actually clever in this book SHOCKER! She does some quick and creative thinking while helping the vampire Queen of Louisiana. I pretty much liked any scene that had Sophie in it.

11) Finding out Bill was a plant by the Queen of Louisiana, sent to seduce Sookie.... Wow cause I can't hate this character any more. I loved how bad Eric felt about this too, he just wanted Sookie to know. Bill is a cheating, lying, cheapscape rapist. Move on girlfriend.

To sum up… This book wasn’t horrible. It had its good moments and its crappy ones. Sad that it is still the MC that makes this series horrid, without her (or if we changed her) this book might have gotten four stars.