Where The Wolves Read

A blog where I review mostly books. I also review, if my appetite allows, movies, music, and video games. Enjoy the feast!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Special: IT Movie Review

Content warnings: Violence, abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, slurs against women, self-harm, animal violence

Review: Let me give you some background on my relationship with this story. When I was a kid, I had a lot of nightmares (I still do have a lot of nightmares) but not much scared me in real life. Then I watched IT with Tim Curry. I was spooked beyond repair. I avoided this story like the plague. When I was in college, I decided I wanted to rewatch the miniseries so I could see if it was still as scary as I remembered it. While I wasn't as scared as I was when I was little, it was still suitably creepy. This year, I was nervous/excited for the new movie to come out. The difference was that I didn't want to see it until I read the book. I'm not an avid Stephen King reader. I've only read one other book (Salem's Lot) to completion. Still, I wanted to read IT. I read IT and I loved IT (review can be found here). The film librarian where I work agreed that she would watch the new movie with me when I finished the book. So, we went to see the movie. Now, I will get on with the actual review.

Holy moly, this movie was an experience. My biggest concern was how they were going to do Pennywise as a character. Tim Curry did an excellent job making Pennywise creepy, but playful. Skarsgård made an excellent Pennywise, but it didn't feel quite as good as Curry's. It's hard to describe, but it felt slightly off as a character. I did really enjoy the weird dancing scene towards the end of the film. It seemed a bit much, but it was funny. The kids were all great. This movie focused on the story of the children, and I thought they all fit fairly well. They did make a lot of dick jokes. I asked the person I watched the movie with, and she agreed. It was a little unnecessary

I greatly enjoyed the flow of this film than any other way the story has been presented. I might have said this in my review of the book, but I much prefer reading stories straight through without shifting perspectives or timelines. It was great that they had one film focus on the childrens' adventure. Unfortunately, there were some bits that seemed weird to me. First, Bev's kidnapping. I get why they made that decision. It was the ultimate push to get this group of feuding children to come together to fight Pennywise. Again, this could just be my view, but it made Pennywise seem less scary and very dumb. He already knew that having the children in a group made them stronger. Why would he bait them all together by taking Bev? Also, part of his character is the ability to entice children to come with him willingly. Taking Bev diminished some of this character in my opinion. There was also a weird scene where Billy had to put a gun to Georgie's head to prove Georgie wasn't real. That seemed extra unnecessary. That scene honestly bothered me more than Pennywise murdering children. The last thing that weirded me out was after they fought Pennywise. In the book, Bev convinces the boys to have sex with her. Yes, I agree that should not have been in the film. But I don't think cutting their palms open was great either. Again, this could be a problem only I had, but what ever happened to pinky promises?

There were a few really good scenes though. I really enjoyed the scene where Stan freaks out and thinks his friends abandoned him. I think that lends itself to a better reason for him committing suicide as an adult. In a, "My friends left my behind during the first fight. I'm not going back so they can leave me again" kind of way. I'm not trying to justify Stan's suicide. I just think it makes more sense this way than just fear causing him to do it. Pennywise's illusions felt creepier in this movie. I had chills during a good chunk of the beginning because of how things were portrayed. This is probably something that was only accomplished because of modern technology, but it was done really well. While I wasn't the biggest fan of Pennywise's overall appearance, Skarsgård did an incredible job with his voice. That was absolutely a major plus for me. It was soothing, but creepy at the same time. He gets A+ just from his voice.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie, but not quite as much as the miniseries or the original novel. I'm extremely excited for the next one to come out.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Content Warning: References to suicide, anxiety attacks, probable PTSD, kidnapping

Synopsis1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

Review: So, this book is Scooby-Doo, but darker. There's a group of kids, and a dog, who solved some mystery one summer, and they moved on with their lives. We do not get to experience this mystery first hand. We just get memory remnants from the group after they become adults. I loved these characters so much. The book opens as Kerri is having an anxiety attack. Not a mild one, but a massive one that actually made my best friend uncomfortable when he read it. It was extremely well done. It isn't stated, but I'm assuming Kerri is plagued with PTSD as well as she continually has nightmares. Nate has committed himself into an institution for his delusions. One of these delusions is his friend Peter, an old member of the group, who committed suicide when they were all adults. The dialogue between Peter and Nate has a dark humor to it that is played very well. Andy seems to be the most "normal" of the group, but even she has her demons. Then there's Tim. He is the descendant of Sean who was the original "Scooby-Doo" character. I loved how realistic Tim was to the story. Not in the, "Tim sniffed around like dogs tend to do" kind of way. During some of the adventure, Andy has to carry Tim because he can't get around like his human companions. He does have some human-like qualities which make for some fun moments. The group dynamic was where this book shined. Every character felt unique.

I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for stories where kids leave a small town, come back as adults, and learn new things. This was definitely that kind of book. The story centers around an unsolved mystery but, around that, the group learns more about the nightmares of their past and how it really affects them. There are some supernatural elements to the story, which I was actually a little sad about. It still had a "man in the mask" element, but I wish it was completely grounded in reality. Even still, I enjoyed the story and I'm so glad this book was brought into my life. It was delightful. Funny in all the right places, dark in all the right places.

4.5 howls

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Content warnings: Harm to animals, death, murder, references to being poisoned

SynopsisYoung Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him sectetly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

Review: I feel like Robin Hobb is one of those writers everyone who enjoys fantasy needs to read. Her ability to create interesting, unique characters and compelling stories is extremely impressive. I loved Fitz so much. I found his past and his upbringing fascinating and I wanted him to succeed in everything he tried, which is actually a very dark thought because he was trained to be an assassin. Somehow I even really enjoyed Burrich. I say *somehow* because he can definitely be a dick at certain points of the book. I was surprised and excited to be introduced to the Fool in this book. I say surprised because I know the series Hobb is working on now is called The Fitz and The Fool, and I'm assuming it refers to the same fool. I just thought he would be introduced much later. He was intriguing. I'm curious to see what role he plays in later books. As far as characters go, those were the most memorable for me, but there were definitely other interesting characters. Lady Patience, Molly, the princes, King Shrewd, everyone was well developed and I hated how much I loved reading about them.

The story was a bit slow to start. It's the first book of a fantasy series, so a lot of this book was building the world, characters, and relationships. One thing I liked was how Fitz was treated. He is the bastard child of a prince, and he gets treated a bit like dirt. He isn't pampered and welcome with open arms. Fitz has an interesting connection with dogs that I hope gets expanded on in later books. Be prepared when picking up this book that the assassinations are more subtle than you might think. When I hear "assassin" I think of things like the Assassin's Creed series where a person sneaks around and stabs a knife through someone's neck. That's not this book. Not even close. Fitz gets trained in the art of poisoning. So, the murders are not as theatrical as I first thought which was actually rather refreshing. It also allowed for this great mixture of political intrigue throughout the story with assassinations peppered in. Assassin's Apprentice, while sometimes slow, was a great experience. Definitely worth checking out.

4 howls

Monday, October 23, 2017

Air Awakens by Elise Kova

SynopsisA library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Review: I've had my eye on Elise Kova's books for quite some time. I've heard overwhelmingly positive things for this series in particular. I get it. It was entertaining. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read a lot of fantasy books in my life. As far as characters go, I didn't really care for any of the major characters in the story. None of them were particularly memorable and that bummed me out quite a bit. The story was also kind of meh. First off, yes there were obvious similarities to Avatar: The Last Airbender and Harry Potter. Honestly, that didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the story. It was different enough, it just started to elicit some eye rolls. There were some aspects of the world that I appreciated. I liked how sorcerers were considered bad, but it was also random as to who ended up being magical. One common problem I've seen with other fantasies is how the "bad guys" tend to be focused on specific countries or races. This can be extremely hurtful to readers who are of a specific ethnicity if they read characters who look like them, but are evil. Having magic is a random attribute that has nothing to do with a character's ethnicity and, in this world, anyone with magic can be dangerous. I did find the public's reaction to sorcerers to be a bit odd. It's no secret that one of the princes has magic, and that seems to be fine, but when anyone else is suspected of having magic, it's considered bad. I liked that a prince had magic. I liked that Vhalla had a friend in this. I just found it odd that people were willing to serve someone with magic while also hating others. This book was definitely the basic start up to a fantasy series. It opened with a shocking amount of urgency which was nice, but there ended up being a lot of history and world building which is fine. It made for a slightly slower read, but it wasn't awful. Elise also did things to her characters that I wasn't expecting, but I won't say what because spoilers. Overall, the book was underwhelming, but I am going to read the next one and see if the series gets better. This is by no means a "bad" book, but I'm hoping things develop in the next installment.

3 howls

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Content warning: Anxiety, OCD, self harm, references to teen drinking, car accident

SynopsisSixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

Review: Turtles All the Way Down has been highly anticipated for quite some time. As someone who enjoys John Green's other books, I was extremely excited for his new book. Especially when I found it out centered on anxiety and OCD. I don't have Aza's brand of OCD, so I'm not going to talk about that, but I know all too well what her anxiety spirals are like. The anxiety rep in this book was very well done and Aza as a character was easy to relate to. Even her habit of digging her nail into her finger was something similar to what I've done and little instances of self-harm like that are not generally discussed in books.

Review: The story in Turtles was...interesting. Aza and her friend Daisy try to figure out where a billionaire has disappeared to, and she somehow finds a way to reconnect with a childhood friend, the billionaire's son.Aza and Davis' relationship didn't feel quite right. I didn't mind it, but I think it would have felt more natural if we saw them interact together more before Davis' dad disappeared. I did appreciate how Aza not only connected with Davis, but also with his brother Noah. More than anything, I loved how this book explored being vulnerable. With Aza, Davis, Noah, even Daisy, it discusses what it means to be honest and vulnerable even when you can loose what's important to you.

4 howls

Friday, October 20, 2017

Madness by Zac Brewer

Content warnings:Suicide, suicidal thoughts, detailed descriptions of suicide, self-harm, abuse

SynopsisBrooke Danvers is pretending to be fine. She’s gotten so good at pretending that they’re letting her leave inpatient therapy. Now she just has to fake it long enough for her parents and teachers to let their guard down. This time, when she's ready to end her life, there won’t be anyone around to stop her.

Then Brooke meets Derek. Derek is the only person who really gets what Brooke is going through, because he’s going through it too. As they start spending more time together, Brooke suddenly finds herself having something to look forward to every day and maybe even happiness.

But when Derek’s feelings for her intensify, Brooke is forced to accept that the same relationship that is bringing out the best in her might be bringing out the worst in Derek—and that Derek at his worst could be capable of real darkness.

Review: I'll be honest, this book was hard to read. Zac doesn't pull any punches when describing what it's like to suffer from suicidal tendencies. Madness was raw and emotional. I related to Brooke in a scary way, but it was also weirdly comforting to see that part of me so openly displayed in a book. That being said, there were a few times where Brooke got on my nerves. Again, I related to her, but she was still a pain. The way she treated Duckie at times was incredibly unfair. Between lying to him about her mental health to ditching him for Derek, I got pretty annoyed with Brooke. I adored Duckie. He made me think of my best friend pretty often which is probably why I got so attached to that character. He was a fun character to help break up the serious thoughts in Brooke's mind. 

Onto the story, Madness is dark. Not just because it's about suicide. It's also about abuse and aggression. Brooke has so many hateful feelings towards herself and she sometimes lashes out on Duckie, her parents, and her therapist. Then there's Derek. When you first read the synopsis, this book sounds like it could be one of those, "2 kids wanted to kill themselves, found each other, fell in love, and lived happily ever after." Don't worry, it's not. Derek and Brooke's relationship is pretty scary. They love hard and fast, and not in a good way. There were little things about the story I found particularly powerful like the subtle way Brooke's view on life and living changed. There was a scene when she was talking to Derek about college and it suddenly occurred to her that she wanted a future. She wanted to believe that there was more for her life. If you can handle this subject matter, I would highly recommend checking this book out.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Content warning: Talk of suicide, "suicide is selfish" brought up a couple of times

SynopsisAt sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass was refreshing. It is not only a retelling with queer elements, but the way the narrative is structured is certainly unique. This book is told from 2 perspectives, Mina and Lynet, when both girls are teenagers. But they are not teens at the same time, so it feels like 2 distinct stories that come together to make a single cohesive one. It was surprisingly well done. I really enjoyed reading Mina and Lynet both. While their backgrounds are similar, they both had their quirks that made reading both of their stories very enjoyable. Their relationship was also really great. I'm glad it didn't take the "wicked stepmother" route. From the first page, I felt like Lynet and Mina had a very strong relationship and I was rooting for them to find a way through their struggles together.

The story itself was well done. There were a lot of interesting elements that I felt were fleshed out fairly well. I enjoyed getting to experience the north kingdom and the south. That being said, I think this book could have either been longer, or the story could have been a duology. We got to explore a good bit of the north kingdom, but everything that happened in the south felt a bit rushed. I wanted more time to soak in that part of the world. Still, the world building was well-done and the romance was A+. I love retellings, and this one definitely stood out among the rest.

4 howls

Monday, October 16, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Content Warning: Violence, hazing, bullying, verbally abusive parents, murder, talk of murder

SynopsisOne-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Review: I love horror movies. I find them fascinating, but incredibly cheesy. When I found out Stephanie Perkins was writing a horror novel, I was excited. I didn't know what to think about it until I heard her talk at a signing about her ode to the horror genre. I definitely got some Scream vibes from There's Someone Inside Your House. I don't know if that's because she talked about how much she loves Scream, but I made a lot of connections between the two. I did have a few gripes with this story though. I honestly didn't care too much about Makani's life. I was a little interested in what happened to make her move to Nebraska, but it wasn't a secret I was aching to have exposed. I did enjoy the secondary characters, but one of the scary things about horror movies is no one is safe. I didn't get that vibe from this book. I knew the main cast was not going to be killed and that took away from the horror experience. Also, considering what the title of the book is, I was very disappointed in how few murders actually took place in houses. That being said, the scenes where people were getting attacked in their houses were my favorite by far. This might be a personal thing, but I even told Stephanie that I have recurring nightmares about being chased in my house. This is probably what helped put me in that head space while I was reading. I know some people don't enjoy getting scared like that, but I thought it helped with the reading experience. Overall, I enjoyed bits of what this book was, but wished it was much more.

3 howls

Friday, October 13, 2017

IT by Stephen King

Content Warning: Violence, abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, sex featuring children, racial slurs, slurs against women, detailed descriptions of guns, murder, torture, suicide

SynopsisTo the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw - and felt - what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

Review: It is only the second Stephen King book I've completed, but I can already tell it's going to remain a favorite. This story is one of the very few that has ever scared me, and stuck with me for a long time. Thanks, Tim Curry. Thanks a lot. As far as characters go, Stephen King does a really good job of fleshing out all of his characters. And I mean, all of them. I adored the main cast. I loved them when they were children, and I loved them as adults. Mike is my baby because he is a librarian. Outside of the main cast, it was interesting to see how Stephen King made their families different. As someone who grew up in a small town, it's easy to buy into the stereotype that all the families look the same, have the same beliefs, act the same, etc. King turns this idea on its head and gives each family their own unique background. Actually, I read something recently about how contemporary books do not have fleshed out worlds the same way fantasies do. Writers sometimes use generic phrases to build a terrible town for their stories. King does not have this issue. Every moment I read about Derry, I felt like I was actually there. Everything was easy to visualize and I was surprised at how easy it was to stay connected with the overall story. This book was over 1000 pages, but I was never bored. The only time I felt even a little burned out was when I spent my day off reading over 600 pages. Pennywise is such a great, creepy monster. I love that he can lure children close to him before they realize his sinister intentions. He was incredibly creative. The last thing I'm going to talk about is the sex scene with the children. I don't even know if calling it a sex scene is appropriate. It was awkward and honestly kind of funny to read. Kids have sex. Teens have sex. Adults have sex. I'm not going to say it's something you have to be personally comfortable with. But it happens and this scene was done tastefully. It wasn't like reading a passage out of an erotic novel. It was confusing and difficult for the kids to even know what they were doing, but I understand why it was in the book. It happens at the end of the novel if you want to know more specifically where it is so you can prepare yourself. IT was a fantastic book. I'm extremely glad I finally got to read it.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Content Warnings: Explicit sex and violence, slavery

Synopsis: Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

Review: Godsgrave was an experience and a half. From the start, the story was engaging and I found myself flying through this book. Even when I was at work, all I wanted to do was check in on Mia and her companions. Mia was as delightful as ever. Well, as delightful as Mia can be. My absolute favorite aspects were the interactions between Mister Kindly and Eclipse. I love them so much. Can we have a supplemental book where it's just them going on an adventure together and being awful to one another? I need this so bad. I enjoyed getting to spend time with familiar characters again. I won't say who and in what context, but I was surprised at how much I looked forward to these moments. As for new characters, I loved reading about Leona. She was fascinating. Sid was also delightful to spend time with though I am still fairly wary of him. I was hooked on the story as soon as I opened the book. I was waiting to see what would happen next and who Mia would lose. I will say that, for the most part, the footnotes didn't bother me, but there was one instance in the first part of the book where it was a little distracting. That was slightly disappointing. Other than that, I still really enjoyed the way this book was written. The ending definitely took a turn that I'm still not sure how I feel about. I'm mostly heartbroken that I have to wait what feels like an eternity for the last book. I highly recommend this series if you are looking for an incredibly dark fantasy.

4.5 howls

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

SynopsisJane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Review: Jane, Unlimited was a weird book, but in the best of ways. Jane was a great character and her struggle with grief felt incredibly real. I also love how she made umbrellas. That isn't something I thought I would be interested in, but it was nice being in Jane's mind as she worked on umbrellas. Jasper was wonderful. I grew up with basset hounds, so I felt an immediate connection with Jasper. He was a delight to read about for such a simple character. I feel like I can't really talk about other because of how different they appear in the different parts of the books. I did find them all interesting and I wanted to explore the stories with each character and see what secrets they hide. I went into this book without really knowing what it was about. No one could really give a good description of what this story was supposed to be. Honestly, I was okay with that. I enjoyed not knowing what I was getting into when I opened this book. I did get a wicked case of deja vu when I was reading the second section of Jane's story. I did catch on pretty quick as to what was happening, which made me even more excited to see what was coming next. It was nice knowing that you were essentially getting five stories in one book. I didn't feel bored at any point when reading Jane, Unlimited. Overall, a wonderful, unique book.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Content Warnings: Violence, explicit sex, mentions of rape, racial conflict and talk of slavery

Disclaimer: There has been some controversy over this book and how it depicts people of color. Specifically, Maori people. The person I originally saw discuss this took down her post. I'm not Maori. I'm not a person of color. I read this book before the controversy, and re-read it just now. I enjoyed the book and cannot speak on the racism. If you're a person of color, and especially if you're of Maori descent, you might want to stay away from this book.

SynosisIn a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Review: Nevernight is one of those books that you either love or you hate. From the first chapter, you can tell that the writing is rich and unique. Each of the characters are haunted by their past and they don't try to hide it. The story follows Mia, but you get an interesting cast of characters who all add to the story. I adored Mia. She takes no shit. Even from Mister Kindly. She starts off being really harsh to just about everyone at the Red Church, but she slowly realizes that she can have friends in this school of assassins. Which brings me to Tric. Tric. Is. Precious. I enjoyed watching him learn how to love and how to appreciate himself. Mister Kindly was my absolute favorite. He isn't afraid to speak his mind, but he is never cruel. He always looks out for Mia, but doesn't hold her hand. I loved hearing his insight to situations Mia got herself in.

This story is dark. Not just because it's set in a school for assassins. Its clearly an adult fantasy book. There is sex and gore, but none of it felt unnecessary. The story moved slow at first, but picked up when the trials began. Kristoff did a great job of showing what was at stake as the students progressed through the trials. None of the twists felt obvious to me which was appreciated. I was always left wondering what would happen next and who would end up on top. Overall, I loved this story and I can't wait to get my hands on book 2.

5 howls

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Katherine Ormsbee

Synopsis: After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

Review: I don't know how to compose my thoughts without spoiling aspects of Tash Hearts Tolstoy so buckle in. Man, this book. First off, I really appreciated Tash as a character. It's always refreshing to see ace characters in book, and I enjoyed following Tash's experience. I liked the side characters well enough. None of them stuck out, sadly. The story itself is what fell a little flat for me. I had fun seeing Tash and her friends adapt to the sudden fame they were exposed to. The first thing that bothered me was Tash's relationship with Thom. I found this part of the story very predictable, and I honestly wish I was wrong. I was hoping Tash was going to form a really good online friendship/romantic partnership. Honestly, I think having a long distance online partnership would have worked well with a character like Tash who has a hard time explaining what being ace means. It would have been nice to see her in a relationship with Thom where he is forced to think of other ways to appreciate Tash that doesn't involve sex. Then they could have come together at the end and he wouldn't have been a super dick about Tash being ace. I was disappointed that Thom was made out to be a bad guy. Online relationships are special to me and I wanted Thom to be good for Tash. Even if they just remained friends. The other thing that bothered me is deeply personal. I HATE when the love interest is the best friend. With the way Tash/Jack/Paul were all described, I had hope that this was going to be a very special book where Tash and the best friend don't fall in love. It's exhausting to read story after story where people can't just stay friends with those they've spent a majority of their life with. I wanted to like Tash Hearts Tolstoy so much, and I think it had a lot of potential. It just missed the mark for me. I would definitely recommend it if you don't have such a large problem with the best friends become lovers trope.

3 howls