Episode 4: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest with Marilag Angway and James DeBruicker

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Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts:

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Mari and James join me again for episode 4 of the podcast, where we discuss Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Lots of talk of zombies and steampunk in this episode, as well as Mari and I making James feel old for making a Simpsons reference.

Books referenced in this episode:

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus
Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Fables by Bill Willmingham

Read Mari’s Original Boneshaker Review

Find us on the web:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |
Email: judgingcoverspodcast@gmail.com

Find our host and guest(s):

Meghan’s Twitter | Mari’s Blog | James’s Instagram

Episode 3: Silk by Caitlin Kiernan with James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway

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Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts:

iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play| Pocket Cast| RSS Feed

Word of the Day: Weird

For episode 3 I welcome two new guests, James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway! We discuss Silk by Caitlin Kiernan, which is a darker book than the previous two books on the show. The book brings about memories of 90s goth, a discussion of intent vs. impact, and how a book can be excellent, but light on plot.

Books Referenced in this episode:

Silk by Caitlin Kiernan
All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Party at the World’s End by James Curcio
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Join by Steven Toutonighi

Find us on the web:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |
Email: judgingcoverspodcast@gmail.com

Find our host and guest(s):

Meghan’s Twitter | Mari’s Blog | James’s Instagram

7 Books in 7 Days

In order to clear my head from Infected, (see my last blog post about my latest podcast *ahem*), I binged through some library books I’ve had an ARC I thought I was excited about. (Spoiler: it was terrible.) So Below is 7 short summaries on the books I read this week!

Book 1: Heist Society by Ally Carter

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This was the first book I picked up after Infected, because for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like Ally Carter could steer me wrong. Well, I wasn’t wrong. If you haven’t read any of Ally Carter’s books, I recommend them all. The Embassy Row series isn’t my favorite, but I’ll talk about those in a minute. Katarina is a art thief who wants to get out of the family business, but after her father is accused of stealing a dangerous man’s artwork, she must return the artwork or watch her loved ones suffer. The sense of family (I also saw Fast and the Furious this past week so like, *FAMILY*) in the teen thieves is amazing. I just got the second ebook, and I’m excited to see where she goes next!

Book 2: All Fall Down by Ally Carter and Book 3: See How They Run by Ally Carter

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These are the darkest of Ally Carter’s books I’ve read. I have the third one ready to go for after I do some reading for my podcast, so I’ll have this series wrapped up soon! This book deals with a sixteen year old girl trying to decide if her mother was murdered or if she has actually broke mentally. Up until right before the reveal, I honestly didn’t know if the author went one way or the other. The second book adds a layer of mystery, which I’m not sure I care for, but it still focuses on if Grace has broken, especially after the reveal.

Book 4:  Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

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I am so glad I finally got to read this book! I have adored Anna Kendrick since she played the friend in Twilight, and it was a blast to hear about how she thinks back on those years positively….mostly because they paid the bills. Like everyone else who read this, I want to be her friend so much. But I doubt my weirdness will match yours…..though if you ever want to get coffee? Yes? Okay! No seriously, Anna Kendrick is an amazing actress, an amazing child actress, and is exactly as weird as she sounds on Twitter.

Book 5: Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

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I’m a little addicted to my public library’s overdrive account,  I’ll admit it. And seeing that this book was available with no hold? I picked it up instantly without knowing what it is. Turns out, this was the last autobiography Fisher wrote, and it was about her time on set making the first Star Wars. At least, that’s how it is marketed. About eighty percent of this book is about her relationship with Harrison Ford and what they did on set, and the last twenty is about her interactions with fans. Carrie was a treasure, and I am sure I’ll love her other autobiographies more than this one.

Book 6: I Don’t Know Where You Know Me From by Judy Greer

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This book is adorable. I bought it when it first came out, but I’ve come to learn that I prefer autobiographies in audiobook form if they’re read by the author. Judy Greer is one of my favorite actresses and has been forever. I don’t know why she doesn’t get star work, but I’m happy to see her when she pops up. What I didn’t realize is that she actually has a degree in acting, is married, and that’s she’s just as wonderful off screen as she is on screen. It’s a quick listen, and Hollywood: LET’S GET JUDY GREER A STAR ROLE.

Also her husband and her still have separate houses even after marrying and I kind of love this? It reminds me of my grandparents.

Book 7: Let’s Try This Again by Jordyn Woodtke 

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I haven’t read a book in so long that made me hate it from the first sentence, make a book I thought I hate seem good, and yet somehow I finished this book.
This book had so much slut shaming (though she states after using the word MULTIPLE TIMES how she hates the word and doesn’t want to use it….and then uses it again. multiple times.) I suppose we are to think that the MC is amazing and awesome and has always been and doesn’t care….but you do. Too much. And it’s because you are TWENTY-TWO.
I will never get the phrase “Picasso of Pussy” out of my head and I will never forgive her for it. Also if the “sex was so good I couldn’t describe it” well then…maybe you….and your “character”….aren’t actually writers? Because good lord the writing on this was terrible.
Also, the MC is supposed to be 22, and has “searched the East Coast for a writing job and none are perfect so let’s go out to the West Coast” just. You are 22. Also, then she “has enough experience to be a former boy band’s PA”? Yeah okay.

This book was not written well — it read like a bad teenage fan fiction book or a teenager’s faux diary. Seriously, do not recommend.

Also, Mom? Thank you for never feeling the need to be my friend before my mom. I am so glad our friendship is organic. And for probably slapping me if I ever called you a bitch.

Episode 2: Infected by Scott Sigler with Tim Lowe and Joe Schulman

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Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts:

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Word of the day: Gooey

For Episode 2 we discussed Tim’s recommendation, Infected by Scott Sigler. I apologize in advance as I fidgeted around the entire episode with the necklace from Surly-Ramics Etsy Store and didn’t realize it was picking up in the recording.

On top of the novel we discuss our vague survival plans for surviving the apocalypse, I Am Legend both book and movie, the author’s approach to modern day “publishing”, whether or not the guys would take Perry’s way if infected, and host Meghan goes on a mini rant about how everyone should be watching Buffy again.

Books referenced in this podcast episode:

Infected by Scott Sigler
Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The Children of Hurin by J. R. R. Tolkien
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Buffy Season 8 by Joss Whedon

Find us on the web:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Email: judgingcoverspodcast@gmail.com

Find our host and guest(s):

Meghan’s Twitter | Tim’s Twitter

Check out this episode!

Book Podcast?

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I haven’t talked about this on my blog much at all, mostly because it’s been in the works for a month or two now? But as I am editing and gearing up to post my first episode, I need to announce it everywhere! I am hosting a new podcast called Judging Book Covers, which is a biweekly book club podcast where I’ll bring on two guests to read a book suggested by each guest and we’ll all discuss!

My first episode is on Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian, and I’m joined by two of my friends: Tim Lowe and Joe Schulman. Going forward I *think* it’ll auto connect to my wordpress, but we’ll see?

The Danny list

My Danny passed away. My mother gave this amazing eulogy.

Quantum Entanglement

For the almost 30 years that we’ve known him, he was “our Danny” to me and my girls. Even after he married my mother in 2004, he was still “our Danny” and it always felt awkward for me to call him a step-father or grandpa. He was a huge influence on me as a young adult, a young parent. I am eternally grateful for the life he shared with my mother and my family. image

The Danny-list

Thank you all for coming today to honor Danny Harris, a remarkable man, a devoted husband, father, brother, son, grandparent, uncle, cousin, and friend to many.

We watched Danny suffer through the last 2 years of his life and we saw the illness take away his ability to enjoy almost everything in his life that he loved to do. Yet even through this difficult time, Danny continued to live his life with the same…

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Book Review: Follow Me Back

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I originally chose this book due to a quick read of the synopsis, as well as my love for silly stories about celebrities falling in love with a fan in strange ways. Especially when they have a mystery twist.

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Follow Me Back

By A. V. Geiger

Published Date: June 2017

Format: ebook ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Ratingmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5 Moose

Synopsis

Synopsis taken from Netgalley:

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts Follow Me Back is the  first book of a new duology. Written for the online generation this thriller  will keep you guessing right up to the shocking end.

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murder at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Characters

Tessa Hart: An agoraphobic  18 year old, whoose lif has become all about her twitter world.

Eric Thorn: A famous singer who has become paranoid since another singer has been killed by an obsessed fan.

Rants, Raves, and General Thoughts

I’ll admit, I submitted for this advanced reader copy because I might have been watching It Follows on Netflix. I was a little disappointed that this isn’t a weird ghost/demon story, but it still was right up my alley. I secretly kind of love books where celebrities genuinely fall in love with one of their fans in some way.

I also tend to really love epistolary novels….which this isn’t entirely. It’s a good combination of pros and documents. I found Tessa to be incredibly relatable, even without not knowing what caused her paranoia until much later in the book. The author also doesn’t try to sell her as a drop dead gorgeous girl who is just slightly flawed — she feels real.

This book also makes me as a Twitter user feel wonderfully uncomfortable. I have never randomly confessed my love to a celebrity….I honestly am more likely to yell at a corporation I feel has wronged me. But still, I do see the people that respond, saying anything to see if they’ll get a reaction. And I will like/retweet things people say….especially authors.

This book is well written and fairly straight forward, though it has a nice twist. I found I related with Tessa’s anxieties, and that they were written with just enough tension but not over the top at all.

Final Thoughts

I don’t find too many young adult thrillers that are great — Harlan Coben has a great miniseries worth checking out ahem — and I would also recommend A.V. Geiger. I have started following her on Wattpad too! Though I doubt the sequel to this book will be published there. And be advised — this book has a cliffhanger ending. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

….oh I have to wait a year? REALLY? Sigh.

Book Review: Ensnared

I received this advanced readers copy by Netgalley, in exchange for an unbiased review.

I initially picked this book out as the cover is beautifully done, and the concept of a futuristic, sci-fi Beauty and the Beast sounded wonderfully fun.

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Ensnared

By Rita Stradling

Publish Date: Dec. 2017

Format: ebook ARC
Genre: New Adult, Retelling, Romance, Sci-Fi
Ratingmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.25/Moose

Synopsis

Alainn is the youngest daughter of Connor, a brilliant robot creator with a massive gambling problem. When his newest creation, an AI made to look like Alainn named Rose, isn’t ready for the man who commissioned her, Lorrcan. In order to keep her father out of jail, given his massive gambling debt and fraud, Alainn agree to Rose’s plan to pretend to be the robot until it is ready.

But instead of the life of servitude and living in a tower, Alainn finds her life to be very different than originally imagined.

Characters

Alainn – the “Beauty” of the story

Lorrcan – the “Beast” of the story

Connor and Colby – Alainn’s father and brother

Rose, Rosebud, and Rosette – AIs of the world

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

Initial thoughts: Great retelling idea (especially given the renewed love for Beauty and the Beast) and thank god it’s not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland because aren’t we all sick of those yet? Plus the cover is GORGEOUS. 

After looking at the reviews on Goodreads: Maybe I made a mistake with this book, oh dear.

I’ll admit, looking at the reviews caused me to look at this book with an unfortunate biased at first. I thought I was going to DNR this book, especially as I was concerned it might take a 50 Shades of Grey fake BDSM turn. Thankfully, it doesn’t. The “Beauty” and “Beast” are loose terms, and thankfully the author doesn’t describe Alainn’s beauty in great depth. In fact….I don’t know if Alainn is given much of a physical description. But it works well.

This is a fairly light read that could do with another edit or two (particularly in the beginning.) The story is a little predictable in some manner — who the bad guy is going to be at least, but as for the reasoning, it was a shock for me. I feel Alainn and Lorrcan’s back story could have more punch — there’s a lot of hinting at bad, but the actual background stories happen fairly late in the book. At one point “Mrs. Miller” is interviewed for Alainn’s character, but I had no connection at to who she was or why it was important.

I loved the monkeys and want a robot cleaning monkey.

The book could use some more world building — why are all the jobs done by robots? How does anyone make money? And this would help build up some of my issues with the book. Also more character building of her father and brother — I didn’t understand the latter’s personality until 75% of the way into the book.

I found the romance believable, and while Lorccan is dealing with some serious anxiety and phobias and can we please get him a damn therapist, he didn’t seem to be a controlling asshole. I mean, he’s fucked up and needs some help asap. But he’s also not the one keeping Alainn/Rose/Jade in the house.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed it, and it’s a light quick read. I hope the final has more world building, allowing for the plot to breathe more. And I’ll keep up with the author and THANK YOU for not being an Alice in Wonderland retelling.

Book Review: A Conjuring of Light

I finished this book this morning, then laid around absorbing the fact that the series is done. I tried to figure out how I felt, and honestly, writing a review two hours later is probably too soon. But here are my initial feelings:

I cannot think of another series in which I enjoyed all three books released, where my love for the series only grew, and where I have been left fulfilled, and wanting more all at once.

I am going to go ahead now and say there will probably be spoilers in this review. I want to discuss some of the major themes and characters in this book, so I am forewarning anyone reading. Continue at your own risk.

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A Conjuring of Light

by V.E. Schwab

Published 2017

Format: e-book (I couldn’t wait until the signing on Tuesday – SORRY)
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Ratingmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 5/5 Moose (10 out of 5? 10 out of 5.)

Synopsis

This book picked up immediately after the end of the second book, meaning we jumped into some action that never seemed to go away. Like the other two books, the story continuously keeps changing point of views, and like the other two books, it adds more characters’ views into the mixture. Kell, Rhy, Alucard, and Lila must fight and consider teaming up with one of their greatest enemies to defeat and even greater threat to not only Red London, but all Londons.

Quotes I Loved

I highlighted over 20 quotes, and a few more are smattered below, but here are some of the ones that made me laugh and cry.

Alucard stood in the doorway, soaking wt, as if he’d just been dumped in the sea, or the sea had been dumped over him. “Stop fucking with the ship.

“And how, exactly,” said Alucard, propping himself on one elbow, “do you plan to live forever?”

“Life isn’t made of choices,” said Holland. “It’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”

“I told you to keep him safe, not cuddle.”

Rhy shook his head, exasperated. “Kell isn’t the only one you fail to understand. My bond with him didn’t start with this curse. You wanted him to kill for me, die for me, protect me at all costs. Well, Mother, you got your wish. You simply failed to realize that that kind of love, that bond, it goes both ways. I would kill for him, and I would die for him, and I will protect him however I am able, from Faro and Vesk, from White London, and Black London, and from you.”

Kell drove it on with a degree of focus — of concentrated focus — he’d never seen the Antari use. A level of strength reserved not for London, or the king queen, not for Rosenal, or Osaron himself.

But for Rhy, thought Alucard.

Rants, Raves, and General Thoughts

I realized as I started writing this review that I needed to break down my thoughts and feelings in order to process it without just squeeing everywhere. I originally had a section of “Things I Love,” but there is so little I didn’t love about this book so it stayed blank. So I added a “Spoiler Free” review, then a break down of the things that impacted me, and the things I wish I had more information about.

Spoiler Free Review:

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was incredibly action packed and easy to read, despite my occasional tears. Schwab has planned out the series to such a wonderful conclusion, and even concepts or plot points that can be considered predictable are handled wonderfully. I came out loving the main five characters even more than I had when I started the book. This book lived up to the hype and the year long wait.

Plus with the announcement of the movie rights being bought,

Things I Took Note:

Rhy’s (…and Kell’s)Parents.
I loved learning about the King and Queen and getting a taste of their point of views. I loved that the King was firm and strong, but wasn’t abusive or mean to Rhy, and realized the error of his ways with Kell. He was a good King and father, which is so rare in fantasy genres. A king rarely has balance, and to pull it off without seeming too forced is even harder.
The Queen is cold and hard, but not unloving. I cried with her as she cried over Rhy, and I could read a whole book on her and the King’s lives. Prior to this book she was such a background character that my first thought with her was “oh yeah, I guess Rhy has to have a mom” (which, the fact that there isn’t a dead parent is great too.)

Concept of Family and Home
Obviously Lila suffers from not feeling as though she has a home and constantly wants to run away from anything that would hurt if she lost it. No attachments, no pain. However, she is not the only character wrestling with the concept of family and home. Holland did everything in order to protect and save his dying world. Kell gets the opportunity to figure out who his parents are and why they gave him up! And yet he knows that all he needs at his core is Rhy.

Strange thing about forgetting spells.
Rhy was his brother.
They fade on their own.
London was his home.
Unless we don’t let go.

I personally groaned loudly because I WANTED TO KNOW WHY someone would give him up. But to be content enough with this family? It’s beautiful.

The running “Stay With Me
Alucard to Rhy. Rhy to Alucard. Kell to Lila. It’s beautiful.

The Concept of Myths and History Repeating Itself
There are stories and myths throughout the whole book. The Someday King of the Wite London, the Man and Magic (a perfect representation of Rhy and Kell), the Prince who road while everyone slept, staying with his people?

It’s from one of the myths, the Origin of the Magician. Magic and Man were brothers, you see, only they had nothing in common, for each’s strength was the other’s weakness. And so one day, Magic made a blessed thread, and tied itself to Man, so tightly that the thread cut into their skin[…]and from that day, they shared their best and worst, their strength and weakness.”

[…]

“There’s no ‘they’ anymore, Master Kell. Magic gave so much to Man, and Man so much to Magic, that their edges blurred, and their threads all tangled, and now they can’t be pulled apart. They’re bound together, you see, life to life. Halves of a whole. If anyone tried to part them, they’d both unravel.”

This was the story of a prince who watched over his city as it slept. Who went on foot, for fear of trampling one of the fallen, who wove his way between the bodies of his people.

[…]

Some would say he spoke, that even in the far-off darkness, the sleeping heard him whisper, over and over, “You are not alone.”

I have no doubt that the stories told of Rhy today in Red London are nothing short of mythological, and how he kept the kingdom in a time of peace and prosperity after it nearly fell to the darkness.

Holland’s Past
Oh man. I was not the biggest fan of Holland, but something Victoria Schwab does well is make villains seem well rounded in their personalities and motives. I related to him so much more after reading what he went through and why he did what he did the past two books. Learning about his relationship with the prior king, his own family, his first love? At the end of the day, I don’t think I can fault him for what he wanted to achieve. And somewhere around the halfway point, I didn’t want Holland to die. Instead, I wished him a peaceful ending.

My Love For Delilah Bard
Lila has been my favorite character the entire series. She’s stubborn and chaos and the protagonist in her own story. And yes, I am aware that she is incredibly damaged and psychotic. But I also loved Rachel in Animorphs, so I guess I have a type.

Lila struggles with some different emotions this book. She deals with loss of people she truly cares about, and how that it’s….necessary. Her relationship with Holland becomes less black and white, meaning that Lila is capable of growth and change (something not quite clear in the other books.)

Tieren curled a finger around his beard. “Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

“You’re my best thief,” he whispered, and her eyes burned.

“I should have killed you,” she muttered, hating the waver in her voice.

Things I was left wanting more:

These aren’t things that I necessarily disliked, I just wish they had been handled differently or been expanded upon.

A Better Understanding of Kell/Lila’s Relationship
The thing I loved most about their relationship leading up to this book is that they were like water and oil, and yet they WORKED. This book had them too in sync, too calm. If Lila did something stupid, Kell didn’t necessarily yell at her. It reminded me of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, where authors make Elizabeth and Darcy suddenly always agreeable. I am not saying they shouldn’t be together or that they won’t never fight — maybe it was that they acknowledged that whatever was a problem between the two of them was not as big as Osaron.

White London
What happened afterwards? Has it fallen? Will it live? Who is king now? Did it find peace? Was Holland’s death meaningless?

Lila and Maris
I mean the obvious thing here is THEIR STORY IS NOT DONE. Will there be another story? A short story? A 600 page novel? Just Lila on an adventure? What favor could she want?!

The Ending
There is a level of the ending that feels too wrapped up nicely. But then again, no one gets out undamaged (except maybe Lila.) I want another sequel I guess. Or a collection of short stories. I mean, yes, people died — some people who had been important throughout the series….and yes I am aware I would be so upset if someone major had died in end. Overall, I truly love the ending. I just wanted more.

Final Verdict

I have been recommending A Darker Shade of Magic to anyone who asks for a recommendation for two years now. It’s not a series I would have picked up on my own, save for the absolutely beautiful cover, and I do not regret it in the slightest. This series ended beautifully, and I cannot wait to read it all over again.

Or to see the author and buy the book in hardback.

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

I have not openly disliked a book as much as I did this one. It has taken me over a month to calm down my ire to be able to write this review. And even then, it’ll probably be brief.

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Three Dark Crowns

Kendare Blake

Published 2016

Format: Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Rating: moose-md 1.5/5 Moose

Synopsis

From Goodreads, because I can’t come up with one that isn’t just me screaming angrily:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Doesn’t it sound so fascinating? 3rvzj

Characters

Katherine: The weak Poison princess

Arsinoe: The weak Naturalist princess

Mirabella: The strong Elemental princess

Jules: Arsinoe’s best friend (most of Arsinoe’s story is told from her point of view).

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts 

This. Book. Made. Me. So. Angry.

Part of me felt like it was a strategic marketing plan to get people to buy more books of this series, because everyone kept talking about how amazing the last 25% of the book is. And you know what? IT WASN’T WORTH IT. I wish had DNF’d this book when I first had the urge.

This book focused so much on the three princesses getting ready for their big 16th birthday party that would be the start of their battle for the throne, and on boys. What this book did not focus on was:

  • Why did the three princesses have to battle it out for the throne?
  • Why does two of the sisters have to die?
  • Why does the mom die the moment the children are born?
    • Who rules the island while the princess/Queens are children/babies if their parents are gone?
  • Where does the magic come from?
  • Where is the girls’ dad?
  • Why must the princesses be separate? Why do they hate each other?
  • Why can’t they leave the island?
  • What’s their relationship with the main land?

Seriously, so much of this book just didn’t make sense. It was boring and insufferable listening to the princesses whine. None of them were enjoyable, none of them worth rooting for. And SO MANY PEOPLE are anti-Joseph. Why? He never lied, he just thought he felt love until he found love. Did I miss a subplot where he did anything truly terrible?? Why all the hate for Joseph, yet none for the guy who betrayed Katherine?

And what the hell?! Katherine’s “training” was about her learning to flirt and steal suitors…because why? Because it makes it more YA to have her curled up in a guy’s lap kissing on him rather than learning to properly fight and protect herself?

I just cannot believe how insanely boring this book was. It would be one thing if it was exposition and political, but it was primarily whining, wandering around as they WAITED FOR THEIR BIRTHDAY PARTY. FOR 75% OF THE BOOK. I WAS PROMISED A BLOODY AND POLITICAL BOOK.

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Final Verdict 

I won’t be reading the next book(s)past its synopsis(es). You cannot convince me that the second book will fill in all the holes and make this book where 320+ was wasted space seem worth it. This book was a representation of the things I actually dislike in YA books, and I’m still so angry.