Category: Reviews

Top 5 Reasons Reviews Don’t Matter

Hi Folks!

I’m not prefacing this because the title speaks for itself.

1) One person’s opinion is only one person’s opinion.

Most of the time, even if one reader hated it, others will still pick it up because opinions on fiction are subjective, not fact.

2) Even if a lot of people hated it, people will still buy it.

See E.L. James.

3) It got published.

Which means an agent, editor, book blogger, or reader loved it at some point. I realize this doesn’t safeguard against some self pubbed titles, but for the most part, someone read the book before the author put it on the shelf, and that person thought it was great. (But it doesn’t count if that person was your mom.)

4) People remember what’s wrong with something more than what’s right.

I speak from experience on this one, after years of running events with my husband, it doesn’t really matter what went well, people will still tell us all the little things that didn’t go well. Nobody will ever say something is 100% perfect.

5) You liked it, otherwise you wouldn’t have wrote it.

You’re the one that spent months, years, and countless hours slaving over your manuscript. At the end of the day the only person you need to please is yourself.

“It is better to write for the self and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connolly

Cheers,
Rhi

Review: Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson

Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which is somehow tracking their every move. While Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila’s only thought is of finding a way back to California so she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they’re being held. Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the others she’s come to think of as family, Lila plans not only to save her brother and mum, but also to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for. But the plan requires Lila to return to California alone, and to make friends with the enemy – and in doing so, she risks losing everything: Alex, her family… even her life.

Title: Losing Lila
Author: Sarah Alderson
Published: August 2nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK
Links: Goodreads
Received: Bought on Kindle
Rating: 5 of 5

My Thoughts: Damn. Damn. Damn. I read Hunting Lila months ago and so when I saw Losing Lila I pretty much picked it up and began reading. The book started right where the last book left off. I had a tough time remembering who was who on the X-men team side of things, but I quickly got back into it. This isn’t your typical good guys v.s. bad guys kind of book, everyone thinks they’re the good guys and they’re all trying to overthrow the bad guys.

Alex and Lila deepen their relationship and almost entirely mess it up which threw me for a loop. I understand with all the stress and pressure going on that it was something that could have happened, and I accepted it for them. Lila was a bit too whiny on that side of things though, she could eased up and been more of an adult. And Alex could have been less of a prude, but then Jack could have been less of an asshat.

The story line really thickens in this book, and with all the crazy plans going on it was fun trying to see what would happen in the end.

I’m not sure if there’s another book in this series but if there is, I’m there. I know I’ve said before that I’m no fan of X-men rip offs but this had a good combo of normal people v.s. enhanced people and while the abilities were impressive, nothing was too off the wall. It just worked for the characters and the story line.

And I am still enthralled with what Demos can do. Damn I want that ability.

Namaste,
Rhi

Review: Lost Prophecy by Julie Kagawa

Title: Iron’s Prophecy
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: September 1st, 2012 by Harlequinteen
Links: Goodreads
Received: Bought on Kindle
Rating: 5 of 5

About: Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

My thoughts: I didn’t know how I’d like Ash and Megan as adults but I like them very much. This isn’t like Kagawa’s shorts, this one is actually quite long and took me a couple of sittings to finish it.

This part of the story follows Ash and Megan to their first Elysium at Tir Na Nog. Yep, Ash is facing Mab and Megan is facing Oberon. Nothing goes as planned and a plot for the next three books is revealed in a big way.

Having recently finished The Lost Prince by Kagawa, I was very happy I read Iron’s Prophecy. It filled in a blank in my head and so through Ethan’s story I kept thinking about the prophecy. I think it was a very good lead up and tied the two series together beautifully.

My only nitpick is not knowing how much time had passed since the end of The Iron Knight Sure, Megan is pregnant and it’s her first Elysium so I can assume it’s a year, but in Faery time moves differently so I would have appreciated a road sign somewhere.

Either way, Kagawa stuns us with her lyrical prose and I love reading everything she puts out there. Look for my review of The Lost Prince soon! Also, on a personal author note, Kagawa had shown me how to add another three books to my own The Ferryman and the Flame series. I think I might be still writing parts of this story twenty years from now if I don’t watch it.

Namaste, Rhi

The most arrogant thing a writer can do is . . .

Not think about their audience

Apparently this is more taboo than responding negatively to negative reviews, or out and out bashing every other writer in the business.

Apparently by writing without thinking about your audience you are essentially saying,

“I am so fantastic that my audience will love everything I write because I am the bomb diggity of writing, and my wordsmithing is bucc yo.”

I disagree.

Why?

Because when I began writing I didn’t think about my audience.

I write for myself because at the end of the day the only person that has to be happy with my book is me. It may not make the rest of the world happy but if my story touches even one person’s life then what I’m doing is worth it.

Is bending over backwards trying to please an intangible audience really worth it? I don’t think so.

Cyril Connelly said, “Better to write for the self and have no public, than write for the public and have no self.”

What do you think?

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 3rd 2012 by HarperCollins
Links: Goodreads
Received: Bought at Chapters
Reviewed by: Amy (sort of)
Rating: 5 of 5

My thoughts: I didn’t read this book. Okay so I read the first few pages because of the hype and Rachel’s review over at Parajunkee and thought “not for me.” But I’m sick of DNFing books (honestly there are more than a few lately) and I have a friend who reads just as much YA as I do (though she doesn’t know the first thing about blogging) so I handed her this book and told her to read it and tell me what she thought.

Here’s Amy, in a candid photo she has no idea I was taking at the con we went to this past weekend. Welcome Amy (or at the very least her opinion) to the blog!

Amy says that Under the Never Sky is an excellent book. She immediately gave it a five star rating and said that she was drawn into the pages like a moth to a light. She couldn’t put it down once she got into it and loved Aria as the main character.

In the beginning, Aria is this girl that lives in a controlled atmosphere. They’d get really bored if they lived in reality all the time and so everything about them is genetically altered to be able to sustain in this boring space. They have eye pieces that take them to a multitude of virtual realities where they can seemingly experience the world from a safe vantage point.

Kind of like the Matrix but without robots ruling the world and Mr. Smith and Keanu Reeves. Amy promised me that this book is Keanu Reeves free.

When Aria is kicked out she has to go to the actual real world. There’s aether storms and she’s having her period for the first time and she’s freaking out about her toes being bloody. She thinks she’s going to die. Some guy finds her and is like, holy cow girl stop freaking out you’re not dying you’re just bleeding.

Amy didn’t tell me his name. I think it’s Perry (like the platypus in that kids show Phineas and Ferb)

Anyway so Perry helps Aria become a stronger person and by the end of the book she’s a capable human being. Amy said she liked Aria’s character arc, how at the beginning she was pretty useless and by the end she was much stronger.

There was a lot of sci fi references in here that Amy didn’t completely understand but she tried and she mentioned the love story only briefly. Actually we were texting and I asked if there was a love story and her response was huh? And so I asked again and she was like, “oh yeah, yeah there’s a love story.” So I can’t tell you if it’s really amazing or anything because Amy didn’t seem to remember it at first, but let’s say there’s something happening between Aria and Perry.

Lastly, I love the cover of this book and the cover of the next book in the series and I hope you’ve had a chance to read this awesome book!

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Title: Incarnate (Newsoul #1)
Author: Jodi Meadows
ISBN: 0062060759
Publication: January 31st 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
Received: Bought at Chapters
Links: Goodreads
Rating: 4 out of 5

About the book:

New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

My thoughts:

Is this an epic fantasy? I don’t quite know. They’re in Range, they get to the city of Heart, the landscape is vibrant and bold. Ana is interesting, the land also has monsters, sylphs, dragons, etc. It’s different, but not too different. If it was epic I didn’t notice too much.

I looked forward to this book from the moment I saw the blurb on goodreads, so I was excited to read it, but um, usually the books I pick are the ones that let me down big time. I know, it’s weird isn’t it?

But I liked a lot of things about Incarnate. I liked Ana finding herself. I liked the fact that there was danger but that this wasn’t played out like a dystopian. There was the threat of Ana being executed because she was new and there hadn’t been a newsoul in well, never. So that was neat, but then, Sam speaks for Ana and takes care of her and falls for her.

For me, most books have at least one scene that really redeems it all for me. In this book it was a masquerade ball, which was hot . . . HOT. And we all know how I feel about characters named Sam. This Sam didn’t exactly measure up to the other Sam but I doubt any Sam ever will.

Either way, if you’re sick of the world being a crappy place to live in and you want something fantastical, romantic and epic, then this is the book for you.

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Blurb: “Opens at Nightfall; Closes at Dawn.” The Le Cirque des Rêves is a circus unlike any other, just as this magical debut novel is equally unique. At the center of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love. Erin Morgenstern’s literary fantasy has already drawn raves for its captivating evocativeness: “A world of almost unbearable beauty…. A love story on a grand scale: it creates, it destroys, it ultimately transcends.” “A novel so magical that there is no escaping its spell… If you choose to read just one novel this year, this is it.”

My Thoughts: One of my favorite books of the year. Hands down, I could see this as a movie because it reminds me of The Fountain and The Time Traveler’s Wife all at once. There are so many elements of this book that reached me on a personal level that it’s hard to write a proper review when I can see myself in the characters, and I can equate part of my life to Marco and Celia’s Circus.

That being said, let’s get into the elements here. It’s a different kind of competition. Prospero the Enchanter and Alexander do not own a circus at all, but they have both been performers in their own right. Prospero chooses the stage, performing in London, Paris, etc. etc. Alexander is more lucrative. The book begins with Prospero’s daughter Celia being left for him, her mother dead. He meets with Alexander and pits the girl against an unknown opponent of Alexander’s choosing.

I sometimes thought it would get more dangerous, but it’s not that kind of book.

Alexander chooses Marco. Prospero and Alexander raise each of the children differently, to prove a point. The challenge itself is more of a debate, traditional study. v.s. talent, which is superior to the other. Alexander and Prospero choose their players and then they choose the venue. In this case it was the circus.

Celia and Marco are each told barely anything about the challenge, they don’t even know who the other is for a long long time. The book spans almost thirty years, one of my pet peevs in books, but it’s well marked out in the chapters. (Make sure to follow the timeline towards the end of the book as time jumps back and forth)

The lesson in the end is that neither school of thought is superior over the other as each can produce the same effects. Nor does it matter if a person uses their abilities in a quiet manner, or showcases them on the stage, people won’t believe in the magic no matter how it exists, if it’s just there or if they’re witnessing the one doing the magic.

That made me think of Criss Angel.

I might have guessed elements of the plot right off the bat, but was still surprised by the ending. I might have thought the timeline was confusing, but in a movie format that would be very clear.

I loved Poppet after of course Celia and Marco whom I thought were beautiful and sad.

My crit partner Natasha said she had a favorite scene she could read over and over again. I wonder if it was “Stormy Seas” or “Beautiful Pain” if you’re flipping through, those were my favorite scenes, as well as the ballroom scene, though I cannot recall the chapter number now.

Regardless, Erin Morgenstern creates and original piece of fiction built on philosophy, magic, enchantment, and the absurd. You will be mesmerized by it because it’ll make you reach deeper inside yourself.

And if it doesn’t do that, then enjoy Celia’s pretty dresses that change color and Marco’s changing facial features. Enjoy Poppet’s very red hair and the Ice Garden.

Also, I like the UK cover better than the US cover. It’s gorgeous isn’t it?

You have to buy the book, you don’t have to read it

I support Indie Authors. All it takes is a dollar or three dollars or something to help them out. The more books they sell, the more likely they are to write more books. The more likely that one of those books will be my favorite book.

So far I don’t have any Indie favorites, the ones I’ve picked up have been average at best, but I still buy them, why? Because I support Indie Authors.

I don’t need to win books via giveaways, get arcs from netgalley, or get galleys from the authors themselves. I don’t need to review every book I read.

I don’t have to read every book I buy.

But if I don’t buy those books, then those authors won’t write them, and the more books I don’t buy, the more authors won’t write books to begin with.

And I’m not about to crush anyone else’s dream because they’re Indie.

Not everyone can win the book lottery, and even then, that book lottery comes with a lot of pressure and manipulation. I don’t think everyone could live with that.

And so I buy Indie books by Indie Authors because I want them to succeed, I want them to write more books, I want them to improve.

One day I’ll find a story out there that’s from an Indie Author that’s so absolutely amazing it’s hard to believe it’s an Indie Book.

When I find it, I’ll let you know.

Until then, I’ll keep perusing the shelves on Kindle to see what I come up with.

What about you? Do you read every book you buy? Do you care who publishes what? Do you avoid Indie Authors? Do you support Indie Authors?

REVIEW: Sweet Light by Jen Wylie

The Blurb: When fate conspires against you and gives you three loves to choose from, what do you do? What if you make the wrong choice? Shara is a Healer, raised and trained from childhood until her unique gift manifests itself. When she gains the rank Journeyman she is hired to serve as the court healer for the barbaric kingdom of Glendor. Untrained for war, she is thrust unmercifully into its bloody arms when the kingdom is invaded. Ordered by her king to the front lines to tend the wounded, she is forced to flee when their camp is attacked. Happening upon a wounded soldier in the forest, every mile back to the capital is a struggle, and breaking the Healer’s code, she falls in love with her charge. If Shara thought that to be the least of her troubles, the appearance of a fierce warrior captain who appoints himself her protector, teaches her differently. Trouble comes in threes at the appearance of a former love and fellow healer. Faced with decisions of the heart and the sudden manifestation of her gift, there is little room for anything else to go wrong. Or at least that’s what Shara thought.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It was very Celtic influenced which is something I loved about it, it included healers which again, love, and then there was an injured prince, and lots of kissing, which was again love.

I’ll admit I got lost when it came to Dric, Tirel and Yael, and I didn’t like the shifting POV’s I mean sometimes you can get away with it, and other times, I worry about it adding to the story or taking away from it. In a lot of cases it left me confused.

The violence factor is a little high and I was concerned about some of the references to adult themes, so I’m torn about calling it YA or Adult, but maybe it’s just New Adult, that would make the most sense to me. A lot of the violence was jarring and immediate, not to mention eye opening.

Thankfully readers you can rest assured that while this doesn’t have a happily ever after ending, it does have a satisfying ending and there’s no cliff hanger.

I wonder if Jen is planning a sequel to it, I look forward to it.

Recommendation: Go get this one, it’s awesome!

Namaste,

REVIEW: The Veil by Cory Putnam Oakes

The Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi. Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be—the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem. And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her. Or so he says . . .

The Short Stick: Parallel universes, kids with super powers, and romance. This is my kinda book!

The Thoughts: This book hooked me from the beginning and didn’t let go. I don’t usually read books in under 24 hours but I did with this one. I don’t know what it was about it, the otherworld that Addy could see, the obvious attraction between her and Luc, or just the fact that there was this whole other place she was being hidden from her entire life. Sure, it was very prejudice if you look at it from any stand point. Addy didn’t commit a crime, but here she is, paying for something she couldn’t control. I found the overall themes in the book I mean crime, politics, secrecy, hiding away, all to be very tastefully done. Add the paranormal romance and the chemistry and the friendships and the real life connections and it was an easy and satisfying read. I’m really excited to see what happens in the next book because of where Cory left it.

The Metaphysics: I don’t need to remind anyone I have a PhD in this subject do I? Okay good. The metaphysics were believable. I often get upset with the whole notion of flying, but the way Cory pulled it off didn’t make me cringe this time. The invisibility thing did to a point, but then I mean I have to think physics do not apply here. What was done the best by far was the explanation of the overlapping world and how to pull images from that world. The things Addy can see make sense, and the way she lifted the Veil was done well. I like how everything was explained, and things that weren’t explained were accepted as simple truth. It’s not like any of the characters said they could do something and then didn’t show it off, and that was nice.

Rating: 5/5

Recommendation: You will want to pick this one up, it’s a new urban fantasy / paranormal romance / weird science book that I know will knock your socks off and make you wanting for more.

Also, thank you Cory for letting me read your book and I’m happy that we’re sharing a book birthday!

Namaste,
Rhi