Thursday, February 23, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (157)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Would You Rather Battle Draco or Lucius?

I could be wrong about this, but I feel like dueling Lucius would be the more challenging option. Since I'm not that ambitious, lol, I'll take my chances battling Draco. I think I'd try to take a page from Fake Moody and attempt to Transfigure Draco into a ferret so maybe he'd just run away from the fight. XD

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fandom Mashups (83)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You've gained psychic abilities. SCORE. The only problem? You can't control them. D'oh! Who do you think could help you hone your talent?

I'm already a little concerned about my new psychic abilities because my brain could only come up with 4 characters this week. No one else sprang to . . . mind. XD

  1. Professor Charles Xavier: FINALLY—I get to enroll in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters! Except I'm more of an oldster. XD
  2. Maura Sargent (The Raven Cycle): Not only is Maura a gifted psychic, but she also lives in a house full of psychics. And you never know who might drop by 300 Fox Way. *cough*The Raven Boys*cough*
  3. Obi-Wan Kenobi: I'd definitely seek some training from Obi-Wan because wielding the Force like a pro requires intense mind focus.
  4. Spock: This guy is an expert at self-discipline. I'm sure he could help me get my abilities in line in no time.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (156)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Molly Weasley Moment?

Molly is such an amazing wife, mother, witch, and all-around phenomenal lady. She has infinite kindness and love, and her practically adopting Harry shows just how huge her heart is. That same protectiveness of her loved ones also makes her fierce, as seen in the NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH! scene in Deathly Hallows. AS much as I loved Molly before, I loved her even more after reading that.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1)
By S.J. Kincaid
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook
Source: Jellybooks

To Sum It Up: Diabolics like Nemesis are bred to protect a single human—and to kill anyone who poses a threat to that individual. Nemesis must do whatever is necessary, including sacrifice herself, to keep Sidonia von Impyrean, the daughter of a galactic senator, safe. When Sidonia’s father angers the galactic emperor, the latter retaliates by summoning Sidonia to court. It’s Nemesis, however, who assumes Sidonia’s identity and goes in her place. At court, Nemesis must navigate potentially lethal politics in order to guard her secret and Sidonia’s life.

Review: Promotion for The Diabolic around its release date drew my attention to the book, so when the opportunity to read it popped up, I totally went for it. A cool cover and a protagonist named Nemesis? Sign me up!

Nemesis certainly lives up to her daunting name. She is a Diabolic, engineered to protect only Sidonia von Impyrean, the daughter of a galactic senator, at all costs. Nemesis is a born killer, and her unique skill set is on display several times throughout the book. Nemesis and Sidonia inhabit a futuristic world where scientific advancement is banned and the elite Grandiloquy, led by the galactic Emperor, wield all the power. Politics are brutal in this world, and gentle Sidonia, the heir to her father’s title, is not cut out for them. So when the Emperor orders Sidonia to the galactic court as punishment for her father’s misdeeds, it’s Nemesis who’s sent in her place. All of the preparations involved in pulling off the impersonation reminded me of the transformation the main character in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising must undergo to also infiltrate the upper echelon of society. Unfortunately, I ended up having some of the same issues with The Diabolic that I had with Red Rising.

I’d seen some other reviewers mention that The Diabolic got off to a slow start for them and then picked up. I definitely found the pacing slow at the beginning, but it never gained any momentum for me. I also found the world-building rather thin, with a heavy reliance on titles to differentiate social rank. The details of the world just scratched the surface of it; I never felt immersed in it.

Politics and intrigue at the galactic court, which often resembles the Roman Empire with all of the debauchery that goes on there, take up a lot of the book. That would have been fine if there also hadn’t been so much telling. I couldn’t find much investment in the plot or the characters. I kept reading, hoping that I’d finally discover some aspect of the novel that would spur me on to read, but alas, I slogged through to the end.

Something that I do think the book does well is examining Nemesis’s increasingly conflict thoughts on her increasingly human behavior. Sidonia has always treated Nemesis like a sister—like a human being. Nemesis has always drawn the line, fully aware that she was created by science to be a killer. The novel touches on the nature vs. nurture debate, and it’s rather thought-provoking. It’s too bad that the rest of the book spends so much time on the excesses and scheming at court because the gray area Nemesis finds herself in, between human and a product of science, provides a really solid plot foundation. Or maybe I’m just feeling this way because I’ve been binge watching Westworld.

All in All: The Diabolic turned out to be a very long read for me. I definitely wasn’t expecting the intensive focus on the day-to-day goings-on at the galactic court. I also wanted to know more about the history of this world than what was given. Telling rather than showing was the biggest issue for me, and I won’t be going further with the series.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fandom Mashups (82)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
With Valentine's Day fast approaching, you're feeling uncharacteristically romantic. Huh! Which 5 fictional characters would you like to spend a romantic evening with? -OR- Which characters would you like to hang out with and watch cheesy romantic movies with?

I'm not into Valentine's Day and view it pretty much as an excuse to eat lots of chocolate (Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts, specifically XD). Staying home and watching cheesy rom-coms, possibly while eating Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts, sounds more like me, but I'm going to venture out on a limb here and spend a romantic evening with these fictional guys:

  1. Gansey (The Raven Cycle): Obviously. XD
  2. Sam Roth (The Wolves of Mercy Falls): Yep, I'm spending Valentine's Day with two Maggie Stiefvater characters. Sam is just the sweetest.
  3. Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice): So he may not be the most sociable at first, but we all know what a true gentleman he is.
  4. Cassian Andor (Rogue One): I'm going to try and convince him to take a few hours off from rebelling.
  5. Sirius Black: Let's see if I can get through the evening without saying things like, "This is a siriusly awesome Valentine's Day!" and "I siriusly love you!" XD

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (155)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Who Would Your Favorite Professor Be?

It's a bit hard for me to choose only one, so I'm not going to. XD Of course I have to go with Lupin; not only is he a fantastic teacher, but he really cares about his students. Plus, he was a Marauder! I also have to go with McGonagall, another amazing teacher who, despite her tough exterior, also cares deeply for her students and is an all-around badass of a witch/Animagus.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
The Careful Undressing of Love
By Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher:
Dutton Books
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read

To Sum It Up: Lorna and her friends Charlotte, Delilah, and Isla are Devonairre Street Girls, seemingly cursed, causing any boy they fall in love with to die. Even after a sudden, shocking tragedy appears to be further evidence that the Curse is real, Lorna still can’t entirely push her skepticism away. She longs to experience true love, and to be able to do so freely without fearing for the life of the boy she’s in love with.

Review: My heart will always belong to Brooklyn, New York, the borough where I grew up, and any time I come across a book set there, that book pretty much guarantees itself a spot on my TBR. Such was the case with The Careful Undressing of Love, which mainly focuses on a single street in Brooklyn. The girls who live on Devonairre Street are said to be cursed; any boy they fall in love with will die.

The story is much, much more intricate than that, however; to outsiders, the Devonairre Street girls, with their long hair and the keys they wear around their necks, appear to be some kind of cult. The hair and the keys are just two of the rules the girls’ elderly neighbor and foremost believer in the Curse, Angelika, has to keep the Curse from claiming more lives. Narrated from the perspective of one of the girls, Lorna, The Careful Undressing of Love is set in an alternate New York City in which unknown attackers bombed Times Square a few years before the novel takes place. Lorna lost her father in the bombing, and the sadness she still feels is as much a part of the story as her search for the meaning of love. Corey Ann Haydu writes very eloquently, even poetically at times, both about Lorna’s grief and her yearning to feel actual love, which Lorna is unsure she has in her heart for her boyfriend, Owen.

Haydu is also brilliant at creating a microcosm out of Devonairre Street. Growing up, my own street in Brooklyn truly did feel like the whole world. There were a few times when Haydu’s descriptions of life on Devonairre, even with the Curse and Angelika’s bizarre rituals to keep the Curse at bay, brought back some very fond memories of hanging out on the stoop in front of my house and knowing everyone on the block. I became quite sentimental while reading this, even though it’s not a straightforward contemporary. The novel sometimes reads like one, until you’re reminded of the alternate reality. Events in the book also make the Curse seem plausible, so there’s a hint of the otherworldly as well. While the genre mashup produces a very unique reading experience, I would have liked more details about how this version of New York came to be. Those responsible for the Times Square bombing are unknown, and while I realize that we’re looking at the city in the aftermath, my brain could not stop asking questions about the who and the why.

I also thought that the ending felt a bit rushed, with developments that definitely needed additional exploration popping up as the book neared its close. I usually don’t mind open endings, but this one seemed too much so, even for a book that is rather unconventional overall. The ending and the somewhat murky history of the world didn’t, however, completely overshadow the lovely writing and the depiction of life on a single Brooklyn street, both of which were definitely the highlights of the novel for me.

All in All: This book is kind of out there in terms of . . . just about everything: the story, the setting, the mix of genres. It’s probably for the more adventurous reader who’s very willing to suspend disbelief and just roll with what happens. The prose is beautiful throughout and I loved the portrayal of a close-knit group of neighborhood friends, and I factored both of these things in when coming up with my rating.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January 2017 Recap

Hello, friends! We've already got one month down in 2017, and I'm still struggling to get my sh*t together from 2016. XD I set some personal goals for this year as well as some reading/blogging resolutions, and let's just say that I'm already behind on all of them, LOL. It's only February, though, so I'm trying to fight my innate pessimism (goal for 2017: don't be pessimistic!) by telling myself not to beat myself up over not getting much accomplished in January.

It's been very quiet on the review front around here because I haven't been reading much and have instead been adulting much. I did finish a book that I started in like November and should have the review up soon. I also got my hands on some of the shiny new releases I'd been eagerly awaiting and will try to remember to put together a Book Loot post with them. With those two posts at least on the horizon, the February recap should have some blog stuff to, you know, actually recap. XD

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