Scarlett M. (the-red-dame) - Reviews

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The 10th Kingdom
The 10th Kingdom
Author: Kathryn Wesley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 75
Review Date: 6/21/2014


!! spoiler alert !!

This story gently pokes fun at many fantasy/quest type tales. It seems a bit drawn-out in places, but then again, thats how the show was.

The Wolf/Virginia pairing was simultaneously cute and creepy. Yes, the whole wolves-mate-for-life thing is romantic, but how many people has Wolf killed? Prior to meeting Virginia and reforming himself for her which is unrealistic and plays to female desire to save the bad boys Wolf had very strong instincts, and probably killed/ate people.

The singing ring was a lot less stupid/annoying than I remember it being in the show; could be because I didnt actually have to hear it singing. Regardless, that was a plus.

Overall its a pretty light/cute book that gives you some warm fuzzies and a happy ending, which is what I needed after reading a couple of heavier books (looking at you, George Martin).


Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story (Vampire, Bk 1)
Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story (Vampire, Bk 1)
Author: Christopher Moore
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 338
Review Date: 3/24/2014


Sick of all the sexy, serious modern vampires, I wanted to read about different vampires. Having read Moore's "A Dirty Job," I thought "Bloodsucking Fiends" would be just the book I needed. "A Dirty Job" was hilarious and had my laughing constantly. "Bloodsucking Fiends" didn't. Don't get me wrong, it had its moments, but it didn't live up to "A Dirty Job."

That being said, this is not about super-sexed fanged gods, so it did get that right. There was angst, but it was over groceries and turtles, not over the terrible burden of being a sparkling, immortal Adonis. The book had a light tone, so overall I suppose it's suitably different from most vampire stories these days, but it doesn't come close to the humor of "A Dirty Job"


Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Bk 1)
Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Bk 1)
Author: Kim Harrison
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1427
Review Date: 4/4/2014


Good idea, but bad writing and characters ruined it. The idea of a bounty hunter-like witch rounding up vampires and werewolves sounded exciting. However, the writing style didn't work for me; some transitions between ideas/threads felt too abrupt, while parts of the storytelling were clunky and awkward. The main character came across as an idiot after she escaped several close calls thanks to the intervention of others and sheer luck. When I realized that I didn't care if she died, I gave up on the book.


The Demon's Lexicon (Demon's Lexicon, Bk 1)
The Demon's Lexicon (Demon's Lexicon, Bk 1)
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/3/2015


The more I think about this book, the worse it is. How can an author take such awesome elements and make something so bad? It had some action and humor, so I was at least able to finish it, but ugh. This book and at least one of its sequels is guilty of some of the things that I despise most about YA books: bad romance, a stupid female character, a bad/creepy guy, and plot/logic problems.

I expected something like the TV show Supernatural: two brothers bickering between saving the world and/or ridding it of baddies. The first couple of pages were like Supernatural, but after the introduction of Mae it quickly turned into a pile of dung. It was particularly bad after I read a review that spoiled her role in the next book, which made me hate her and the series even more.

Bottom line: I'm not bothering with the rest of these books.


Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)
Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 41
Review Date: 6/21/2014


!! SPOILERS ALERT !!

Better than some other YA books I could name, and better than the movie. My review includes spoilers, especially for explaining what Divergent/divergence is.

Comparing the book to the movie, the book offered much-needed expansion of some key points: Tris decision, divergence, and the faction system. It made Tris decision seem less rash, Divergents less special-snowflake rare, and provides more insight to the faction system. Both the book and movie were focused on Tris training in the Dauntless faction, but it seemed even more prominent in the book, as if it took up 75% or more of the story. While thats good great even, as it helps show essential character building for Tris I wish the conflict at the end had been longer/more-depth.

Backtracking to the faction system for a bit. The factions are the trademark of the book, similar to The Hunger Games in The Hunger Games. Were told that the faction system was created to pursue and maintain peace. To this, my mind says, Huh? Purposefully separating/segregating people does not have a good record of inspiring lasting peace, so why would a city decide to remodel its whole society with that at its core?

Moving past that, you have the problem of divergence, another trademark of the book. Divergents are people that dont fit in one particular faction, and are considered a threat. Again, my mind says Huh? The majority of the population should be divergent. The idea of a human always being brave or selfless or honest is laughable. Most people would have traits from multiple factions, to a greater or lesser degree. Divergents were shown in the book to successfully pick and blend into factions, so why are they a threat? Do they have some biological immunity/quirk the simulation serum doesnt work right on them, which isnt explained - or telepathy or what? As far as I can tell, they just have more rounded personalities, which isnt very threatening.

As with most popular YA books, there is romance. Theres no love triangle, but the love-interest is a tad predictable: strong, masculine guy with a mysterious/haunting past. There are multiple antagonists, and while some may seem a bit shallow, they are at least given motivations of some sort and varying personalities.

Tris is a toss-up. She comes off as a bit more aggressive and badass than Katniss from The Hunger Games because she leans how to use weapons, and do hand-to-hand combat, and actually applies her skills. On the other hand, I get more special snowflake vibes from Tris, which makes me want to not like her and look for faults.

This book requires a lot of suspension of disbelief and not questioning things, which I found difficult. Between and the heavy focus of the initiation, it wasnt a bad book, but it wasnt a great one. I will read the sequel


Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)
Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 438
Review Date: 6/12/2014


!! SPOILER ALERT !!

Final rating: 3 stars. Better than some other YA books I could name, and better than the movie. The following review contains spoilers.

Comparing the book to the movie, the book offered much-needed expansion of some key points: Tris decision, divergence, and the faction system. It made Tris decision seem less rash, Divergents less special-snowflake rare, and provides more insight to the faction systrm. Both the book and movie were focused on Tris training in the Dauntless faction, but it seemed even more prominent in the book, as if it took up 75% or more of the story. While thats good great even, as it helps show essential character building for Tris I wish the conflict at the end had been longer/more-depth.

Backtracking to the faction system for a bit. The factions are the trademark of the book, similar to The Hunger Games in The Hunger Games. Were told that the faction system was created to pursue and maintain peace. To this, my mind says, Huh? Purposefully separating/segregating people does not have a good record of inspiring lasting peace, so why would a city decide to remodel its whole society with that at its core?

Moving past that, you have the problem of divergence, another trademark of the book. Divergents are people that dont fit in one particular faction, and are considered a threat. Again, my mind says Huh? The majority of the population should be divergent. The idea of a human always being brave, or always being selfless, or always being honest is laughable. Most people would have traits from multiple factions, to a greater or lesser degree. Divergents were shown in the book to successfully pick and blend into factions, so why are they a threat? Do they have some biological immunity/quirk the simulation serum doesnt work right on them, which isnt explained - or telepathy or what? As far as I can tell, they just have more rounded personalities, which isnt very threatening.

As with most popular YA books, there is romance. Theres no love triangle, but the love-interest is a tad predictable: strong, masculine guy with a mysterious/haunting past. There are multiple antagonists, and while some may seem a bit shallow, they are at least given motivations of some sort and varying personalities.

Tris is a toss-up. She comes off as a bit more aggressive and badass than Katniss from The Hunger Games because she leans how to use weapons, and do hand-to-hand combat, and actually applies her skills. On the other hand, I get more special snowflake vibes from Tris, which makes me want to not like her and look for faults.

This book requires a lot of suspension of disbelief and not questioning things, which I found difficult. Between and the heavy focus of the initiation, it wasnt a bad book, but it wasnt a great one. I will read the sequel.


Ender's Game (Ender, Bk 1)
Ender's Game (Ender, Bk 1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 958
Review Date: 3/24/2014


The writing style was not particularly good. That being said, since this was a Sci-fi book with a largely military setting, the writing didn't detract too much.

The book had two main twists at the very end, both of which were unexpected. I can guess slightly more then half of all book twists, so a book with not one but two twists I didn't anticipate was enjoyable, even if they were at the end of the book.


The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms, Bk 1)
The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms, Bk 1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 288
Review Date: 7/21/2014


This book felt like it should be the first in a series because it was both too long and too short. It was too long because it spent a lot of time introducing and building the main character, her world, and its mechanics. It was too short because when you finally get to the big action, it was brief and unsatisfying compared to the rest of the novel. I would have rated this book higher if the pacing had been better.

The book had romance, but given that it's a story about fairy godmothers and set around fairy tales, that was expected. There was an attempt at sexy time which I could've done without though, and wish its pages had been given to the action sequence at the end.

The author loves the and abuses commas. It might have gotten used to it as I read on, but it seemed especially bad at the start of the book.

I must say that for all those complaints, the book was enjoyable. It was a light, quick, entertaining read. It had a lot of world-building/set-up, but I like that in the right circumstances. I like that the story was about the fairy godmother too; you don't often see stories from their perspective.


Fat White Vampire Blues
Fat White Vampire Blues
Author: Andrew Fox
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 3/24/2014


When I went to the library, I told the librarian that I wanted a book about vampires, but that I wanted it to be as different from the awful "Twilight" books as possible. He recommended this.

I cant say that the book is particularly thrilling. The book drags in some places, and I didnt find the plot particularly satisfying. What made up for that was the unconventional vampire story.

Jules Duchon is a morbidly obese vampire living in New Orleans. He prefers the blood of fat victims, which is what led to him becoming fat. Jules is also not a particularly good vampire. Hes not as strong or fast as he used to be, back when he was skinny. In his wolf form his stomach drags the ground and his bat form is so fat that it cant fly. Jules is not particularly intelligent, hes a cabbie, and hes not wealthy. All of this, plus other aspects of the book, go against the grain of the traditional vampire story and make it worth the read.


Feed (Newsflesh, Bk 1)
Feed (Newsflesh, Bk 1)
Author: Mira Grant
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 114
Review Date: 3/24/2014


I found "Feed" to be an excellent book for several reasons:

1.) The reaction factors. I'm always interested in how people think various groups - individuals, big business, the government, etc. - will react to various things. In this case, the reactions are to zombies, though the reactions tend to lack shock or surprise, due to zombies already being a fact of life in the world of "Feed."

2.) The "what-if" factor, which is a big influence in "Feed." In this case, the question is: What if zombies were a fact of life? "Feed" explores how the world would change after learn how to survive - survive, not wipe out - zombies. It examines the potential effects/changes zombies would have on many aspects of our life, from how emergency responses would change to how houses would be built.

3.) The zombies themselves. They are not cute, sexy, or sparkly. They are the walking dead. They are a threat and are treated as such. Granted, occasionally a character will poke one with a stick, but usually theyve dealt with zombies before and more or less know what theyre doing. If they dont, they get chewed on.

4.) The mechanics of zombies. Usually the origin of zombies is accredited to some anonymous virus and left at that. "Feed" takes a closer look at the possible mechanics of a zombie-virus, such as how it would start, how it would spread, and more.

5.) The lead character is a strong female. By this I mean that she is capable kicking undead ass and doesnt put up with BS. She doesnt get all flustered or turn into a lovesick twit the moment a hot guy appears. Shes not perfect and shes not a total bitch either. To me, shes a pretty well-rounded character.

6.) The story. There are plenty enough zombies to satisfy their presence is felt throughout the book, even when they're not actually there but theyre not what drives the story. The story itself is about politics and conspiracy, and its not always a happy tale. Its sad and disturbing at times, but then again, it should be. In a world where people regularly rise from the dead and try to munch on their loved ones, you cant have a story where everything is smooth sailing.

In short, I loved Feed. It was a page-turner that actually had substance and filled in one of my favorite niches.


The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern, Bk 1)
The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern, Bk 1)
Author: Shannon Hale
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 89
Review Date: 8/2/2014


An overall quick, light, and pleasant read. We are introduced to a world where some people can talk to animals, but not all animals, because each animal's language is a little bit different. I like how the "speaking" abilities were handled.

Ani wasn't a wilting damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. She had some strength and depth, which was nice. Sometimes she came off as a bit too good - no one seemed to really dislike her unless they were evil, so she could've used more flaws - but overall she was a likable character.

The romance was predictable but expected given the fairy tale theme, and the lack of sex was appreciated. I enjoyed this book enough that I look forward to reading the series.


Hero
Hero
Author: Perry Moore
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 33
Review Date: 3/24/2014


This story has superheroes. The main character becomes a superhero, joins a team of superheroes, and fights villains. However, while 60% of this story may seem to be about superheroes, that's not ultimately what this book is about. It's primarily about being gay in our society or otherwise not fitting "the mold," and it's about family. At times things seem a bit overdone, but it was a decent book.


The Hot Zone : A Terrifying True Story
The Hot Zone : A Terrifying True Story
Author: Richard Preston
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 46
Review Date: 3/24/2014


Is this book creepy? Yes. Why is it creepy? Because Ebola is creepy. This wasn't the big, drama-packed, end of the world book I was looking for - it's labeled as non-fiction, which should've been a hint - but it was an interesting read and somewhat educational read.


Indexing (Indexing, Bk 1)
Indexing (Indexing, Bk 1)
Author: Seanan McGuire
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 3/24/2014


Note: I read this as a single story, after all chapters had been released.

It took me longer than it should have to figure out that "Henry" was Henrietta/Snow White, which left me confused for a while. There were some editing problems, and I'm sure that like with many books there were plot problems. However it had fantasy, it was an interesting concept, and it wasn't romance-heavy, so I quite liked it.


Italian Fever : A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
Italian Fever : A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author: Valerie Martin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 3/24/2014


!! Spoilers !!

The hints of conspiracy and supernatural get the reader's hopes up for an exciting plot. Reader's hopes are then crushed as the whole "plot" is revealed to nothing more then the protagonist's mid-life crisis.


The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1)
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1)
Author: Scott Lynch
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 3/24/2014


Pros:

The setting was different. Many fantasies are medieval or have a Middle Earth-type setting, but not this book. I wasnt able to grasp all the plot twists. The world and story were sufficiently well written that, once the story picked up, it was a decent escapist/emersive experience. There were strong/interesting female characters.

Cons:

Took 175-200 pages for the book to really interest me; I nearly abandoned it. Not many female characters, and the strongest/most interesting one gets killed off. Its use of typical, real-life curse words threw me off, weakening the escapist appeal.


Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter, Bk 1)
Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter, Bk 1)
Author: Larry Correia
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 60
Review Date: 11/2/2014


The author's political opinions flavor this story. I do not particularly care for the author's political views, but I was even more turned off by how he presents said views: strongly, almost smugly/gloatingly. A bit of editing would've made that less abrasive, but still have gotten the author's opinions across. As it was, I didn't finish the book.


Peeps (Peeps, Bk 1)
Peeps (Peeps, Bk 1)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 110
Review Date: 6/27/2014


Interesting play on vampires/vampire lore. The mature content in the book wasnt graphic, and it made sense in the context of the book, since vampirism was a sexually transmitted parasite that made its hosts horny so it could infect more people.

Love/hate relationship with the parasite chapters. I like that theyre informative and help make the vampirism parasite more credible, but they hampered the flow of the story. When Im reading a part of the story thats supposed to be a tense mystery or building action, cutting in with a couple pages about parasites ruins the mood the story set.


Pere Goriot: A New Translation : Responses, Contemporaries and Other Novelists, Twentieth-Century Criticism (Norton Critical Editions)
Review Date: 3/24/2014


Very depressing story. If you like to read depressing things you might like this book, but for me it was a chore to read. Only thing that saved it from a lower rating is that it was well-written.


Practical Demonkeeping
Practical Demonkeeping
Author: Christopher Moore
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 266
Review Date: 4/20/2014


I actually had to force myself to finish this book. While Moore's sense of humor is still apparent, I couldn't have cared less about most of the characters, and at points the plot really dragged. If I were to recommend a book by Moore, this wouldn't be it; my favorite is still "A Dirty Job."


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