Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy #1) by Sally Green

February 26, 2016
Half Bad, The Half Bad Trilogy #1, Sally Green, Book Review, InToriLex
THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy, #1)
~Amazon~

SYNOPSIS:

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.


Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

REVIEW:

This was refreshingly original, and gave me hope for books featuring witches. Nathan is a sympathetic and relatable character because he is repeatedly treated badly, and slowly taken from the people that love and care for him. The very strong opening chapters made me feel like I had found another favorite. But the quality of the book didn't continue on. There was loads of good, but that was brought down by the bad inbetween. 
“The trick is not to mind. Not to mind about it hurting.Not to mind about anything.”
Half Good: Good character development. Nathan coming of age, while trying hard not to die, set up a nice way to learn about who he is. I felt like I got a intimate glimpse into his head.  Dark and compelling plot. There is the right amount of cruelty, violence, and unfairness to balance out the use of magic. Plot. The progression of the story never felt disjointed. The action and short chapters kept me engaged and eager to find out what was next.


Half Bad: World Building. You piece together how the magic, and the witches work, but there is never a clear explanation. Insta-love. I get it, its hard to add in real romance and teenagers sometimes do let hormones dictate who they love pretty fast. But there wasn't even a significant conversation before two characters were bound by forever love (eye roll).  Magic. This was a book about witches, but I was disappointed in the minimal amount of magic used by the characters.

Overall there was enough here, to make me want to know what happens next. The ending was  a cliff hanger, and included the magic I wanted more of in the rest of the book.  I did emotionally connect with Nathan, and enjoyed reading the book. I would recommend this to fans of darker young adult novels.
8 comments

Book Scoop February 19- February 26 2016

4 comments

The Dirty Girls Social Club (Dirty Girls #1) by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

February 22, 2016
The Dirty Girls Social Club, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Book Review, InToriLex
FOUR STARS
The Dirty Girls Social Club (Dirty Girls, #1)

SYNOPSIS:

In this irrepressible, can't-put-it-down novel of six friends-each one an unforgettable woman in her late twenties-you'll meet:

--Lauren, the "caliente" columnist for the local Boston paper whose love live has recently led her to her boyfriend's closet...to catch him in the act with someone else
--Sara, the perfect wife and mother who's got it all but who is paying a high price
--Amber, raised a Valley girl without a word of Spanish but who is becoming a huge rock en espanol star
--Elizabeth, the stunning black Latina whose TV anchor job conflicts with her intensely private personal life
--Rebecca, hyper-in-command in the world of her glossy magazine, Ella, but totally at sea when it comes to men
--Usnavys, fabulous and larger than life, whose agenda to land the kind of man who can keep her in Manolos almost prevents her finding true love
 

REVIEW:

This book is more than just chick-lit. It explores  the challenges of finding your cultural identity and self worth while keeping up appearances. I could really relate to this book because I am Guatemalan and Black, and am still trying to understand what that means for me.  I am also a true born and raised Bostonian, where this book takes place, and it was nice to recognize the places described. These woman  all have to deal with doing what's best for themselves when that's not the easiest choice to make. I really enjoyed all of the characters and felt like this was a coming of age narrative for women in their late twenties. You never stop learning and evolving and this book demonstrates that well.

"I do not think it is wise to fight prejudice with prejudice, so I cannot hate my best friend for being ignorant. I prefer to hide from her hatred and bask in her laughter."
InToriLex

While this book does focus on how each woman deals with the people they love, the drama was so familiar I wanted to throw my book. Most women have felt rejected and lost, and because I've made questionable choices in my love life, I found myself in the author's descriptions. The characters unpack what being a Latina means for them, and each has a different but important interpretation. The use of Spanish and the changing point of views of these kept me immersed in these women's lives, and inspired me. It's important to read things where you are taken from your comfortable American existence and this book did this in a fun and sometimes funny way. 

"Because you were the perfect woman for this town. A beautiful black woman who talks like a white woman who is actually Hispanic."

There are destructive relationships described and the writing style is more stream of consciousness than some readers may appreciate. But to me everything worked well together. The shocking cultural insensitivity and violence described was refreshing because I've seen and experienced it myself. Reality for many is not pretty and easily digested and I appreciate the author getting that across to readers. The only reason this wasn't a five star rating is because the opening chapters read are a bit of a info dump before the rest of the book picks up.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about some memorable Latina's, who make it through very hard times through friendship and perseverance.
6 comments

Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology Edited by Tricia Reeks

February 18, 2016
Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Tricia Reeks, Book Review, InToriLex, Netgalley
FOUR STARS
Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology

SYNOPSIS:

Twenty-six brilliant speculative fiction stories about love, and the pain that so often accompanies it. Enjoy a cornucopia of imaginative tales, wondrous settings, and unforgettable characters—such as the disillusioned time traveler who visits ancient Japan to experience a “Moment of Zen,” the young woman from planet Kiruna who can only communicate in song when the moonlet Saarakka is up, and the sorcerer who loses their happiness in a bet with a demon.

Rich and wonderfully diverse, this collection spans many speculative fiction genres: from SciFi to Dystopian, from Fantasy to Magical Realism, from Steampunk to Superhero, from Horror to Weird. Sometimes funny, occasionally happy, frequently gut-wrenching—these stories will take your heart on a wild emotional ride.

Stories by Jeff VanderMeer, Hugh Howey, Karin Tidbeck, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Phillips, Aliette de Bodard, A. Merc Rustad, Steve Simpson, Mel Paisley, J. D. Brink, Matt Leivers, Michael Milne, Michal Wojcik, Carla Dash, Terry Durbin, Michelle Ann King, Kyle Richardson, Leah Brown, G. Scott Huggins, Dan Micklethwaite, Victoria Zelvin, Shannon Phillips, Keith Frady, Jody Sollazzo, David Stevens, and Morgen Knight.

REVIEW:

This was a great collection. I really enjoyed the many ways that the authors talked about love gone wrong or right.  I did think the theme of the stories tied them together well. Some were in different time periods, future and past. Some were wonderfully strange, but intriguing enough for me to look up the author's other work. There are some dark stories described that definitely creeped me out too. The love in the stories reached beyond, life, death. humans, morality and sometimes light years. The weirdness was definitely a treat that I enjoyed.

Some of my favorites of the collection are quoted and described below.

The Woman who Sang by Terry Durbin
"It doesn't matter. Love and understanding are two dishes seldom served of the same plate."  In a cold ordered world, man is shown love but doesn't know what to do with it.

Iron Roses by Michal Wojcik
"Put enough love into anything and it comes alive." A boy tries his hardest to get the girl, but it doesn't end well.

Back to Where I know You by Victoria Zelvin
"What is important is not always happy. Ariadne preferred to preserve only happy memories, to help her remember that life has not always been so gray." Chemicals are used to alter memories, but Ariadne's trying to hold on to her favorite ones.

By Bargain and By Blood by Aliette de Bodard
"To leave something behind me. Something I shaped and not taken apart." A mother not quite a mother, makes a decision because she can't let go.

Catching On by Kyle Richardson
"You know what time really is, Oss? Its an endless stream of death. An infinite line of heartache and suffering." Two superheroes try to protect the world, at all costs.

While (u>i) i--; by Hugh Howey
"While you are greater than myself, reduce myself. " A strange but memorable couple, finds a way to relate in old age, despite strange differences.

Sing by Karen Tidbeck
"Someone wanted me It was a very strange sensation, like a little hook tugging at the hollow under my ribs." A woman struggling to belong on a future world where the locations of moons can control sound.

I would recommend this to sci-fi and speculative fiction lovers. There were some stories that were not as good and didn't connect with me, but they were few and far between. If you have a short story collection you love, post it in a comment below, I'm looking to read more short stories.

I received a copy of this e-book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
4 comments

Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy #3) by Pierce Brown

February 15, 2016
Morning Star, Red Rising Trilogy #3, Pierce Brown, InToriLex, Book Review
FOUR BLOODYDAMN STARS
Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)

SYNOPSIS:

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied - and too glorious to surrender.

REVIEW:

As great, suspenseful, memorable and emotionally moving as a book could be. Darrow has to pull the world back together after losing Ares and watching his friends get murdered. He emerges after being reborn from pain, torture and self doubt. In this book we get to see and learn more about the Obsidian's origin and religion. Servo continues to be a comedic and changing variable which balances out Darrow's leadership well, although there are some growing pains. 
"We are not Red, not Blue or Gold or Gray or Obsidian. We are humanity. We are the tide. And today we reclaim the lives that have been stolen from us. We build the future we were promised."
The plot leaves little to no time to be bored, because the action never lets up. The Sons of Ares are left scrounging for resources, direction and hope. While the Jackal manipulates and goes to depraved measures I didn't think was possible. I was so thoroughly engrossed in the story sometimes, I had to take a break and come back so I wouldn't throw the book across the room. Mr. Brown has a great way of putting you in suspense, and even when I knew somethings were coming I still couldn't wait for how he would actually lay them out. 

Darrow has to enlist everyone and everything he possibly can, and the process described is staggering. Alliances form and continue in very surprising ways. There's a good amount of gore involved and every battle lost or won, builds to a risky finish that pays off. The Jackal is the main villain of this story but even he is more than one dimensional, and we learn how he became so broken. The most memorable parts for me is when Darrow while bringing forth war, realizes how awful and terrifying it is to cause chaos. Over the course of the novel he learns how crucial it is to plan a better future, rather than just a casualty filled present. 
"Violence is a tool. It is meant to shock. To change. Instead, they normalize and celebrate it. And create a culture of exploitation where they are so entitled to sex and power that when they are told no, they pull a sword and do as they like."
Although this was a great conclusion to the entire series, there were some things I didn't like. Not everything was resolved with the characters that were a memorable part of the series for me. I know it may be impossible to conclude the story for everyone, but there were some characters I thought it was worth the effort. I was taken back and disappointed at the ending, I just expected something more substantial and less touchy-feely. But there are plenty of other readers who would disagree. Overall this was still an amazing conclusion to the series and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys epic, and suspenseful sci-fi. 

Reviews for the Rest of the Series
8 comments

Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet #1-5) by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma (Artist), Robert Wilson (Artist)

February 10, 2016
Book Review, Bitch Planet Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, Robert Wilson, InToriLex

FIVE STARS!!!!!
Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet, #1-5)

SYNOPSIS: 

Eisner Award-nominated writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel) and Valentine De Landro (X-Factor) team up to bring you the premiere volume of Bitch Planet, a deliciously vicious riff on women-in-prison sci-fi exploitation.

In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman's failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?

REVIEW: 

This was an awesome Mashup of satire, humor, truth and awesome visuals. I recommended this for mature readers over 18.  In this dystopian future women are sent to Bitch Planet for non-compliance=not following the manipulative script the ruling men, have decided all women must follow. The visuals are fantastic, and there's gems all over the place taking aim at all the crap society tell women they must be. Loving yourself for who you are in this world, is a radical rebellion that is punished harshly.


Most of this issues focus on meeting the main characters who will be forming a Bitch Planet team to compete in Megaton/ Duemila, a national violent sport that usually only involves trained athletes. But we also see glimpses of how warped the society at large is. It is dangerous to value woman as more than shells used for the service of men, and anyone trying makes themselves a target. There's  social commentary about how luxurious it is for the people who can exercise power over others to act all knowing, while the people they enslave are just struggling to survive. In this too familiar future, everything seems to be for sale, while violence is used unfairly and often.

There is a lot of nudity in this comic, but it shows the many ways a woman's body can look rather than what's passes in our society as the standard. There's so much goodness to unpack, and I'm really looking forward to how the plot develops in future issues. I'm also interested in how race is addressed in this world. The back of each issue has awesome ads, that poke fun at normalized ads telling women that what is natural and normal, should be changed. This is a delight that pulls no punches, and should be a joy for all comic lovers and readers who enjoy feminist satire.
4 comments

I Am by Michael Drakich

February 9, 2016
I Am, Michael Drakich, Book Review, InToriLex
FIVE STARS
I Am

SYNOPSIS:

Genius, wealthy and life regenerated, Adam Spenceworth is living the dream aboard his custom spaceship run by Mum, his first designed AI, protected by Gort, his first robot, and occupied by Eve, his sexbot. With each regeneration he returns to start over as a twenty-five year old man ready to enjoy the pleasures of his success. What could go wrong? Except, maybe, planetary wars, territorial space battles, alien invasions, and the disturbing fact that each regeneration is taking exponentially longer than the one before bringing him into one galactic crisis after another. A frolicking space drama filled with references sure to strike home with any science fiction aficionado.

REVIEW: 

Everything I love about science fiction was in this book. The aliens, the robots, the advanced technology and the humor make this book an enjoyable and engaging read from start to finish. Adam Spenceworth is a genius who embraces his talents and uses them to his advantage. In the beginning of the book I was not a fan of Adam, his smugness and self serving actions turned me off. But every time Adam regenerates he adapts to his new surroundings and makes better decisions to benefit humanity and the galaxy. Adam uses his genius and is able to put aside his ego, as he learns what matters most throughout the book.

Adam, Mum, Gort and Eve evolve throughout the story and take on many roles beyond what they are first described as. The alien invasions, and space battles described keep the action of the plot going strong. I was concerned at first that the book wouldn't mention diversity within the human race, but that's not the case, different people and races populate the galaxy. The short chapters, and the jumps through time that happen when Adam regenerates kept me excitedly reading and wondering what new future would await his return. The science fiction and pop culture references, were done well and added some extra umph, that I appreciated.

The book addresses religious and psychological themes, but in a light hearted way that leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions from it. The technology is described in a accessible way, that will resonate with everyone. Artificial Intelligence becomes sentient with Adam's inventions, so what separates humans from machines becomes murkier and is uniquely explored in the book. If you enjoy science fiction, this is definitely a worth while read that will lead you through suspense, emotion, humor and to imagine all that space and the future has to offer.

This e-book was provided to me by the Author in exchange for an honest review.

Enter The Giveaway Below for A Print copy of I Am by Michael Drakich (U.S. Only)

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Everyone Dies at the End by Riley Westbrook

February 3, 2016
Book Review, Author Reuest, Everyone Dies at the End, Riley Westbrook, InToriLex
ONE POINT FIVE STARS
Find It Here  

SYNOPSIS:

Who knew the zombie apocalypse would be caused by something we all know is deadly...but that is also all around us? Two stories intersect as the world delves into chaos - Earl, a drugged out heroin addict constantly in search of his next fix, and a family struggling with the dramas of everyday life, get no reprieve during this zombie outbreak. Can any of them survive the deadliest game of all - survival against undead, each other, and the world around them?

REVIEW: 

This was a disappointing read, because I simply didn't care about any of the characters in the story.  There was a good amount of action and gore, but it didn't amount to much because there were no likeable characters. Earl makes decisions that don't make alot of sense in the long run, and the family described were never developed enough to make me care about their lives. While the plot is fast paced it all seemed very random and a way for the author to get from one Zombie scene to the next.
There were times when I thought that we would find out more about the characters. But the hints of a surprising past with Sara one of the main characters described was quickly glossed over. The family itself seemed way too calm to be trying to survive a zombie outbreak. There was no sense of urgency because through solar power and a well stocked garden they carried on with most of the comforts of before, for most of the book. I don't think you can have a book that readers can care about if you don't develop the characters or the world around them.

The book had episodes instead of chapters, but I never thought this distinguished itself as if it was a show in book form. I was able to finish the short read and there was some memorable senses but everything could have been improved. The ending was meant to be surprising but it came off as cliche, and a cheap way to deal with the missing elements of a good story I described above. If you enjoy zombie fiction maybe you could find more to love in this then I did, but I just could not get into this.

This ebook was provided to me from the author in exchange for a honest review.
4 comments

Liebster Award 2016

February 1, 2016
 Thanks for the Nomination: Reviewing Dreamer. The Liebster Award is a way to connect with and discover new blogs. Here are my responses to the Questions given to me. 

1) Right twix or left twix? 
2) Fictional crush?
Darrow from Red Rising by Pierce Brown he can do no wrong. He is strong, brave, dreamy and Gold what's not to love.
 
3) Fictional foe? 
The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, her brutality and unfeeling self makes me want to jump through the pages and attack.
 
4) A guilty read: something you know you shouldn't have liked but you still did?
I honestly can't think of one. I've gone with popular opinion on most books, and have stayed away from books I think lack substance. 
 
5) Your hobbies, apart from blogging? 
I love to write, read all the time, knit, exercise, meditate and bake. 
 
6) Your favorite binge worthy TV series?
I really enjoy the Office, it's timeless to me and a definite mood booster. I don't watch alot of television regularly and only get into shows after being prompted by my boyfriend. 

7) Your favorite book from when you were 5?
When I was five I was obsessed with the Little Mermaid. It was the Little Mermaid coloring book I couldn't go anywhere without. 

8) Your inspiration from the fictional world?  
My recent character inspiration would be Fen from Orleans,  who I thoroughly enjoyed. Fen is a character who refused to stop going forward and being driven by hope despite horrible circumstances around her
 
9) Why do you continue to make the effort to blog, when you could be doing other stuff? 
I really enjoy talking about and sharing my passion for books. I don't have many friends or family who read and discuss books as much as I do, so I wanted to create a space where I can express myself and share with the world. 

10) Describe yourself in ten words? 
Living life trying to be better, live better and love. 

11) Favorite number and why?
My favorite number is 16. My Birthday is December 16th and I usually check in with myself Mid month to see if I need to be doing more of something I'm neglecting.

Who I Nominate?
Erin @ http://thehardcoverlover.blogspot.com/
Hannah @ http://thedonkeyinvasion.blogspot.com/
Myra @ http://imlovingbooks.blogspot.com/
Julianne @ http://outlandishlit.blogspot.com/
Kariny @ http://karinysteenbooxfrenz.blogspot.com
Katie @ http://www.queenofteenfiction.co.uk/
Alyse @ http://alysenovak.blogspot.com/
Nita @ http://www.book-choose.com/
Paola @ http://dontfoldthepage.blogspot.com/
Nicole @ http://mybookfilledlife.blogspot.com/

My Questions
1. What is your favorite Non-Fiction Book?
2. What book made you cry the most?
3. Is there any book you refuse to read?
4. If you can meet any author living or dear who would it be?
5. What do you like most about Blogging?
6. What cause do you think doesn't get enough attention?
7. Do you read any comics/graphic novels if so what's your favorite? If not, why not?
8. How do you express your creativity?
9. What is your favorite Reality TV show or Guilty Pleasure Movie?
10. What do you read in a book and instantly get turned off to read?
 
Post Your Blog Updates in the Comments Below!!
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