Shattered Seas Series Review

Shattered Seas Series Review

This is my book series review for the Shattered Seas Series. I really liked this series and  would highly recommend. It isn’t  too difficult of a read, and very exciting in my opinion.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Shattered Seas by Joe Abercrombie

Reviews

Half a King

Half the World

Half a War


What I Liked:

The main characters for each book, even with Raith included. I loved each one of them and learning all about them.

I loved the supporting cast who came back.

I loved the countries and the world plus the dangerous politics that were  played.

If I had to pick a singular favorite character it is Yarvi. I mentioned in another review that he was my “sweet viper in the shadows.” He is! I love him. He is with his faults, evils, and strengths, and I need more of his story. He was probably my age by the end of the book and has the world in his hands. Yet as it stands, no one trusts him (with good reason). He’s considered one of the most dangerous people in the world and has come so far from being the “crippled son” and second son of a usurper king. In all meanings of the word, he is technically “evil”. In a world where all the characters are grey, he is a dark grey. If Yarvi was in any other world told from any other perspective, I doubt he’d be classified as a hero — I’d say he’d be a villain or evil. I love it. I love it no matter how much he tries to seem good. He did everything for vengeance, and his oath. I stand with him.

If I had to pick secondary, I would have to decide between Thorn and Skara. I loved both of their stories and their transformations. They would probably be tied for first, if I just simply didn’t love Yarvi’s evil so much. Thorn was strong, and her decisions brash. I loved her spark and character. She was strong in a physical and mental sense, perhaps one of the strongest in the world if not the (singular) strongest by the end. Skara, I grew to love her when she really started to  stand on her own and picked to be good. I wanted to protect her, but knew she could do it herself. After all, she has Grandfather Yarvi under her control now.

In terms of secondary and tertiary characters, I liked Queen Laithlin. This should come as no surprise from my songs of praise about her in the individual book previews. I knew I loved her at the beginning and I loved her at the end. In truth I thought she should have been High Queen, but I knew that probably wasn’t a possibility.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I mentioned this before but I will say it again:

Why did brother kill brother in the first book. I understand the greed play, but I do not think it was a thought out move at all. Odem was evil, but he was not Yarvi’s evil, but a more general evil. When you can write evil like Yarvi, why can’t the other deeds be a little bit more developed or explained.

I needed more Isriun (check spelling). It seemed like every time she appeared, she was pushed off immediately. I would have loved to have more of her story, and more of her in general.

More Sumael, and this is a little new, but she had so much going for her and then she was practically erased. As was the Empress Valine (check spelling), but I liked Sumael better.

New things:

As much as I loved Skara, Brand, Thorn, Koll, and (yes even) Raith, I didn’t need their stories told as perspectives. This, I am certain, is my bias towards Yarvi. I wanted more of his perspective outside the first book. Trust me, learning about him through the eyes of others was beautiful, but I also wanted things from his perspective. I would have liked a Isriun perspective to learn more of her, or a Sumael perspective for her. I also know that I could have done without them all and simply had just Yarvi. I do believe, however, that i may not have liked the books that much if it were the case. But who knows? Not I. I just wanted more Yarvi.

I want more in general. With such a rich world as it is, I would have liked to learn more about it and the people that inhabit it.

Elf weapons. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, but for all the scheming, and destroying, and power displayed earlier… I feel it’s a bit of a cop out. It was shown earlier, I do understand that, but I feel that it was the only way our cast could win. I would have loved to see them win without the weapons, or if the weapons didn’t work. I didn’t feel that there was enough weight to them, other than the fear of them.

Note:

I think I need to explain why I liked the second book better than the first or third. This really didn’t fit into the other sections, so I made a new one! Hurray.

I love Yarvi, adore him, need more of his perspective, but his first book was a bit easy to follow for me. It was pretty standard. Boy becomes king, despite his wishes, something tragic happens, has to fight for his throne, meets a group of great people, reclaims his throne. It wasn’t boring, due to the cast of characters, but it was pretty predictable. That is except for Nothing being revealed as Uthick (check spelling). I did not see that coming. The opening for this book, was in my opinion, the best of the three. All the books start with a murder, but the descriptions in this first one was gripping.

Book three had three perspectives, and after the second book I didn’t feel like most of them lived up to Throne. That was until I started to love Skara. I liked the war in this book, but it was relatively predictable too. I knew they had to win, because it didn’t seem like they would lose. The odds were for them, even with all the turns it took. Plus elf weapons, which I didn’t hate but I would have loved an option where they didn’t get used. Or were faulty. Something.

The reason I loved book two so much when compared to three and one is because of  the journey the characters took, the emphasis on the side characters, and the changes to Yarvi from an outsiders perspective. Throw in some great girl getting strong AF, plus a bad ass teacher witch woman for her? I felt as if this book really developed the world, more so than the other two. One created a base, two developed it, and three swam in two’s development. I feel that I learned the most and was invested the most for book two. It is why it is higher ranked for me.

Why You Should Read:

It was a good political fantasy novel set in an alternate world. The main characters change, grow, and become so much more than they are at the beginning. There are some great secondary and tertiary characters. The world building is easy enough to follow and to understand. The stakes are high but not out of reach. The twists, and betrayals are beautiful.

I didn’t write this in my quotes for the other sections but always remember this: “The wise wait for their moment, but never let it pass.” If this quote doesn’t perfectly sum up the series, I know not what will.

Time Taken To Read

8 hours 50 min.

Essentially one good workday. I did read all these books in one day, not that anyone has to.

Rating: 4.75/5

This was hard for me to rate. I loved the series but my precedent for making a 5/5 is to label it for books that I would take with me if I had to down size my library. I’m not sure I could commit that to this series. It does not deserve a 4/5, however. Thus I tried to give it a rating that balanced with my individual book reviews.

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Half a War Review

Half a War Review

 

This is the final book in the Shattered Sea series. I am pleased to give you this final review and I do recommend reading the series for yourself.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

Words are weapons.

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. If she is to reclaim her birthright, she must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge.

Only half a war is fought with swords.

The deeply cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head—a man who worships only Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil.

Some—like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith—are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others—like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver—would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her irons wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

(The orange was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Skara is a princess, of a worn torn country. The night that her family is taken from her is the night that she must stand for herself. In war there is no teaching and learning only action. Skara must learn to navigate the politics of the worlds strongest and most cunning, while being able to stand for herself.

Raith is the cupbearer for Grom-gil-Gorm, Maker of Orphans and Breaker of Swords. He is highly trusted and placed by Skara’s side in an attempt to control her and watch her. Only he falls for her, and must decide the sort of man and warrior he wants to become.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

A conclusion to the series. More new characters and with my track record thus far, I feel that I will adore them. I do admit to skimming the end because I wanted to know if Yarvi lived. He does! That’s all I need to know. That’s all I truly care for. Him and his mother, and they both are alive, so I am excited. While I don’t want any of the characters dead, I will not be angry if they do die. This is a war after all. Blood spills in war.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Yup. I find it interesting, for this book. It ends also in a way that shows that there could be more. All the character stories have been completed but there could have been more. I loved so much of this series. This book in particular really did hurt me. There is a part where so much knowledge is burned and the burning of books always pains me. I was shocked by the deaths in this book and how the occurred. I suppose that makes them ever the better, especially Grom-gil-Gorm’s.

What I Liked:

Skara. Mind you at first I didn’t like our princess, but out of all the growth  from the characters hers was the greatest and the most obvious to see. She went from a feeble child to someone who could stand on equal playing ground as Yarvi, and still chose to be good. Props to her. She is cunning in her own regard and I am proud of  her.

Koll’s growth as a character. Koll was the second perspective in this book, after Skara. I really liked his internal  struggle, as well as when he called Yarvi out for essentially guilt tripping him. I liked his and Rin’s relationship. I love that he chose what is best for him as well as his talent with carving.

The fighting, the war, the politics of it all. I find the strained peace, the brutality of war, and the way that the battles progressed, to be so interesting. Also, perhaps because Yarvi is my sweet backstabbing viper in the shadows and he led them all forward. Seeing the war in this book was satisfying for me.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Perhaps less open ends, but I do know that this book is set in a world. The world continues to move outside the confines of the book end. Did I expect everything to be wrapped up in a cute little bow? No. Only it leaves me wanting more.

I suppose I would have liked more from Raith (the third perspective of the book). I under stood his motivations. I simply feel that there should have been more to him when his brother died.

Why You Should Read:

It’s a great conclusion to the series. It does tie up the lose ends from book 2, with the end of the war. It creates a stable peace in the mind, and helps bring some sort of conclusion to these characters outside the fact that their lives are not over.

Time Taken To Read

2 hours 50 min

Rating: 4.5/5

I will note why I ranked this book a little lower than Half the World and that was a matter of personal preference.

Notable Quotes:

“You can only conquer your fears by facing them. Hide from them and they conquer you.” – Skara’s grandfather

“Once panic clutches a  man it spreads faster than the plague, faster than fire.” – Part of Raith’s perspective

“It is tradition for the farmers and the butchers to divide the meat without seeking the opinions of the pigs.” and later “After all, it is tradition for the farmer and the butcher… to divide the meat without seeking the opinions… of the pigs.” – The first time this is said it is Prince Varoslaf (A prince from a another land and a tertiary character) speaking to Queen Laithlin about Koll and Isriun. The second it is Koll speaking to Isriun about Prince Varoslaf and Queen Laithlin. It is actually a pretty great burn in context, and a good quote out of context.

“Every hero is someone’s villain.” Father Yarvi to Skara

“I used to think the world had heroes in it. But the world is full of monsters…” Skara to Sister Owd.

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Half the World Review

Half the World Review

 

This book is a part of the Shattered Sea, the second in fact. The cover art for this is interesting, in my opinion. A wave of steel, with weapons of all sorts. I wonder what that means for the book especially considering the last one.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.

Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.

She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.

Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.

And weapons are made for one purpose.

Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?

(The blue was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Throne is a fighter, and she wants nothing more than to be a warrior for her country. The training masters are not so kind. After an accidental murder Throne is certain her life is over, but the cunning Father Yarvi takes her under his wing. With a mew master and a journey around the world, Thorne learns of true strength and becomes what songs are made of.

Brand is an orphan, blacksmith turned warrior. He always dreamed of greatness that could bring  he and his sister out from poverty. Life is not so kind, and a single decision to tell the truth regarding Thorne costs him everything. When he gets the chance to travel with  Father Yarvi around the world in an attempt to save their kingdom, he jumps on the chance wishing to prove himself. He discovers that great deeds are not always the ones that are known.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Same map but expanded? New main character? More world politics. I hope that the characters from the first book are developed more, if at all. I need to know more of those who survived; Sumael, Rulf, Isriun. I am excited and also filled with dread. What will these new characters bring to the table?

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Okay well. Thanks Joe Abercrombie. Making me fall in love with more characters. This boo took me an hour longer to read than Half a King, which is very interesting. I typically average about the same for books that are about the same in length. I have no clue why, but it may be due to the shifting perspectives. Either way I loved this book more than Half a King.

What I Liked:

I will start with the side characters. I love them. All of them. The crew of the South Wind, the now again Queen Laithlin, the Empress Vialine. They were far more well developed in this book I feel. Additionally we got more of Sumaela and Rulf. I adore them all.

Yarvi once again proves himself deeply cunning and absolutely horrifying. I adored it. I need more of his antics in my life. In the quotes below you will see that the people of the world view him akin to his mother. It’s surprising to think that a few short years prior he was the “crippled son” and shown so much scorn. I do not relate to him, but he is a brilliant character. His motivations are fleshed out and so grey.

Grom-gil-Gorm, who I did not mention in my first review. The reason for this is because I did not know much of him besides a few of his comments, a few scenes, and his title. Grom-gil-Gorm can not be killed by a man. He is the strongest warrior alive with the titles “Breaker of Swords” and “Maker of Orphans.” If that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is. I like him. I understand his motivations for what he does, and I appreciate that he does things as he does.

Politics, Culture, Religions. Before I go into our two leads. I will mention that this book goes further into all of these aspects. The different countries and their cultures, the world politics, the religions. The religions are perhaps the most interesting to me. I can’t wait to see how the last book goes because not all battles are fought on the battlefield and  this book proved that.

Thorn/Hild Bathu, our female main lead. I loved her from the beginning when she was introduced as the only female trying to become a warrior. Every test was thrown her way to fail, and then she ended up killing a boy. She ended up a murderer and that’s what got her in with Yarvi, and ultimately her skill she has at the end of the book. Now mind you, I like my feisty heroines, and I don’t think that the fight in her ever disappears. Instead it is refined, sharpened, aided. She becomes a time bomb into an assassin’s blade. It was the sort of transformation that is not all to different than Arya Stark. However Thorn is not an assassin. She is a warrior and she proves that by standing toe to to with Grom-gil-Gorm. I loved watching her bloom, and her own hasty judgements. I loved watching how she staid true to herself, and just became a better form of herself. She became a better person, and I adore that.

Brand, our male main lead. He is kind, the opposite of Yarvi and I can not wait to see him toe to toe against  Yarvi in the future. How I hope he will be. Yarvi offered him a position to stand in the shadows but Brand will stand in the light. He will do what is good and right. He is brilliant, strong, can carry the weight of a ship on his back, and will defend for what he believes. He is gorgeous, and the ideal of a warrior. His story really took hold when he was denied what he had dreamed of. He tried to make a name for himself, fell for Thorn, and learned that perhaps he didn’t want to be a warrior after all. I adore him as well. He better come back.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I would have liked to know exactly how much time passed between the two books. I do not think I missed the detail, but I could have.

Since, I feel that my qualms were answered from the first book, I really have nothing else to say.

Why You Should Read:

I find this book deeply fascinating because for how much fighting there is, it is more political than anything. It’s a great second book to the first one. This one does let you know there will be a third, while the first could have stood alone.

Time Taken To Read

3 hours and 30 min

Rating: 5/5

Notable Quotes:

“The best place to sheathe a blade is in your enemy’s back.” – Thorn’s father’s advice

“As if the truth  is precious. I can find a thousand truths under ever autumn leaf, Brand: everyone has their own.” – Yarvi to Brand

“A man who gives all his thought to doing  good, but no thought to the consequences… That is a dangerous man.” – Yarvi to Brand

“They say he was cunning as Father Moon, a man rarely to be trusted and never to be crossed.” – about Yarvi

“A man bent on self destruction will find his way there sooner or later.” – Safrit to Yarvi

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Half a King Review

Half a King Review

 

This book series (Shattered Sea) probably would have been my first review if it weren’t  for the massive haul of books from Penned Con and Book Fest.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

(The red was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Yarvi is the second Prince of Gettland and a few days away from testing to become a Minister. Once a Minister, he would have no ties to the throne and the scorn cast upon him due to his disfigured hand. Only, his father and brother are killed by a distant enemy, making him King against his wishes. When he is brutally betrayed, Yarvi is made to fight for his life and fight to return home.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

There is a map inside the cover! I repeat there is a map inside the cover! A prince aiming to retrieve his crown? A trilogy? Praise by many authors that I know and adore? Yes. I’m excited (perhaps not as much as I am for MEM, but pretty close). I do love myself from political power struggles in fantasy worlds.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

It was a treat, but I often am well versed in discovering which books I will like and which I will not. This I liked. What I think I loved the most was that the plot twist I should have seen coming I did not see. That does not happen often, not to me at least. The main cast was excellent, and the supporting cast  as supporters.

What I Liked:

Queen Laithlin: I love her. I have decided that I love her. It seems to me that I have a soft spot for powerful women and queens as of late. I love that her word is weighed more heavily than gold. She is the most trustworthy and cunning individual. The plot of the book revolves around her and her worth over everyone else. I found this fascinating, in truth.

Nothing/King Uthil: His plot twist was not one I saw coming and for his craziness I adore him. His vanity and narcissism, pride for his country, and skill with a sword? I am happy with him and the way his story in this book ended. Since I plan to review the entire series, I will say he does end up as King. He is the rightful King, and I respect that.

Yarvi, who is our main character. He goes from coward to skilled politician like his mother. He ends up where he belongs, as a Minister. Him becoming King, then a Slave, then a Prince once more was quite the transformation. I feel as if calling this a transformation, however, is wrong. Yarvi always had it in him to be this person. He was his mother’s son, and dedicated to being a Minister. What it was, was that he was provided the grounds to let that part of him bloom. It had always been there, he just had to learn how to use it better.

Mother Gundring and the Ministers. I like their shade of grey and their oaths that they must keep. I find them fascinating characters and hope to see more of them as we continue in with the plot.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

More of our villains — Odem in specifics. I feel that he was evil for evils sake. In truth I did get it, that it was Mother Gundring in the shadows that was the one who pulled the strings. What bothered me was that his own personal motivations stemmed from simply greed? I often have a hard time believing families would kill each other out of greed when it isn’t an attribute of their family to begin with. There doesn’t seem to be a history of brother killing brother in the past. Was the greed and want for the crown so much that he’d kill two of his brothers? I am not sure, for I do not feel that I was convinced of it.

Speaking of brothers killing brothers, I’m not convinced by Odem and Uthrik killing Uthil either. So he was vain, and their greed for the throne overwhelmed them? Why? Also, how were these boys raised if they turn their hands against each other so easily? It is not a good way to run a country, especially a war loving one. Had their older brother been weak, perhaps I would have understood. Their people and country live for war and shame the weak, but I am still not convinced. For Uthil was strong and brother turning against brother only adds to instability within the country. I do realize that greed was a major theme within the book, but it still does not convince me for brother against brother.

More of Isriun, her transformation was not convincing to me at all. Not really. I do not understand her motivations. She was trained to be a minister. I need to know more about her, and her father’s hold over her. I expect more of her.

The other side characters Sumael, Jaud, Ankran, and Rulf. Those who survived, I expect more of. I hope Ankran’s family is at least more developed. I feel that each of their stories had so much potential and then two died. I suppose that since this is a series there will be more. Hopefully.

Why You Should Read:

There are some interesting politics between the people of the world that are exciting, and worth exploring. I think that it isn’t often that you have such an interesting cast of strong King and Queen characters. This book does not leave many openings for future books, so as a stand alone novel it can work just fine. We will see how the remainder of the book series goes.

Time Taken To Read

2 hours 30 min

Rating: 4.5/5

Notable Quotes:

I do admit that I lost track of keeping quotes very early on. Sorry, I’ll do better with the next book! I would like to note that Mother Gundring and the Ministers’ philosophies in general are quote worthy, even if I forgot to write them down.

” ‘ I lack the wisdom.’ He meant he lacked the courage, but he lacked the courage to admit it.

‘Wisom can be learned, my prince.’ ” Yarvi to Mother Gundring.

“Always remember: strong men are many, wise men are  few.” Mother Gundring to Yarvi

“On the battlefield there are no rules.” Yarvi

“They say her word is valued higher than gold among merchants, because gold  may go down in worth but her word never does.” Isriun about Queen Laithlin.

“The wealthier a man is, the  more he craves wealth.” Mother Gundring.

 

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Why I Buy Books

Why I Buy Books

 

To buy or not to buy that is the question.

Which is also to say: always buy.

 

I get asked a lot, why I buy books. Physical books. Hard covers, paper backs, physical copies. Why? Why don’t I simply rent from the library? Why don’t I buy ebooks? Why must I own a physical copy?

To be honest, this was absolutely wild to me for the longest time. Why wouldn’t you buy books? Then I discovered that many people buy books as a status symbol over actually to own the text. They don’t read the books. They have books for aesthetic. They use the books, and their personal library as if to say — see how rich I am?

That is not why I buy books.

To me, buying books is the way to read books. Because I reread books. Crazy, I know. I actually reread books. I reread ones I liked and sometimes those I didn’t like. Sometimes I fall in love with things I once hated, or hate things I once loved. Tastes change. People grow. I reread when I don’t remember a story anymore and want to remember and enjoy it again. I reread because I love the story and I want to add fire to that passion. I reread books because they deserve to be reread. (General statement, this is determined on a book to book basis, tbh)

I love books regardless.

My mother always bought books. She bought books because she reread books. And then she’d give me reading suggestions. So, while others were reading Harry Potter, I was reading Stephen King’s The Shinning and Agatha Christie’s mysteries. I didn’t read Harry Potter until right before Book 7 came out (i.e. 2007). I really didn’t read traditional Young Adult novels, because we didn’t have them at the house. What I read in school for elementary school we ended up buying for the home. I read books we owned, and could reread them when I wanted.

I bought books. To own the books. To reread the books. To cherish the books. To love the stories and the characters. To own the book.

I do buy ebooks, my mom does now too, but I do not prefer them. The first instance that I see that there is a physical edition, you can be sure I  have it bought and being sent to me. In truth it has a lot less to do with supporting the author — or I wouldn’t buy as many used books as I do– and more to do with cherishing the story.

I do not get rid of books I dislike, for someone else may like them. Someone else (i.e. friend) who may want to borrow them, but can’t go to a library. I read all book series to completion or so I try at least, for I can’t leave a story unfinished. I then use that knowledge to give recommendations on what I feel like others would like next.

Essentially, I love books.

There is no, I love it, but I love it from afar. This is a: if I love it, I want it. I do not own books as a status symbol. This is not a personal statement on my wealth but perhaps one on my addiction. I am addicted to reading, and addicted to buying more books. In truth I probably have no business, financially, buying as many books as I do. I still do it. This is not a status symbol. It’s an addiction. Some people collect stamps. I collect books.

Why don’t I rent from a library? Because I want it. I want to own it. I need it.

Why don’t I read ebooks (often)? Because I want the physical book in my hands. I want to own it. I need it.

How many books do you own? Almost 700. On my own. My mom owns more than me, but I’m catching her.

Do you have a library? Since I am currently still living with my parents, yes. When I move out, it’ll only be when I have a house that I’ll transfer my books to me. Until then my books remain where I know they have the space, and a home.

I love my books. I love these stories. I always will, and I’ll always buy.

 

September Reading List

September Reading List


Books Read

War Storm – Victoria Aveyard

Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian

Strom Dragon – James Wyatt

Dragon Forge – James Wyatt

Dragon War – James Wyatt

MEM – Bethan C. Morrow

Mirage – Somaiya Daud

Falling – Tara Benham

Impact – Tara Benham

Rising – Tara Benham


Poem Collections Read

to make monsters out of girls – amanda lovelace

the sun and her flowers – rupi kaur

The Soul Collector Series Review

The Soul Collector Series Review

This is my review of the series as a whole. It’s essentially a summation of my thoughts on the books in general. Check out the individuals, if you want to see them.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these reviews are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this in mind. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

Spoilers ahead!

That being said…




The Soul Collectors Series by Tara Benham

Reviews

Falling

Impact

Rising


What I Liked:

Mephistopheles aka Meph. I really liked him. Did I like a few of the things he did? No. But he felt the most other to me. He’s supposed to be other; he’s a demon.

Declan, for all it’s worth I did find him charming.

The other demons: Cain, Apollyn, Edra.

The humans at least felt human, and at least Gray’s purpose was tied greatly but not by much.

Aniston, for the little we had of her? I liked her.

The cover progression. White wings on black to black wings on grey and finally grey wings on white. It perfectly mimicked the progression of the books. I appreciated this.

What I Did Not Like:

Bayla, our MC. I get that her gaining emotions was so key to the coming of times, and the changes of balance. What I don’t get is why they came flying at her and why as a highly trained Angel, she didn’t do a thing about it? Why wasn’t she like, “What are these? Emotions? I should cut those off, but they still seem to leak through.” I would get that. I would get her caring for Haddy, and this being a major shock to her. I would like for her to have these realizations but instead it feels more like she is simply experiencing them with little thought. Plus the amount of times she cries or passes out (not from being  knocked out) puts me off. She is Bayla The Great, but I felt that was more a title than an actuality of who she was.

The time differences. 1:9.5 Heaven week to Earth years. 1:1 Earth to Hell. “two weeks for us was about 19 years for the humans on Earth.” This means for one Heaven year it is 494 Earth years. Why? I know the book reason why, but why was this truly necessary? I feel as if the book would have been the exact same, had the times been 1:1:1. In fact, I think I would have understood Bayla’s random wave of emotions better because it would have been so much more shocking to her. Along these lines, the Journal entries of her mother were far too modern for me, especially if her mother had her 9,386 years ago. I’m also 100% certain that you would not be meeting Lucifer at a bar and the waitress taking your  order would not have a pen, 9,386 years ago. 9,386 years ago would be 7,300BCE. We had just domesticated dogs in 7,300BCE. We were still Hunters and Gatherers in 7,300BCE. We did not have the concept of bars, of waitresses, of those likes. We didn’t even have domesticated sheep. There were not pens to drop in 7,300 BCE, even if you want to fight me that there could have been a similar concept of a “bar” where you could stop by for “lunch.”

The Love Triangle or just love in general? Bayla has been around for 19 Heaven years. How does she know what love is? Let alone true love? Who thought it was smart to let the 19 year old leader of Hell, marry someone so quickly after she got her emotions? I don’t know about you, but emotions are killer and if Bayla’s emotions send her into fainting when she experiences them too much? I don’t think it’s wise for her to rush head long into anything. See how fast she fell for Declan? See how fast she fell for Meph and then switched to him from Declan? Read: about two months. A parent wouldn’t want their child marrying the dark and dangerous guy who they met two weeks ago. I didn’t find it romantic. I found it taxing, and childish. Perhaps Meph was her soulmate. I can accept that. I would have just liked a bit more distance.

The general plot, but I feel this is a more “this book wasn’t written for me” than it was that the book series was bad. I felt that there were scenes that were odd for the age group, and conversations oddly placed? I get why the demons and angels had to act like humans, but even when they were on their own they still felt very human. Why? They are angels and demons, not humans. There should be an alienness to them. It wasn’t an overly complicated plot in general. I would have liked more Heaven and Hell politics, but did not receive them.

Were the random quotes at the top of each chapter necessary? I don’t think they were. In fact, I skipped most of them because I didn’t think they were important. I have seen series use quotes or definitions at the top of each page, but I feel that they should have more of a purpose other than that they match the aesthetic.

Why You Should Read:

Up to you, really. I wouldn’t recommend this book probably to anyone in my age group but perhaps younger? I feel that this book is written for younger readers, in which case I’m being too critical. I think a much younger Marlena, would have liked this book. Perhaps when she was in Middle School or Ninth grade, although I’m not sure. I was still very picky about my novels then too. You can see my rating, and this isn’t a 1 or a 0, so I do not feel that I wasted my time reading these books. They really were just… not for me.

Total Time Taken To Read

3hrs and 10min

Rating: 2.5/5

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Rising Review

Rising Review

 

This is the third book in the Soul Collectors series, but you can find the whole series: here.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these reviews are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this in mind. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

Spoilers ahead!

That being said…




Rising by Tara Benham

Synopsis From The Book

The battle is coming.

Bayla has survived everything that has been thrown at her, but new friendships come with new feelings. As secrets continue to be revealed, Bayla is forced to reexamine everything she has ever thought, felt, or been told.

With everyone she loves in danger, Bayla is faced with having to choose between following the path she has always been shown…or listening to her heart.


Short Synopsis By Me

The conclusion to the Soul Collectors Series, Bayla is faced not only with an impending war, but what it means to be a true leader.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

I am so happy that this is a trilogy. Book series that are longer sometimes put me off, unless I’m invested before hand. I also, love how the covers went from black to white. It’s very pretty. Accidentally read the last line of this book when I was checking total pages (and to see if it was the last book). The last line gives me hope for an exciting series!

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

I am happy I got through it. In truth it was not badly written. I’m just mentally tired. It was a different type of journey than what I had expected.

What I Liked:

This book goes through the war and the aftermath of the war. Perhaps having the most events out of all the books thus far.

I am happy that the book goes into what happens after the war. How do the lives change? What happens? It was a good conclusion to the narrative, other than an “it’s over.” I liked this. I liked being able to see Bayla take on her new role. I liked

Still liked the same characters as before.

I really liked the Elder’s reveal to all be creatures with emotions and living in the “grey.” This was cool to me. The idea that the most “good” creatures were the “grey” ones was excellent.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Apparently the plot reasons for Bayla’s drastic change were necessary. Her taking to characters and falling in such intense emotions so quickly were necessary. I wish this came out earlier. I wish that her moods weren’t so dramatic. I’ve never heard of a girl having such an emotional response to learning new things as to pass out. This wasn’t anxiety or panic induced, or falling asleep after crying. This was the shock of learning so much news that she passed out. Like her mind couldn’t handle or fathom it, kind of like it broke her. I figure this was suppose to be the emotions changing her, but I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it.

Everyone died, then some came back to life? Well that’s fantastic, but it sort of takes  away the weight of their deaths. I, personally, could have lived without it. Let the weight of their deaths sink in, or bring them all back. Picking and choosing isn’t really fair. Personally I would have liked them all dead. The weight of it is what is important.

Bayla has know Meph for years, falls for him in weeks and then marries him six months later? Talk about a quick romance. I’ve heard of people falling in love and marrying in six months, but when you were mortal enemies at one point for years? Sure. Okay. Soulmates. I’ll buy it, I suppose…

Why You Should Read:

To finish the series. In truth I think this book may have the most development out of all the books, plot progression wise.

Time Taken To Read

50min

Rating: 3/5

Notable Quotes:

“Emotions are new to you. It’ll take a while to learn complete control over them, but don’t stop having them. They will make you a better leader. They may  not always be fun, but they will serve  you well. They have already  served you well. You are strong, you just need to remember that.” – Father Paul to Bayla

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Impact Review

Impact Review

This is the second book in the Soul Collectors series, but you can find the whole series: here.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these reviews are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this in mind. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

Spoilers ahead!

That being said…




Impact by Tara Benham

Synopsis From The Book

The mission has been completed, and the earthquake has happened.

Bayla wakes up in the last place she ever thought she’d find herself after Mephistopheles takes her away. She is unsure if she has successfully completed her mission until Meph wake her to share the truth with her.

Secrets that were long kept from her are revealed, and the impact of them is life-changing. Those secrets will challenge everything she has ever believed about herself and her purpose.

Not only does Bayla have to discover who – or what -she is, but she must also decide what she believes. Will she stick to seeing decisions as only a choice between black and white, or will she learn that the truth come in many shades in-between.


Short Synopsis By Me

Immediately after the events of Falling, Bayla wakes in Hell to discover the truths that led her there. She discovers more about herself and the world she once knew, than many Angels dream of knowing. She is then given a choice, to remain as she had or to become something more.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

This is the second book in the series. I was planning to read this series in one go, so we will see if I am able to pull it off or not.

Edit after reading first: I really hope this one answers my questions. Truly.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

It’s like the author heard my rant for Falling  and answered all questions within the first few chapters. Who is Declan and what is his mission? Answered. Why is Gray important? Answered. What is Balya’s importance? Answered. For an Angel who is trained in combat there is a ton of combat training in this book.

The plot doesn’t deviate much. After learning the answers we are given a glimpse: make sure Heaven wins the impending war between Heaven and Hell. Bayla is the daughter of a high ranking angel and Lucifer. Excellent, great, awesome.

I’m not sure anything really happened.

What I Liked:

The demons. I still really like them. I really like Meph, Cain and the others. I realize I didn’t say this in the first, but Meph is Mephistopheles.

Declan is still pretty great.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Bayla is still a big inconsistent but at least she realizes it. She internalizes how she was perfect until the last mission — even if I can’t justify it. Her back story is the bulk of this plot and it makes sense to me, but the reveal wasn’t much of a shock.

There are journal entires of her mother within the plot that at the time of their writing, the language would have been different. I suppose I am just stricter when it comes to historical writing, and I do not believe that an angel from the early ADs or BCs would write the way she did. In fact if we look at the timing, Bayla was 19 Heaven years. This means she was born 9,300+ years ago. There would not be bars, or waitresses with pens if we are going with this time line. Just saying.

Love Triangles. Nothing irks me more than love triangles. Have I been involved in plots with them? Yes? Do I particularly like them? Not so much, but I do understand the appeal to them. I think what irritates me the most for this one is the whole “fall in love with me to save him” premise given by Meph to Bayla about Declan. I also can’t really accept the time line of the falling in love. Bayla knew Declan for perhaps two maybe three weeks, and was certain she was in love with him and that he was The One. Then after a few short weeks of being with Meph, she likes Meph too but still is certain about Declan? I know some people fall in love fast but for her to fall for a presumed demon, a sworn enemy, in three weeks? That’s not love, angel, that’s lust.

Bayla gets told to learn to deal with the consequences of her actions, as if she shouldn’t already know that.

Some how this Earthly drama applied to angels is extremely off putting to me. I don’t know but the idea of romance and such human teenager problems is just… far too human.

Why You Should Read:

It answers the questions left in the first. I do think this is better than the first, perhaps because of the emphasis on the demons and the Heaven vs Hell politics.

Time Taken To Read

1hr 10min

Rating: 2.5/5

Notable Quotes:

“It’s nice to be with you on your side this time.” – Meph to Bayla

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Falling Review

Falling Review

 

My first book series review! Hurray! This is the first book in the series, but you can find the whole series: here.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these reviews are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this in mind. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

Spoilers ahead!

That being said…




Falling by Tara Benham

Synopsis From The Book

An earthquake is coming, soon.

A small town in Kentucky is set to be destroyed.

Bayla, Heaven’s Soul Collector, has been given two tasks; make sure the earthquake happens according to plan, and also make certain Gray Ellison, a teenaged human, survives. Bayla has a perfect record for completing missions; so, when another angel is added into the mix, she begins to question the Head Council’s faith in her.

Just as she is getting used to working with Hadraniel, her unasked for back-up, she has to face another hurdle. When Declan shows up with the mission to make sure Gray doesn’t survive the earthquake, he starts to challenge all of Bayla’s beliefs and plans. Declan isn’t your typical demon. He’s gorgeous and arrogant, but there’s something about him that Bayla can’t quite put her finger on.

Declan’s presence threatens the mission to save Gray, and Bayla herself. Will she be able to complete her assigned mission successfully despite these new obstacles, or will Gray be lost to Hell forever?


Short Synopsis By Me

I’m just going to go with the synopsis above.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

At Penned con, I was walking around looking at the books, hearing authors talk, and talking to my best friend when I spotted this cover. I said “feathers? Angels.” I was tempted to walk on, but something about the aesthetic of the cover drew me in. Now my best friend isn’t drawn by titles or covers, but only content. Typically I’m not so drawn to covers either but this one drew me. After a second of starring at the books, the author, Tara Benham, caught my eye and I realized either I walked away or talked to her. I talked to her, and ended up walking away with the series later that day after giving it some thought. In truth I am looking forward to this series. It is fantasy enough even if I believe it is a fantasy romance. I got through The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate, and The Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick, pretty easily actually. I liked them when I read them, and this? This seemed to me, reminiscent of those series.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Well… I think I’m more confused than settled for a first book. I am left with so many questions. Why was Bayla important? Leading on with the “I’ll tell you later” is odd BS especially when everyone else seems to spill the truth at every moment. Why was this earthquake so important for the Soul Collectors? Why is there only one Soul Collector? Time. Lines.

What I Liked:

The demons. I liked Meph, and Declan (who is not a demon, but I’m not entirely sure what his mission was). I liked their characters. Perhaps this was because Meph was a overarching antagonist and Declan was sassy but charming.

What I Would have Liked or Changed:

Before I go into my changes, I want to talk what this plot is in brief: Bayla, an angel, is sent on a mission to earth to save the life of a boy named Gray. Gray is apparently super important, we don’t find out why really. Bayla turns out to be more important than simply her job as a Soul Collector. Soul Collectors are angels, or demons, who take the souls that go to Heaven or Hell after death. The plot makes sense. Get to earth. Save the boy. Make sure the demons  don’t get him. Now…

Time Lines. Okay so I read this and my first thought was “what?” The time difference between Heaven and Earth is approx. 9.5 years to 1 week. This means it’s roughly 494 years on Earth for every 1 year in Heaven. Bayla, our main character, says she had her Pompeii mission four years (Heaven Years) before the start of the novel. Pompeii was in the year 79AD. Four years ago Heaven time would have been 1,976 years ago or (assuming this book takes place in 2018) 42AD. Let use assume however that we do not know the year, and work backwards from 79AD. 79AD plus 1976 years is 2055AD. This book undoubtedly takes place in modern times, but not a future world. It seems odd to me. I get that the math is close enough for it to be okay. I get that she could have been roughly estimating the time as four years, but this bothered me a lot when reading and I can’t really explain why? Something about this time change is unsettling to me.

Bayla’s character consistency. She is introduced as relatively stoic, and one to ignore conversations of others. She doesn’t seem the type to fall in love easily, or to care about people she’s just met when she doesn’t care about her own roommate. Then she does fall for someone she just met. She becomes super close to another angel, Haddy, in a few short weeks (which is only a few hours Heaven time). She cries a lot, and freaks out over learning new information on her mission? She has a perfect track record, and has dealt with all the major casualty events in history. You’d think she’d be more composed when learning of new things. Perhaps this has to do with why she is so valuable. I don’t know. It’s never explained. If she is the most feared angel in all of Hell, the only angel of her type, why does she act the way she does? Why does she simply break protocol so easily when an angel she just met almost dies? Why does she care so much for him, she just met him? This is a moment in her life for singular, highly important mission, but she’s dealt with them before. I don’t understand.

Gray’s purpose. I get that he’s super important and it’s supposed to be some sort of mystery of why he’s so important, but I’d at least like to have a bit more information than simply that. Especially if this is the closure to his story.

Other things:

  • Were the quotes by other authors and people necessary for the start of each chapter? I loved the quotes, but I didn’t think they added to the story in any way.
  • Some of the dialogue was interesting to say the least.
  • The whole Truth or Dare scene really threw me off.
  • Bayla revealing the truth to Hannah. 1. Yes, a person would so simply believe it without proof, simply because of the feeling involved. 2. Kinda against Bayla’s training and protocol, is it not?

Why You Should Read:

It’s not bad. I feel that there are a lot of things I would change, but it was pretty well written. I also probably may not be the target audience for this book. It read very young YA, to me and I haven’t been doing all that hot with a majority of YA novels lately. I may just be overly critical.

There is room for growth and questions that have left me wondering things, and I did accidentally read the last line of the third book before I started.  Thus, I want to see where this is going. I would recommend trying the first book, perhaps if you are a younger reader. There aren’t any exceedingly suggestive themes or notions in the book.

Time Taken To Read

1hr 10min

Rating: 2/5

Notable Quotes:

“I wrote I loved you in the palm of your hand.” – Declan to Bayla

“You were like water to someone who was dying of thirst. I couldn’t drink in the sight of you enough to ever be fulfilled.” – Bayla to Declan.

“The stars this side of Heaven are so beautiful. They are my favorite thing about  this place. If ever you are missing me, look to them. And if you see on falling, it’s me.” – Bayla to Declan

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