Standing Ground by Alice Rachel

Standing Ground by Alice Rachel

Note: This book was sent to me from the author in exchange for an honest review. It is also the sequel in a series (Book 1: Under Ground; book 1.5: Losing Ground). If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, I highly recommend them.

To start off…HOLY FEELINGS. This book is full of them. You know, those kinds that suck you in while you’re reading and you feel everything along with the characters. Though sometimes painful, it’s such a true reading experience, and it takes an amazing author to pull this off.

I participated in the author’s read-along for this book during the month of April. I loved reading a few chapters each evening and then answering her immersive questions on Instagram for each section. It’s an awesome experience, and I’m really grateful that Alice Rachel was able to put this all together for her readers. Because of my vacation, I got a bit behind in the read-along, but then I was later able to binge-read even larger sections of the book. It was so easy to get fully into this world and these characters, and it’s hard to put this book down. I’m glad I blew through the last part of the book in one sitting, because it was so intense, and I just had to know what would happen next. Of course, the ending includes a cliffhanger, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

On another note, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of Alice’s books, the character development is excellent. I think having short novellas and stories outside of the main series for each character really helps, but even within the main books, there is just so much backstory that works so well with the main storyline. As a reader, I become even more connected to these characters and feel so much more strongly about them. Not only does each character have intense backstories and complex personalities, but Alice Rachel also does her own portraits of them (you can view them on her Instagram and even purchase prints and more on her Society6 page). My personal favorite character is Kayla, who is involved with the Underground rebellion. She’s a strong, badass woman who also is an amazing friend and all-around caring person.

It’s usually hard for me to write reviews on books that I absolutely loved, but this series is different. There are so many aspects that I love to gush about, and it’s such a complex world that even my longer reviews on it don’t even scratch the surface. If you’re interested in dystopian books and worlds, and you love deep, gritty character development, this is definitely a series you need to pick up. If you have already read the first book, you need to get your hands on this one. Don’t worry if it’s been awhile, since Alice puts a super helpful Book 1 recap at the beginning of this installment.

This is one of my favorite series that I’m currently reading, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon Alice Rachel’s Instagram page ages ago. If this sounds like a great series to you, definitely check out these books: they are all available as ebooks (and the Kindle prices are super reasonable. I’m not being paid or anything to promote this series; I just really love these books and think that they deserve much more recognition than they get.

Rating: ★★★★★

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

Advertisements

The Waste Lands by Stephen King

The Waste Lands by Stephen King

I absolutely loved this installment in the Dark Tower series. Each book pulls me in even more than the previous one and I fall even more in love with the series.

I was really happy to get more details about what happened to Roland’s world to cause it to be a world that has moved on, though even more questions are raised within these answers. The concepts of time and space are extremely interesting in this world/universe, and I’m okay with not getting all the complete details since there’s so much to process already. I read this book while on vacation, and I was thinking about it even when I was away from the book and doing something else (which is always the sign of an amazing book, in my opinion).

The development of Susannah and Eddie’s relationship made me really happy as well, and, even though it has a doomed feeling in the big picture, it brings more hope to the storylines of the ka-tet. In addition to that, I love Oy and the small cuteness he brings to tense situations. There’s so much more possibility with this group, especially when I think back on The Gunslinger when it was only Roland, or even just Roland and Jake. I’m so excited to see this story expand even more, and there’s so much left to go (in my own reading journey of it).

Rating: ★★★★★

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

Mind Games by TJ Moore (DNF)

Mind Games by TJ Moore (DNF)

Note: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a did-not-finish. I can’t finish this book. And this review is going to be painfully honest as I explain why.

This book was a bit hyped when it came out, as the author sent it to a good number of book-Instagrammers (bookstagrammers) about a year ago. I waited for the hype to die down to read it, and it did give me a clear mind for my own opinions on it. Unfortunately, I can’t find a reason to finish this. I lent it to my mom a few months ago, and she read it then. After describing the trouble I was having getting through it, she justified my opinions. She didn’t want to sway my own reading/review of it at the time, but she didn’t care for it either. I got about halfway through this book, and I don’t want to read any more of it.

I wanted to like this book. The main character, Amy, is interesting, except that the story turns and she doesn’t seem to be the main character anymore. The focus turns to Cameron, a coworker of Amy’s. I didn’t originally have an issue with him, but as the story progressed, his character/personality changed and it seemed like the author decided to change him later on with no development suggesting such a change. Cameron acted strange at times and it didn’t make sense; any person (especially one working in crime-solving) would not have acted how he did when the focus turns.

Along the same lines of character personality, these characters were so trope-y. Vince especially bugged the hell out of me, as he was the stereotypical dimwitted dude who always tried to be funny, and amped up to the nth degree. I couldn’t stand him, and by putting down this book, I am getting him out of my mind forever.

This book plot-wise got more and more unrealistic, and for a book that started out (and was marketed as) more realistic crime fiction, it just got weird. I kept getting the feeling that the author was changing his mind while writing, or thinking of a new plot device and putting it in.

In addition to all of this, there were grammar and spelling mistakes. I’ve mentioned how being an editor really makes these stand out to me and how distracting they can be. If a book is really good, I can get over it (especially if they’re far and few between). But this book wasn’t good at all, and the mistakes were the thing that were the last spark.

Overall, as I felt bad about how I felt about this book, I read some other reviews and realized I’m not the only one. After talking with my mom (who did finish the book), I knew I had to just put it down for good. The author has not been active online since early 2016, so I wonder if he’s moved on (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). And now that this review is written, I can move on as well.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Sorry for such a downer review, but my next review will be for The Waste Lands (Dark Tower #3) by Stephen King, and I loved it, so it’ll be much more positive!

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

March 2017 Wrap-up!

Hi all. I haven’t a ton of books this past month (though I have started quite a few). I’ve been learning more about knitting and growing my skill set there, so my attention has been more divided between the two. It’s definitely not a bad thing, as knitting helps my anxiety and anxious hands, but I am hoping to get more reading done this next month.

All five-star reads!

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

What a ride. A wild, mind-boggling ride.

This second installment in the Dark Tower series picks up where The Gunslinger left off, and though it took me awhile to get through, it wasn’t because of any fault in the book. Throughout this novel, we are introduced to two new characters, and I will try not to give too much away in this review. These new characters are so unique and contrast Roland in the best way, and King has written them so convincingly. Their interesting speech and thought patterns make them incredibly believable and also helps the reader really understand them.

I grew to like them as the book went on, which I wasn’t sure of at first. They really grow on you, and I’m so glad for it. They’re nowhere near perfect characters, but King has portrayed them perfectly. The throwing-together of these characters, who are all so unique and somewhat strange, is what makes their boring action of trekking across endless sands actually entertaining.

There were bursts of action in this book, thanks to the doors, but a huge amount of it is realizing what’s going on and yet also having no idea at all. I’m really interested to find out more about Roland’s world and its connection to the others’ previous realities, and this journey of finding the Tower is definitely a journey for the reader, as I’m sure it was also for King as an author. It’s a huge series and definitely intimidating, but I’m sucked in and there’s no crawling back out now.

Rating: ★★★★★

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

Harley Quinn, Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

Harley Quinn, Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

To sum it up: another great Harley Quinn volume.

Through this compilation, Harley adventures through the winter holidays, goes on a date with a Mr. Bruce Wayne, and begins a Harley gang (that being kick-butt ladies, unrelated to biker gangs). This volume begins with another issue of guest artists and a strange hallucination sequence, but I thought it was more well done than previous guest-artist storylines. It seemed strange, but it wasn’t a one-off, since the new character introduced through it remains throughout this whole volume.

I also enjoyed the storyline with Bruce Wayne and Batman, and it was also good at showing how Harley’s new adventures are after her time in Gotham.

My favorite storyline of this was, of course, the startup of the gang of Harleys. I can’t wait to get the next volume and dive into how this group plays out, and there is really good diversity with the women she hires as Harley assistants. It’s not just diversity as a marketing ploy, either, as their backgrounds play into who they are as characters and how they came to find Harley. This comic issue was funny, powerful, and I’m all for kick-butt lady squads.

I know I’m late at reading these volumes (as this is only volume three of six currently out), but I’m taking my time with it, and comics are expensive. I can’t be the only one, though, so if you haven’t read this series yet, get to it! Harley is a great character who is unique in her own ways, and I relate so much with her love of caring for animals and eating junk food.

Rating: ★★★★★

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

February 2017 Wrap-up!

I read a total of nine books this month, which I’m pretty proud about. I’ve completed 20 books into my 50-book reading goal for 2017, so I may be raising that number later on.

  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie ★★★★☆
  • Vamps by Elaine Lee & William Simpson ★★★★☆
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, & Carolyn Nowak ★★★★★
  • The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories by Robert Chambers ★★★★★
  • I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young ★★★★★
  • Username: Evie by Joe Sugg ★☆☆☆☆
  • Amulet, Vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi ★★★★★
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook) ★★★★★
  • From a Buick 8 by Stephen King (audiobook) ★★★☆☆

I also started a some books this month that I hope to finish next month.

Feel free to add me on my various social media accounts to keep updated on what I’m reading: GoodreadsInstagramTwitter, and Facebook!